For those who are unfamiliar with it, the Bar Method is a workout program that combines exercises and movements derived from ballet, yoga, and pilates. Much of it involves small repetitive motions intended to isolate, tone, and lengthen muscles as well as strengthen your core. During class, the instructors made us do exercises with light weights that worked our biceps and triceps. We also did exercises at the barre for our calves, quads, and glutes, then moved on to pilates-inspired moves on the ground for core strength. Some exercises were definitely tougher than others. During the leg exercises, I was shaking from muscle fatigue at the barre and I wasn't the only one. Some of the BeautyMark folks later said their legs "were shaking like Elvis."
The workout definitely lived up to its reputation for being tough and effective. Over the next two days, soreness lingered in my upper arms and quads, and my abs ached a little whenever I coughed or sneezed. But was the Bar Method such a scary workout that it would intimidate beginners? Probably not. I don't consider myself to be particularly coordinated or fit, but I could follow along well enough, and the instructors are very helpful throughout the class in case you don't get it.
Oh, and did I mention the grade A facilities? Not being a gym-goer, I don't have much to compare it to, but the ladies locker room and studio are spectacular. New fixtures, fluffy towels, a sauna, and shower stalls equipped with Aveda toiletries. The studio floor features soft plush carpeting and the entire place still has that "newly renovated" smell.
The only drawback to the Bar Method is that the classes are relatively expensive compared to other fitness/recreational classes. Depending on whether you buy a class package or a monthly membership, the price per class can range from $5 (if you're a new client paying $100 for your first month, and you go 5 times a week) to $22 (if you do a single drop-in class). Their website breaks down the pricing schemas in further detail if you're interested.
I'd love to see the Bar Method work out a deal with neighbouring Yaletown businesses and offer their employees a discount. After all, the studio's location would be very convenient for Yaletown people leaving work. I might go back for a few classes at a time, but because of the cost and because I'd be taking the classes on top of yoga and salsa, I don't think this is something I can continue to do long-term.