Traveling a lot can involve exercise (mainly in the form of lugging baggage), but it’s often hard to maintain a regular workout schedule when you’re constantly on the road. One way to stay in top shape while roaming is to incorporate The Bar Method into your fitness routine.
The Bar Method is an isometric interval training program that combines elements of ballet, yoga and Pilates. Each grueling, hour-long class is aimed at building the core and working
every major muscle group to exhaustion, then stretching deeply. Celebs such as Drew Barrymore, Dita von Teese and Anna Paquin rave over The Bar Method’s ability to burn fat and sculpt muscle.
One can find Bar Method studios in and around most major cities in the U.S. The cost is pricey, but less so than a personal trainer, and you get what you pay for — this is a workout that does work. It’s an almost zero-impact program that can be modified to fit physical limitations, and like yoga, can be practiced at any age. For the times when you don’t have access to a Bar Method studio, you can pack the Bar Method DVDs for a guided workout on the road. Gear required? Yoga wear (pants must extend below the knees) and socks — not much to fit in your bag.
Recently I visited four Bar Method studios over the course of 10 days and found each upscale, spa-like studio wonderfully consistent. Every class involves the same approach: a focused workout where the instructors constantly offer personal attention, pushing you to your capacity. There is no hiding in the back and phoning it in at the Bar —and that’s true in all classes, everywhere.
"Bar Butts" in a row at The Bar Method Englewood
Here are the studios I visited and my observations of each:
The Bar Method Englewood — This studio is located in an affluent suburb of New York City. Classes here focus more on stretching than any of the other four studios I visited, with the instructors taking the time to fully explain each stretch and push students to put as much effort into stretching as they do into the isometric exercises. This has been the studio where I’ve been working out most regularly of late, and I’ve seen a dramatic leap in my flexibility as a result.
The Bar Method Vancouver — I visited this studio a few days into its grand opening as the only Bar Method location outside the U.S. This studio reaffirmed The Bar Method’s assertion that the classes are challenging for everyone, no matter what their fitness level. Because the studio and clientele were brand new, the studio offered mostly beginner/ basic classes. However, the goal is to perform the exercises with perfect form, and even if you’ve nailed that, the instructors offer advanced options to make basic moves more challenging. The result is that even an advanced student in a beginner class can get a good workout.
The Bar Method – Downtown San Francisco — I first started taking Bar classes at this location, which is constantly busy. Despite the flow of people coming and going from its glass doors, the Downtown San Francisco staff get to know all their students and their capabilities. Even after I’d been absent for months, upon my return, I was greeted by name by the staff. My instructor commented on my improved form since she’d seen me last — a telling sign of the personal attention each student receives. San Francisco classes seem to me to focus more on demanding butt exercises than other studios.
The Bar Method SoHo — The only Bar Method in New York City is the one where I saw the most men present; most Bar devotees and instructors are women. I often wonder why more guys don’t join Bar Method studios — it’s a great workout for everyone and the studios are hopping with super-fit ladies. My instructor in SoHo was McKenzie, visiting from the Downtown San Francisco studio (and she recognized me, too) — she led my class through a heavily butt-intensive workout typical of San Francisco instructors. It was great to see her in this new context, and a nice reminder that Bar instructors can be mobile, too, and get their travel workout at The Bar just like the rest of us.
The fabulous owners of The Bar Method-Downtown, during a typical workout
Bar Method: A Minute of Power & Beauty
Click here for a list of Bar Method studio locations.
Click here to buy Bar Method DVDs.