THE BASICS:The website says this class combines the “training methods and techniques of [the] signature barrecore class mixed with dance based interval cardio”. It definitely sounded like my sort of class- but I am not going to lie… I mainly just saw the pert bottom on the website and signed up.
THE BITCHES: Carly
THE CLASS: I had signed up to the BarreCore introductory offer of two drop in classes for the price of one, and had 7 days to use them up. It was a bit tricky to get down to SW London after finishing the day job far in the depths of EC1, but luckily I managed to get out of work on time a couple of Thursdays ago, and make it to the BarreBOOTCAMP class with Peri. I’d heard great things about this new class so I was happy to be able to make it!
BOOTCAMP really did sound amazing on the website- promising to combine muscle training and sculpting barre work, using your own body weight to create resistance, with a high intensity blast of cardio thrown into the middle for good measure (further toning up muscles). All of this over a 60 minute session. Beyond excited!
Upon arrival at the beautiful studios off the Kings Road (you can read more about them in my previous trip to Barre Core here), I went in and found it to be somewhat quieter than the previous Saturday morning I had last ventured in. It would appear that Thursday nights are for hardcore dedicated Hot Bitches, and so I felt very smug having the actual intention of exercise and making it the studio without flaking, whilst the rest of London sank G&Ts in pubs after work.
Anyway, I managed to stop puffing my chest out like an annoyingly proud sporty pigeon for long enough to say a proper hello to the lovely lady behind reception, and went to change in the sweet little changing room to get ready for class. (I can’t say enough how friendly the Barre Core crew are, the welcome is like walking into your friends really cool apartment… even when, like me, you arrive looking more like a chubby, lost hobo than a beautiful Chelsea dwelling ballerina).
Anyway, this proud sporty pigeon was changed and ready to go. I’d strapped up my ankle due to a stupid persistent injury (you can read about my experience of physio to fix it, here!) and waited in the reception area for the class to begin.
Peri the teacher bounded out of the studio to invite us in when the previous class was up, and myself and five other students entered the room, ready to be boot camped! We picked up our apparatus from the side of the room… today these were a mat, and a big long stretchy elastic-y length of rubber that was presumably to create resistance when working out. It was quite honestly the most terrifying piece of apparatus I had ever seen. But as I picked it up, I could feel its body shaping magical powers radiating from within, and clutched my little armful of goodies for dear life as I padded over to a corner of the studio to set up.
We set out the mats and on went the music. Warm ups were fast and got us squatting, planking and jogging on the spot, and then we moved onto the barre. Before we did, however, I cursed myself for not having any socks with grips on the bottom. You are recommended to wear some and I also back up this recommendation- at times, and especially during floor-work, it was a bit too slippery to fully plank/spring into fast burpees. I just slid about like an uncoordinated snake. Honestly, my lack of grace astounds me at times.
At the barre, we found out what the elastic resistance straps were for! We looped them around the barre and then used our triceps to pull them back whilst keeping the rest of our bodies taut and stationary. This was incredibly hard work as the straps were trying to spring back to their original shape, and it took all of my shaking little muscle might to keep it stretched. I may have been a proud gin-&-tonic-resisting pigeon, but I certainly wasn’t a very strong one today. Multiply this by 15 reps and my arms were dead. It was pretty embarrassing to realise how weak I actually am!
A lot of the barre work in the Bootcamp class relied on creating resistance with the elastic, and after a few reps of each you REALLY felt it burn. We even used it as free held equipment by stretching it and holding it aloft, to work our arms and obliques. My arms were quite honestly shaking by the end of the class.
The other element to the class other than the toning/resistance work was the high intensity blast of cardio in the middle of the workout. I had to modify a few of these when they contained jumps (due to my ankle injury- and Peri was really helpful in showing me alternatives) but think 20 seconds of 7 different exercises, including super-fast star jumps, burpees and doing-a-press-up-and-jogging-your-legs-behind-you-argh-why-didn’t-I-invest-in-some-grippy-socks-ohmygod-HELP. There was also one which meant squatting and then dancing from left toe point to right toe point, as fast as possible. I felt like I was twerking- it was not a pretty sight to see in the studio mirrors and I had to sheepishly focus on the floor whilst doing this one!
7 blasts at 20 seconds each.
Repeat 4 times. Exhausted. Back on the barre. Nooooooooo!
“Not so smug about foregoing gin and tonics now, are you, proud pigeon?!” went the little thoughts in my head. “Shut up, head. You want a fat ass forever? No. Exactly. Now PLAY BALL.”
Anyway after several bouts of barre toning, resistance elastic stretching, almost dying during intervals, and berating myself for never being able to say no to a muffin, the sweet relief of warm downs came. BarreBOOTCAMP was well and truly OWNED!
Yes I was shaking and yes I was hurty and no I am not a very delicate or graceful person but y’know what? I resisted gin on a Thursday night, I tried an awesome new form of exercise at a beautiful studio, and and sat on the bus back to Shoreditch full of happy little endorphins. And THAT is what Project Hot Bitch is all about. Barre Core, you whipped me good and proper :)
THE VERDICT: The class delivers what it promises. Toning, reps, cardio blasts and you leave feeling warm, worked out, and lean. I’ve chatted to Barre Core fans on twitter and they all say the same thing- they start to notice to their body shape after about 8 to 10 classes. This is pretty phenomenal, and when I win the lottery and don’t live so far from the Kings Road, I shall join up pronto and report back as to whether this is true!
THE EXTRAS: If you are going to take more than a handful of these classes, then grippy socks are a must. I struggled a little without them. I had a peek at what other girls in the class were wearing and it looked like either Barre Core’s own socks that you can buy for £9 at reception, or else a few were wearing these Sweaty Betty grippy socks.