Feeling the burn with barrecore

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Emma Dance tries out the latest fitness craze to hit Bristol

Barrecore. The Victoria’s Secret Angels swear by it, the Made In Chelsea crew have done it, Rita Ora and Darcey Bussell are fans and it’s taking over the feeds of fitstagrammers.

But what exactly is it? The blurb will tell you it’s “intelligent exercise, integrating the fat-burning format of interval training with static stretches after each major muscle is worked.”

I’ll tell you it’s the most intense workout your muscles might ever have. And now there’s a barrecore studio here in Bristol, on Whiteladies Road.

Barrecore is the brainchild of former yoga teacher Niki and is loosely based on the principles of ballet, pilates and yoga, the idea being to strengthen and elongate the muscles leading to the long, lean shape of a dancer. But if you go into a barrecore class thinking you’re in for a some slow, gentle exercise you’ll be in for a shock. OK, so it’s not high-intensity cardio, and you won’t be pumping heavy weights – but you will work up a sweat, and you will most definitely feel it!

The class is just less than an hour long, and after a vigorous warm-up is divided into sections to work different sets of muscles. It’s fast-paced, but the instructors are great, demonstrating every move as well as interacting and adjusting your position to help you make the most of the session and ensure you’re keeping up.

At the start we’re told to “find the shake” – the point at which your muscles start to spasm. It would be fair to say that I didn’t have to look for “the shake”, rather it felt as if it had come bounding up to me and started slapping me round the face – within just a few minutes my quads started trembling uncontrollably. But the great thing about barrecore is that you’re never doing any one exercise for long – so no matter how bad the burn you know it’ll be over soon – and if it’s too much you can simply stop, shake out, reset and join back in again when you’re ready. This means that it’s suitable for any level of fitness, and although it can be daunting to join a class full of long, lean, lycra-clad barrebunnies, soon you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you barely even notice anyone else in the class.

By the end of the hour my muscles felt like jelly and I’d sweated almost as much as if I’d done 5k on the treadmill, but I also felt a real sense of achievement. Classes run in the mornings, lunchtimes and evenings, and four classes a week are recommended to get maximum results.

Classes cost £18 each, with discounts available if you buy a package.

For more details visit www.barrecore.co.uk

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