As the seasons change it can be really refreshing to switch up your workout routine, or indeed, start a new one if you’ve been working out less often than you’d like to while it’s cold outside. And, one of the best ways to get back into exercising is by signing up to try a completely new class.
Jennifer Aniston swapped her regular cardio and yoga workouts for barre classes after suffering a hip flexor injury which she said was at one point so bad that she was in pain for three weeks, explaining that it was: “The kind where you’re not sure you’ll walk again!”. But, she was fine doing barre because it’s so gentle on your body.
As usual, the star was well ahead of the curve, as we have noticed that suddenly infrared yoga barre classes have been popping up all over the globe from London to LA, so we decided to get the lowdown on this new fitness craze. It’s been hailed as “the Zumba of 2017” and is garnering a cult-like following. And, we were stunned that instead of gentle ballet moves, infrared barre is a full on, all over body workout that clears out toxins from your body and burns a whopping 1200 calories in just one session – as well as being kinder to your joints and bones than jogging can be, for example.
Marion Monce, who owns the magical Elanda Villa on Cap d’Ail in the south of France which has bespoke yoga studios that overlook the Mediterranean sea, tells Lumity that you can lose up to 3 kilos (that’s 6.6lbs!) in one infrared barre class. While a lot of that is water weight, it’s a good class to take if you want to shed a bit of winter weight ahead of the summer months and leave the class brimming with energy and glow.
“It’s a proper workout, but you can absolutely do it if you’ve never done barre before,” Marion explains. “It’s gentle on your body and is the equivalent of a really good run but you don’t feel sore afterwards.” So far, so good. “The heat is usually a little bit less than in hot yoga classes and the infrared is amazing. It’s not like the traditional hot yoga classes where they pump hot air into the room, instead it’s a healing warmth that feels wonderful, like the sun, instead of uncomfortable.
“You have to drink a lot of water during the class and you sweat out lots of toxins so you leave feeling really refreshed and energised. Clients often say they have a suppressed appetite after the sessions as well and it’s a class that’s so well known for weight loss that some people avoid it if they’re already at quite a low weight and are wary of losing any more.”
But that’s not the only health benefit, Marion explains: “The heat helps your muscles and joints to open up and it gets your heart pumping. Your blood flow increases which delivers fresh oxygen to your muscles, joints, organs and cells. It’s always best to consult your doctor if you are injured and want to try a new workout, but infrared is known for speeding up healing time for injuries, such as problems with joints.
“Your skin glows and you sleep better without the toxins causing inflammation in your system.
“It’s a true mind, body and soul workout. You leave feeling lighter – emotionally and physically. Plus, it’s a brilliant stress buster that gets those endorphins pumping through your system creating happy feelings. One of these classes can change your entire day for the better.”
As for what to wear, Marion says you can just wear normal workout clothes – the same as you’d wear to a yoga class – and that you do the class with bare feet. (But she says if you want to kit yourself out in full ballet regalia then to go ahead).
“If you’re finding it hard going you can always stop after 20 minutes,” she underlines. “They’re the sort of classes where people are really friendly and supportive so if you think you’re flagging you may just want to carry on and do the full hour anyway because everyone else is. But working out for 20 minutes with the infrared heat is the equivalent of an hour without the heat so if you’re pressed for time, or just want to ease yourself back into exercise after taking time off over winter, it’s a really great new class to try.”
Still stuck for inspiration? Here’s a great Pilates workout, and here’s some tips on how to love exercise from New York fitness instructor Bethany Meyers. Or here’s some simple exercises you can do without having to go to the gym.