My go-to workout for myself is barre class. I’ve been hooked since my first class a few years ago and have never looked back! Barre classes have helped me tone and tighten the “little” muscles, while other classes that I take, such as Zumba, TRX, or Bootcamp, work the “big” muscles.
There are so many different types of barre classes out there, so today we’ll be taking a deeper dive into the world of Bootybarre. The good news is that most barre classes are very similar, so you will still have a good idea of what you’re getting into even if you try a different style of barre!
Does the name Nicoletti sound familiar? Last week I spoke with Paul Nicoletti on all things TRX, but today is all about his other better half, Shelby Nicoletti. Shelby is the owner of Snohomish Sports Institute, as well as a Bootybarre Plus and Sculpt instructor. She’s also certified in POUND, PiYo, and Indo-Row. As if that’s not impressive enough, she is also a personal trainer, a National D license soccer coach, and is currently riding in local barrel races with her horse Bugsy.
Shelby is a Snohomish native with a lifetime passion for soccer. Following her graduation from Snohomish High School, Shelby went on to play Division I soccer at the University of Connecticut and Washington State University. A four year Varsity letter earner, Shelby honed her skills and passion while also playing with the Seattle Sounders Women for 4 years. She earned her BS in Kinesiology.
Kate: What is barre class? Why is it called barre? Shelby: Barre is best described as a mix of yoga, ballet, Pilates, isometric strength training, and flexibility. Barre is modeled after original ballet moves and positions that have been modified to meet healthy and structural body positions developed by Pilates. A barre utilizes a ballet barre for stability and to hold a structural/neutral position for your spine.
K: Do I have to be a dancer to take this class?
S: You do not need to be a dancer of any sort to take this class and get a lot out of it. In fact, I had never been a dancer either! Most of the exercises are made with the average person as the standard of expectation. If you do have a dance background, you may notice that some movements you’d do in a traditional ballet class have been modified.
K: How flexible do I have to be?
S: You don’t need to be flexible to start, but it will certainly show you the areas you should try to get more flexible!
K: Is barre only for women? S: Absolutely not! Barre is for any gender, size, or ability. It is challenging and steady at the same time. Barre will challenge most men more than women, because they are not as used to isolating and working small muscles individually. Most men work the big muscles and it leads to the imbalance of the body. We would encourage men to come to barre to try and balance out their larger muscle groups.
S: We believe that Bootybarre is the best practice because of its commitment to anatomy that has been tested by extended amounts of time. Tracey Mallet, the creator of Bootybarre was a very serious and long-time ballet dancer in England, who then expanded into becoming a Pilates Master. Those two abilities combined make for safe, effective, fun, and challenging workouts every time. Bootybarre does not depend on new trends, fads, or quick fixes. Every workout is whole body and safe for your spine. Modifications are encouraged and quality over quantity or speed is paramount. She was one of the original creators of barre entirely and many of the other barre methods out there can be tied back to her in one way or another. Bootybarre is also special because it was created to promote and help small gyms thrive.
K: What should I expect when taking a barre class for the first time?
S: You should expect to feel different than at any other fitness class! Go in with an open mind and have fun with it! Bootybarre is serious in its structure and programming, but very lighthearted and fun in its implementation! Expect there to be weird words and names of moves you haven’t heard before, but just stay close to the instructor and they will help you before you get off track. Also expect to be surprised how simple some of the moves are, but when done correctly can do a ton of great work that is very gentle on your body.
K: What are the benefits to adding in barre to my fitness program?
S: I think the biggest benefit of adding barre to a fitness program is that it will broaden your perspective of what it means to work out. Barre has changed the face of fitness from “gut it out workouts” to focusing on range of motion, conserving and aiding in body recovery, and to a more honest full body workout that is focused on balance of muscle groups. Barre will test your resolve for quality and control, it will ask you to pay attention to the little things and listen to your body. And, barre will get you fit, and it will keep you fit without compromising your health.
K: What muscles does a barre class work?
S: Barre works every muscle thanks to Tracey and her program design. When you do a workout (barre series) start to finish, rarely is a muscle group missed. Both the primary and ancillary muscles are worked equally. Its amazing how easy it is to miss strengthening those little muscles, and barre makes it very clear.
K: And my favorite question, what is the best apparel and shoes for a barre class?
S: The best apparel for barre is whatever you are comfortable in! I like to wear leggings and a tank top, but sweats, t-shirts, shorts, etc. are all perfectly acceptable! No shoes needed, but at my studio if you’d like to wear them you are more than welcome to (not all barre studios will allow shoes!). ToeSox can be fun to wear also, especially in the winter! My all time favorite pants are the Lululemon Align Pants or Align Crops because they are so so soft and don’t pinch my waist!
Have you been wanting to try a barre class? Or maybe TRX, Indorow? I’ve partnered with Snohomish Sports Institute to give away one week of free classes!