Today was another freezing day in the Midwest and I spent it inside again. I was feeling a bit restless and wasn’t in the mood for another yoga class so I decided to do some research and try some new online classes.
My husband and I are going to Aruba in less than 3 weeks and I would like to do some post holiday reining in of the diet and tone up for some beach time. I have been reading a lot about all of the different barre classes that are offered and figured why not take advantage of my extra free time and turn the kitchen counter into my ballet studio. Note: you can also use a chair or a dresser as your barre. I spent some time reading reviews of free online classes that are offered and chose 4 that were highly recommended. Below are some highlights of the 4 classes I took today.
Barre3 Online Workout Video: Standing Slim:
This was a nice 30 minute workout lead by Sadie Lincoln. My legs were burning just a few minutes into this video. She uses a combination of ballet and yoga, although it seems a bit heavier on the yoga than other videos. To do this class you will want a set of free weights and a small exercise ball (I didn’t have one and it was just fine).
Barre3 will work both your legs and arms equally. I found this class to be engaging and fun. I would try it again but I was looking for something a bit more focused on legs.
This video is taped with just the instructor so it feels a bit more one-on-one. She does a great job of explaining each step and how to properly execute each move.
Barre Concept- Ultimate 20 Minute Barre Exercise Workout:
This class was 20 minutes long and more leg focused than the above video. Barre Concept is much more ballet heavy leaving my legs burning which is just what I wanted. Some arm strengthening was involved but not as much as the Barre3.
This video had my heart pumping which was nice to feel like I was incorporating some cardio into this strengthening class.
Barre Concept is taped at a studio in the U.K. and I definitely enjoyed the energetic British teacher who lead this class. This video is taped with the instructor and 4 other women doing the class. It worked well, allowing her to show proper technique with the other students as well as modifications for making moves easier or harder.
Ballet Beautiful Lean Legs and Buns:
This video was 16 minutes long and done entirely on the floor as a bridge class. Word of warning, the instructor is truly a ballerina. When Mary Helen Bowers tells you to stretch, you feel silly because she can pull her legs into the craziest of positions with complete ease. At the beginning of the video she recommends coming into a simple stretch (pigeon pose) but there is nothing simple how she goes about it. Don’t be put off by her extreme flexibility and gorgeous ballerina legs…just imagine that’s what you will get after her 16 minute workout!
Ballet Beautiful is heavy on the stretching but I noted that this would be an excellent workout to use as a start to your day. The light piano music in the background was very peaceful and despite being on your back the entire workout my legs were really feeling it.
This class is filmed with just the instructor. I thought she seemed very sweet and had great explanations and modifications.
Barre Body- Get a Dancer’s Body:
This 12 minute workout was good but I noted that it was just ok compared to the others. What I did like was the instructor mentioned that all classes are based on an interval method to help boost your metabolism. Barre Body uses a combination of ballet, yoga and pilates which is probably why I enjoyed it the least. I was mostly looking to find a leg toning ballet concept class but that is not to say that you wouldn’t enjoy this class.
The instructor however, was very engaging and gave great explanations for each step. I personally just never felt any cardio during the class, nor were my legs getting the burn I was hoping to find.
This was not a video, otherwise it would have been marked my favorite. Yesterday I mentioned that I made Bethenny Frankel’s How Is This So Moist Cake with Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze. A few people asked me about this so I am adding this recipe. It contains no eggs or butter and calls for oat flour (although I used regular flour because that is what I had) making them gluten free and an option for vegans.
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 350º. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and stir to combine. Pour batter into a loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake 40-50 minutes until done. Once cool cover with glaze.
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. canola oil (I used vegetable but I bet coconut oil would rock this)
2 tbsp. soy milk (I used almond)
2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Combine and stir, pour on cake and eat!
I still have moments where I am amazed and in love with being in the Midwest. This is the latest.
That my friends, is the Chicago style of valet parking. Apparently when you dig yourself out in the morning you put out a chair or something else to mark your spot and people respect it enough to leave it for you to return. This amazes me because in New York someone might steal a cab from an elderly woman if she didn’t sprint to hop in. You gotta love this place!