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Social distancing has us skipping the fitness studio—but that doesn’t mean skipping your next workout. If you used to live for your membership but now find yourself working out from your living room, or you just need something besides WFH to focus on, it’s about time you try barre.
Barre is straight-up one of the best low-impact, full-body workouts you can do for yourself—wherever you are. No dance experience required. From strengthening your core, to elongating those leg lifts, to tapping into your triceps, barre tones different muscle groups through isolated movements. Barre is gentle on the joints but tough enough to tighten. The best part about barre? It can be modified to fit any at-home environment (yeah, we're looking at all the busy moms working out bedside).
So, why should you try barre right now? Because barre during quarantine might just be your best introduction to this all-level workout.
Not sure what you need for barre class, social distancing style? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Barre instructors know you don’t have a ballet barre just bolted into the wall of your at-home office, so they have modified classes to be conducive to equipment we actually have. Your “barre” can be everything from a highchair to the edge of your couch. The main thing you need? A yoga mat to support your core, back, and booty. Some virtual classes might also use light hand weights. If you don’t have weights, you can get creative (try using a book, bag of flour, wine bottle—just don't drop it!) or opt out of using extra gear. You’re guaranteed to get a great workout without extra weight in hand. You can choose from hundreds of virtual classes.
Since being quarantined is the new norm, thousands of barre studios around the world are hosting virtual classes on Mindbody. Who said you couldn’t travel during social distancing? There’s no shortage of studios going online to get you off the couch. You can try classes from Sydney to San Antonio, London to LA. You’ll rack up those air miles without ever leaving the living room. Feeling a little overwhelmed on where to begin your barre journey?
A few of our favorite studios offering virtual barre classes include:
Roll out your mat, grab some grip socks if you want, and get ready to check out some of the best instructors in the barre biz.
Flex, fold, extend, pelvic floor—this body-toning workout has its own language. Not well-versed in barre? You’ve got nothing to fear. From plies and point to “up an inch, down an inch,” instructors will help to correct and educate you as you flow from floor to core, especially over virtual classes. If you aren’t sure what an instructor means when he or she says “tuck,” just watch and learn. Making sure you understand the actual movement is more important than remembering the word. You’ll get the barre lingo down in no time at all.
Barre is made up of ballet-inspired classes that incorporate elements of Pilates, dance, yoga, and functional training, and it has *tons* of benefits. Barre workouts include isometric strength training combined with high reps of small movements (think pulsing and lengthening). It’s a total body burn, sometimes in just 30 minutes! When you work a muscle group to fatigue in barre, it tends to tremble. That feel-good shake is where “the good stuff” (AKA the magic) happens. Where you push yourself mentally and physically to go the extra inch—or to finish out those final ten seconds. Barre instructors everywhere love when your muscles are shaking and trust us, you will, too.
If you live in a two-story walkup, the last thing you want to do is be jumping up-and-down as your neighbor's downstairs are on day 17 of self-isolation. Or as your S/O is on a conference call in the room next to you. Barre lets you break a sweat without making a ton of noise (unless you’re turning up the tunes to get through your final 60-second plank). In barre, you’ll experience the isometric strength training and small movements we mentioned earlier. Knee lifts paired with a glute press is a common combo, along with a variety of core exercises (burn out those lower/upper/middle/left/right abs, baby!), ballet squats, planks, and pulsing—a lot of pulsing. But like we said, that’s where the magic happens and where your muscles (and your mind) fight to finish that last 5, now 4, 3, last 2, and 1.
Whether you’re booking your first (virtual) barre class or taking your fourth one this week, we love to see how you stay active from the comfort of your home! Share to your Instagram stories and tag @mindbody, so we can share what working out looks like for you during social distancing. Here’s to sweating it out in our makeshift gyms and keeping safe, one day at a time.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.