Health & Grooming | Chronicles of a Spa Junkie

Spa Junkie at… Barrecore

Our incognito columnist feels the burn at the barre

Spa Junkie at… Barrecore

Image: Jay Yeo

January 28 2012
Spa Junkie

Part: 1 | 2

Spa Junkie is taking her first-ever barre method fitness class in Chelsea.

After a quick warm-up, we use hand weights to work on the upper body and do a series of stretches using the bar before a round of lower-body squats and leg lifts. The isolated movements themselves are easy enough, but the repetitions have us shaking involuntarily as our muscles go deeply to work. The burning sensation that results after doing up to 50 rounds of each has me imagining the fat deposits on my hips, thighs and rear being incinerated; and while I am a little embarrassed at the 8.0-Richter-scale magnitude of my trembling, I am totally engrossed in executing each tiny movement to perfection.

As we move from one position to the next, our instructor from planet gorgeous calls out the name of each new turn as she patrols the room, gently adjusting our wobbling limbs into the right position. Titles such as the “semi-push up”, “back dancing” and – quite oddly, given its calorie count – the “standing pretzel” ring out as we move from one position to the next.

After a round of seated ab work involving an exercise ball and the bar, we do some gentle stretching; and with each progressive muscle group twitching with exhaustion, we finish with a collective sigh. Never before have I felt my body go through such a thorough workout; as I feel the physical sensation of muscles settling, it dawns on me how limiting my daily run in the park must be. I am a convert.

As with all fitness activities, consistency is key to results; but the beauty of this method is that it doesn’t require any expensive gear, and the movements, while less effective without supervision, can be done at home between classes – the day after my first session, I found myself doing a spot of “back dancing” between late-night conference calls.


After a few more classes, I am already noticing the difference in tone and posture; and I am not remotely surprised to read about the method’s numerous celebrity devotees and addicts, including one woman who drives the 125-odd miles between San Diego and Los Angeles once a week to attend her favourite class.

In short, this is the most effective toning method to hit our shores since Jane Fonda led us to legwarmers. It’s not for the faint-hearted, and the days that follow your first few classes will likely see you grimacing up and down staircases; but the results are worth every butt-burning penny.

Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, treatments and accommodation.