Six Weeks of Bar Method

I’m that girl who loves recommendations. Whether I’m shopping on Sephora or looking up a restaurant, I always read the reviews and ask people for recommendations. When Kristine couldn’t stop raving about Bar Method, I knew that I needed to give it a second chance, especially since there is a location just a few blocks from our apartment. Six weeks and 14 classes later, I couldn’t be happier that I took her recommendation. The Bar Method Brooklyn has helped me stand taller, lose inches, gain strength, and most importantly, feel part of a community.

Based off the workout created by Lotte Berk, a German dancer, in the 1930’s Bar Method combines ballet bar and dance conditioning into one class. In 1959, she opened her first studio in London, sharing the Lotte Berk Method with students. In 1971, one of her students, Lydia Bach, bought the rights and brought it to the United States. Bar Method, as we know it today, was started by Burr Leonard, one of Lydia’s students. The Bar Method is based on the Lotte Berk method but has been improved and optimized based on input from physical therapists, ensuring that each exercise is not only effective but also safe. I had the chance to take a class at the flagship location in San Francisco, last week with Kristine! Since this first studio opened in 2001, they have grown to over 80 studio locations, including my local Brooklyn studio.

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While there are many studios in New York City that I enjoy, the Bar Method Brooklyn is very different than most NYC studios. As soon as you walk through the doors, you are greeted by a spacious, bright, airy space as well as very friendly staff. The staff makes it their goal to know each student on a personal basis, whether it’s by asking about their family or latest travels. I think part of this community is because the owner, Katie Muehlenkamp, was born and raised in Brooklyn. She knows how important community is in Brooklyn and wants to build that same community at her studio. On my first visit, the staff asked me about my current fitness routine so they could better explain how Bar Method can supplement the routine and which moves would be most beneficial.


This Bar Method location has two studios, a full locker room and shower area, as well as child care facility. Child care is offered for an average of two classes per day, a very welcome benefit for local parents. The studio is far more spacious than most, featuring wall-to-wall carpeting as well as a wall of windows which allow light to stream into the classroom. The carpet still looks brand new since every student is required to wear socks during the class. The studio can easily accommodate up to 30 students, providing plenty of space for stretching and moves at the bar.
The class itself is 60 minutes in length, including a warm-up and cool-down section. You will use two sets of hand weights, a lighter and heavier set, as well as other props such as balls, straps and mats. During the class, the teacher and assistants make things simple by providing you with the props you need for each move. Another Bar Method signature is the personal adjustments and attention they provide to each student. During class, expect to be adjusted or provided verbal cues no less than two times even if you are a Century Student, who has attended over 100 classes. The teachers want to ensure that every student gets the most out of the 60-minute class by having perfect, precise form.

Most people wear tanks, leggings and grippy socks for class though you can wear regular socks as well. The class begins with a dynamic warm-up that gets your joints lubricated and blood flowing. After the warm-up, you will move directly into upper-body that changes each day. Most days it includes moves that work the biceps, lats and triceps including arm curls, tricep extensions and tricep dips. Each class also includes 60 push-ups, which are spread between each section of class. As of this morning’s class, I am finally able to do all three sets of 20 pushups on my hands and toes, a huge improvement from where I started six weeks ago. Following the upper-body sequence, the class moves to the barre where you’ll spend around 20 minutes doing moves that will humble you and make your thighs, calves, glutes and abs quiver. In between each set, there is time for a deep stretch that helps lengthen and release the shaking muscles. The stretching sections are 30-seconds to one minute, providing ample time to lengthen and relax the muscles. Finally, the class moves to the center of the room for 10 minutes of ab work and glute work on the mat. This section often includes curls that engage the deepest ab muscles, helping to smooth and strengthen the core. Once the core work is is complete, students are rewarded with a final stretch and cool down session that leverages a strap to help students get deeper into each move.

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After the 60-minute class, I may not always be sweating but I always walk out feeling taller, stronger and leaner. Over the past six weeks, I have averaged two classes per week in addition to running three times per week. The Bar Method has started to change my body, most noticeably my posture and legs. I lost an inch from my waist during the six weeks and a half inch from each thigh. While this was a nice side effect, I was more excited by the way Bar Method improved my running. The perfect complement to running, many of Bar Method’s exercises strengthen the knees by strengthening the surrounding muscles in a low impact way. My new found core and leg strength has allowed me to feel stronger during hills and speed work as well as run three half marathons and Reach the Beach within a five week period without injury.

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Want to try Bar Method Brooklyn for yourself? Book a class via ClassPass or, sign up for their new client special. The special is $99 for a month of unlimited classes!

*Thank you to Bar Method Brooklyn for you support and partnership. I was not compensated for this review though I was provided a discounted media partner rate. 


Training Recap Week of September 21st

Another week of training is in the books which means another week closer to the beginning of half marathon craziness. I’m running three half marathons in a one month period and while I know my body will be ready for a break come November 8th, I couldn’t be more excited!

The fact that my body is healthy and has responded well to training provides me with the energy and motivation needed to focus these next few weeks. I know that this is the time to be smart and not dabble in too many extra-curricular workout classes which could leave my legs and body tired for race day. For the sake of my legs, I’ve made a commitment to myself and Jess that last week was the last week of saying yes to all the workouts for the sake of being social. Even though cross training is important, too much is not a good idea.


Based on my training schedule, most of my October ClassPass workouts will be either running or yoga classes though I can include a few Bar Method classes in there for cross training; as long as that is what the plan calls for that day. The HIIT classes will have to make a return to my schedule come November.  I can’t wait to return to Brooklyn Body Burn as well as try Exceed, BFX and ShadowBox!

Last week’s workout schedule

Monday: I joined a few of NYC blogger friends  for an evening Barre3 class. While it was a fun friend date and good workout, I’m not sure I’d do Barre3 again. I didn’t love the class format as I felt that it was very leg focused, whereas most barre classes I’ve taken balance the movements and engage the entire body equally. There also wasn’t as much stretching and lengthening which I’ve come to enjoy in Bar Method classes.

Tuesday: Thanks to ClassPass, I discovered that there is a great yoga studio just two blocks from our apartment. I really enjoyed the early morning open level yoga class at Area Yoga. The teacher opened all the windows, allowing the fall breeze to keep us cool and treated each student to a lavender neck rub during savasana! Later that night I headed down to Brooklyn Bridge Park for an easy, five mile run enjoyed while listening to Another Mother Runner podcasts.

Wednesday: I listened to my body and slept in well past my typical 5:15 wake-up. Ten hours of sleep was exactly what my body needed as I felt fresh and strong when I did my speed work that night. I looked like a crazy person doing the 8 x 400 repeats up and down my block but hey, keeping it close to home made things really easy. I headed over to Bend and Bloom Yoga during my cool down run, looking forward to taking a yoga class from Christine, one of my favorite bloggers. I didn’t realize that it was an Open+ class, meaning a more advanced version of their open class. I muttered a few expletives during the billion standing splits but by the end my body felt like a loose, melted noodle and was very thankful for another day of yoga.


Thursday: Even though their morning classes typically book the fastest, last week’s 6 AM Bar Method class only had four people! The small class allowed the teacher to adjust us constantly and focus on our form. In case you can’t guess, the result meant more butt burning and ab screaming fun. The last thing I wanted to do that night was head to into the city for New Balance Girl’s Night Out workout but I knew that I was meeting Zoe and Sashea there for the workout. I’m proud of myself for playing it smart and not pushing myself too hard and instead doing many of the modifications.

Friday: I’ve come to embrace REST days, making sure to make the most out of each one. This week I treated myself to ten hours of sleep, a longer than normal shower and a 30 minute massage at a small Asian body works place down the block. While it looks a bit sketchy on the outside, the Yelp reviews and multiple recommendations from friends is enough to keep me going back to enjoy their inexpensive massages.

Saturday: After a day of pumpkin shopping, gardening and housework, Bo and I headed out for an easy 3 mile shake out run late Saturday afternoon, focusing more on our conversation than our pace. Neither of us tracked the pace and instead focused on making sure we were running a relaxed pace.

Sunday: I had the opportunity to run one of my favorite races; the Bronx 10 mile race, after three years away. I’ve already penciled this race on my race calendar for next year. If you’re a NYC local, I can’t recommend it enough. If the distance is what worries you, embrace it and either download a new book or podcast on your iPhone to help the subway ride pass more quickly or make a day of it enjoying brunch up there before heading home.

Your turn: In preparation for the upcoming half marathons, I need to build a new playlist. What is your favorite song right now!? 


ClassPass Fun & Bend&Bloom Yoga Review

I don’t know where you guys are, but here in New York City the weather has been perfect this week. The nice weather has motivated me to get out more than usual for lunch and workout dates. Working from home, these are great and healthy ways to break up my day and provide me with some human interaction beyond conference calls.

The workout dates are even easier these days as I finally hopped on the ClassPass bandwagon. In fact, Bo and I both signed up for ClassPass this week. Who would have thought!? We realized that even at the $125 price point, if we each take just four to five classes per month the membership pays for itself since the average NYC boutique studio class costs $18-$35.  As a member, I’m able to follow other friends so we can easily schedule workouts together (follow me here) and discover new studios.

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After just one day, we both are really enjoying the ease of using the app and website to find classes. I did a review of my ClassPass trial back in July, but now that I’m a member I’ll keep you guys posted as we experience the membership, sharing our favorite workouts and experiences.

When using the location filter, I was amazed to see that they have over 120 studios in Brooklyn, including Bend+Bloom Yoga, where I practiced last night.  The lovely Christine invited me to join her for a Open Flow+ evening class.  She didn’t have to ask me twice, as I’ve followed Christine on Instagram for ages, in awe of her gorgeous and colorful yoga pictures.  I knew that any studio where she spends her time would be a great one!


Located just past the intersection of Gowanus and Park Slope, the studio is tucked into a row of brownstones on Sackett Street. As soon as I walked through the door I was greeted by a warm, well lit entry area stocked with not only seating and a cute boutique but also complimentary tea and cookies. How fun is that? The front desk staff was super friendly, making sure I found my way around the studio and was ready for class. In addition to the tea and cookies the studio offers a bathroom and filtered water for students. While there aren’t showers, the private bathroom is spacious and would allow for a quick wet wipe bath and dry shampoo spritz before work.

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The spacious and bright studio offers over 65 classes per week including sunrise flow and a sweet relief yoga class which blends yin yoga with restorative poses.  Who wants to book a date for the restorative class? That sounds heavenly right about now! For the moms who are reading this post, they also have a full schedule of children’s yoga classes!

Last night’s Open Flow + class was a challenging class which focused on proper activation of the hamstrings and glutes. While Christine saw me grimacing more than once, by the time we reached the much anticipated savasana, my body felt wonderful. Throughout the class she adjusted each student at least a few times, helping ensure they could feel the proper alignment of each move and engage the proper muscles.  She also provided a few minutes both in the middle and end of the class for free flow, assisting students such as myself as we moved into more challenging poses and inversions.


If you’re on ClassPass you can find them here or hop over to their site to sign up for a class. They have a great special for new students, 3 classes for $30!

Your turn: If you’re in New York City, what is your favorite studio?