Fitness has always been extremely important to me. Whether I was swinging from the bars as a young gymnast, doing backflips down the basketball court as a high school cheerleader or scoring goals on the soccer field; staying active was always a huge part of my life. Now that I am in my early thirties, staying in shape and taking care of my body is even more crucial now. My metabolism doesn’t work exactly like it used to, therefor I have to be more conscious about what I consume and keep up with a regular workout routine. I not only do this to keep my figure in tact but for the extra energy I get from working out consistantly. Also, my mood, self confidence, and overall attitude improves dramatically when I make working a part of my every day routine.
Working out is hard, physically and emotionally. It’s a lot more fun to go to happy hour than the gym but if you make the commitment to get fit then I recommend signing up for something you actually enjoy. I have found that working out can actually be enjoyable if you are doing something you love. So if you hate running, don’t run. Instead, find something that you don’t despise and you might actually stick to your workout routine!
I have tried almost every workout under the sun and tend to switch things up pretty often, so I don’t become bored by my routine. I had been a regular in the Crossfit gym but after a pretty bad injury that landed me in the hospital (totally my fault), I decided to take it easy and try a form of exercise that would allow me to heal and that my doctor approved. That is when I fell deeply in love with barre. Ever since the first day I stepped foot into Xtend Barre Old Town I have been addicted. Not only was I pleasantly surprised by the cardio workout I was getting, it was way harder then I ever imagined. I left my first class dripping in sweat and could hardly get out of bed the next day, I was THAT sore. So if you think barre is for wimpy girls who are afraid to sweat, think again, go take a barre class and then let me know your thoughts. I have been going to barre classes steadily for the past 3 months and have seen some amazing results, my butt and thighs are tight and toned and my core is rock solid. The best part about this girly workout is that it tones your “glamour muscles” aka the ones you want to show off.
Since I’m currently head over heels in love with barre, I thought I would share my favorite moves that you can practice anywhere. So here they are, 4 Barre Moves You Can Do At Home, guaranteed to keep you tight and toned no matter where you are!
Before you begin this workout, be sure to warm your muscles up. You can try a light 5 min jog, 30 knee raises or try this warm up routine that Michelle posted about last week.
Target Muscle: Quads
Facing the chair, lift heels up, bend knees, and hold. Pressing evenly through all 10 toes, keep knees in line with the middle of the toes, hips level and square, and core firm firm. Lengthen tall through your spine and relax shoulders down the back. Bend knees until you find a challenging position. Lift 1 inch, then lower. Repeat this movement 30 reps and move the next exercise.
Target Muscles: Inner thighs, side seat , hamstrings, quadriceps and calves
Step out wider than your hips with your feet turned out to 2 and 10 o’clock. Bend your knees and slide your back 6 inches down an imaginary wall (do not stick your butt out!). Your knees are over your ankles and in line with your second toes. Come up on your toes for added intensity. Repeat this movement for 30 reps and move to the next exercise.
Lift and Lower
Target Muscle Group: Side Glutes
Place hands on the chair and fold over, step back until you reach a 90 degree angle and your arms are straight. Sweep right foot back behind hip, lifting it until it is parallel with the ground and until you feel your seat engage. Press into left foot and think about lifting up and out of right standing hip. Engage core and lift tall through spine. Cross your leg behind the opposite foot and lift up at a diagonal until your leg is parallel and straight. Repeat, lifting left leg 30 times and then move to the other leg. After you complete your reps, move to the next exercise.
Target Muscle Group: Lower Abs
Start by lying flat on your back with your arms by your sides and your palms down. Extend your legs fully out with a slight bend in your knees. Lift your heels about 6 inches off the floor. Make small, rapid up and down scissor-like motions with your legs. The key is to focus on having your abs do all the work and to keep your abs constantly contracted throughout the exercise. Repeat this movement 30 times and then repeat this series 3 times.
End your workout by cooling down and stretching your legs.
Try out some of my favorite barre studios in the DC area and be sure to sign up for our E-Newsletter to be the first to know about our free monthly fitness classes!
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All photos and GIF’s by Laura Metzler