One of the best things I did for myself in 2015 was sign up for Bar Method. My attendance waned during the fall with night school, admittedly. But now that that's done, I'm so psyched to join the topknot-wearing, grippy-sock-sporting denizens at the Yaletown studio. 2-3 Bar classes a week (or 10 times a month) is my goal, and if I lose motivation I'm going to return to this list of positive changes that have resulted from Bar to give myself a much-needed push.
1. I sleep better. This last year I've struggled a lot with insomnia, but if I push myself hard in a Bar class after work it'll tire me out enough to crave an early bedtime.
2. I feel more tired (in a good way). As I write this blog post, it's the day after my first Bar class of 2016. The muscles between my shoulder blades ache, as do my triceps, and there's a deep-seated weariness between my spine and my belly that tells me I worked my core during the ab-centric mat exercises last night. I'm fatigued but happy, probably because I'm still riding an endorphin high.
3. There's always some part of me that's sore. The sore muscle group in question seems to alternate after each class. One day it's my shoulders and triceps, the next day it's my calves or my glutes and outer thighs. I take this as a positive and I've come to welcome soreness: it means the exercises are tough and intensive, and they're working. You can learn more about the different Bar Method exercises here.
4. I dress more casually. The Yaletown Bar studio is on the second floor up a flight of stairs, which seems like some cruel cosmic joke when there are still micro-tremors zinging through my gonna-be-sore-tomorrow legs after class; the stairs aren't quite so painful—and wobbly— to walk down if I'm in sneakers or moto boots. I'm also more likely to dress down because if I'm already sore, I might as well be comfortable in skinny jeans with plenty of stretch, instead of squeezing myself into a tight sheath or a pencil skirt. And you know what? This dressing-down business has been really beneficial in helping me simplify and streamline my personal style (but that's a post for another day).
5. My internal monologue in classes is more upbeat. When I first started and the instructor would call out "30 more and you're done!" I'd be cursing in my head because I was already at my limit. Now I think to myself, "Okay, just 30 more." It means I'm getting physically and mentally stronger.
6. My body is leaner all over. The overall improvements are subtle but noticeable. My button-down shirts feel looser over my stomach and my pants fit better, and I even have a bit of definition in my arms!
7. My mood is better. Blame it on the endorphins.
8. Old stress triggers don't get to me as much. I feel like my mind and spirit are much more resilient, and I'm able to take in stride the little things that used to send me into an anxiety spiral.
9. I need to plan my life more (how many hours to sleep, when to eat, what to eat, etc.). If I haven't had an afternoon snack or I only slept 5 hours the night before, or I ate something unhealthy that leaves me feeling gross, I'll feel terrible during Bar class or worse, the Bar class just won't happen. In order to attend Bar consistently, I've had to eat better and sleep more; Bar's been the catalyst for a host of other healthy habits in my life.
10. I'm always encouraging others to try a class. Let's face it, I'm the laziest person I know when it comes to sticking to any sort of regular exercise routine, but it's been a year and Bar still keeps me coming back for more. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Need to kick-start your New Year's resolution to get fit? New clients can try Bar Method for one month unlimited for $80. If you do sign up, consider yourself warned: you will be hooked, and your life will change for the better.