If we're connected on Facebook you may remember that I recently spent a few days down on the Mornington Peninsula. I'd picked up some work as a landscaper's labourer. That's the area I grew up in so it felt good to make a visit. While I was there I pulled the trigger on one of the components of my 2018 reboot: try a barre class.
Yes, I hear what some among you are saying. Why would a guy take a barre class? Have you cashed in your Y chromosome? And are you a little confused about which bathroom to use? I don't care. One of the few perks about turning 40 the other day is that I genuinely don't give a damn what people think about me. Barre is for women. So what? After the last few years' experiences I have no reason to doubt my masculinity.
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The class I went to was "Barre Attack", run by Diana of Allegro Barre & Mat Pilates. Barre Attack is described by its founder as
... a low impact, high intensity workout combining the best of ... standing pilates work, short cardio intervals, to dance moves in a ballet class. The class is accessible for everybody and all levels of fitness.This sums it up pretty soundly, save that I also noticed quite a few yoga-inspired moves in there as well.
The class started out with a significant spell of leg work, with a focus on squats and movement rather than holding fixed positions. It was at this point that I heard the only actual ballet term of the evening: "a wide second", which I was intrigued to note was the same basic posture as the "horse stance" that I remembred from a long-ago interest in Zen Do Kai karate. The other thing I found myself remembering was the special world of pain involved in wide-legged squats and the furious shaking that sets into your thigh muscles.
This was followed by work with the theraband, repeatedly pumping the arms against resistance. The theraband, I noted, offers less to fight against than the resistance band I usually use. I didn't mind this. I noted afterwards that my shoulders felt remarkably free after a day on the tools. The workout also took in work on the core including planking and the standing forward fold from yoga.
Final assessment? Highly recommended. This particular style of workout is ideally suited for men who are focussed on running and cycling. They'll benefit from the emphasis on stretched, fluid musculature. If your focus is more on weights, you'll find this a valuable activity for less intense days. Allegro in particular would be an excellent place to attend: Diana's training style is welcoming and the class runs smoothly and on track.
Where: 3/2 Torca Terrace, Mornington 3931
When: Barre Attack classes are run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9:30am, Tuesdays at 7:30pm and Saturday at 8:30am
What: Casual attendance at a class is a very reasonable $20.00.