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Focus on Fitness: What is Barre?

Focus on Fitness: What is Barre?
Focus on Fitness: What is Barre?

Just as many people will not try a food without knowing what it is, many people are not likely to try a fitness class without knowing what it is. You may have seen Barre classes or studios popping up around you but been too hesitant to try without knowing what it entails. As exercise is important to gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band bariatric patients, we aim to acquaint you with the basics of Barre so you may more easily decide if it is a form of exercise you would enjoy to explore.

The term ‘Barre’ may make you believe it is a ballet class. While it does incorporate a ballet barre and several elements of dance in the workout, it is different than ballet. By combining elements of yoga, pilates, ballet, and strength training, it fuses together a host of movements that are designed to strengthen muscles without adding bulk. You may also be pleased to know that a tutu or leotard is not required. As a warm up, often push ups, planks, and upper body exercises will get you ready for concentrating more on your core during the workout. The ballet barre is used as a prop to balance on while focusing on isometric movements. Specific muscles groups are targeted by the chosen poses and you use your own body weight or hand held weights as resistance while focusing on small 1 inch movements of the muscles. Cool down may include stretching to increase your flexibility and allow your muscles to heal.

The benefits of Barre are plentiful and specifically good for those who have had bariatric surgery. While the routine is not considered easy, bariatric patients may find it easier to handle than jumping into a cardio class. First, no specific equipment is needed. Stretchy work out clothes would be a good fit, and you may go barefoot or with socks. The Barre classes are not high impact, which makes them good even for pregnant women. Improved muscle tone and definition, improved balance and flexibility, weight loss, and reduced stress are all benefits. As the routine is not designed to add bulk to muscles, the muscle gain should be lean and strong. As muscle burns more energy than fat, improving your muscle to fat ratio should help you burn more calories, even at rest.

While Barre may be largely beneficial, it does have its drawbacks. While the class may be strenuous, it will not raise your heartrate as a typical cardio class will. That makes Barre a good addition to a workout routine, but it should not be the only fitness tool used to achieve your weight loss goal. You may also find yourself shaking like a bowl of jelly as you hold the postures and perform the repetitions, so be prepared for it. Consequently, as you practice, you may find improvement in your ability to hold a pose. It will also not substitute for a poor diet. You must continue to follow the diet prescribed by your bariatric surgeon to lose the recommended weight.

If Barre seems like a good fit in your exercise routine, check to see where it is offered locally. Many Barre studios are springing up in store fronts and gyms are also offering Barre classes along with their usual line up.

Exercise is important to maintain a healthy body and mind, and is integral in helping Dr. Shillingford’s bariatric patients achieve their weight loss goals. This focus on fitness is provided by Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a board certified general surgeon specializing in laparoscopic and bariatric surgery. Dr. Shillingford’s lap band, gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass patients frequently cite exercise as one of the things that have helped them achieve their weight loss goals, and also something they find easier to do after they have lost weight. Dr. Shillingford’s bariatric patients come from all over South Florida including Boca Raton, Wellington, Coral Springs, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami, Miami Beach, as well as Orlando, Jacksonville, and New York.