Bar Crazy

FYI  – This post is picture heavy.

It’s hard to believe that a year ago I wrote this post, which means it’s been TWO years since I started my Bar Method journey. I thought, on my second anniversary, it would be a good idea to catch up and let you know how things stand.



I still love it. As much as I ever did.

I still try to go five days a week, although this winter it’s been a challenge to keep that up what with school closings, and the studio having to cancel classes due to weather and all, but I’m pretty sure I’ve managed. Even better, my studio switched up the schedule in the new year and a very popular time slot that I frequent has changed from a regular class to a Level 2 class. L2 classes run for the same amount of time, but pack in a ton more exercises, the result being a VERY fast class (almost fast enough that you don’t register at first how crazy hard it is!) that is super intense. You need to have taken at least 50 classes before you can take an L2 because there is very little set up time between exercises – you need to know what’s going on. I think I have the 50 classes covered – maybe I’m up to 500? Still, every time I take the class I’m a bit nervous going in – can I do it? Can I make it through? And then at around the mid point, when we’ve finished the super intense portion of class, I get the most incredible burst of energy! I LOVE IT!



One of the best things about this new L2 class is that most of the women I take class with I take class with ALL the time. We frequent the same time slot due to kids and school and it’s like we’ve sort of progressed to this level as a group. I feel like we feed off each other. The energy in the class is amazing!


I’m really glad to take this intense class once a week, but that in no way means that a normal class isn’t still incredibly difficult. One of the best aspects of Bar Method is that the better you get, the harder the classes get and I’m here to tell you that’s absolutely true. The beginning of class always feels so ridiculously impossible and until those endorphins kick in I wonder every time how I will get through it.



But I do. And I love it.

This winter has been hard on my mind and body – too many days stuck at home with the kids = too much bad food, too much drinking and just blah – but if I can get a class in I feel strong in mind and body. I’m so grateful to have an outlet, especially these day.



Many of my friends will tell you that when it comes to Bar, I’m a glutton for punishment. I want my ass kicked. I want that shake. I want to feel like I’ve gone to my limit. Otherwise, why do it? All or nothing, baby. All or nothing. And I try so hard to give it my all.

I’ve heard many many people talk about the wonderful atmosphere and community at their studios, but I’m here to tell that the teachers and students where I take class are the best! They lift me up when I feel down, through exercise and camaraderie. They are obsessed, just like me. When I found my knitters, I found my people. And when I found Bar, I discovered a whole other family as well. (Some of whom are knitters!! DOUBLE OBSESSION FTW!)



Happy Anniversary to my beloved Bar! I hope I can keep tucking for many, many years to come.



All of the pictures that appear in this post were taken by me at my studio. I was fortunate to have been asked by the owners to photograph the instructors taking a master class on a few occasions. I hope these pictures relay the beauty and strength of these women who inspire me daily.


As always, thank you for reading!

L, C

Healthy Obsessions

This blog has always been about my passions – knitting for sure, but also writing, photography, my family, Bruce. So it feels a little disingenuous to not have shared my latest passion with you all. That’s about to change. Bear with me.

A little back story: I love my kids. They are fun and funny, smart and stubborn, passionate, crazy, beautiful, gorgeous kids and I love them. But (and there’s always a but right!) they do not sleep. Or, at least, they do not sleep well. I won’t get into the whole thing about sleep training and how we didn’t do it and that it worked so great for you and blah blah blah – my life is what it is and I wouldn’t change any of it. I’ve made my bed, so to speak, and both my kids sleep in it every single night. HAHAHAHAHAHA! See what I did there? Yeah. My kids sleep in our bed and we’re not happy about it. I’ve tried a million things to get them out and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and I’m seriously not telling you this for advice, it’s just a fact. And because my kids have a hard time staying asleep unless they are on top of me or touching me in some way that is incredibly uncomfortable for me and yet oddly comfortable for them, I don’t get a lot of sleep. Like ever. Or at least not in the last five freaking years.

I am often extremely exhausted. Extremely. Exhausted. And this aggravates my anxiety and panic like no one’s business.

Let’s back track to about a year ago. I was in a not very good place – exhausted and anxious and just plain yucky. I was a hell of a lot better than a year ago before that when I was in the throws of postpartum depression from second baby exhaustion and its overwhelming-ness. Besides regular therapy and some happy pills, I had started running again. I’m not the best exerciser in the world but I know what I need when I need it and as I was coming out of the awful winter of my PPD discontent, running seemed like the best option. It was good and all and I was working my way through a Couch to 5K type plan. It was nice to be outside and I liked the mental aspects of it but I never really loved running. At least not the way some people do. I got hurt. I healed. I had to go back a few weeks and start over. Then it got colder and school started again and oh well. Not running so much.

My neighbor had started going to a new studio that had opened near us. It was a barre based exercise class and I had read up on it before it opened but they kept delaying the opening and it wasn’t cheap and I started running.

But I wasn’t running anymore and she told me how great it was and winter was closing in and the exhaustion was overwhelming me as usual and well, OCD was taking over in the bad way. So I went with her.

You know where this is headed right? I went to my first Bar Method class a year ago today, February 19, 2012. Since then I’ve gone to over 200 classes. I went to my first class, then my second and then I signed up for an unlimited month and started going 3-4 days a week which I quickly ratcheted up to five classes a week.

I love the Bar Method. There. I told you all. I LOVE THE BAR METHOD!

There are a bunch of barre type workouts out there and you may go to one which is not the Bar Method and it might be the greatest thing in the world for you. If so, that’s great! I can’t speak to other barre type classes because I’ve never taken one. I can only talk about Bar Method. From their website:

The Bar Method™workout creates a uniquely lean, firm, sculpted body by combining the muscle-shaping principles of isometrics, the body-elongating practice of dance conditioning, the science of physical therapy and the intense pace of interval training into a powerful exercise format that quickly and safely reshapes and elongates muscles.

Yes, barre type classes are the rage and every celebrity out there has a favorite. Yes, I have always wanted to be a ballerina and just standing at the barre on my toes makes me feel like I’m in Swan Lake. Yes, at 43 I am in the best shape of my life and can do a split for the first time ever. Don’t believe me? Photographic proof (courtesy of Mason Dixon Kay!)

Crazy, no? So, to reiterate, best shape of my life, doing splits, husband says my ass looks younger and is scared by the definition in my arms, flat abs, etc etc etc. But really, the physical changes in my body are icing on the cake.

For me, Bar is about the fact that on more mornings than I care to admit I wake up with my body hurting and my brain set to monkey mind because I haven’t slept well – hell I haven’t slept at ALL – the night before and I know that if I can drag myself to a morning class and just get through the warm-up plank and maybe just maybe, finish the class, I will feel infinitely better. Remarkably better. Able to face the day better! Think of it this way: I haven’t had caffeine in over 25 years – it makes me feel like I’m having a panic attack and I have enough of those thank you very much – but my morning Bar class feels like a nice healthy shot of caffeine! I have ENERGY! My mind is CLEAR! I feel able to LEAP TALL BUILDINGS IN A SINGLE BOUND! (Okay. Maybe not the last part. It’s a cup of coffee not a double espresso for god’s sake!) And the good feeling lasts throughout the day! Mostly. At least until school is over.

The class reminds me of all the things I love about knitting too. I love patterns – not knit knit knit (or run run run) until you’re done. I like things structured – but with lots of variety within the structure (like the rules I set up for my Miter Madness banket.) All of the Bar Method classes follow the same structure, but within that structure are a million different variations. And the more you do it the harder it gets. And man – are these classes HARD! (Think of some kind of fair isle lace sweater with multiple charts and multiple colors and some crazy construction. WIth steeks of course.)There is always room to challenge yourself – whether it’s perfecting your form, or going for the harder options. Just like knitting. It’s the process baby!

It’s not just the exercise either – it’s the people too. The instructors are incredibly encouraging and from the very first class they know your name. The other (mostly women) students are friendly and it just feels really comfortable to be there. I’ve made some nice friends – some of whom even knit! I can walk into the studio an anxious mess and even before class starts someone has made me laugh and I feel better already. I’m so happy to have found my place and I hope next year to write a similar post telling you how much I still love the Bar Method!

Thanks for letting me ramble. I feel better letting you in on my new obsession. And I hope you all get the chance to find yours too!

I hope to be back soon to talk about lots and lots (and LOTS!) of knitting!
Be well!
L, C