Barrecore, a combination of callanetics, ballet and pilates. A series of exercises to work every muscle in your body and give you a combined cardio and strength based training session. I have to admit I am used high impact HIIT or running as my exercise of choice but over the last few years, I have had injury upon injury which has slowly and steadily put a holt to these kind of exercises, so I have been on the hunt to give me a cardio hit whilst making sure that I am combining strength and toning in the mix.
I have always been active, and I have always been prone to injury, usually it never lasts too long but over time, I have noticed how my body has aged and my injuries have taken longer to recover. Even if I still feel like a 20 something, my body doesn't like to react like one. Over the past 2 years I have been riddled with injuries ranging from Grade III tear of my left calf, right achilles tendonapathy, muscle inhibition and nerve decompression and as such it has taken my usual exercises down a peg or two. When I was younger I did try callanetics and I have to admit I noticed a huge change in my strength and body shape. This was a wonderful exercise I could do at home, but as with all things, time gets away with you and videos became out of fashion and 'old'. So one morning as I walked into town I saw a Barrecore studio, newly set up. This was it, this was my sign to give it a go, and go I have.
Embarking on the 30 day unlimited package, having never done it before, may have been a little ambitious, but I am not one for half in when it comes to sport and decided to do the jump in with the feet first experiment. As such I saw this as a perfect opportunity to use myself as a guinea pig and showcase how I get on with this new regime and what I get out of it.
When I first stepped into the class. First thing is remembering your slipper socks so that they grip the mat or floor and later as I realised stop you from slipping when you feel your body beginning to give way and no longer hold you up! I did wonder if I would be met with a bunch of ballerina's and bodies that would flash me back to when I was doing ballet as a child and feeling like the flat footed dumbo of the group. Thankfully not this time. I was then slightly nervous given that I have ankle and calf injuries, just how this would help or make it worse with the kitten heel lifts or if you are feeling brave the high stiletto move! The group itself is mostly women, roughly 99% women, however I have seen several brave men coming along at different times and feel its a shame this sport does come with a high sense of " women only" mentality as what we do, although is ballet-esque, would do wonders for men to build a strong core foundation and improve their overall strength work. So it has inspired me to be a little bit of a frontrunner to attract more men to the groups.
Saying that, I was not prepared to feel the burn, shake uncontrollably and feel that urge to be nauseous so fast and for most of the session. This is not a class for the faint hearted! My body was worked from head to toe and not only that, there were exercises that I just couldn't physically do. For me, thats a bit of an ego hit as I always thought I was fairly fit. However, barrecore firmly gives that theory a welcomed shake and makes me realise just how much I have to learn! Not being able to finish side plank holds and lifts, or catching my back foot on a runners stretch, and not being able to do more than 5 seat tucks on the barre without wanting to be sick, and many more if I'm honest... but this is all part of it. Each and every time, I feel like I push myself, and whats great is that each class, although based around a similar format starting by increasing your heart rate, and quickly moving over to arms and triceps work, whilst seamlessly switching to thigh work, the mid point stretch (hallelujah we've made it half way). Then over to seat work (my nemesis!) and finishing on abdominal work and finally seeing the end goal of the savasana. Each class is different in their approach to the exercises, and yet two things are always common: The rhythmic exchange from exercise to exercise, meaning for 55 mins you will be working your body continuously, and secondly, you will feel pain and burn like nothing you have ever experienced before, but the one saving grace is this, the pain is short lived, and the feeling of wellbeing and empowerment at the end of each session overrules all of that, in order to keep you coming back for more.
After 2 weeks of going nearly everyday. The one big difference I have noticed is the sense of fulfilment I feel within me, going to this class, makes me feel like I have worked hard. I don't need to do a HIIT session or gigantic cardio burnout to feel the sense of achievement. This session gives me all that, which I found very liberating and freeing as I always thought that running and HIIT/cardio were the only way to do that (being a PT - I really should know better). However saying that, the next big difference is not in my shape (yet) but my ability to get into the stretches and strength I have gained thus far. The struggling side planks, are still a struggle but I am holding them for longer and without any regressive exercise, I can hold my foot in a runners lunge as well as balance one footed whilst raising my back foot in a balanced split without putting my hands. More importantly, my calves and ankles, although they niggle, have improved immensely and I do feel stronger, so much so, I have even done my first 3 mile run in 3 months without too much pain. So, yes, so far this little experiment is turning out to be rather an interesting and exciting path with the ways I feel my body changing and changing it is. I am very interested in how my shape and strength along with injury rehabilitation will improve in the next 2 weeks.
Watch this space...