November 23, 2013

Elements Barre

Back in September Susan and I reached our 1 year anniversary as bloggers and though our sweaty adventures have taken us all over the city (and parts of the world) we still get excited when fitness professionals reach out to US to try their class or product and give our humble opinions. We are certainly not professionals, we’re just a couple of weirdos with a shared passion for active and healthy lifestyles. So when Andrea Fornarola Hunsberger, founder and director of Elements Fitness Studio invited us to try out some classes we were ready to go (once our damn injuries would allow that is). Andrea has an extensive background in both dance and fitness and her energy and passion are contagious. She combined her experience to create Elements, a boutique studio that offers Barre Fitness, Sculpt and Tone , Piloxing, Cardio Jazz, Plyo Boxing and Circuits, Pilates Mat and Yoga Flow Classes.

First off, let me warn you that I’m not particularly into the whole, ballet Barre class craze that seems to be going around. Yeah, I know it produces hard abs and long lean muscles, but I hate the slow moving pace. I think working out should be fun: high intensity, energy boosting, heart pumping,(bring you back to those childhood playground and gym class sweats) fun. Trying to hold a plank longer than the girl next to me just doesn’t do it for me. I especially hate wincing in pain as I try to keep that tiny ball from dropping from my quivering thighs… I hate that tiny ball. So I when Elements suggested we take their new ballet Barre class I can’t say that I was exactly thrilled. But I’m a trooper, and I vow to try anything at least once.

Right off the bat the instructor informed us that Elements does their Barre slightly different, while you should absolutely expect to reach a quivering (god-I-hate-this) moment, she promised to immediately switch to a complementary stretching move. I’m pretty sure both Dana and I relaxed slightly after hearing this. The class consisted of mostly mat work with the addition of that famous ballet barre, as well as minimum props: the tiny ball that I hate so much and stretchy bands. This was my first sighting of stretchy bands at a ballet class; having recently come out of physical therapy I was happy to see these. Such a modify-friendly prop, just tighten the slack to increase intensity. There were pushups, planks, Pilates 100’s, various arm moves such as tricep curls, squats, and tons for bar work. Which I can best describe as a fitness salad: start with a bunch of ballet Barre moves, mix in some pilates, add a dash of yoga and you've got this class. Andrea was energetic and very cautious of any necessary modifications.

Unlike my lovely friend Susan I am not a barre class hater! I will admit that some can be a bit of a snoozer (*cough* like this one) and they can give off that Medieval torture vibe, I am generally a fan of barre and Elements barre was anything but boring! Andrea is a ball of energy and clearly a very experienced instructor. Her enthusiasm is undeniable and she does a great job of structuring her class in way that keeps the intensity up without making you want to punch her in the face, which really is an important skill for a fitness instructor. As she explained to us before the class she makes you do just enough of every move to really feel it burn (and make some crazy faces) then you get to move on to a stretch or another type of isolated movement. Whether you love or loathe the barre, this class is worth checking out. We are already planning to go back and try Piloxing, which is a mix of Pilates and boxing.

Susan: So for any of you who are Barre class haters out there, I suggest you take your butt down to Elements Fitness Studio and try their Barre class. It certainly turned this former Barre class hater. 

 Rating- out of 5 Sweatbands 

Studio- n/a
Instructor- 5
Sweat Factor- 3
Amenities- n/a
Pricing- 3

Amenities: Currently Elements Fitness Studios is growing, at the moment workouts are based out of a gorgeous Tribeca dance studio

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