In all the years I've been doing Beachbody workouts, there's a few that I continue to come back to because I loved them, or get great results from them (like 21 Day Fix Extreme or Lift4). But in the past year, my go-to favorite has changed. Maybe it's the pandemic, maybe it's turning 50, I don't know, but this year, aside from yoga, I've mostly being doing Barre Blend.
Here's Why Barre Blend is my Favorite Beachbody Workout
I've written before about Barre Blend, shared a sample workout and even shared my results from the program, but I haven't shared some of the less obvious benefits that make me come back to it again and again.
Barre Blend is yoga, pilates cardio and strength
There are few mat-based programs that are able to pull off this level of diversity in one workout, but Barre Blend is one of them (Xtend Barre on the Openfit app is a close second). It has the heart-opening, uplifting feel of yoga (and a lot of similar movements), but the concentration on strength and cardio intervals makes it feel like a really workout.
It's also not over-the-top hard. By that, I mean it doesn't make your body feel beat up the next day. It is replenishing while still being challenging and because of that, you could do it every day and not risk injury. There's a rehabilitative nature to all barre classes that I truly appreciate.
It's a fat burner, no question
Just out of curiosity, the other day I wore a heart rate monitor while doing the cardio class for 40 minutes. I burned over 300 calories in just over 30 mins while keeping my heart rate in a fat-burning zone. Just in case you're wondering - your fat burning zone is NOT when you're working your hardest. You most efficiently burn fat when you're at about 70% of your max heart rate.
The Workouts are FUN
I've spent so many years doing workouts I don't enjoy just for the physical results, to the point that I've burned myself out on most weight lifting programs. I'm sure I'll warm up to them again, but right now, I need to find my love of movement again, and Barre Blend is helping me find it. The moves can be tricky, so you really have to pay attention, but there's typically at least 3 or 4 breaks from the work to just dance around and let go of lactic acid build up (that's the burn you feel in your muscles when you work them hard).
It's Beats a Traditional Barre Class
I started doing Pure Barre back when it first came out as I knew the founder and a local studio owner. I enjoyed the class (well, most of it), but it was the same routine every day, which got kinda boring.
Add to that, it was an hour long class that took 45 minutes to get too and parking was a nightmare. Each class was $25 and I went 4 times a week. That's $400 a month and 12 hours a week dedicated to my workout time. Eventually I figured out I could get a discount with bundle classes, but it was still very expensive. Now I pay a flat $99 per year for a Beachbody App subscription and I simply roll my mat out in my living room or backyard and have at it.
Honestly, I can't believe I sustained this routine for as long as I did. I finally ditched the live classes and resorted to barre DVDs at home (this was 2011) just because I couldn't stomach the cost or time commitment any longer. I've never gone to a live class since then.
My thoughts around fitness are evolving as I age
Now that I'm in my 50's I value my health and fitness more than ever. I absolutely still want to looks great in a bathing suit, but even more, I want to feel strong, energetic and healthy at every age. I have every intention of slowing down the aging process as much as I can, and I know first hand that years of aggressive workouts that are abusive to the body (like marathon running) will only make you look (and feel) older, a lot faster.
I want a workout that will prepare me for hiking the Alps in Switzerland or sailing in Portugal. I have big plans for this life and I need a body that won't hold me back from my adventures!
Barre Blend Satisfies my Minimalist Sensibilities
I've been an aspiring minimalist for about 5 or 6 years now. I have a profound appreciation for simplicity or anything that can be accomplished with less stuff. Barre classes are so minimal. All you need is a mat, something to grab onto (a countertop, chair or dresser) and if you want to get really fancy, a pair of 3lbs weights and a workout band.
I can literally do this workout anywhere - a living room, bedroom, hotel room or backyard balcony. I think that's such a powerful benefit because when consistency is a struggle, simplicity is everything.
Dial in Your Level - Beginner or Advanced
One of the great things about this workout that I've never seen in any other barre program, is that it's progressive. That means, the first workout is shorter and easier and they get longer and harder as you go.
As someone who enjoys a challenging workout, now that I've done the program a few times through, I only focus on classes in week 6 through 8. Each class is different, so I don't get tired of it. However, if I was a beginner or intermediate, I'd just do the first few weeks on repeat until I felt strong enough to go into week 6 - 8. That kind of programming is so important when you want to evolve your practice and your strength!
Limitations of this Beachbody Workout
No workout is perfect for everyone. Here's a few things to consider if you're thinking of investing in the program.
- It's very feminine - don't be fooled into thinking it's easy. It's not. But it is very feminine, so I wouldn't buy it for a father's day gift. Just sayin.
- There's a lot of talking. The instructor never stops talking throughout each workout. If you're someone who likes a lot of support, this is helpful. If you don't like a lot of talking - this is going to rub on you after a while.
- I'd like more advanced classes. Weeks 6-8 are wonderful, as are the earlier weeks, but I like a 40 minute class. Eventually, I'd love to see Elise Jones (the creator of the program) create more advance classes. There's a TON of shorter bonus classes and even a pre-natal program, but not as much for the advanced level fitness enthusiast.
The TLDR - Barre Blend Rocks
It's a standout among all the programs you get when you sign up for Beachbody on Demand. For al the reasons above, I recommend giving it a whirl. I don't think you'll be disappointed!
Where to buy it
You can purchase Barre Blend right here. The great news is that you get access to this workout, along with every other workout on the Beachbody platform for a whole year, so you'll never run out of options after you go through the program.
What to do AFTER Barre Blend?
Since you have access to all the workouts on the Beachbody App, you can try as many programs as you like, but if you enjoy mat-based programs with minimal equipment and appreciate the joy of working out in bare feet, then try Piyo or Beachbody's Yoga Retreat next.
Want to take it up a notch? Then try the Barre Blend Hybrid workout with a super challenging weight lifting and functional training program!
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and author of The Fit Habit. Here she shares simple, low carb recipes, quick home workout ideas and practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.