Raising the Barre

Photo by Maria Kline

By Mariah Kline  |  Health & Wellness

The Barre Code is not your average group fitness program. I recently spent a morning at the Middletown location, where instructor Heather Thomas led me through an intense hour in a Total Body Conditioning class.

Barre Code opened a little over two years ago and has a variety of classes that anyone at any age can participate in. Traditional Barre Code, Burn (which takes place in their hot studio), BarRestore and others are offered to provide a one-stop shop no matter what you ‘re interested in trying. And if you already have a running or cycling routine in place, barre can be a great addition to your regimen if you want to increase your flexibility or strengthen your muscles.

Heather, who has taught group fitness since 2005, was led to barre after tearing her ACL. While they provide a full body workout, the exercises in barre classes don’t have the heavy impact that other forms of exercise can have. Since many bodily injuries are caused by lifting a heavy object or while doing a household task, the instructors at Barre Code teach a core workout that will help anyone leading an active lifestyle.

Photo Courtesy of Barre Code.

“When we talk about the core, we don’t really mean your abs,” she says. “It’s your powerhouse that teaches you full body awareness so you don’t injure yourself. Barre sets you up to have good alignment and a good connection with your body even when you’re outside of class doing day-to-day activities.”

In the Total Body Conditioning class I attended, we did a number of strength training and cardio exercises. To get our heart rates up, we repeatedly stepped on and off an exercise disk. We also did lunges and planks while holding either the disk or a medicine ball. Throughout the exercises, Heather gave us alternative options or ways to modify an exercise if it felt too challenging. We finished with some restorative stretches as we held onto the barre and eased our tired muscles.

After the fifty minute workout was over, I felt tired but also refreshed and accomplished (I also felt hungry so I stopped at the nearby Taco Bell for a balanced meal that supplied me with both protein and carbohydrates). The atmosphere at Barre Code was welcoming and positive, and I never felt pressured to go beyond my limits.

“We really encourage people to set the pace that is right for them each time,” says Heather. “Safety is also important to us so we try to coach people throughout and urge them to ask questions if they’re not sure how to do something.”

The positive atmosphere at Barre Code is fueled in part by the company’s set of core values, called the Actionable 8. These eight principles can apply not only to physical fitness but also to life. They include “Look inward before projecting outward” and “Be the bright spot of someone’s day.” Whether you’re looking for an intense workout or just a way to connect with others, I recommend you try living by the Barre Code. VT

The Barre Code

12442 Shelbyville Rd.