If you're shopping around for a new workout to sink your teeth into, you may have heard about — or even tried — barre workouts. Combining elements of Pilates, ballet, and yoga, barre blew up the fitness scene a few years ago, and it still seems to be going strong. But before you dish out a hefty amount of cash for a monthly subscription (it ain't cheap!), you might want to listen up to the information we've gathered about the connection between barre and weight loss.
"Barre workouts do contribute to weight loss because you are breaking down muscle and building strength within every section of class."
Although the main purpose of working out isn't necessarily to lose weight, if you're on a weight-loss journey, you want to opt in for workouts that will help you reach your goals in the most efficient way. POPSUGAR spoke to Adrienne Richmond, Pure Barre owner in San Francisco, CA, who said, "Barre workouts do contribute to weight loss because you are breaking down muscle and building strength within every section of class."
The point in a barre class is to "work your muscle to fatigue," and then that muscle "requires energy to rebuild." In order to give your muscles the energy to build back up, Adrienne says your body has to "burn carbohydrates and break down fat stores," which can contribute to weight loss. "The most important thing is not how many calories you burn in class, but about how you are setting your body up to work more efficiently." However, there aren't any studies out there (yet, anyway) showing that barre has this kind of effect on the body long after the class has ended.
Personal trainer Liz Letchford, MS, ATC, agrees that barre workouts certainly have their benefits. "Barre is programmed to maximise the strength of stabilising muscles and emphasising balance," she told POPSUGAR. "Is it the quickest or most functional way to meet your body composition goals? Probably not."
"I would not recommend barre as the main strategy to lose weight."
If you're only doing barre workouts, you won't "increase your metabolic rate" in the same way that a strength training program is proven to provide, according to Liz. Barre is great, but she highly recommends mixing it up with other forms of fitness, like weight lifting and "a cardiovascular training program — cycling, running, swimming, rowing — to strengthen your heart."
"I would not recommend barre as the main strategy to lose weight," Liz concluded. She says you have nothing to lose by doing these workouts, but don't let them be your only source of fitness if you want to see significant changes in the body. "Just as it is important to eat a variety of foods in your diet, it is important to have a variety of movements in your workouts."
Pure Barre kinesiologist Rachelle Reed says that barre is "important for both weight management and overall quality of life." She told POPSUGAR, "The class is intelligently designed to ensure that each major muscle group is worked until it reaches full fatigue, which helps to strengthen and tone the body." According to Rachelle, you will see results from doing barre regularly for two consecutive months. She says, "Any additional energy expenditure from exercise can help people to manage their weight more effectively. [Barre] workouts also help to keep the metabolism higher throughout the rest of the day."
Since barre workouts are primarily focused on strengthening and lengthening the body, if weight loss is your goal, you should take Liz's advice and also incorporate cardio into your strength training routine, whether it's a brisk walk outside or a cardio-based barre class.
Adrienne adds that "cultivat[ing] a deep mind-body connection" is another huge benefit from barre classes. You'll learn about your body and its mechanics in a way you never did before, and you can take this awareness with you throughout the rest of your life.
Because there aren't any studies proving the effectiveness of barre and its apparent metabolism-boosting properties, we can only take all the information we're given, digest it, and experiment with it for ourselves. If you love barre and the movement and flexibility it offers, keep going to classes! But if you find that you're not reaching your weight loss goals, you might want to add in some other workouts to help you get to where you want to be.