‘It’s personal training in a group. But more fun,’ Director Esther Kufrin of Notting Hill’s BARREtoned assures us. Rumours of the ballet-inspired exercise class’s intensity have us a little apprehensive. ‘It’s a kickass workout,’ Esther continues, describing the BARREtoned method, which is a ‘fusion of many different methods and exercises that we developed ourselves with a physical therapist to create long, lean muscle and streamline dancers’ bodies.’ The ‘we’ refers to Kufrin’s team, a tight-knit crew of highly trained instructors with decades’ worth of experience from diverse fitness backgrounds – from professional dancing and performing, to marathon running.
‘Women strive so much for getting their workout in their day and making it effective,’ states Esther. Evidently BARREtoned’s doing something right, as its classes see a minimum of 10 new people – men included – attending daily. Since opening in 2013, the Chepstow Road studio has taught its devoted BARREtoners micro movements that focus on the ‘little, tiny fibres in your muscles,’ explains instructor Hillary Alt Priest. These interval training techniques ‘work so deeply into the muscles, you will continue to burn calories after you leave class and up to 48 hrs afterwards,’ she says.
If you’re feeling as though 2015 is the year for raising the bar on your fitness regime, clearly BARREtoned’s the way to go. But how do beginners fare? Esther sets the record straight: ‘If they really want to work hard, they want to change their body and like a challenge, then they love it. We have a lot of beginners who become addicted (in a good way) to us within their first month.’ Hillary tells us BARREtoned’s signature result is defined shoulders and arms. Because the arm exercises taught are very subtle, using lighter weights and smaller movements, students define their upper limbs and shoulders without bulking up. But ultimately, what Esther says BARREtoned’s most proud of, is the ‘individual attention we give to each and every student.’
Esther and Hillary kindly ran us through a couple of key exercises for achieving the ever-enviable BARREtoned body. Take a look at our Meet the Experts video and get inspired. Longer, leaner muscles are just a class away…
BARREtoned; Notting Hill Studio, 12 Chepstow Road, London, W2 5BD; T 020 7229 8668; barretoned.com