Barre workout the latest trend in fitness

By: Stephanie Garica, Granite Bay View Correspondent
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If you’re known as a bar fly, you’ve probably got some great stories at a local watering hole, and you might be known to bust a gut laughing.

But if you’re a local Barre Flie, you’re well on your way to shaping your gut, legs, and arms into a ballerina-type body, and you barely have time to catch your breath, much less laugh.

Barre-Flies is a privately-owned fitness studio located in Granite Bay’s Quarry Ponds shopping center.

“This is a dream come true,” said Diane Holland, owner and instructor at the newly renovated studio.

Since 2011, ballet barre studios have been appearing in every major city and seem to be the latest trend in that never-ending quest for the perfect workout. There are no weights, and the only thing you need to bring is a pair of socks. Although there is music, there is no dancing. And even though you’re stretching, this isn’t yoga. So what exactly is a barre workout?

Barre exercises rely mainly upon one’s bodyweight for resistance, and the moves challenge your core stability and balance. Barre workouts are designed to give you a long, lean dancer-like physique. While each barre workout differs slightly, most classes incorporate exercises done at a ballet barre and combine elements of ballet, Pilates, and yoga.

Holland has been a fitness leader her entire life. For the past 25 years, she has taught all types of classes but found that this specialized barre workout was exactly what she was looking for.

Although she considered opening a franchise operation, something just didn’t feel right.

“I want to run this my way, not listen to someone else or follow someone’s rules,” Holland said.

After opening her doors in October, Holland has found that the response has been nothing but positive. The only drawback might be that she taught the first 29 classes herself — that’s 29 hours in five days.

“I always wondered what it felt like to work out until I couldn’t stand up anymore, and that first week, I found out,” Holland said.

Barre workouts have been popular amongst stars like Madonna. The vigorous workouts incorporate tiny, isometric movements that cause the muscles to almost reach the point of exhaustion. The concentration on posture and alignment training provides fast results for toning muscles and improving the overall core.

Longtime Granite Bay resident Reema Aurora can attest to this. After only one week of barre workouts, she’s already feeling results.

“In four classes, I can already do more push-ups,” she said.

Aurora has never taken ballet, but says that hasn’t stopped her from a barre workout.

“I’m willing to try anything once,” she said. “This gives me a complete cardio and muscle workout but it doesn’t feel like traditional exercise — I feel like I’m in a dance class.”

Aurora is an inspiration to Holland and other members of Barre-Flies. Having just completed her final round of chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, she finds this type of workout to be a calming environment while providing strength training that is vital to her body’s recovery.

“Reema is a warrior,” Holland said. “This is truly an empowering environment.”

Barre-Flies is open seven days a week and costs about the same as the going rate for any type of fitness workout program. The schedule changes each day, as Holland serves up a menu of different classes.

“I don’t like to cook in real life,” she said. “This is how I cook. I serve up a new ‘menu’ every day and I ‘feed’ my customers.”

Holland also feeds her soul in the process.

Now she is living her dream and says that even though it may not be filling her bank account just yet, it is filling her soul.

“I’ve wanted this for so long,” Holland said.

Holland comes from a family of business owners. Deep down, she always knew that she would follow suit. “I’ve followed my gut my entire life, and if I fail — oh well,” she said.

“I’m my father’s daughter,” Holland said.

After her father passed away a few years ago, Holland still finds herself missing his approval.

“If he was alive today, I know he would be proud of me, in fact, he would be my biggest supporter,” she said.

Although some days are long and she misses her teenage children and husband while the business ramps up, she knows in her heart that this is exactly where she wants to be in her life.

“To me, failure is not chasing this dream,” Holland added.