Have you heard about these barre-based workouts? There’s Pure Barre, Grand Jete, Xtend, Barre Babes… (okay, I made that last one up). All hour-long classes in a studio; all meant to give you a longer, leaner “dancer’s” body; all miserable. It’s not ballet, to be clear. It’s a bunch of leg-lifting, squats, and squeezing. And there’s a ballet barre.
I wanted to love these workouts. I imagined doing a few graceful plies, dabbing my forehead with a towel, and floating out of the studio looking lithe and ethereal. But last year I floated into one of the classes with a coworker and was brought crashing down to reality immediately. She, a former dancer, and I, overestimating my athletic ability, were soon focusing intently on not passing out or throwing up, respectively.
I can’t pinpoint exactly what’s so difficult about this class… the movements themselves seem innocuous enough at first knee-bend. It’s the doing them over and over (and over) again that makes you want to ninja-kick the instructor in the face (assuming you have enough muscle strength remaining to lift your leg that high… which let’s be honest, you don’t.) Fortunately, the studio we were dying in was divinely designed with an entrance in both the front and back of the room. Taking full advantage of a short dividing wall and that back exit, I have no shame in admitting that halfway through the class we literally crawled out the back door without looking back. I had to sit in the car with the door open for at least ten minutes before I could be certain I wasn’t actually going to get sick. Driving home was treacherous because my quivering leg would sometimes jolt the gas pedal in desperate lurches–any true muscle control was a wistful memory. And the real kicker? I’d bought one of those stupid packages on Groupon. I had like five classes left.
Whether out of stubborn pride or a genuine desire to get in shape, I don’t know, but I went to all the classes. The greatest improvement I saw was being about to limp out feeling almost not-nauseous, rather than having to warily sit in my car before turning on the ignition. Since I felt like I finally wasn’t a complete disgrace at the exercises, it seemed like a good time to quit.
Yesterday, Leisel informed me that Groupon had another barre package at a local studio. I told her there were other methods of torture I could inflict on myself if I were feeling masochistic. And yet, two hours later I was sitting at my desk and my coworker told me about the same damn Groupon. She’d purchased two before realizing the fine print dictated the second purchase couldn’t be used for herself. Did I want in?
And so it all begins again.