Good morning! I feel like this week is flying by, but I’m okay with it.
You know what else flew by? My membership to The Barre Code.
I’ve hinted on the blog that I was approached by the owners of the Metro Detroit studios to try out a complimentary membership in exchange for an honest review, and I am here to deliver.
The Barre Code, formerly knowns as “Barre Bee Fit”, started as a fitness studio in Chicago and has now turned into a franchise that is quickly expanding all over the US. What makes this brand unique is the variety of conditioning, strengthening, and restoration classes in one place.
When I couldn’t fit in all of the class formats into my thirty days, they extended my membership an extra few weeks, and I was truly looking forward to being able to experience everything at least once.
The majority of the classes were right up my alley, and I ended up taking classes 4-6 days a week! I was truly sad to see it come to an end last Friday.
Barre is and will always be one of my favorite ways to stay in shape.
I love the low-impact exercises that result in big changes. After just a few classes, I already felt on top of my game and noticeably tighter in my abs, thighs, and glutes. Scott and I often joke that we can tell when I’m taking barre on a regular basis and when I’m not. I acquire a “barre booty”, as he likes to say. 😉
As promised, I’m here to share my full review today. Let’s go!
The Barre Code studios offer three different types of classes, all with barre as a base: Cardio, Strength Training, and Restoration.
Thanks to my 45-day membership trial, I was able to hop between both the Rochester Hills and Birmingham studios and give all of the different formats a try. Every class is 50 minutes long, which is the perfect amount of time to fit into a busy schedule (or lunch break), and really pushes you to work hard non-stop.
Here is a round up of my thoughts on each!
Cardio classes incorporate speed work, plyometrics, agility training, and coordination development with an overall goal to help build stamina and endurance. Make sure you have fueled and hydrated properly before class!
Appropriately named, the HIIT class is based on the principles of High Intensity Interval Training, and features four rounds of cardio intervals with strength and recovery exercises in between each set. I really enjoyed the mix of cardio and strength exercises in this style of class, and I always left feeling like I just detoxed. It’s a great wake-you-up in the morning class, and can really whip you into shape!
TBC stands for both Total Body Conditioning and The Boot Camp. It’s a bootcamp style of workout that focuses on strength training exercises and uses a variety of props and heavier weights. While TBC is mostly strength-based, there are challenging cardio intervals at the beginning and end of class. I appreciated this class on days where I felt like I needed to lift!
Barre-dio was the very first class I tried at the studio! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I got a full cardio workout with choreographed dance-inspired moves in between strength sections that focused on the abs, arms, and glutes. It felt like a challenging aerobics class, and I left pretty sweaty and with sore calves (from bouncing about) for days. It was probably my least favorite of all of the class formats, and even so, it still proved to be a great workout that had my heart rate skyrocketing.
I was really looking forward to trying Brawl, as it has been recognized as one of the best workouts in the country, according to SELF magazine. It’s an intense cardio kickboxing class that also strengthens the thighs and glutes. There’s always an option to hold light weights, too, which is killer on the arms. Each class takes you through a series of new choreographed kickboxing moves, and you eventually pick it up while you repeat it several times per side. It was difficult for me to turn my brain on in the early mornings in order to keep up with the sequences, but I did it!
This type of strength training focuses on small, controlled movements and isometric holds that challenges multiple muscles at the same time. I spent eighty percent of my time in the studio under this category!
• Barre Code
Barre Code class is as barre-y as it gets. Each class follows the same format of strengthening the arms, abs, thighs, and glutes, all in a different order each time. Barre incorporates full-range movements, but mostly focuses on targeted, isometric holds to really feel the burn. (Shaking is welcome!) Every class calls for different equipment and ends with a series of stretches using the barre. My absolute fave!
• Barre Code Classic
Barre Code Classic is basically a beginner version of Barre Code. This class uses a slower tempo and more basic exercises to develop muscle stamina and endurance in a safe way. While I didn’t actually take this one, it’s a great option for those just getting back into working out, or those who want to learn the basics of barre.
Burn is a fantastic class, and the only heated barre class I’ve ever taken! It’s pretty much Barre Code class in a 95-degree (F) room. I took this class several times, and some classes felt warmer than others. Even so, I never felt like I was having to gasp for air like I have in other heated classes that I’ve tried before. The heat is meant to detox and elevate your heart rate, and it felt good from time to time… especially on those chilly Michigan mornings!
Restoration is meant to restore: mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Due to constant schedule conflicts, I was only able to take Baryasa once. It’s a shame, too, because I really, really enjoyed it. Baryasa is a slow-paced class of vinyasa flows and deep stretching to slower music. It’s a perfect way to restore your muscles after a week of taking barre and cardio classes, and I liked how some flows and stretches incorporated the barre for assistance in balance. It’s not power yoga by any means, but I prefer it that way.
I had so many great days at the studio, and my very last day had me going from Burn to Baryasa back-to-back. I was nervous about doubling up in a heated space, but with a ten minute break in between classes, I had plenty of time to rehydrate, grab a snack, and even use the bathroom. It’s a great combo that I highly recommend to strengthen, unwind, and finish out your week!
One thing I haven’t experienced at The Barre Code is the Kids Room classes.
They offer childcare in the lobby while you enjoy 50 minutes to yourself to take class! In order to use this service, you have to sign up for it online, just like any other class. I would absolutely love and take advantage of this service if I was a mom.
Since I am being completely honest in my review, I am going to include my personal list of pros and cons that I experienced while taking classes at The Barre Code.
– With 50-minute class times, there wasn’t much time for breaks.
I’m all for pushing through the class to work your hardest, but I also enjoy a quick water break to let my heart rate recover and breathe. Water breaks are encouraged throughout classes, but teachers hardly remind you to stay hydrated until class is over. I guess I always harped on that while I taught classes! Needless to say, I took plenty of water breaks, but only when I needed to.
– Corrections weren’t a focus.
Of course every class, studio, and teacher is different, but in general, I didn’t feel like teachers allowed enough time to correct during sessions. Classes move at such a fast pace that it requires the teacher to complete the majority of the 50 minutes in front of the class. The only thing wrong with that is there isn’t much time for them to walk around and make sure everyone is using the right form to maximize their efforts.
– Looped music tracks.
This may sound silly as a con, but sometimes club-like tracks that are looped for the entire class are overwhelming to me. I might be biased since I used to manually change songs with a remote from exercise to exercise where I taught before, but doing so allowed a second or two for students to stretch and grab water between exercises, too. I always really appreciated that when I took classes myself. Plus, our playlists always went with the flow of class. Fast song, fast song, slow song, fast song, fast song, slow song, etc. Maybe I’m alone on this one, but it’s something I missed.
– I loved the variety of classes!
As you read above, there are eight different types of classes you can sign up for. I’ve only really experienced “barre” in the past, and loved the idea of fusing it into several different types of workouts. It’s almost impossible to get bored week after week.
– Class times.
Every week day, classes start at 5:30 a.m. and run until 1:10 p.m. One of the biggest suggestions at my old barre studio was that there weren’t any afternoon classes, and the Metro Detroit locations offer 4:00/4:30 p.m. classes before their evening schedule begins. Also, there are a lot of options for classes on the weekends.
– I loved the uplifting atmosphere.
The Birmingham studio is a different feel than the Rochester Hills location, but both were environments I felt welcomed and comfortable in. I also loved seeing the motivational quotes around the room during classes!
– Both studios offer lockers and full bathroom facilities.
Not all barre studios do! It’s not uncommon for a restroom to be in the actual studio, which can be a major pain for getting in and out before or after classes. The Barre Code has a great dressing room area complete with mirrors, hair dryers, straighteners, hair accessories, and even a full shower with products, if needed.
Compared to similar corporately-owned studios in the area, The Barre Code offers membership packages at a much lower price. Right now, you can get an unlimited month (with a 3-month commitment) for $99, and a full year for $1,000 ($83 a month)! A first time studio visit is only $8 (compared to other studios that ask for the full class fee, anywhere from $20-$25+), and a new client unlimited month is $80. There are also student discounts available! It sounds expensive, but if you shop around, it’s very reasonable.
Thank you to The Barre Code for giving me the opportunity to get back to the barre and enjoy your studios over the last month and a half. I can’t tell you how great it felt to feel that barre burn again, and I even got my friend Alex to try a membership with me. She’s hooked!
Moving forward, I hope to revisit and get reconnected into a consistent schedule soon!
Are you thinking of trying barre for the first time and don’t know where to start?
Check out my personal Tips To Take To Your First Barre Class, and know that everyone starts somewhere. You’ve got this. Good luck!
Questions of the Day
• Are you a fan of barre classes?
• Which of The Barre Code classes intrigues you the most? (TBC, HIIT, Baryasa, Brawl, etc.)
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. As I mentioned above, I was offered a complimentary 45-day membership to The Barre Code in exchange for an honest review. As aways, all thoughts remain my own. Thanks so much for reading!