Julie Lawson Timmer grew up in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. She lives in Ann Arbor, MI, with her husband, their four teenage children, and two rescued dogs. By turns, she is a writer, lawyer, mom/stepmom, and dreadful cook. Her first novel, Five Days Left, is out in paperback. Her second book, Untethered, was released earlier this month. She shared this personal story exclusively with FirstforWomen.com.
What it is: Barre classes usually consist of a few segments: warm-up; upper body workouts with light hand weights; time at the ballet barre to blast your legs with small, repetitive, movements; and core work.
Required energy level: Medium
Pros: Let’s start with the best perk: You’ll see quick results in your hips, thighs, and butt. My dresses and skirts fit better now; just try to make me quit barre after that result! You’ll fatigue muscles you forgot you even had, but because classes use only body weight or tiny hand weights, you don’t risk injury.
Cons: You don’t get a great cardio workout, and you may not see significant upper body strength gains. Also, if your teacher isn’t good enough to vary the classes, you’ll plateau.
Keep or dump: Keep. Because they’ve become so popular, classes are easy to find at just about any time of day, and are relatively cheap.