EXPERIENCE THIS // BARRE ATTACK at Simply Fitness
I have a confession to make. I was a Young Talent Time wannabe in the eighties. In fact, I was so certain I was the next Tina Arena that I even went to the Johnny Young Talent School and tapped, plie-ed and jazz handed myself into YTT wannabe oblivion after it became clear my near Amazonian height (nearly 6 feet tall at the age of 13) meant there was going to be nothing dainty about my dance career. So I turned to netball and tennis instead.
But I’ve always loved dance so when Liz Rees of Simply Fitness at Moss Vale invited me to come along to a BARRE ATTACK class, I was in!
So what is BARRE ATTACK?
This is the question my mother wanted answered too, when I told her I was going to BARRE ATTACK at 9:30 on a Tuesday morning.
“Why on earth are you going to attack a bar in the morning? Are pubs even open then? Do we need to sit down and have an intervention, Penelope?”
No intervention need, Mum!
BARRE ATTACK is a fusion of dance and fitness. It’s a low-impact, high-energy workout that gets all the teeny tiny muscles we rarely use moving and contracting.
I rolled up to the Simply Fitness studio in the heart of Mossy (it’s across the car park from IGA, next door to Maugers Meats) and was immediately welcomed in by the fun and fabulous Liz Rees.
We got the serious stuff sorted first completing the all-important paperwork to make sure I was all good to plie my way through 45 minutes of BARRE ATTACK.
I took my place by the mirror (ermagerd mirrors in gyms! Such a necessary evil, right?), rested my hand on the barre attached to the wall, lined up with all the other lovely ladies in the class and took my position….literally.
Liz stepped us through the five basic positions of ballet – first position, second position, third position….you get the gist! I channelled my inner Darcy Bussell and was preparing to get all dainty when a fast-paced song that took me back to my Blue Light Disco days pumped through the speakers. It was like Flashdance meets Swan Lake with a side of Aerobics Oz Style!
And we were off…...!
Plie-ing in time to the beat (or your own pace if that suits better). Keeping the core strong. Focusing on those tiny isometric muscle movements – which is a static exercise when the muscle fires (and does it fire – youch!) without moving the joint.
Now, thanks to my years on the tennis court and a dodgy attempt at river dancing that ended in a career ending knee injury (the career lasted one night only!), my knee and hip joints aren’t the best. So being able to exercise at high intensity while protecting the joints is ideal for me. And others!
“People with joint problems, pregnant women, anyone who can’t do high intensity for some reason all love barre attack because it focuses on the muscles, not the joints,” says Liz.
“There’s not many people who can’t do BARRE ATTACK!”
As the class progressed, we got to use toys / torture items. Rubber balls increased the intensity of certain movements, and we also used resistance bands attached to the barre for additional strength training.
The class worked what felt like every single muscle in my body – legs, arms, shoulders, my butt cheeks! – and my core.
“BARRE ATTACK is fantastic for muscle strengthening but also for our posture. We’re focused on making sure our core is switched on so we’re protecting our lower back and holding ourselves upright properly,” Liz explains.
Liz offers up alternatives throughout the class so everyone can be involved. At one point half the class were on the floor – in a good way! We were working on the mat – while the other half were standing and doing alternative movements at the barre.
“We have people with inner ear problems, hip, knee or shoulder problems so working out on the floor doesn’t work for them. I give alternatives so they are still working at a high intensity but feel comfortable they’re not going to fall or injure themselves,” says Liz.
And while BARRE ATTACK is a fusion of ballet and fitness, you don’t have to have a background in dance to give it a go.
“Sure, if you did dance and you were useless at it like I was, then BARRE ATTACK is a fun way for you to have a second go at it,” Liz says.
“Or if you did ballet as a child but don’t feel confident enough to go to an adult ballet class, this is a good way to get your dance fix with fitness benefits at the same time. And it’s great for people with no dance experience too! We recognise we’re all human beings in here, not professional ballerinas, so we don’t focus on positions being perfect, as long as they are safe and you’re enjoying yourself.”
The 45 minute class flew by. It was just the right amount of time to work up a sweat and feel the burn without feeling like you were going to pass out or bring up brekkie! What? We’ve all been there!
It was just the right intensity for this 40-something.
“That’s because BARRE ATTACK is high energy but doesn’t feel like it,” Liz says.
“It’s like a vertical Pilates class with more energy.”
Now, if anyone needs me, I’ll be in the corner over here with a packet of frozen peas on my glutes!
Simply Fitness is a friendly, local studio in Mossy with a supportive and positive atmosphere. Small classes are tailored to individual needs and are designed to energise, invigorate and encourage everyone to have fun while getting fit! Click here for more info on BARRE ATTACK, TRX classes, Metafit, Boxing, Personal Training and more.
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