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Body Image & Barre

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

Body image is a hot topic at the moment and no longer a taboo subject, so why do we assume that some body types are better suited to certain types of exercise than others? Is there an unspoken presumption of what a body should look like to take, for example, a Barre class?


With the the rise of online fitness, I'm sure your social media scroll hasn't been shy of images of the elite fitness fanatics with sculpted shoulders, taught abs and a bum to die for, but does this motivate you or do the opposite when it comes to your own fitness training?



I too find myself scrutinising my own appearance when editing and uploading videos as I worry that I don't have the typical 'Barre' body type. But after years of extensive ballet training and 4 years in the fitness industry, I have to remind myself not to get sucked in and that I am so much more than just a body type. Years of calorie counting and obsessing over food during my dance training days have worn thin and I now strive to eat for enjoyment, health and energy whilst maintaining an active lifestyle which has become part of my everyday routine. Body image is something that many of us will struggle with at one point or another during our lifetime and I wonder how the media can play a part in alleviating these struggles and normalising normal bodies....


Cosmopolitan Jan 2021

Cosmopolitan recently made the headlines for featuring a variety of women with different body types in their fitness gear on the front cover, going on to detail their experience and background in fitness. Cosmopolitan were criticised for 'glorifying' obesity and all of the health issues that are linked with its classification. Whilst on the subject, it's worth noting that it is estimated that 26-29% of people in the UK are classed as obese, so why are so many people shocked to see these body types on the front cover of a magazine? Isn't that what we wanted to see more of? Real women? Fitness is not exclusive to one body type and nor should it be marketed that way. We all have the right to exercise and one person's reason to move their body will be different to the next. Let's not assume how much exercise someone does or doesn't do, based on their body type.


From a Barre perspective, the class is often marketed as the workout to get the perfect ballet dancer's body, but I'm here to tell you that even though regular Barre classes will increase your muscular endurance and improve your cardiovascular fitness, any aesthetic changes that take place will be down to a combination of your genetics, your nutritional health and the skeletal structure of your body. You might start to carry yourself as a dancer as your posture improves and you become more kinaesthetically aware and able to co ordinate your movements with ease, but let me remind you that there is no 'end goal' as such and the biggest changes you will notice will be with your mental health, your energy levels and your general fitness.


image from wix

Don't let the internet trick you into believing that you are not worthy of taking part in certain types of exercise because you do not match up to the body type that is so often portrayed. Equally, be careful not to judge a fitness instructor on their body image alone. A six pack may look impressive but it doesn't always equate to experience, knowledge or capability to teach.


So let's not beat ourselves up in the pursuit of attaining our 'dream bod' and enjoy fitness in it's various forms as part of our lifestyle. We're more likely to enjoy ourselves in the process and build our confidence from the inside out and that's an attractive quality we can all strive for!



@louise_ambarre

Here's a few of my favourite accounts I follow on instagram that promote body positivity:

@victorianiamh

@lucymountain

@chessieking

@tallyrye

@hells_fitness

@chiarabecuti

@alexlight_ldn



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