It all started innocently enough. A bottle of wine on a quiet rooftop evening as the sun faded over the Chicago skyline and a casual, half-hearted lament of always wanting to try a barre class (a workout favorite of celebs like Kelly Ripa and Taylor Swift).
Turns out? The company that evening included Nicole Newman, a personal fitness guru (which we knew) and barre instructor (which we didn’t) at local fitness franchise, The Barre Code (formerly Barre Bee Fit). A few days, 50 minutes, 1 black resistance band, 2 aching arms, 2 shaking legs and 6 (okay fine, 2 again) screaming abs later, The Local Tourist came to rue that impulsive moment.
With five Chicago locations (and a sixth opening in Lakeview next week!), The Barre Code blends ballet barre moves with choreography and floor work. And while the star of the show is definitely the long barre stretching the length of each wall, the classes aren’t as Black Swan-esque as imagined. Although, as spandex-clad Nicole called for “just 10 more” leg raises (LIAR! It was 20!!), we found ourselves imagining Natalie Portman’s sculpted quads to push through the burn.
For a first timer like TLT, the instructors recommend the original Barre Code class, offering intensive strength work, cardio blasts and restorative stretching. It gives you a good idea of the moves (and terminology) to expect. Other classes, with sweet names like “Burn,” “Brawl” and “Baryasa,” emphasize cardio, yoga, strength training or boot camp moves - you’ll want to try them all.
The ache the next day proved the workout had done its job. And with pumping music and other women determined to get their sweat on filling the room, it was FUN.
We vowed to be back. And with better form.