6 Things to Know Before Your First Barre Class

Everyone always talks about what a hard workout barre is, and I thought of it as something that I had to get in better shape to try. It is hard, but you don’t have to be in great shape to start. It’s a full body workout that uses free weights, a mat, and a ballet barre that can be easily modified for any fitness level.  If you’re new to the workout, it can definitely seem intimidating. I’ve put together a list of things to know before your first barre class, that I wish I had known before mine.

1. Wear pants.
I would recommend wearing leggings to barre class over shorts. You’ll spend a lot of time on the floor so I think it’s better to wear something tight against your legs so no one’s looking up your shorts.
2. Get to class early and introduce yourself to the instructor.
Let your instructor know that this is your first barre class and tell him/her about any injuries you have. I’d recommend doing this anytime you’re going to a class with a different instructor, especially if you have any injuries. During class your instructor can help you with any modifications you need.
3. You can switch to your lighter weights.
My first class, I finished the entire free weights portion with my heavy weights. I probably would have gotten more out of using the weights if I had switched to my lighter ones once my heavy set got too heavy for me. I would’ve been more comfortable and not taken so many breaks, but I didn’t know that was an option.
4. Start small.
Even if you can lift heavy weights when you’re weight training, start with small weights in barre. You’re working smaller muscle groups, and you’re not going to get a break between sets.
5. The class is split into sections of work and stretching.
My first class felt like forever because I’m used to doing all of the work and then stretching. In barre class, you’ll work your arms and then stretch them, work your legs and then stretch them, etc. Once you’re used to the format, these smaller sections will help the class fly by!
6. Follow the two class rule.
Give any new fitness class a second try before you decide if you like it or not. If I hadn’t done this, I wouldn’t have gone back for a second class. My first class was hard and felt especially long, but my second class felt so much better because I knew what to expect. Now barre is one of my favorite ways to workout. If I hadn’t given it a second shot, I would be missing out on it!

Have you been to a barre class? What advice do you have for barre newbies?

What I Read June

After reading four books that I really enjoyed last month, this month started off a little slow for me. But fortunately, it ended on a good note with The Girls Next Door and The Lucidity Project. I’m currently on vacation so I’m hoping to use this week to get through a lot of reading on the beach!

What I Read June

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo ★★★☆☆

Marie Kondo has dedicated her whole life to the art of tidying. From a young child reading her mother’s home magazines to a professional tidier, Kondo has perfected her method that she’s named the KonMari method. And it’s pretty simple. Discard anything you own if it doesn’t spark joy.

The thing that I really loved the most about reading this was how normal it made me feel. Kondo talks about a lot of the clients she’s worked with who have homes overflowing with things or have trouble throwing things away. I saw a little bit of myself in almost every client she referenced. Some things were a little too weird for me, like greeting your home and thanking belongings you’ve discarded for fulfilling their purpose. But overall, it’s a method worth trying that’s inspired me to do some tidying of my own.

The Circle by David Eggers ★★★☆☆

The Circle is a company that you might remind you of Google or Facebook with a campus near San Francisco. Mae Holland is sure her luck has changed when she gets a job in the Customer Experience department at The Circle. After she starts working there, the company begins adding more and more features that start to raise questions about the right to privacy. How much should other people really be able to know about you?

Initially, I did like Mae as the main character. But as her romantic affairs around The Circle campus started to add her drama and she becomes increasingly more brainwashed by The Circle’s ideas, I start to wonder why she can’t see what people outside of The Circle campus do. Very early on she starts to become more and more unlikeable, which makes the novel hard to read.

The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt ★★★★☆

(I received a digital copy from Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review)

After one girl dies, several others are humiliated and warned to keep their mouth shut. The case gets personal for Detective Eden Berrisford when she finds out her niece Jess is kidnapped.

This is the first in a series of mystery books about Eden Berrisford, and I can’t wait to read the next one. I couldn’t put this down. The characters are very well-developed. I felt like I knew Jess personally, and I had to know what was going to happen to her.

The Lucidity Project by Abbey Campbell Cook ★★★★☆

(I received a digital copy from Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review)

Maxine (Max) Dorigan has attempted suicide twice. After her second attempt, her therapist tells her that’s nothing else they can do for her. That’s when her doctor connects her with Dr. Luna, a representative for The Lucidity Project. Max immediately flies out to an island in the Caribbean where she begins working with Dr. Micah McMoneagle and a group of other people like her.

With only 13 ratings on GoodReads, I feel like this book has flown under the radar (Full disclosure: while I did receive an advanced copy of this, I’ve had it for a year so it’s not so new anymore). I was immediately hooked on the idea of The Lucidity Project. I think I was more excited to follow Max to the Caribbean as a reader than she was to go. The story has a little bit of a supernatural feel, and it reminded me a lot Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children with young adults instead of kids.

What did you read this month?

What I Read May

I got a little behind on my 2017 reading goal with some books that it felt like it took me forever to get through. After getting through four books in May I’m feeling confident that I’ll get back on track.

What I Read May

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood ★★★★☆

I have to admit I had a hard time getting into this. There really is no explanation or introduction about the world that you’re being transported to by the narrator, which makes it confusing at first. But after a few chapters, I was hooked. I wanted to know more about what was going on and who this girl narrating was. The only part I didn’t like was the “Historical Note” at the end of the novel. While it did clear up some of the questions I had about the world the narrator was living in, I felt like it also took away some of the magic of her story. I’m really interested to watch the series on Hulu to see how that compares.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly   ★★★★☆

I really loved this because it’s great real life story that’s told as a story and not written like a textbook. It’s the story of black women who began their careers as computers for NACA, now NASA, at a time when integration was unpopular and women didn’t work. Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden had a huge impact on the contributions of NASA, including putting a man on the moon. It is a story that everyone should hear, one I’m surprised isn’t better known. The writing gets a little bit more technical than it probably needs to, and the story jumped around a lot in a way that I found to be confusing. However, it’s pretty easy to get through.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion ★★★★☆

At the end of 2003, Joan Didion loses her husband to a coronary while their daughter is in the ICU on life support. She’s dealing with one loss while praying that her daughter makes a recovery. Didion’s account of grief is so moving. This is a perfect read for anyone who has suffered a loss.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon ★★★★☆

Madeline Whittier has SCID, a rare disease that weakens the immune system. Madeline hasn’t been outside of her house since she was diagnosed as a baby. She can’t go to school or meet other kids in real life. When a teenage boy named Olly moves next door, Madeline can’t stop thinking about them. The two start chatting online, and their doomed love story begins. This was the perfect beach read to spend my time in the sand with over Memorial Day Weekend. I finished in two days, and I could not put it down. I came really close to giving this 5 stars. As much as I loved the story, it ended too abruptly for me.

What did you read last month?

November Goals

november goals
I can’t believe it’s November already! Before we know it, it’s going to be New Year’s. But before we get that far, I’m ready to tackle my November goals to end this year on the right note. Between working out more, eating better, and adding some extra reading, I think I have a pretty well-rounded month to come.
Cut out alcohol and sweets. I’m really trying to start eating healthier to lose some weight and fit back into my winter clothes. (I have two pairs of jeans that fit, and one of them is starting to get a whole in the crotch). Hopefully cutting out alcohol and sweets will help me cut out a lot of the calories that are keeping me out of my other jeans.

Read 4 books. I aimed for this last month, and only got three. But I was successful in September so I’m hoping I can do it again in November.

Run every other day. I decided against the half marathon later this month, and signed up for the 10k instead. I want to be able to run the whole thing and take a good bit of time off of my last 10k time.

What’s on your list of November goals?

What I Read September

what i read september

My goal for September was to read four books. And I’m happy to say that I was able to finish those four books!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ★★★★☆

I really wish this book hadn’t taken so long to get into. It took about a third of the novel for the story to really draw you in, but once it does there’s no putting it down. I loved exploring Miss Peregrine’s world. I can’t wait to find out what happens in the next book. And I’m really interested to see what they do with the movie version.

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls ★★★☆☆

Do you ever read a book or watch a TV show/movie, and the whole time you’re thinking, “No! What are you doing? Don’t do that!” No? Maybe that’s just me. But this is one of those books. The main character, Thea Atwell, makes bad decision after decision. And honestly, I spent the whole time reading getting frustrated with her. Anton DiSclafani is a talented writer, but this story wasn’t for me.

Angels & Demons ★★★★☆

I could not put this down. Seriously, my kindle was in my hand if I had a spare moment to read a chapter or two. The first book in the popular Robert Langdon series was not a let down. There are new adventures at every turn, and the suspense keeps you turning the pages.

The Heir ★★★☆☆

The fourth book in The Selection series fast forwards to America and Maxon’s daughter, Eadlyn. At 18, it’s time for her to go through her own selection. While I did enjoy this novel, it wasn’t the original selection that I loved so much. I think I would have rather seen America and Maxon in their engagement or their first years of marriage in the continuation of the series. I did grow to like Eadlyn and her suitors towards the end, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for.

 

No Spend September: Saving Money

Last week I told you about my No Spend September. Honestly, my biggest problem when it comes to saving money is spending. I usually don’t think twice if there’s something that I want to do or buy, but I should. This week I’m going to focus on ways that I plan to save money that you can use too!

saving money

Take breakfast and lunch to work everyday

I easily spend $20 a day just while I’m at work. I’m not a morning person, which means breakfast is eaten at my desk. And I get lunch out more often than not. Lunch out in DC usually means spending at least $10.

Make coffee at home

Starbucks is my weakness. Especially the cold brew and iced chai lattes. Cold brew is so easy to make at home. And while it’s a little bit of a big spend at the grocery store, buying chai concentrate is a lot cheaper than $4 a latte. Even just a regular hot coffee for a few dollars a day adds up, so make your own!

Meal plan and cook at home

Takeout and going out to eat definitely put a dent in my budget. Planning meals that use the same ingredients and buying everything I need in one shopping trip is going to make a huge difference.

Use Groupon and LivingSocial for dinners out

I don’t want to eat dinner at home every night. Groupon and LivingSocial always have great local restaurant deals. Buying vouchers are a great way to still eat out and enjoy the restaurant dining experience without spending so much money.

No shopping

I spend too much money on clothes and other things that I don’t really need. No more nonessential shopping for me.

Use coupons and shop around

There are always going to be things that you need. Whether you need toilet paper or toothpaste or cleaning supplies, shop around. Buy what’s on sale, and use coupons if you can find them.

 

What tips do you have for saving money?

 

 

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