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Let’s get drunk on fitness, you guys.
This winter, you may want to hit up a new kind of bar, one you’ll leave leg-lifting out of instead of Lyfting. Barre workouts have become trendy over the last fifteen years with good reason: they tout effectiveness, a strengthened core and lean physique. And they’re just fun, man. Anyone who has been subjected to the generic, somewhat dated playlists of 24 Hour Fitness’s classes will appreciate the upbeat, current music played in barre classes. The fitness routine is a hit with all kinds of ladies: the ballet-inspired moves delight gals with a dancer’s background like yours truly, and non-dancers needn’t be threatened because the moves are simple enough to catch onto within the hour.
With the barre trend growing in Sacramento, what’s a girl to do when deciding which class will be right for you? Luckily, City Scout has done the heavy lifting for you (light lifting, actually, as the free weights in barre workouts are decidedly light). We’re researching three different gyms – each with their own approach – giving new meaning to the term, barre crawl.
First on our crawl is The Dailey Method, a dance fitness discipline founded by dance fitness pioneer Jill Dailey. Dailey’s brand of barre is a cocktail of body toning exercises that samples the best aspects of dance, yoga, and pilates to create a full-body workout. It’s designed to be efficient and effective, with an emphasis on alignment and improved posture.
Five of us City Scout ladies took a field trip out to Dailey’s Downtown Sacramento location, which is tucked away on 8th just below J St. Once I entered, I felt as though I was in a studio you might find in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. The lobby contains a small retail area with chic, tie dyed (sounds like an oxymoron, I know) workout clothing, and a cubby area to store your shoes. We kicked off our shoes – Dailey Method recommends performing the exercise in socks, better if they’re the grippy kind – and took our places in the adjacent room, a large studio with a bright, grassy green wall the instructor would refer to throughout the class when instructing which direction to face. The studio fits 24 spots which, the instructor told us, is usually not filled to capacity, so you won’t have to worry about leg lifting your neighbor in the face.
We had Jessie as our instructor. Experienced and encouraging, she provided consistent verbal direction throughout the class on her mic. Her main message during most exercises was reminding us to be aware of our core, whether it be with a “High-C” curve, a slight tilting of the tailbone, or a “Low-C,” a flat-back position where your abdominals press toward your spine. During some moves, like the one with our backs slightly hinged to perform weighted arm lifts, Stephanie advised that we maintain a natural curve of the spine, as it’s the safest, a refreshing departure from the stiff, flat-back position of traditional weight-lifting classes.
The gear used at the Dailey Method includes a latex-free resistance band, a small, inflatable ball to squeeze between the thighs, and 2-3 pound weights. Don’t let those fool you, though – we used them to perform many tiny repetitions, which feel like they’re toning in a very targeted way. The band, which I usually can’t help but envision snapping into my face like a cartoon, felt strong and allowed me to adjust the difficulty of the moves based on how tight I held it.
The structure of the class was tight and seamless. The full hour was packed with many varied moves, from the bar to the mat. Precious time and energy was saved when two instructors taking the class would sweep away the equipment when the next series called for a clear space.
My favorite was the standing bar work where every little adjustment counts. With legs bent, feet in relevé position (tippy toes), and hips engaged in tiny thrusts, almost every muscle in my body was firing. Another favorite of the City Scout group was the “seated pretzel.” Harder than it looks, this resistance band move is meant to target the seat. But, as with all of the moves, you better believe your obliques are engaged and working, as well.
Amenities abounded at The Dailey Method! We ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the luxurious bathroom with a lovely shower and the digital lockers. It was Gwyneth-worthy to say the least. There was an overall relaxing, treat yo’self vibe that made me feel as though I was taking care of my mind and body. Speaking of my body, it was sufficiently sore the next day! It was a pleasant soreness, though, if that makes sense. Once again, if I’m to compare it to traditional weight-centric gym classes where I may be out of commission for a number of days, The Dailey Method’s moves left my accessory muscles just achy enough that they felt accomplished instead of assaulted.
You’ll like this class if:
- You enjoy individual attention and direction
- Like to sweat. The Daily Method offers an “interval” class for those more cardio-inclined.
- Get off on efficiency. Not only are the classes and moves designed for efficiency, they offer 45 minute “express” classes, which contain the highlights of the most effective moves in a class you can easily squeeze in on your lunch break.
- Enjoy variety. Jessie shared that The Dailey Method mixes up their routines to keep it exciting and challenging for members who have been attending for a year or more.
Some before/after ideas to take into consideration:
- One hour, metered street parking is perfect for a one hour class, but don’t linger lest you get a parking ticket!
- Head over to Temple Coffee for a pre-class caffeine boost or a post-class treat.
- $18 Individual class
- $40 New client 3 class package
- $300 20 class package
- $420 30 class package
- Visit the website for special packages
With winter on its merry way, barre classes are a great way to work out indoors and keep it tight throughout the chilly months. I think it’s safe to say I’m officially intoxicated by the barre workout regimen. Stay tuned for our next stop on the crawl, Humani Pilates!
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