Above the Barre Fitness

6 02 2013


I’ve been on this “try new kinds of workouts” kick. I’ve been Krankcycling. I went Flyboarding. And a few weeks ago, I had the chance to try barre fitness.


I didn’t know too much about barre workouts, except that they typically take place in what looks like a ballet studio, you use the bar for some moves, and you do a LOT of micro movements. When an opportunity arose for the Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers to take a class at Above the Barre Fitness in St. Pete, I jumped at the chance. I’m always game for trying out a new kind of workout!


Raffi had coordinated with Maria, the studio owner, to have a special class just for TBLB so that we could try out barre and have the opportunity to take pictures and ask questions without interrupting a normal class. Raffi was in the middle of her 24 day barre challenge-complete 24 barre classes in the month of January- and was already seeing changes in her body. She was hooked, and her testimonial definitely got me interested!



(Photo borrowed from Caroline)

As the bloggers arrived, I saw some old faces and some new. We had some introductions and then posed for an obligatory photo. Hanging out with bloggers means you’ll always have some photo memory of an event:-)

Maria greeted us all and gave a brief introduction to barre and some of the things we’d be doing. Then we got right into it and started warming up.

Barre draws its roots from dance, but it is most certainly NOT a dance class. There’s a bar and music, and those are about the only similarities. The class is typically an hour long, and you do many repetitions of very small, focused movements.

Once we were warmed up, we started with arms, doing a variety of arm lifts, twists, holds, etc.

My-Fascinating-Life-Caroline-Calcote-1119(Photo borrowed from Caroline)

Ooh man did we burn out those arm muscles! You’d think that using a 2 lb weight would be no problem; well, 2 lbs feels like 20 after doing the moves Maria made us do!

After arms, we switched to legs. We again did a variety of tiny movements, squatting and pulsing, squeezing a ball between our thighs, standing on our tippy toes and working our calves, and everything in between. Maria was constantly reminding us to “Zip it up” which meant to keep those abs tucked in tight! Though it wasn’t a cardio class, I was definitely sweaty by the end, and my muscles had gotten a great workout.


(CarolineMindy, Me, MargaritaKatieLoraRaffi, and Tess)

Maria was an excellent instructor, and really gave us a great first experience. She explained all of the moves and was very encouraging. My biggest complaint is that her studio is in St. Pete, and I live in Tampa! But, if I lived in St. Pete, I would definitely check that class out more often!


Thanks Maria for opening your studio to us! And thanks Raffi for organizing!

Be sure to check out Above the Barre’s Facebook page to learn more! Oh, and your first class is free, so you have no excuse not to check it out!! 


{Guest Post} I’m Not Jillian

14 09 2011

Hi everyone! I’m Paige from Running Around Normal. I’m excited to be guest posting for Chloe 🙂 I love reading about her triathlon adventures, and thinking maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to swim in a lake 😉 For now, I stick to running, spinning, and lifting! However, for my day job, I help others work on their fitness and health as a personal trainer.

Whenever someone asks me what I do for a living, I can’t help but wonder what goes through their head when I respond with, “I’m a personal trainer.”

They say it just takes an instant to make a first impression; so when I meet someone who leads with this question, I can only assuming they’re judging me, at least in part, by what stigma is attached to their perception of personal trainers.

With shows like the Biggest Loser, many people now associate all trainers with someone who yells, pushes, embarrasses, and screams.


For instance, the other day, I had the pleasure of being introduced to a friend of a friend, and naturally one of the first questions he asked was “Where do you work? What do you do?” It’s just part of the get- to-know-you-routine. How are you? How do you know so and so? So what do you do? Anyway, when I answered, he responded with something to the effect of “oh! So you get to yell and scream at people to do more pushups!!”

Umm, no.

I’m not Jillian.

Let me preface this by saying that as a personal trainer, I don’t have a high opinion of shows like the Biggest Loser. But that’s another guest post for another time;) You can also read more about my opinion of Biggest Loser on my fitness blog. So if you’re a Biggest Loser super fan, please note that I’m not saying the following isn’t the best style of training, it’s just my style of training 🙂

What’s on TV isn’t an accurate sample of most of the personal trainers out there. The way trainers like Jillian Michaels, Jackie Warner, etc. act with their clients, isn’t exactly how the rest of the trainers out there do. Of course, there are some trainers who use the intimidation factor, just as well as there are some clients who seek out trainers like this. I’ve had to turn down clients who tell me directly they want someone will yell at them and make them puke. Wrong trainer. I take a more laid back approach.

TV Trainers say: Don’t stop until you reach 20!

I say: Keep going until you feel like your form starts to suffer. One skill a trainer must acquire is the ability to read his or her client. I know if my client is really working her hardest or she’s got a few more reps in her. Either way, I’ll stop my client as soon as I see poor form start to creep in.

TV Trainers say: Don’t stop!!

I say: Push yourself! You can do it! You got it! …are you OK? All right, then let’s keep going! What works for me is to encourage clients to keep going, but make sure their discomfort isn’t actually pain.

TV Trainers: Give orders while screaming!!

I say: I use an inside voice while training. Unless I’m teaching a boot camp and need to project my voice, I talk to my clients like I would anyone I’m explaining something to. I’ll get excited and celebrate with them, but I won’t make a scene in front of the rest of the gym.

TV Trainers: will start you out running on the treadmill

I say: If you despise the treadmill, we’ll find another method of cardio. The TV trainers must have client contracts thicker than dictionaries. Not only do I make it priority not to push clients to the risk injury, but I don’t want to push the line when it comes to negligence and my trainers insurance.

Question of the day: Have you ever trained with a personal trainer? What was your experience?