My workouts have evolved over time, but there has been one constant — I like to be challenged. Back in college, I loved weight training and spinning. After college, I really enjoyed group fitness classes at Equinox in NYC and pushing myself to my max physically and mentally. If I wasn’t dripping with sweat about to keel over, I wasn’t satisfied.
As time went on, I tried yoga, Pilates, kettlebells and most recently barre workouts. These ballet-based classes that have you shaking in a matter of seconds hooked me a few years ago and I loved the burn and the atmosphere of these in-studio workouts — but then I moved to France and in-studio bar workouts were no longer an option (Aside from The Dailey Method in Paris at 40 euros a class (!!!)). So I started doing DVDs at home like The Bar Method but like anything you do over and over again, you get bored. Then I found out about barre3’s online workouts.
barre3 online workout
A few months back, I was Googling “barre workouts in France” to make sure I hadn’t missed anything that may have opened up nearby, and as I suspected, aside from Paris, they didn’t really exist. But then I found the next best thing — barre3 online workouts. In addition to nearly 40 studios in the U.S. and several in the Philippines, barre3 also offers an online subscription-based barre workout featuring the same workouts you’d do in the studio. I was instantly intrigued because this was exactly what I was looking for. With professional quality videos you can stream from anywhere in the world with a Wi-Fi connection and upbeat instructors that make you want to give it your all, I had to give this a try.
I contacted barre3 for more info and they generously offered me a free one-month trial. After the first workout, I knew this was exactly what my expat fitness routine needed and was a great way to infuse some energy into my currently stale workout routine by sticking with something I really enjoy. Because that’s the point, right?
If you don’t enjoy your workout, you’ll give up.
Even if barre workouts don’t have the heart-pumping sweat of my workouts in my early 20s, the key to sticking with it is to do something you enjoy. And over the past couple of years, I’ve realized I really do enjoy barre workouts. So about barre3 online workouts specifically….
First, what is barre3?
barre3’s was created by Sadie Lincoln and their website explains what the workouts are all about:
“Barre3 evolves the dancer’s workout by combining the grace of the ballet barre with the wisdom of yoga and the strength of Pilates. Barre3 workouts are set to an upbeat soundtrack and follow a vigorous pace moving through a sequence of postures designed to shape and lift the entire body.” They’re all low impact meaning there’s no jumping around yet many of the online workouts will provide a heart-pumping cardio workout as well.
What barre3 is NOT…
barre3 is NOT a dance class. There’s no complicated choreography or dance moves at all. You don’t need to memorize anything or have a dance background. You don’t even need to be flexible or graceful. It’s also NOT a class just for women. In some of the online workout videos, there are men, so don’t be shy, guys!
Who are the online barre3 workouts for?
The barre3 online workouts are for men and women looking for a challenging and fun workout they can do in the comfort of their own homes (or on the road) with no fancy equipment (a chair or countertop works fine, small handweights (optional) and a mat or carpeted surface are all you need). The workouts would be great for anyone who gets bored easily since there are many to choose from ranging from 10 to 60 minutes in length. There are also several targeted workouts for runners, expectant mothers and more.
Here’s what I loved about the barre3 online workouts:
- Classes of all lengths. Choose from 10, 30, 40 and 60-minute classes depending on how much time you have and your energy level. Also, a new class is added every month so your workout will always be fresh (although there are plenty of options already there for you to choose from so your workout definitely won’t get stale).
- It’s affordable. Barre studio memberships run upwards of $200/month especially in metropolitan areas (The Bar Method was $245/month in suburban NJ back when I was going which is really expensive in my opinion), so if you don’t have the time or money for that, this is a great option at just $15/month and even cheaper if you prepay for the entire year. The videos also complement other workouts nicely and are suited for beginners and barre experts. There’s something for everyone along with modifications for those with injuries or those just looking for easier moves.
- The format and exercises vary with each workout. While you’ll work legs, glutes, core, arms and stretch in each total body workout, the format and sequence of movements changes so your body will be challenged and your mind won’t get bored with the same thing. Unlike other barre workouts where you follow a sequence and start with a warmup, then arms, then legs, etc., barre3 will surprise you and add in another set of a challenging move when you least expect it. You can also choose workouts focused on just the core or just the legs, for example. Along with the variety of the exercises comes a variety of instructors. There are usually three per video and they often team teach.
- Very innovative core/ab work. I liked that the abs were targeted from a variety of angles through a variety of moves both seated and standing. Also, unlike some other barre ab moves, my hips didn’t cramp and get tight. There were modifications as well for those that have problems with their hips.
What I’d like to see in barre3 workouts in the future:
- Option to download. We don’t always have Wi-Fi, so it would be great to have the option to download the video for viewing wherever, even where there’s no Wi-Fi.
- Consistent cueing for how much time is left in a set. Some of the workouts would let us know how many reps are left so we can pace/push ourselves, but others didn’t let us know. Also, some of the cueing would say there are 20 reps left when in reality there were maybe half that. I find that knowing how many are left really helps me to get through it, so a little more attention to that would be helpful for me. (Note: As I tried more of the workouts, the cueing seemed to improve, so maybe the first few workouts I tried just didn’t have as much as I’d like.)
- More advanced workouts. I love that there are a variety of workouts to choose from depending on what your energy level/time constraints are on any particular day, but overall, I felt barre3 was easier than other barre workouts I’ve tried in terms of burn and overall difficulty. That’s not to say that the moves were easy at all — I struggled to finish the set on several — just on a whole, the style and pace seemed to be slower and didn’t work me ’til near failure. It would be great if some new videos could be created for those of us looking for a major challenge. I have been doing barre workouts for a while and only a handful of the barre3 online workouts pushed me to my max and pushed me enough to be sore the next day (not that it’s a measure of an effective workout, but it does indicate how fatigued you were to an extent).
- A public rating system that will rank each workout in terms of burn, cardio and overall difficulty. That way, at a glance when scrolling through the choices, we can sort by the amount of burn and cardio each workout has based on others’ reviews. If I’m looking for a really difficult workout, I can find one without having to start a workout to see for myself.
- Area for private notes under the dashboard so I can keep track of my thoughts on each workout right in the system and remember which one worked my butt like crazy, etc.
My final thoughts:
Two thumbs way up! If you’re an expat like me and looking for some ideas to spice up your fitness in France or just someone who’s looking for an excellent online workout that fuses strength, yoga, Pilates and more, barre3 is absolutely worth your time and money. This goes double if you’re already a fan of barre workouts! You can do barre3 to complement other fitness activities or make it your go-to workout. It’s constantly evolving and you won’t get bored. So for me, all of this makes it a win-win!