Tag Archives: Ballet

Fitness Series: Xtend Barre

It seems that lately fitness trends have been popping up left right and centre! So many people are jumping aboard the health bandwagon and we couldn’t be happier. Making sure your body is healthy is so important, not just for your physical health, but for your mental health as well.

That’s why we are going to be rolling out a few exciting articles about current fitness trends, which will not only help you prepare you for your Inspired Adventure (if you’re not registered for one yet, then why on earth not?! Go visit our calendar!), but will also help you kick some of those health goals for the new year.

For our first article in this series, we spoke to Liz Nable, Director of Xtend Barre Mosman and Manly. Check it out!

Tell us about ballet barre. How did the concept originate?

I think there are a lot of different “versions” of how the barre workout originated. Barre workouts have been around since the 1950s. Many people think it’s a fad, but they’ve been around for decades, it’s just that it’s marketed differently now.

Lotte Berk, a ballet dancer and teacher from Germany is generally credited as being the first person to bring ballet based strength and conditioning training to the masses. In the 1950s, with the help of an osteopath, she developed a series of exercises based on her experience with dancing. Similar to pilates and yoga, the Lotte Berk method concentrated on targeting specific areas for strength and flexibility training.

In short, barre is like the strength and conditioning portion of a dancer’s training regime. Xtend Barre builds on that concept and takes it to the next level by layering in ballet combinations and cardio and consistently advancing each exercise to give clients a complete body workout.

How did you come to try ballet barre for the first time?

I first tried a barre workout when my husband Adam and I were living in New York in 2009. A friend in my mother’s group suggested a barre class to me as I was complaining about finding it really difficult to lose the baby weight after my first child, Ruby, and found the gym really boring and uninspiring.

How was your first class? Did anything memorable happen?

Yes! Right from the first few minutes my mind was just racing, thinking, this is awesome, I can’t believe exercise can be this challenging and motivating and fun all at the same time! I just keep thinking over and over – this would be huge in Australia!

What can someone expect out of a barre class? What does a typical class look like?

The first thing I would say about an Xtend Barre class is that watching one and doing one are two completely different things! You need to actually DO a class to feel how it works. Watching a Youtube video doesn’t cut it. Xtend Barre is designed to work all parts of your body proportionately. The classes are formatted into warm up, upper body (with weights), barre work, abs, lower body, stretch. It’s 55 minutes in length and no two classes are the same.

It’s a thigh quivering, arm shaking, ab sculpting hour that works muscles you never even knew you had! I love that it’s about the discipline of knowing which muscles you’re working and working them intensely in isolation and not just throwing your hands and legs around. The focus on working each muscle group properly means Xtend Barre takes working out to a whole new level!

Can anyone do ballet barre?

Yes! We have so many people email and call us and say they’re not dancers – can they still do the workout? The answer is yes – absolutely! The beauty of Xtend Barre is that our classes are designed to be multi-level, so whether you’re a new mum, or a marathon runner you will find the class challenging. Each exercise can be modified to suit the clients’ level of fitness or ability and as they get stronger we advance the exercises to keep them challenged. I particular love when we get super fit clients come into class and laugh at our little 2kg weights…there’s a tiny element of satisfaction when you see them subtly putting them down half way through the upper body section because they get too heavy!

How has ballet barre changed your body and your fitness?

The results of Xtend Barre for me and for so many of our clients is just unbelievable. After that first class in New York, I continued classes for 12 weeks, combined with a clean eating regime I lost 12 kilos in 12 weeks. I had never, ever had those kinds of results. I had triceps, core definition, strength and long lean muscles. I felt and looked the best I had ever felt in my life. We’ve changed so many clients lives the same way. So many transformations, but it’s so much more than just a body transformation. If I had a dollar for every time a client said to me that they’d never, ever enjoyed exercise before they tried Xtend Barre and their only regret was that they didn’t discover it sooner I’d be a very rich woman!

Xtend Barre is just this perfect combination of good music, great energy, great teachers, and great results that gets people addicted!

TRIED & TESTED: What barre is really like 

From my first class, I was completely obsessed! My first class was actually pretty funny – I didn’t know any of the moves, but it didn’t matter! The teachers at Xtend Barre are amazing. They not only do the routine, but they are also constantly walking around helping adjust people’s form and technique, explaining it in such an easy way to understand. I also love that each teacher has their own playlist – music tastes for everyone!

One of the best parts about barre is that no class is ever the same! It means I’m never bored and never know what’s next. I was so surprised with how I felt after my first class. I was sore but a different kind of sore – “strong sore” as I called it. I’ve been going 5-6 times a week, which I’ve never done with any other kind of class. When I don’t go I honestly miss it and start dancing around my kitchen instead!

I’ve also been so happy with my progress, I went from barely being able to do 5 push-ups on my knees and now I can do 20+ on my feet. I have also been able to do some of the advanced moves, which means I’m getting stronger and fitter and it’s such an amazing feeling. That’s another great thing about barre – the instructors give you variations so you can push yourself as far as you’re comfortable with.

If you’re thinking about it then I’d say just give it a go. You’ll know straight away if you love it or you don’t. I feel really lucky that I’ve found the type of exercise that I love and hope more can do the same!”

“I’d heard a lot about barre from a few friends who had tried it – mainly about how hard it was! But I’m always up for a challenge so that didn’t deter me. I was a gymnast and did a few years of jazz ballet when I was younger so the ballet part of it was really appealing.”

Practising barre at Machu Picchu last month!

Feeling inspired?

  • Get moving! Barre might be your new-found workout obsession. Search for a studio near you.
  • Then, visit the Inspired Adventures Calendar and find a charity challenge perfect for you and your new found fitness!

Need to knows:

  • Cost: $$ (costly, but it’s worth it if you go often and love it!)
  • Challenge grade: 4/5
  • Fun grade: 5/5
  • Locations: All across the country!