Thursday, June 12, 2014

Barre Fitness with Jessica Smith

THE WORKOUT: Barre Fitness with Jessica Smith  ($14.95, In Wellness Systems LLC)


WHO CAN DO THIS: You'll need good balance and enough experience to protect your back during some of the moves in these mostly low-impact workouts.

THE BREAKDOWN: Three 20 minute workouts—cardio, standing, and floor—are based on ballet moves. Lots of turnout, pointed toes, relevés, arabesques, and graceful arm movements (considerably more graceful when Jessica does them than when I do) require strong core, arms, legs and even feet. The cardio segment has high-impact options.

Jessica is a real charmer and currently my favorite fitness pro. A trained dancer, she makes everything look easy and it’s not, but she does it with a smile and no preening so I never feel like a clod even as I flail and wobble. The cardio segment is most challenging of the three for me; my arabesque combination is not something to which I would want witnesses. I particularly like Barre Burn, the standing segment, because I usually find working with weights tedious and this is a pleasantly fresh approach.

THE SWEAT FACTOR: Ballerinas only look like they're floating on air. This is all hard work. And it's not even real ballet.

BUT IS IT FUN? It is, although I enjoy the floor and standing strength workouts more than the cardio because I'm such a klutzy ballerina. But I hope to master it someday.

WHEN IT'S OVER: You will feel it, shoulders to toes.

GEAR AND APPAREL: All three segments are done barefoot. The standing segment uses light weights and a sturdy chair, the floor work uses a small soft ball or a pillow.

FINAL WORD: This one is in heavy rotation for me these days; a new favorite.

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