barre n9ne –what’s working (for me)

<warning – uber long post, sorry!>

Well, a lotapparently. ;-)

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!?

Moving on…

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:

Healthy eating;
total body conditioning;
and cardio.

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?!)

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34 thoughts on “barre n9ne –what’s working (for me)

  1. Love your post sis! And love that we clearly are on the same wavelength given we are writing quite similar posts these days ;-) These works are the shit, let’s break it down. They just are ;-) (and the food log thing? wow, I am impressed with our ability to stick to it and focus as much as possible without restricting too much on weekends but within our ‘number’ too. Go us!).

  2. Wow, Jess, you go girl! This seams like a fabulous workout, and I agree with everything you said – being accountable for what you eat, listening to your body, compromising, strength training / conditioning for change and cardio ; ) Sounds like the total package! This Barre workout looks amazing; will have to try some day soon!

    • There is just something to be said for accountability and dedication – when the two come together, it can be mighty powerful. This much I’ve learned.
      You should definitely try a class – I keep forgetting you are local!! Seriously, let me know if you want to go to one together sometime!

  3. I love my pretty defined muscles too — especially the subtlety of them. You explain the light weight/high rep thing really well. So happy this is working out so well for you!!!!

    • I’m glad you got what I meant about “pretty defined muscles” – I couldn’t think of any other way to put it, but that’s exactly what I’m seeing come to light here through these workouts. I love it!

  4. I love barre workouts and the results I’ve gotten with them. I still lift some heavier weights once or twice a week, but I like the leaner look I’m getting through the barre workouts. I really enjoyed reading this post and why the challenge is working for you. And I know that if I cleaned up my eating a bit more I’d see even better results.

    • Hey thanks for stopping by! Love hearing your perspective on barre workouts – it’s just incredible how effective it’s been for me, personally, so I really dig it when I hear that others have had a similar experience. Thanks for reading!

    • As I said, it honestly scared the life out of me at first – but once I got into it, I realized that I did need it for accountability and that it was FAR less scary/stressful/hard than I thought it would be. I’d call that my biggest accomplishment to date, in all honesty.

  5. You really do a good job of explaining why the low-weights/high-reps combo works so well. It’s amazing how effective it really is.

    I am with you on cardio – for me at least, it is such an important factor. When I first started doing these types of workouts 5-6 days a week, I stopped doing cardio. My body didn’t really respond well to that. Once I started adding cardio back into the mix, my body responded in such a different way. Obviously different things work for different people, but I am so glad this combo is working so well for you!

    • Totally – I really don’t think you can have nearly as an effective result if you aren’t committed to both weight training AND cardio. Couple that with a healthy, balanced approach to your eating and you’re golden.

      Great example of how you started with Core Fusion, no cardio, and after you re-introduced cardio into your routine, the results you saw were more noticeable. That’s great!!

    • Exactly – that’s the thing, this is what works for me – it won’t work for everyone – or it won’t be something everybody loves. I just happen to love it AND it’s working for me. For others – heavy weight training is the only thing they love and it also happens to work for them. So I say stick with what works, but make sure you also kinda like it too. ;-)

  6. I think the point you made about weekend planning is really crucial. We so often work ourselves into a frenzy about new workout routines / healthy eating / *insert change for the better here*, because we think it’s going to be restrictive and distressing and disempowering. But like you say, a) the reality is very often nowhere *near* as depressing as we think it is, and b) it can actually feel really good to take control of a situation that actually, on reflection, you realise was a little haphazard.

    Good info on the weights training too. The difference between endurance, strength and power aren’t talked about enough IMO, so it’s always good to see a bit of weights info being put out there. Glad you’re liking the results too :)

    • Exactly – it’s sort of like facing that fear of the unknown – once you get in there, you usually realize it wasn’t nearly as scary or overwhelming as you thought it would be. Sometimes the best way to overcome it is to just dive in head first. :)

  7. I’m so glad you are having such a great experience with this! I still need to try it out. I have access to some barre classes through lululemon. I need to make it little goal to try it out one day soon – maybe next week!

  8. I love that this is working so well for you! I can tell how much youre loving it and it makes me smile every time I read how thrilled you are about the process…and the challenges you overcome during the training. :)

    • aw, thank you Ms. Tina! I am so glad that my joy shines through in these posts – because I am truly filled with joy at how incredibly life-changing this experience has been so far.

  9. Like you, cardio is the one thing that really gets things working for me. I’ve always been strong from the get-go, but under a layer of post-baby fat and “all-my-life” weight, you can’t necessarily tell. Boo. I’m so glad that this is working for you…success for friends really makes me happy. :)

    • Totally – plus for me, there is a different “high” I get from cardio than from a conditioning workout. I daresay there is a big difference between runner’s high and barre n9ne-high for me – but both are amazing to experience and I love every single endorphin rush, no matter where it comes from :)

  10. You have explained this 60 day challenge so well Jess. Thank you :-) I can’t agree more on the accountability aspect. Once you hold yourself accountable everything else falls into place. The food log IS scary at first, then it just becomes a lifestyle. I am so proud of you and Jo and I can’t wait to see the “finished product” :-)

    • I can’t say it enough – you are a big reason that this challenge has been such a rewarding experience for me. I have learned so much from you but I have also felt so supported by you throughout. It’s been amazing, really. I cannot wait to show off the finished product too – and to make YOU proud as well as me. :)

  11. You are so right about the food log being eye-opening for you. I, for one, can go about munching things the whole day, happy in my delusion that I have been eating healthy. I once used an online food tracking program and was horrified at how quickly the calories added up. Even if you are eating healthy, eating a lot of them is not going to keep you healthy.
    Good job!

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