To give this new barre studio a fair chance, I made a reservation to try a sampling of all the classes, from Physique Stretch to Physique Cardio. While booking the classes, I spoke to a Physique representative, informing her that I was in excellent shape and that the beginner class would probably be too light for me. “Oh no,” she corrected. “Trust me. You’ll want to begin with the beginner.” I heeded her advice, and thank God I did.
I awoke to the fog on a dismal Sunday summer morning, unmotivated to get out of bed. Sunday was typically the day I gave my body a rest, but on this day, I decided to take two classes. I began my morning with Physique Stretch. The instructor turned down the lights and suggested we close our eyes, playing soothing, celestial music. This lulled me into a transcendent state as I let my body sink into relaxing and rejuvenating poses. It was a pure luxury and I wasn’t sure how I was going to adjust my mindset when the music changed to hip hop and the Mixed class began.
It was a relatively smooth transition from one class to another. The Mixed class was similar to the barre classes I’d taken in the past. In this class, options were given so that each person could tailor the workout for their own level of fitness. It incorporated isometric exercises that fatigued the muscles until they shook and burned. At Physique 57, they call this Interval Overload. There was no question that every muscle in my body, especially my thighs were exhausted, but in all honesty, I needed a little more to impress me.
Oddly enough, just as the Physique 57 rep promised, the beginner class did just that. What I liked the most about this class was that the focus was on the correct form, and once that was accomplished, the intervals became much more challenging, allowing me to go deeper. In the middle of the class, as my legs were slowly going numb, I laughed at my audacity, thinking I could have made it through an intermediate class. There is a reason Physique 57 suggests taking at least 8-10 beginner classes before advancing to intermediate. People like me are that reason.
All in all, my absolute favorite was the Physique Cardio. In this class, I pushed my body beyond what I thought it was capable of. Every muscle in me was on fire as my heart rate reached maximum velocity. I was drenched in my own sweat, yet invigorated as my endorphins started to release. I could feel the fat melting away with each repetition; I could feel my soul soar as I passed my threshold of pain. This was what my friend Sarah had been talking about. This was the Bar Method on crack.
Physique 57 is more than a workout, it’s an enterprise. The company was founded by Tanya Becker, one of the most highly respected instructors of the Lotte Berk Method (the original barre class) and Jennifer Vaughan Maanavi, a dance enthusiast and previous professional on Wall Street. Together, they have created an empire that includes DVDs, on line workouts, the Physique 57 Solution book, a clothing line, and they are expanding to locations worldwide, including a studio they recently opened in Dubai.
I have tried a myriad of workouts, and I’ve only found a few that have been able to retain my attention. At Physique 57, there is so much variety, it would be impossible to become bored. These classes not only transform the body, they increase strength, stamina and flexibility, while improving posture and increasing bone density. There are classes for those who have never lost their breath before as well as for the hardcore fitness enthusiasts, and there’s always room to raise the bar for even the strongest of athletes. And for those who are unable to make it to one of Physique’s studios, you will get just as good of a workout if you go on line or use a DVD. Just be sure to heed the advice I was given and start with a beginner class. Trust me. You will walk away wobbling.
To learn more about Physique 57, or for a schedule of their classes, visit their website at: www.physique57.com.