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    The latest news, videos and workouts from the Escape Fitness Team.


    yoga, ballet, dance and fitness all in one classFinding new ways of engaging members is a challenge in any fitness space, particularly when it comes to group fitness. Functional workouts can be intimidating until they’re experienced, so how can you convince new and veteran gym goers alike that their athleticism doesn’t have to be about heavy weights, strict movements and traditional exercises?

    A mix of yoga, ballet, dance and fitness all in one class, barre is a trend that’s on the increase in programming. It’s perfect for any studio space as it involves minimal equipment but offers an immersive experience that combines multiple disciplines in movement.

    We speak to Stacey Vandiver, co-founder of SoulBody for an introduction to barre fitness classes and how they can improve the wellbeing of any gym member. SoulBody has devised group exercise offerings for Gold’s Gyms, GoodLife gyms, Merritt Clubs, YMCAs, SuperMonkey and other fitness spaces around the world.

    What is a barre class?

    Barre fitness classes are a fusion of Pilates, yoga, dance and functional training. Some methods, like SoulBody’s, will incorporate a bit of cardio as well, keeping the heart rate elevated. Barre classes are one of the hottest and fastest growing workouts in group exercise and for good reason.

    The class targets mainly the core, glutes and thighs using smaller movements and isometric work that shape, tone and strengthen the muscles. The results can be seen quickly if class is taken three or four times a week.

    barre classes are one of the hottest and fastest growing workouts

    What’s the difference between the ballet barre and body bar?

    SoulBody has created two barre programs. SoulBody Barre uses the ballet barre, hand weights, resistance band and inflatable ball. SoulBody Barre Unhitched uses a training bar (weighted bar) and inflatable ball which is perfect for clubs that do not have the ballet barre. As the whole class is performed on or around the mat, it is a perfect solution for clubs that have a large group exercise room and want to add a barre class to the timetable.

    What’s different about SoulBody?

    SoulBody’s method of Barre is a more athletic approach, adding elements of cardio as well as larger dynamic exercises delivering a full body workout that members are seeking.

    Because the classes are choreographed and set to dynamic music, the seamless flow allows instructors to teach a class with confidence and the pre-choreographed format adds consistency for clubs.

    What are the benefits of pre-choreographed classes?

    Consistency! It is very challenging and time consuming to choreograph a seamless class set to music that matches the movement. Members love to take a class and know exactly what to expect and directors like to know that each class will be delivered with a sense of order and reliability.

    Lastly, instructors welcome a smart programme that they can connect with, are confident in, and proud to share with their members. They know it has been written, tested and proven successful. Nothing like a tight class that keeps you motivated and coming back for more.

    How did you come up with the idea of developing this style of programming?

    Two important factors presented itself as barre fitness began booming. First, as it was gaining popularity, boutique barre studios were popping up in every city on every corner. Members began seeking this style of workout and the excitement it was creating hence clubs began to see the need to implement that same high caliber of class. We saw there was a need for this same high level of class for health clubs’ group exercise timetable.

    Secondly, as the barre fitness market began growing, we saw there was a lack of content, ideas, and choreography. While the freestyle format can be taught well by some, it is not for all! Pre-choreographed formats not only allow instructors the confidence of delivering a seamless class, but members will also know what to expect.

    How’s it being met by members?

    Amazing! Members love the music, the flow and ultimately the results! Testimonials come in constantly and it is exciting to hear how these classes have helped members see results by getting stronger and feeling empowered to come back for more. When members are happy, so are the health clubs - the engagement and community is strong and connected.

    Also, SoulBody’s SQUAD, its team of dedicated instructors, are passionately on board and love inspiring and motivating through movement. It has been an exciting journey to see the growth!

    What are the plans for the future?

    SoulBody continues to create programming that has a mind/body element and progressive content to help keep health clubs’ group exercise progressive and cutting-edge. With continued development of new, on trend programming, we look forward to a worldwide expansion within the fitness industry!

    For more insights from fitness industry thought leaders and entrepreneurs, check out the blog homepage.