It’s been a long time since I pointed a toe, stood in first position and donned a tutu. But don’t be alarmed reader; I haven’t subjected any member of the public to that spectacle. Instead, I tried a workout at Xtend Barre.
What’s that you ask? Xtend Barre brings in elements of dance, ballet and Pilates to create an adrenaline-fueled workout that strengthens, lengthens and chisels the body.
And wow, trust me, this was a workout.
The jogger resistance
I confess I was sceptical… I blame the yoga class I once did. I’m a jogger; I put on the running shoes and head outdoors whatever time grabs me (usually around 6 a.m.). I run, think, do my own thing, sprint a bit and feel great. But for some time I’ve been thinking I needed to substitute a few of those running days with something else that was kinder to my joints.
Hence I tried yoga and didn’t work up a sweat; I went for a run after. So I was hesitant to try anything else that didn’t require an initial course of adrenalin.
My Xtend Barre session was amazing; I felt like every single muscle in my body was worked. Another bonus—I didn’t have to count. Shay our teacher did that, and when I finished the session I was sweaty and shaky. Don’t panic, you don’t have to be shaky but I pushed it. I wanted that hard work out, and I felt brilliant afterwards.
Another upside (yes, there were several) was that it was social. My fellow barre-friends were great ladies, welcoming, charming, helpful. Everyone included me, made sure I was set up and that I didn’t knock anyone out with my grand pas de deux—just kidding on that last point… seriously no dance experience is necessary, required or put into practice.
You don’t need to be dainty, petite or young. Just try everything and feel the stretches, the body tension, the flowing movements, and time flies (although during the sit-ups it didn’t for a while there when I think Shay lost count between one and eight).
This is a workout that caters for the beginner to the regular and you will improve at as you go along.
About Shay and the Xtend Barre instructors
After the class I did some research into the lithe and fabulous Shay Stafford (pictured left and inset above) who runs the studio.
I found out that Shay is a former Moulin Rouge and Lido dancer who enjoyed a stellar career in Paris. She is the author of the book ‘Memoirs of a Showgirl’, star of her own stage show and mother of two. As a certified Pilates Mat and Reformer instructor, Shay worked as Sarah Murdoch’s personal trainer, teaching her Xtend Barre for more than a year. I know, Sarah Murdoch!
And now Shay is teaching in Brisbane, along with a stellar cast of other instructors whose skills and CVs will amaze you.
Go your own way
There were a number of stand-out things for me with the Xtend Barre experience, namely:
- I could go as hard or as soft as I wanted to go;
- Shay was instructive, supportive, encouraging, and no-one was singled out, ever;
- The classmates were social, inclusive and encouraging;
- I buzzed afterwards. I buzzed the next day.
Give it a try. Prices* are online and there’s a beginners package that starts at $49, casual classes at $25 and monthly memberships that bring the price down to about $20 a class (*prices subject to change).
Plus, look out for our behind-the-scenes interview with Shay… we’ll try and get her to spill some goss on the Moulin Rouge and her private clients!