By now, everybody probably knows my obsession with cardio workouts – from running to my absolute favorite spinning class called SoulCycle, I love the endorphin high you get after sweating it out. Obviously though, I know that it isn’t enough to get a complete workout – you obviously have to tone your muscles as well! I remember for the longest time, I had no interest in strengthening – I thought it would me look bulky and mannish and cause unnecessary weight gain. How wrong I was! While I realize now that women can’t build enough muscle to look bulky (we don’t have enough testosterone), what I love about this current class that I’m going to be talking about is that it focuses on “long and lean”…aka just amazing, toned muscles!
I’ve started going once a week to a class called Core Fusion at Exhale Spa in NYC. While I only do the classic “barre” workout, they also offer variations of it, including Core Fusion Sport and Core Fusion Cardio, and they even do yoga classes. For me though, the Core Fusion Barre class is perfect because it strengthens and tones using mainly your own body weight, along with hand weights and stretches to improve flexibility. But first, a small history on barre workouts –
A barre workout is basically a strengthening workout, and they use a ballet barre as a prop to maintain balance. They focus on isometric training, which means that you use your body weight as resistance along with stretching infused by yoga and pilates. You hold positions for a long time until your muscles start shaking due to exhaustion, and then when you can’t take it anymore, you pause for a stretch. The purpose of this is to use the lesser known muscles in your body to provide a more intense workout, and holding the position results in “strength in stillness”.. it is SO hard to hold a squat for ages, let me tell you!:) You must use their special sticky socks to keep your balance while you work out, and even though the moves are not meant to raise your heart rate too much, I often sweat with the effort of performing each move for the required amount of time. It hurts, but in a good way. You can actually feel the change.
In Core Fusion, we do all these moves and more. In a 60-minute class, you start with a warm up, and then go into planks followed by hand weights. After this, you do thigh work at the barre, holding the barre for support. This includes squats, lunges and glutes (on your toes!) You end with abs and a stretch. It is by far the hardest class I have ever done, many times leaving with legs that feel like lead and my stomach hurting every time I laugh! But you definitely see results. In the few months since I’ve started, I see ab definition and my arms are definitely more toned. If you are looking for a challenging way to change up your strength routine, go and try Core Fusion, trust me! You will leave with a strong, toned and flexible body, which is worth ALL the pain in the world.