More is not, in fact, better.

MORE is not, in fact, BETTER.png

More guacamole? Better. More vacation time? Definitely better. More sleep? Yes, please.

But more hours of workout time? Not necessarily better, in fact.

Many of us can recall the early days when we first discovered any sort of fitness regimen. We spent hours on a treadmill or awkwardly trying to use the weight machines as we figured out how our bodies responded to exercise. Some of us became runners for simplicity. Some gave up.

Some of us, eventually, found our way to group classes. Maybe barre. Or yoga. Remember Zumba?

The logic might then look something like this: if one class a day is good, then wouldn’t two be even better?!

For some? Maybe. But it completely depends on you, your lifestyle, and your body type. And? We’ve designed the Barre & Soul Method to be SO effective and efficient that even just 3 classes a week will completely transform your fitness and overall well being.

First and foremost: Barre actually isn’t about ballet. They’re just cousins.

You might see the barres on the wall and think this is going to be all plies and other French words you don’t know. In reality, the Barre classes you’ll find these days take their inspiration from the focused movements and workouts that were used to train dancers - but they have been extracted, honed, and changed to create a workout for everyone. Not just people in leotards.

While you will see some plies (aka squat with turned out feet) in class, you can bet they won’t be accompanied by wide, sweeping arms or spins and leaps. You’ll be focused on your alignment, your breath, and the shaking in your muscles (which is where the real transformation occurs).

Which brings us to...

Here’s the science: small, effective movements mean you need fewer of them.

This part’s a little geeky, but it's crucial: we’ve designed the targeted isometric movements of the Barre & Soul Method to be SO effective that you don’t need to do a barre exercise class twice a day. You don’t even have to be in class every day. Because you’re not doing big, compound movements, you can work a muscle for a longer period of time and fatigue the target area in a way that gets serious results in just 3 classes per week.

You’re also getting a whole body workout every time you come to barre class, meaning there’s no need for “legs day” and “shoulders day”: every day is everything day at the barre. You’ll tone your muscles without getting huge and bulky - and yes, those tiny 2-lb weights will absolutely do the job. And then some. You just need to give them a few days a week of attention.

A little bit of barre, a little bit of yoga.

You know that your body benefits from a full, functional range of movements - including the fluid stretch of yoga. Three barre classes a week will help you take your yoga practice to the next level by increasing your joint stability, revving up your core strength, and targeting the muscles that are more difficult to get in a regular vinyasa practice. On the flip side, including a couple of yoga classes a week will keep you flexible and challenge your body to move in different ways.

Both will help you calm and focus your mind, center yourself, and boost your mood. All in just a handful of hours per week.

Work out in a way that is good to your body, mind, and soul. Your classes should feel good for your whole life - and with a quality barre class, you’re going to feel and see the benefits of your workout without needing to spend hours at the gym.

So. Transformation is at the barre. We will see you there!

Calling all Runners: Why Yoga Is Just What You Need!

This week, as I reflect on the inspiration the Boston Marathon brings to our community – I’m writing to send a high-five to every runner out there – for your stamina, grit, determination and strength. These are qualities we deeply value and work hard to cultivate at Barre & Soul. Huge congratulations those who ran the Boston Marathon. It takes super-human levels of stamina and endurance to take on a race of this level, and we know you’re feeling it big-time post-race.

We want to reach out to you personally, from another dimension of the fitness universe, and invite you over to learn more. Bring your bib number and your driver’s license to any of our studios for a complementary class in April.

We’ve just been recognized in Boston Magazine as one of the best places to explore a yoga practice in greater Boston, and we want to extend an invitation for you to join us here.

Yoga is often misunderstood as an exclusively meditative, passive approach to self-care and fitness. Yes, there is a mindfulness element, and yes there is the benefit of self-acceptance, meeting your body each day wherever it is on your mat. But there is so much more to learn and benefit from - for runners in particular.

Many runners cite greater flexibility as the primary reason for beginning a yoga practice. This makes sense, because yoga stretches the muscles that are tight, which in turn increases the range of motion in related joints.

Studies have also shown that yoga combats stress, accelerates weight loss, reduces pain, helps people stay consistent with their fitness routine, and even improves running times. The strength and flexibility runners develop on the mat--particularly in the core, quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors--can help them run more efficiently and avoid injury.

What’s more - holding challenging yoga poses builds tenacity and mind-body connection that translates in your runs. And it teaches you to deepen the connection with your breath –a skill that you can leverage to enhance your running as well.

A real breakthrough in embracing Yoga for many runners happens when they learn that fast-twitch muscle fibers can contract ten times faster than slow-twitch fibers. This is the kind of muscle that runners really want to develop to train for speed.

The difference in which muscle fibers you build comes not from your training speed, but your training intensity. If you do an isometric exercise that involves holding a half-full cup of water out at arm's length for four hours a day, you’ll develop lots of slow-twitch muscle because the intensity over time is low.

If, instead, you tried to do a shoulder raise on that same arm at maximal intensity for a fraction of the time, like seven to twelve seconds, you fatigue fast-twitch muscle fibers (all muscle fibers, in fact) much faster. Intensity is key to your speed training, not the speed of the movement itself. This is where a great Yoga practice can transform your running game, and your fitness overall – thanks to the isometric element.

It may seem counterintuitive, but isometric exercises involving very challenging but static holds involving body weight (a foundational element of both Yoga and Barre) can be better than plyometric (like exploding into a movement, like big jumps or clapping push ups) for speed.

Isometric exercises for speed also use a minimum of impact force, and keep the body safe from injury. Great news for runners, and everyone else!