<warning – uber long post, sorry!>
Well, a lot – apparently.
But seriously – I figure a lot of this barre n9ne challenge feels a bit like a mystery to all of you so I thought I’d break it down a little bit more for you. Especially the “what’s working” piece.
I’ve already talked a little bit about what makes a barre-style workout so awesome, but I thought I’d dig a layer deeper and talk about why this particular style of workout works so well – not just the barre classes, but the non-barre work, too. And as usual, this is coming from me, the non-fitness professional – just a diehard wannabe fitness professional.
The barre n9ne challenge – what’s working for me:
The food log – this is at the top of the list for a reason. Admittedly, the food log scared the pants off of me at first. And it scared me for a reason, clearly. I needed it. In a big way. In a MUCH bigger way than I realized going into this challenge. I was so afraid I’d feel utterly chained down and restricted and that I’d hate every second of the log. Instead, it’s turned into an amazing tool, and a giant eye-opener. Not that I was eating bad – I wasn’t. I was just eating a lot more calories than I needed – albeit healthy foods made up most of that list, but like I said, it was too many calories for what my body needed. The whole “calories in/calories out” rule totally applies. Now, I eat the same amount of calories regardless of it being a Tuesday or a Saturday. I might be having wine on Saturday vs. on Tuesday but I’ve learned to plan for those indulgences. Instead of eating all that I want AND having a couple of glasses of wine, I’m eating a little bit less (or going for foods that are less calorically dense) so that I can afford to have a glass of wine (or chocolate brownie or whatever) on a Saturday night. Before this, I used to routinely have a cheat weekend day where nothing was off limits. Calories didn’t matter. Oy. Not anymore. And surprisingly, I’ve adjusted to the “planning” aspect of the weekends ridiculously well. I’m personally shocked that it’s not been nearly as painful as I thought. Um, wow. I’ve been jabbering on about this food log here, I guess I should’ve written a whole post just on that, who knew!?
Lotsa reps and teensy tiny movements – I sort of covered this in my last post on what makes these workouts so awesomely effective, but I wanted to make the distinction between the barre work and the none-barre workouts that make up the barre n9ne challenge. As I’ve said, those barre workouts are incredible with their tiny up/down movements that leave lasting “damage” effects on those legs and that butt. It’s the isolation of each body part combined with a ridiculously long set of those tiny moves per body part this is killer. The light weights used for each exercise (either bodyweight – at the barre, during planks and pushups – or very light 1-3 lb dumbells) is also pretty critical here. Light weights/high reps is an endurance style of weight training – it’s meant for increasing your overall endurance and typically produces leaner muscles than heavier weight training routines do (that focus on power vs. endurance). And this is why I love it. For the first time, I’m seeing more defined muscles. They look “pretty” versus “jacked” – if that distinction makes any sense! And NOT that “jacked” isn’t a hot look – because it totally can be – but for me, I’m digging the “pretty” defined/lean look my body is starting to take on. I credit the balance between the barre work and the non-barre work for that. I’d call the non-barre work a more focused concentration on core and upper body strength with barre work focused more on lower body conditioning (though, there is PLENTY of lower body conditioning happening during the leg work in Tanya’s long & lean legs class, lemme tell ya!).
Cardio – Although barre n9ne classes are a major focus of this challenge, cardio is an important component as you’ve no doubt seen by now. Especially since I so-very-smartly decided to sign up for another half marathon in the midst of the barre n9ne challenge! So, mixed in with barre n9ne classes, as most of you have seen, I’ve been running 4 (sometimes 5) days a week. I definitely put this in the “what’s working” for me category of the challenge. Personally, my body responds best when I’m doing a good amount of cardio so I knew I couldn’t nix it from my routine during the challenge. I made sure Tanya knew this going into things – my one caveat was “I can’t stop running” to which she happily obliged. Thank god!
I guess what I’m trying to say here is this – at it’s very basic, the barre n9ne challenge has been about three things:
total body conditioning;
Essentially – a very well balanced and focused wellness program – but one that absolutely requires 100% 24/7 dedication. But it’s a wellness program that works. Like 6 inches gone, “works.” It’s stunningly effective and I *almost* want to hit fast-forward to see where we land in 30 more days. But then, the challenge would be over and well, I’m just not ready for that yet.
I hope this rambly, wicked long post explains some of the “why it works” for all of you. If not, I promise you’ll see a post from Tanya soon that goes into more detail (since she *is* a fitness professional, hehe). <–and oddly enough? As I was drafting this post up tonight? I noticed that Tanya posted a little bit more on why this program is working on her blog, check it out (so weird, we have ESP or something?!)