Posts filed under ‘Fitness Swellness’

Fitness Swellness: Barre Beautiful


I struggle when it comes to including more to my fitness regimen than running. And although I may have found another cardio workout I could excel in (tee hee), I really do need to add strength training, core work and stretching into the mix. So I tried out a Classic Barre class at Barre Beautiful and had a chat with the studio’s founder Voula Floros about the workout. Here’s what I discovered.

A barre class will not make me or you into a ballerina.
“It’s not a full ballet class. A portion of the class is similar to the barre work that a ballet dancer would do when beginning a class–the exercises that train the dancer to dance. We don’t really get to the dance part except for in our Adult Ballet class and our Barre Moves Class,” says Voula, who is a certified fitness instructor.

“Our workout takes classical dance ‘training’ moves and fuses them with Pilates moves and principles (Pilates and dance have always been closely linked as many dancers practice Pilates) to create a workout that focuses on building muscular strength control and endurance and increasing flexibility. Our exercises focus on lengthening and extending as you work. Targeted muscle work—micro-contractions and isometric contractions that strengthen and tone muscles not typically used in exercise.

All this while focusing on proper spinal alignment and strengthening the postural muscles of the back spine and abdominals. One of the most important things you’ll get out of our classes is improved mind body awareness also inspired by dance training but so important to us all as we learn to move effectively and efficiently in our everyday lives, learning to avoid injury and bringing awareness to poor movement habits.”

While one’s ballerina dreams won’t be coming true, everyone can benefit from a barre class.
“The benefits include increased mind body awareness, postural improvement, enhanced range of motion and movement, weight management or loss, muscular endurance and improved coordination, stress release, improved cardiovascular health and increased bone density are just a few of the benefits that a barre workout offers,” says Voula.

“The workouts are also low impact so easy on the joints and perfect for participants with special considerations. A runner, hockey player, a triathlete, a weight lifter or even a yoga follower can all benefit. Exercise science and studies have proven that the more varied our exercise activities the better our overall health and the more effective our workouts,” she says.

Why everyone’s hitting the barre nowadays.
“Fitness is constantly evolving, and workout methods are constantly changing, as we learn to train more effectively, efficiently and safely. Barre workouts are a product of this evolution. Fusing one of the most classic forms of movement, ballet, with one of the most biomechanically sound fitness approaches, Pilates, to create an amazingly effective, sound and even romantic form of exercise,” says Voula of the popularity of barre workouts.

Want to try classes at Barre Beautiful? Stay tuned for a giveaway on Health & Swellness!

Barre Beautiful, 2156 Yonge St., Toronto, 647-748-2156



April 16, 2013 at 6:26 PM Leave a comment

Style Swellness: A new cardio workout

Wildfox Shopping is My Cardio t-shirt Asos

After I run my marathon in May (my third in about 18 months — that’s essentially constant training for a year and a half, yo), I may relax it on the running.

And I think I’ve found my new sport :)

(Wildfox oversized T, Asos)

April 15, 2013 at 11:12 AM 1 comment

Fitness Swellness: Nike+ GPS watch in new colours

>Nike+ Sportwatch GPS

The Nike+ GPS watch is in some fancy new colours. Guess which one I covet? Yes, the neon green Volt above. Although the white one may actually be winning my heart more now…


The Nike+ system is what I have always used to track my marathon training. I used to use the Sportband as the actual gadget to do so, but now use the Nike+ Running GPS app on my iPhone.

The problem, though, is that I’m always worried my iPhone battery will run out. When I forget to actually shut down all of my apps before a run, some days the iPhone battery gets very close to zero power. What with the Nike app actually doing its thing along music playing (lately, I use Songza for my workouts), on long runs (which can last more than three hours — gosh when I actually type that out, that seems kind of cray cray), it’s a real worry. Big pet peeve? A run not being recorded properly.

So I’m thrilled to test out the Nike+ GPS sportwatch ($169) — no more stressing about that teeny iPhone battery. I will start running with it now so I have time to get used to it before running the Vancouver Marathon on May 5. The watch has got TomTom GPS in it, so you don’t need to have the Nike chip in your shoe to use the watch (although you can have the chip as a backup if you often run in remote areas where it’s hard to get a GPS signal or if you often run indoors).

(And oh, btw, Nike+ tells me I’m nearing 5,000 kilometres in my running career. which is roughly the driving distance from Montreal to Vancouver. Like, whoa.)

April 9, 2013 at 5:44 PM 1 comment

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