This week I had the pleasure of checking out Barreworks, Toronto’s newest fitness workout and the latest fitness trend. Barreworks opened in June and rumours of it’s challenging ballet style classes have been making their way through the city. I was first introduced to the studio through some promotional material available at the Queen st. Lululemon. It was a post card similar to their sandwich board sign, see picture. The pic is a totally ripped chick in ballet style training gear, to which I thought who wouldn’t want to look like that? So finally I got there this week. I was a little skeptical after trying other fitness trends that flopped (cough cough Jukari), but after two classes at the Queen West studio, I can say that Barreworks is completely different.
The studio is on the third floor, this isn’t very clearly identified once when you enter the single door next to Duke’s Cycle near the corner of Queen and Bathurst. I just kept climbing stairs and passing doors until I found it. The facility is very spacious with three studio rooms (2 for Barre and 1 for spin), a large front entrance/registration area, and modern amenities in the changeroom. They are also very proud of their filtered water fountain, which counts the number of bottles they have saved from being in landfills since they opened – yeah eco-friendly!
The first class I tried was their noon hour Barreworks express. It’s a 40min condensed version of the Barreworks Mixed Level, for people who are “short on time”. After leaving my shoes at the door and hitting up the changerooms, (bring your own lock), I stood with 3 other newbies waiting for the class to begin. The instructor was there early greeting and getting us set up with our equipment. We used resistance bands, weighted balls, and “dodge ball” type utility balls. I went for the heaviest of the weighted balls, maybe not the wisest of ideas, but I held my own faced with the challenge (and paid for it the next day). The class consistent of “tracks” similar to what you might find a GoodLife (although don’t get me wrong, this is nothing like what you’d find at GoodLife). They say no dance skills are required and the “dance” is very minimal, but at least knowing a step touch will help you feel less uncoordinated. We did series’ of typical ballet style moves – Plié and Relevé (thanks Wikipedia) as well as various upper body combinations, all set to top 40. We did an ab track as well as a cardio track (hence the need for step-touch) and used the equipment in some typical ways, but also some ways that were new to me. Micaiah was my instructor and she cued us along the way, like a typical group fitness class. She did an amazing job at correcting and challenging people to work to their fullest – I might have been challenged a few times to squat lower and lift my elbows higher. She was a fit and fierce ballerina and as I read on their website with a ton of international dance experience, but was also ultra strong – turns out she is also the gal on the post card and sign.
The second class I attended the following day was a Barreworks Mixed Level. This is their traditional class, which fills up most of the schedule. The format was very similar to the 40min. We were again challenged with a killer ballet style workout in segments to Top 40 tunes. The big difference was of course the length which allowed us more time for abs, an additional cardio track, and a couple different ballet strength tracks focusing on both lower body and upper body. The instructor was Paulina and she was also great. She gave everyone personal attention which included speaking to each of the 10 people in the class personally. She also took time to do physical corrections, reminding people to keep their spine long or knee bent.
During the second class I definitely felt muscle soreness from the previous day. I started class with sore quads, qlutes, and deltoids, and felt challenged throughout the entire hour, and dare I say it, even had to stop before the completion of one set of weighted arm lifts – gasp! The studio also offers SpinBarre and YogaBarre, which I will hopefully get to this week.
My goal was to not only explore a new studio and fitness craze but to find a strength training program to supplement my marathon training (particularly something to target my glutes in order to decrease my hip pain) and to have fun – I definitely think this is it, and highly recommend it.
Barreworks is an authentic ballet workout experience in a great facility with a fun and knowledgeable team – go check it out!
Location: 625 Queen Street West, 3rd Floor, Toronto Ontario M5V 3Z1
Rates: First Class $10, single classes $25, multiple class rates available.
Have a question or want more information – leave it in the comments!