After 50 barre3 classes with Edmonds studio owner Gina Drake, our columnist Jennifer Bardsley has unleashed a hidden spring in her step. (Jennifer Bardsley)

After 50 barre3 classes with Edmonds studio owner Gina Drake, our columnist Jennifer Bardsley has unleashed a hidden spring in her step. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Barre3 workouts help you unleash your hidden superpower

Classes combine weights, cardio, stretching and mindfulness into a simple-to-follow hour of exercise.

One of the mottos that floats around my house is: “If it’s free, take it.” That rational prompted me to try my first barre3 class eight months ago when studio owner Gina Drake began offering free exercise classes in Edmonds.

In partnership with local business like Gravity Bar, Brigid’s Bottle Shop, Anytime Fitness, Hunni Company, Scratch Distillery and 190 Sunset, as well as the Edmonds Parks and Recreation Department, Gina taught over 175 free pop-up classes, drawing students from all of the cities that surround Edmonds.

I’ve been to 50 barre3 classes, which roughly translates to $725 worth of free instruction. But starting this month, I’m gladly opening my wallet because Gina’s new studio is set to open on March 5. Guess who signed up for a membership? Me.

Barre3 combines weights, cardio, stretching and mindfulness into a simple-to-follow hour of heart-pumping exercise. The instructors offer modifications for each pose, so the class is suitable for every age, including pregnant moms and Baby Boomers.

What’s different about barre3 is their focus on balance, not losing weight or “feeling the burn.” That’s not to say that barre3 is easy. After my first class, I had trouble walking up and down stairs for the next few days.

Now, after 50 classes, I have better posture, increased stability and am much less likely to injure myself carrying in a load of groceries from the car. More importantly, I look forward to barre3, unlike other things (like spin class), which I dread. I’ve also made new friends.

Barre3 has taught me that those outcomes are the things that matter the most, not the less consequential results like me also dropping two dress sizes and finally toning my jiggly middle aged arms.

I’m turning 42 this May, and it’s empowering to know that I can still improve my strength and flexibility — not just maintain what I have and fight against atrophy — but actually improve.

There’s a posture in barre3 called narrow athletic V, where you stand in first position, click your heels together and rise up on the balls of your feet. Then you spend the next three minutes pulsing up and down, holding the plie or fanning your knees out back and forth.

The first four months I did barre3, I couldn’t get through the sequence without stopping in the middle of it to rest. But sometime in November, I clicked my heels together, sank down and realized that there were springs down my legs that helped me rise back up again. It felt like I’d developed a hidden superpower.

Right now in Snohomish County there are two places to try barre3 — the new studio in Edmonds and one in the Mill Creek Town Center. Both locations offer child care. If you go, be sure to wear pants or leggings and bring a water bottle. Mats and weights are provided. I like to wear grip socks but most students go barefoot.

Don’t worry about feeling the burn, but definitely stand up straight and have fun. The spring in your step is waiting for you.

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @the_ya_gal, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as The YA Gal. Email her at teachingmybabytoread@gmail.com.

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