Barre Bee Fit is the exercise studio to which I have become addicted and now has its own blog! Check it out here. I started classes in late 2010 and have gone pretty regularly, at least two or three times a week, except for weeks that I’ve been traveling. Or when I’ve decided I’d rather work 15 hour days. But that’s another story. The workout is a muscle-intensive 60 minutes where you work out each of the major muscle groups, burning the tiniest muscles to fatigue, interspersed with quick cardio-blasts to keep your heart rate up throughout. The blasts are only for 60 seconds, so it doesn’t get overwhelming. Also interspersed throughout are intervals of intense stretching. The switching between muscle work, cardio, and stretching, keeps things interesting, and makes the hour-long work out go fast! It also helps that the instructors are amazing and friendly and encouraging. I’m actually quite inspired by the founders and co-owners, who both started this new business while working full time day jobs. But now, in less than a year (I think they first opened in the summer of 2010), they are successful enough so that they can quit their day jobs. Inspiring.

Anyway, if I ate better and did more cardio on my own, I’m sure I’d have much better results. As it is, even though I haven’t lost a single ounce of weight, I’ve actually gone down two sizes since I started. Crazy, right? I can actually feel, and almost see, the new muscle tone under the soft parts. And by parts, I mean every inch of my curvy womanly body. I may never have a bikini-ready body, but the progress I’ve made keeps me motivated to keep going. And I keep promising myself, I’m going to expand my healthy choices to my eating habits soon, too.

Now, you may have heard of the Bar Method, which is the most commonly known brand name for this style of workout. And, I have to admit, that for the next month, I’m cheating on my Barre Bee teachers with a month-long membership at Bar Method. The thing is, Bar Method enticed me with a Gilt City certificate, through which I found out that they have a location a block and a half from my office (which means it’s five and a half blocks from my apartment). Too convenient. So, I’m taking advantage of their new student special for a one month unlimited pass. At the end, I plan to go back to BBF – definitely! Bar Method falls short in that it doesn’t actually include cardio in its workouts and also doesn’t provide the same intensive stretching. Also, it lacks the friendliness of BBF and on a normal basis is practically twice the cost of BBF! If I ever left Chicago, I would very sad to have to give up BBF. So, unless they expand to another city that I would think about moving to, I might just have to stay put here in Chicago…!

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