◊ THE CLASS: bAAAre (Arms, Abs, Ass) & Glide Barre ◊
WHAT YOU NEED
Barre socks (optional) bare feet are totally appropriate too
We’ve now had the pleasure of attending Barreworks’ a few times bc every time we turn our heads, they seem to continually evolve and update their schedule with some new damn amazing thing. In addition to the time we went last year (when I was preggers and needed modifications for the AAA class) we’ve since returned for one of their newest inventions, Glide Barre. Let me say this, we were even more impressed than the last time we went and this super approachable studio will take the time to explain the fundamentals, walk you through visualisations (if you don’t know what that is) to get the most out of the technique that will make you leaner, longer and stronger. We’re big fans and now have goals to be a barre beast (you’ll get it if you keep onnnn reading).
Barreworks has 2 locations in Toronto, one on Queen Street West and another in Midtown on Yonge Street (2576 Yonge Street, 2nd Floor). Both are easy to get to, Queen even more so for us since we’re west enders, but both have quick access to major arteries in Toronto. Barreworks Queen is located just east of Bathhurst, in between one of our fav pockets of the city between Early Bird and CB2. Our recent move has me frequenting that little strip more than our credit card (and my husband) care to see. Street parking can be tough on Queen St. as per usual, so if it’s possible to take transit or walk, it may make your life easier. Located on the 3rd floor, Barreworks Queen is actually a massive space, with 3 studios (one currently under reno), a large lobby, changerooms and tons of extra space. The location on Yonge Street is quite a bit smaller but boasts the same lovely vibe.
CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE
Barreworks offers a nice variety of low-impact, high-toning classes with over 11 styles to choose from;
All styles are appropriate for beginners, can be modified for injuries and can be done for pre or post-natal. Let the instructor know and they’ll modify the class appropriately for your needs. Barre classes are great options for pre-natal workouts actually, quickly becoming one of our favorites, because they’ll still challenge your arms, glutes, and core but in a way that doesn’t make you feel like you’ve had to slow down and be lame. They claim that after attending 3 classes a week for 2 weeks you’ll start to see changes in muscle tone and feel the difference in strength. We believe it, considering one class worked our inner biceps more than we care to admit. Its recommended to show up 15 minutes prior to class if you’re brand new to the studio, and at least 5 minutes before, even if you have signed in online prior (which we also recommend). Late entry is strictly prohibited, #respect.
As far as pricing goes, Barreworks has recently increased their prices and they’re now in line with Barre3 for a drop-in rate, but the membership options and bulk class passes are really where it’s at. They have seriously worked the local scene on your behalf for the membership benefits, offering 10%-15% discounts on some of our ultimate favs like the Detox Market, Fresh, iQ Food Co, Kupfert and Kim, OJ’s juices and way more. Check here for a full listing of the companies they’ve partnered with. Students and seniors receive 15% off select packages, private classes and personal training are available, and there’s such a thing as the BarreBride package for $575 that includes a 40 class pass, suggested workout and nutrition package, tank and water bottle and deeper discounts on private classes. SO great for the bride-to-be to feel fierce for her big day.
- Drop-in: $25
- 5 Class Pass: $110 ($22 per class)
- 5 Class Pass Auto-Renew: $89 ($17.80 per class)
- 10 Class Pass: $210 ($21 per class)
- 20 Class Pass: $380 ($19 per class)
- 50 Class Pass $850 ($17 per class)
- 1 Month Unlimited: $225
- 6 Month Unlimited: $1,200
- 1 Year Unlimited: $2,170
The design aesthetic of Barreworks flagship studio on Queen West is big, beautiful, clean, and very very put together. You get your first calorie burn ascending the 3 flights of stairs to get to the top floor oasis where they’ve modernised the heritage building with dark walls and white washed brick while keeping it’s original character. With 3 large studios, including a spin studio that is currently under construction for a re-launch in the new year (spoiler alert, it’s not going to be a spin studio anymore because it’s going to be even BETTER), there is plenty of space for class sizes upwards of 30 people. Both men’s and women’s change-rooms are spacious, with multiple showers, bathrooms, lockers and room to change and they’re equipped with tons of amenities if you need to carry-on after class (blowdryer, shampoo, conditioner, hair ties).
The attitude of the community at Barreworks is supportive, positive and friendly and it’s clear they’re invested in you being there and getting the most out of your experience. With a loyal member base, the walls display the barre bad-asses of the community who have reached braggable status attending more than 100 (Starre), 200 (Boss) or 300+ (Beast) classes. We love when studios celebrate their members so personally, sharing on their social channels and having it out there for everyone to see as a motivator but also to acknowledge the massive accomplishments they really are. The class we attended was all females in their 20’s to 30’s, not a huge surprise given the location, and there was an encouraging mix of fitness levels, beginners and seasoned barre stars. Modifications were given to a few of us in the class, including 2 preggo ladies and a few other students who let Kathia know about injuries they were working with. We loved that it was so approachable for any of us working with extra stuff, any seasoned hard core barre stars, and anyone brand new to barre all the same.
- All required equipment (including mats for yoga) is complimentary
- Men’s and women’s change-rooms including showers and washrooms
- Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, feminine products, hair elastics
- Membership discounts
- Lockers (with a key now!)
- Filtered water
- Complimentary towels
- Barreworks product for purchase
From the moment we walked into the studio, Kathia approached us, congratulated me for my growing babe, and asked us what our experience with barre was like so she could explain what to expect. She took 5 minutes to show me modifications such as going on all 4’s and doing cat/cow stretches or opposite arm and leg balances while everyone else was doing hardcore abs. She told us what to grab for props (resistance bands, ball, and weights) and she went one by one around the room to do the same with everyone else. Kathia started the class promptly at 8pm and she kept the energy high for the whole hour. Calling out students by name wherever she could, she did the entire class with us demonstrating every move and explaining the sensations we should be feeling using visualisations while her headset could be heard clearly above the pumping dancy, top 40 playlist. Kathia’s technical dance background shone through her instructions as one of her priorities was ensuring posture was correct for everyone in the room – which we super appreciate since barre exercises can easily, and often, be done incorrectly. By Kathia taking the time to connect with everyone one-on-one, her technical dance experience, not to mention her fierce and highly motivational toned-as-hell gorgeous physique made her one of our favourite barre teachers to date. Seek her out, barre babes.
Britanny Larusic – Glide Barre
Ok, so Brittany is like a major babe – as all instructors seem to be at Barreworks. First off, she took the time to personally speak to every single person in the room, which was at least 20+ people to introduce herself if she didn’t already know them or say hi if she did. She spent time with each person understanding if there were any limitations or modifications she should be aware of and she was chatting with everyone until the moment the clock turned for the class. Starting promptly on time, she got right into it and did the ENTIRE class. Not out of breath once, with perfect dancer form and very clear instructions, the class was easy to follow – with the exception of one part of the class where the music was too loud, we were on the mats and it was difficult to understand what was going on. We found it helpful that she demonstrated 99% of the class, but sometimes we wish we had some hand-on adjustments because we could see how some of the students weren’t working the best form (ourselves included probably) and injuries are never good. That said, Britanny had an easy, lovely way about her that made the class fly by and only had us checking the clock once. So, well done.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
We’re rating the AAA class a Middle of the Roadsies, because although there were plenty of pockets that had us feeling the burn and needing to take a pulse break, we weren’t really sore in the days following or feeling like we had the most killer workout. That said, barre is an interesting beast because it’s not very often that barre classes are structured as a high-calorie burn or high-intensity cardio workout. The benefit of them is that they’re actually geared towards lengthening, toning and sculpting muscles for a slender but strong physique (think ballet dancer) and are great for those who want low impact, are recovering from injuries, or are pre or post natal. So although we weren’t as challenged as we have been in other barre classes, we still appreciated the concentrated focus on key muscles groups that don’t get a lot of toning in our cardio routine.
We took the bAAAre class, which plays up Arms, Abs, and Ass and it’s intended to sculpt and chisel, stabilise and strengthen those targeted areas. It’s a reduced cardio class for low-impact, and after each section where a particular muscle group is the focus, Kathia led us through a stretch sequence to immediately relieve and lengthen those muscles. Because the Barreworks technique was developed by a team of local Toronto dance and fitness professionals, its roots in dance definitely shine through in that all arm and feet positions (first, second, third, etc.) and ballet basics like tendues, releves and plies are the building blocks for each exercise. We’ve been to a few other barre studios (Barre3) that provides more of a blend of Pilates, yoga, and dance or Pop Physique that can be more aerobic, whereas Barreworks feels very rooted in technical dance. We’re biased, but we like that. Good technique is the most important thing, guys. Or so snobby ballet dancers like Maureen Cummings say. Centre Stage – anyone?
We’re throwin’ full pineapples (so the total section is getting 3/4 for both classes) and rating the Glide Barre class a Hard for Level of Difficulty. The class started in the middle of the room with no equipment and just our bodies, to roll from side to side, doing versions of plies and side steps to warm up every little inch of our bodies that were about to get worked. After a good ten minutes of aerobicise type warming up, we had our first dose of the gliders, which are round discs with a super slippery side and a more grippy side for your body parts to cling for dear life on the other. They’re used in various ways throughout the class to basically make everything harder. Think slide push-ups where you start with your hands on both gliders doing a regular push-up, and then move into the ACTUAL exercises which requires you to slide your hands to meet each other at the bottom of your push up, and slide them back under your shoulders as you push up. I did, like two. The class moved through a legs section at the barre that had us repeating the same small pulsing movement we’ve come to love at barre class, an arm section that utilised the deceivingly small but killer weight balls, and an ab section towards the end of class on the mat. Overall, the class had a nice flow and each section challenged us without lingering too long to have us stare at the clock (which can often happen in a barre class). The gliders, no doubt, took the difficulty to the next level so if you’re looking for a deeper challenge than a regular barre class, this is your babe. For that reason, probs not something you want to try if you are brand spanking new to barre, but modifications could always be made. Which is what we did, as non-beginners. But who’s keeping score.
To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see Barreworks’s contact info below.
Barreworks Web: www.barreworks.ca E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org PHONE |416.36.BARRE/416.362.2773 Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Vimeo