Author’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing We Love DC series, Fitness District.
I admit it; I am by no means a gym rat. If you were to perhaps bump into me there, it would not be on a regular basis. I exercise, sporadically, because it is the healthy choice to make – good for the body and the mind. But let me say this one time for the record, I dread a morning, afternoon, or evening workout. I dread them all.
Furthermore, I don’t think that the gym itself makes the experience any more delightful. In my personal opinion, the gym atmosphere is often times unwelcoming, intimidating, and outright aesthetically unpleasing. I honestly have no idea where the typical gym owner got the idea that horrendous lighting is flattering, because those harsh lamps with the yellow-ish CRI won’t make even the buffest of the buff look good, let alone poor me.
The solution to my dilemma, as painted above, has been to engage in alternative forms of exercise such as Yoga and Pilates. Quite recently I read the article on the Neuropathy Cure website when I was trying to find the apt medication for my damaged nerves and found that for my condition it is much suitable for me to practise yoga than lift weights. Since finding a fit that worked best for me, exercise was no longer a burden – but something that I truly enjoyed and looked forward to. And the best part, when it comes to the typical Yoga and/or Pilates studio you are almost always guaranteed good, natural lighting. However, with any routine, sometimes you need to be a bit daring and switch things up. Which is exactly what I was about to do by enrolling in my very first Barre Class at B.fit.
The Barre Method began with German ballet dancer Lotte Berk, who created the cardio technique to aid in dancer rehab; a process that strengthens core muscles, with small and direct movements, without adding bulk – keeping those long, lean muscles that every ballerina is known for. A fusion of ballet, Pilates, Yoga, and standard aerobics – the Barre Method is quite difficult to categorize. Which is why when I told my friend all about the class I signed up for at B.fit, I described the workout as “a plethora of ‘fun stuff’ with a ballet barre”.
The day of my very first Barre class was finally here. As I was about to ring the bell at the entrance to B.fit studio, the ‘workout jitters’ that I am so easily familiar with started to flood my body and I felt as though my flight or fight instincts were about to kick in. If I were to run away now, before I rang that bell, nobody would have to know right? But before I even had the time to further plot my anxious escape, the door opened as a B.fit regular was leaving the earlier class – it was now or never, and I went inside.
As soon as I stepped foot into the B.fit studio all of my nerves disappeared. The studio exuded a welcoming feel as I was greeted by ‘Barre-Tender’ Addie Johnson, who helped me get acclimated before class began. As Johnson guided me through the studio – pointing out where I could place my belongings and introducing me to some of the regulars – I quickly realized why this 2-½ year old studio has been so successful. And as if my initial opinion of B.fit could get any better, it did. The modest ambiance of the studio with its white walls, large windows, and attainable square footage was something that anyone could easily get used to.
The hour-long class was a full body, comprehensive workout that was divided into four parts; warm-up and arms, thighs, seatwork (the booty area), and abs work. The class was quite invigorating; easy enough to follow along, yet, not at all boring – making it equally challenging for both the beginner and the Barre Method novice . Johnson, who was also my instructor that day, was always encouraging and never made me the feel the least bit insecure about my ‘Barre abilities’ – even though she had to correct my leg movement on more than one occasion during the seatwork portion at the ballet barre. When Johnson finally said the words “thank you all so much for being here today”, utterly exhausted and all, I could not believe my ears; I wanted more.
As I left the studio, saying goodbye to all of my new B.fit friends, I told Johnson that I would be back for my second class next week. And even after I woke up the next morning (and the morning after that), with every muscle aching, I still stand true to my word.
B.fit was founded by Linda Bachrack and is located at 1339 14th ST NW (202.332.0377).