Giraffes Don’t Take Ballet: Focus on Xtend Barre

What it IS, strangers? I feel like such a boob – it’s been 3 weeks since my last post, and you can’t really count that post as a post. But I’m livin’ life and lovin’ my new job, so deal with it, mkay?

A lot has happened in the world lately that a lot of bloggers are talking about. The main and most obvious being the Boston Marathon bombings. I disagree with the media’s approach to giving any extra attention to the bombers, so all I will say is this:

runners for boston

I am blessed that my close friends who were running and cheering that day are safe and home. I am rendered speechless at the bravery and kindness of the people of Boston, visitors, residents and responders. I am sorry for those who were hurt – know you are strong enough to handle it. I am proud to call myself a member of the running community, whose first reaction was to keep running to honor those who can’t.

Marathoner Spirit ***

There are a lot of trends in fitness, some are legit and some are as fake as your attempt at being a hipster by wearing black glasses (yea, I’m talking to you). Most recently, you’ve probably been hearing about The Bar Method or Xtend Barre. I had the pleasure of taking an Xtend Barre class at Brookside Pilates here in KC. My sister was in town so we made a morning out of it, followed by some yummy coffee.


According to Brookside Pilates website, the class was described as “combining both aspects of athleticism and balletic grace in order to achieve strong, lean, and most importantly a balanced body. This class also incorporates the key elements of fitness: cardio, strength training, and flexibility.”

Dumb dumb me thinks this sounds like a breeze. How hard can a couple of plies and some lying on the ground be? Um yea. Remember how I said I was a dumb dumb?

xtend barre weights

This class was SO HARD! We started with strength. Most of the movements are performed with very tiny weights (like 2-3 lbs) or no weights at all because you do practically a million of them. We did arm circles, shoulder presses, bicep curls, leg lifts, and squats. For. Ever. Then we moved over to the bar and did more squats and lunges, all with a small round ball behind our knee. Lastly, we finished with some modified (aka HARDER) Pilates core work.

xtend at barre

{So it’s super hard to take pics of yourself WHILE working out.  So here’s a headless stranger.  I’m such a creeper.}

The difference between this and, say, a Body Pump class is the speed. Everything is done slowly, intentionally and gracefully. Ahem. It’s supposed to be graceful, but I looked more like a baby giraffe ice skating while eating a bowl of spaghetti. Not. Pretty. My sister, on the other hand, was like a beautiful, tall swan. Jerk.

The movements are small, yet powerful to challenge your form and alignment. The class forced me to focus on balance, endurance and concentration. It was just really different from anything I have ever done, and my body was screaming for it. I left feeling longer, taller and stronger.

If you are in the KC area, I highly recommend Brookside Pilates. The instructors are friendly and super adorable – my instructor was pregnant and doing all the moves with us. She said it’s a great, low impact class for those expecting. The studio is clean and bright – the perfect environment for a Saturday morning! Plus you get to wear sweet socks with grips on the bottom and individual toe holes.  Bonus.200x200_bkslogo

One negative is the cost – just like with any specialty studio or fitness center, I just can’t justify paying $20 a class or $100-300 a month for regular attendance. I’m a traditional $40-a-month-big-box-gym kinda girl. I so want to be that person who takes yoga at a studio 4 times a week. But that’s expensive and I have to support my Cheez-It habit.

It’s good to be back folks! The weather was beautiful this morning – spring is upon us!  My ladies and I had a great 3 miler in the warm sun, followed by delicious iced coffee! 

photo 3

{I am giving my height challenged friend Katie a boost – I’m so helpful.}

Do you take classes at a gym or studio?

What is your favorite fitness “trend”?