• Bar Method

You know that old January feeling: “I’m going to get in shape,” “I’m going to be way more awesome at working out and eating healthy!” Well, that usually lasts a few weeks for me and then I fall off the fitness wagon and back on the red wine and cheese caravan. Enter Bar Method class.

Loads of my skinny blonde friends all attend ballet bar-type classes and look amazing. They are like a little army of bar class advocates. Ok, I tell myself, I can do this. I sign up for my first class at The Bar Method Portland down in the Pearl. I arrive nice and early to fill out my new student forms and take a peek around. I see all different ages of ladies, some super fit and young, others older hot Pearl moms, and a few girls who look sort of like me (read: newbie).

Everyone is friendly enough as we settle into the carpeted exercise room. There are big mirrors to the front of the studio, and ballet bars around the perimeter of the room. Oh, you also must wear socks. The regulars are rocking their specialty Bar Method toe socks. Before we get going I’m instructed to grab some weights and a small ball. The super perky instructor comes over and gets my name, along with the other new girls before class begins. Then BAM! on with the headset and she’s nicely shouting out instructions. We’ve got Ludacris and other early '00s rap blaring in the background as we get our warm up going.

What happens next is kind of a blur. My body hurts, I keep laughing because the teacher repeatedly calls out my name (ON THE HEADSET) and being like “Kayla! Tuck! Tuck!” It feels a bit awkward to be called out in front of everyone but hey, roll with what you got. As I’m trying to tuck, another instructor comes out and “spots” me while I’m doing some tortuous ab exercise. The hands-on approach is nice for some people, but I was a bit turned off by all of the extra attention and verbal corrections over the loudspeaker. The environment feels really high stress and competitive. We go on doing various arm, leg, and ab moves for what feels like hours. Lots of small movements repeated over and over until you are shaking from pain and cannot go on. This is also a sign of how out of shape I am, as some girls look graceful as they breeze on through the motions.

By the end of class my whole body felt like jello, so it was certainly effective. I haven’t been back, and I probably won’t. I’m more into power Vinyasa classes. Bar Method is also on the expensive side, with a monthly unlimited membership putting you back $175. For that kinda dough I’d rather buy shoes and drinks. (This is why I will not likely reach my goal weight anytime soon.)