Let’s face it: the darker mornings and rainier days of autumn mean that I’m not spending as much time outside. This means I’m not walking or cycling as much as I do in the summer months. Combine that with the recent consumption of many, many tiny little chocolate bars and the looming eat-a-thon that is the holiday season – well, you know where I’m going with this. When I was offered the opportunity to sample a couple of classes at Barre Fitness in Yaletown, I jumped at the chance.
The Fitness Studio
Barre Fitness’ Mainland Street studio is a small but open and welcoming space, where classes incorporate elements of dance and pilates for a low-impact yet challenging workout. The focus is on form and bodily alignment over speed or heavy weight-lifting. The equipment used during the classes (mat, ball, weights) is provided, and the workout is done in socks or bare feet.
I chose two classes to try: their signature Barre Fitness class which challenges all the body’s muscle groups; and Barre Flow, a less intense version of the same class, with more focus on stretching. I enjoyed them both.
- Friendly staff welcome you and walk you through the process, and hands-on personable instructors help you achieve optimum body alignment during the class so you avoid injury and get the best possible workout.
- There are a variety of class options. In addition to Barre Fitness and Barre Flow, they also offer XPress Barre (a 40 minute version of the basic class), Power Barre (a longer and more vigourous workout), and Barre Bootcamp (incorporating more cardio elements into the class). The earliest classes start at 6:30 AM, and the latest classes are at 7:00 PM.
- Pretty good value. Their new client special is $30 for three classes – a good way to test the waters without making a huge financial or time commitment. An unlimited one month pass is $190, which works out to $16/class based on three classes/week, and of course the cost per class goes down if you go more often!
- There are lockers provided to stash your coat and bag, but there’s no separate change room. If you’re coming from work or somewhere else and need to change into workout gear, you have to use one of two available bathrooms.
- There’s no shower room, which would make me reluctant to do an early weekday class unless I had shower facilities at my work place.
- Parking in the area is a beast. If you don’t have to drive, don’t. It was especially difficult to find parking for the evening class I took, when Yaletown’s busy restaurant scene is really hopping.
I love the concept of the class. Adding in elements of ballet makes it feel more elegant somehow. The last time I regularly did exercise classes was when step was the new cool thing a million years ago, and this is a much more serene and individualized experience. I appreciated the small class sizes, personal attention from the instructors, and modifications offered to accommodate student’s varying abilities or past injuries. I also loved that there was so much stretching built right into the routine, as opposed to having it tacked on at the end like an afterthought. Overall I would recommend Barre Fitness, especially if you are easing back into a more active lifestyle after some time away.
1038 Mainland Street, Vancouver