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The Workout Diaries: Fad #6, Barreworks

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When I worked near Queen Street West and Bathurst Street, I would pass a sign on my walk that advertised classes at Barreworks Toronto. The woman on the sign is SO toned, glistening with sweat and in possession of a set of abs I want, so I took the stairs up to the studio two at a time. A feat I almost used as another entry for my workout diary. Seriously. So so many stairs.

I signed up for a Barreworks mixed level class and am told it's a good choice for a newbie like me. The instructor promises an hour of fun, serious core work and ballet-inspired barre stretches. Only opened since June of this year, the studio is the first of its kind in Canada. Developed from the super popular trend in the US, Barreworks promises a lean dancer's body through muscle sculpting, cardio training, core conditioning and deep stretching.

My class is at 10am on a weekday and I walk to the studio thinking that this means I'm all stretched and warmed up for the session. This is a very wrong assumption. Nothing could have prepared me for this class. To start, you need to grab props from their various locations. A mat (that I grew to hate), a resistance band (hated), two weighted balls (loathed) and another bigger ball (indifferent).

Using all the props repeatedly, what followed was the most intense, difficult and painful workout yet. We stretch, lunge, jump, lift weighted balls and pull on our resistance bands. We do push ups, squats, lifts, planks and downward dog. I sweat, huff, puff, grimace and try desperately to not look in the mirror. I literally have to stop doing what I'm doing because the burning won't stop. The instructor shows me ways to modify the moves to make them easier on my body. I nod, knowing I won't even do those.

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Here's a short snippet of my inner thoughts:

10 a.m. -- Wow, this bar is pretty high. Let's hope she doesn't expect my leg to make it all the way up there.

10:02 -- Oh okay we're just going to jump right in?

10:10 -- Definitely overreached with these two-pound weight balls. Everyone would totally notice if I switched to one-pounders....right?

10:15 -- No way it's only a quarter after!!! Everything hurts. How is this possible only fifteen minutes in?

10:20 -- How does this feel? How does this feel?! How do you think it feels Instructor Lady?! It feels like *!%$.

10:30 -- I'm really going to miss having use of my arms.

10:37 -- I knew she'd make me put my leg on this bar. This knee is staying bent, thank you.

10:40 -- I'm doing it. I'm just going to leave. They can't stop me. I paid for this! I'm the boss!

10:45 -- Push-ups? Son of a B*%&$!

10:50 -- Wait....you can see my underwear through these tights? This class is my nightmare.

10:55 -- Since we're not facing the mirror (thank you higher power!) I'm just not going to do the moves. I'm lying on this mat NOT planking and lifting my leg. No way....no how.

End Result: I'm in so much pain. My arms, my abs, my thighs....everything is experiencing a dull burning sensation that the instructor tried to mask as accomplishment. The next day I can't take a step without moaning "my thighs!"

Effort: A lot. Like a loooooot. My lungs are heaving, my mouth is the Sahara and let's not even get into my limbs that are begging to be cut off. Everything is repeated, sped up and then reversed.

Return Trip?: No no no no. This was painful, embarrassing and not a lot of fun despite the great music. I feel bad considering the instructor did her best trying to make me smile and enjoy it but I've never felt so exhausted yet violent towards another person. I'm looking for a fun workout that gives me results but makes me want to come back. Not a torture session.