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Raising the “Barre” and Dropping the Ego by Trying Something New

Fitness woman in gym resting on pilates ball

From left, owner Nancy Sommerland, myself and Erika Kauffman. This was post-barre!

After all these years, you’ve probably come to realize that even when I say I’m going to stick to a new schedule that, well, it doesn’t last for too long. I’ve never really been one to get in a fitness rut. Give me a month or two’s time, and I’ll be trying this and scheduling that and generally, you know, DOING ALL THE THINGS. I get bored easily, like to mix things up and am always psyched to try something new.

Lately, after all of my awesome at-home workouts, I started to get a bit stir-crazy and getting out for a run wasn’t enough to quench my workout thirst. (Plus, I still only want to run two to three times a week to avoid this fun little problem of the past.) And with my goal this year to work on my flexibility, I decided to start taking some yoga classes. And—after serendipitously running into my friend Erika who just happened to being having a drink with Nancy Sommerland, the owner of this local Pilates and barre studio—I also got the chance to try a live Xtend Barre workout.

Facing the mirror, we were taken through all kinds of ballet-inspired moves by Jocelyn, the instructor.

Now, I’ve done barre workouts at home before, including THE Xtend Barre workout DVD. And once, like years ago, I did a kind of Pilates/kind of barre/kind of dance class that was killer. But this was my first time doing the real thing in a live format. As soon as I got in Nancy’s studio (and it was a really intimate, nice space!) though, I started to have all of these silly fears come up. Things like the fact that I really am super inflexible. That I have never been called graceful in my life (unless it was used sarcastically, in which case my first name is Grace). And, OMG, I forgot a yoga mat and the sticky socks?! Doh!

Yep, check “outside of my comfort zone” off my list.

Thankfully, the hour-long class was super enjoyable and fun. The instructor was great; I got plenty of form-correcting and tips to *really* feel the burn. (Yeah, as if me dropping the 3-pound weights to use just my arms wasn’t enough of an indication that I was burning, baby, burning.) I also had the chance to, quite literally, drop the Xtend Barre ball a few times from between my legs. (This is me, trying really, really hard not to make a ball joke.) No, really, it was fun!

Tricep dips. Erika smiles through the burn.

As soon as I let go of my own fears and my own ego and just started to see it as an opportunity to learn and challenge myself to do something new, all of my nervousness went away and I was smiling and cracking jokes and having a really great time with a bunch of ladies who were there to feel the burn on muscles you probably don’t even know that you have. Yep, it’s one of those kinds of workouts.

So take heart workout newbies, even those of us who have been working out for years can feel a bit off when thrown something new. But it’s all in how you handle it and approach it. See it as scary? It will be. See it as an opportunity? Well, opportunity abounds. And as far as my experience at Brookside Pilates & Barre? Well, let’s just say that I plan to go back…

What outlook are you bringing to your workouts, especially the new ones? When’s the last time you got outside of your comfort zone? —Jenn


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