Updated: Nov 26, 2020
Before the pandemic hit, I was, like many, an avid gym goer that enjoyed the odd class or two alongside teaching my own. I believed that if the gym's would close then my drive to workout would go with it. I was convinced that I wouldn't be capable of motivating myself to keep fit and active at home.
Then we found ourselves in lockdown.
Straight away, I was keen to do what I could to keep myself and others in some sort of routine and I held 2 weekly live Barre classes through Instagram, one 45 minute class and one 30 minute class. I discovered that Barre was surprisingly adaptable from studio to home workout due to the low impact nature of the class and the ease of substituting a barre for a chair. I even found myself reaching for the tins of baked beans in my cupboard to use as hand-weights and they didn't disappoint! As a result of the addictive 'Barre burn' and the strengthening and sculpting effect of the class, Barre became the home workout of choice for many during lockdown and I received a number of messages from newbies expressing their gratitude and excitement for the weekly class.
Alongside Barre, I decided to invest in a decent pair of trainers and take the leap from seasonal park runner to road runner (which seemed a lot less appealing). My friend challenged me to run 80km that month and as daunting as it sounded, I had not a lot else to do, no injuries and no real excuse not to! What was the harm in trying?
I am proud to say that I completed the challenge and went on to run 100km in both of the following two months, I even managed my first ever half marathon in August! I won't sit here and tell you that I enjoyed every single run as that certainly wasn't the case, however, there was not one run that I regretted. It felt like the perfect exercise to compliment the Barre classes I was teaching and participating in as it provided the high impact activity that barre lacked, along with a cardio hit like no other (thrilled to find out that 'runner's' high is actually a thing) and it allowed my mind to switch off just by getting out of the house which seemed like a luxury at times. My friends and I went on to form a 'run club' when the restrictions lifted (max 3 numbers - it's a pretty exclusive club) which is still going to this day and it has provided us with the vital socialisation that we have all cherished since the outbreak of COVID19 (not to mention the positive physical and mental benefits!)
The amazing thing about Barre is that it helps to strengthen the muscles recruited in running, such as the glutes, calves and rectus abdominis. I have no doubt that Barre has made me a faster and more endurable runner since combining the two activities into my weekly schedule. I've never felt stronger and I haven't picked up a weight heavier than 1.5kg or gone near a treadmill since the gyms reopened. Never say never, but for now, I'm keeping my gym membership frozen for the foreseeable. I do miss teaching classes face to face but the short commute to my living room definitely has it's benefits.
It turns out, I'm pretty motivated without the gym and studio classes as I not only have myself to account for, but also my clients and my running club members (shout out to Lucy and Harriet).
So if you feel like your motivation has been dwindling (we've all had our moments), my advice would be to exercise with a friend - whether that be virtually or physically. Sign up to a plan, schedule in time to exercise - even if it's on your own, treat it as you would treat a date with a friend. Include variety in your workouts to avoid getting bored and find exercises that compliment each other.
Here for all of your Barre needs, I welcome you to sign up to Ambarre to receive weekly emails and class challenges to keep you on your toes (in all senses of the word!). Why not even try the whole running and Barre thing together? It could be the start of a beautiful, complicated yet rewarding relationship...