Setting the Barre
Meet the sisters behind Fairfield's new Bar Method studio.
The Lotte Berk barre fitness craze may have started over fifty years ago, but today there’s a slew of similar barre-fusion classes that incorporate stretching, moves from Pilates, yoga and ballet — and they’re changing the way we exercise. We spent some time with sisters Bridget McBride and Caitlin Giambalvo, owners of the new Bar Method that opened in Fairfield on January 1st. Here’s what they had to say about their favorite way to work out.
Q: Congrats on your grand opening. What prompted you to open a studio in Fairfield?
A: Bridget had been teaching The Bar Method in L.A. for six years and just moved back East, and Caitlin recently got certified this year. Fairfield is our hometown, and we knew the workout would be a hit, given the town clientele is so focused on fitness and health. We’re the only franchised Bar Method studio in Connecticut, and the only one owned by sisters!
Q: What is The Bar Method exactly?
A: This workout grew out of a Lotte Berk class taught by The Bar Method founder, Burr Leonard. She took those moves and worked with physical therapists and a team of OB-Gyns to modify some of the poses so they would be safe and effective for both pregnant and non-pregnant clients. The result is The Bar Method— a fun, safe, full-body hour workout that burns fat, carves muscle, and changes the shape of your body.
Q: How does it work?
A: Every intense exercise is followed by a stretch, which lengthens your muscles instead of bulking them up. Classes are intense and consist of high repetitions of isometric moves (small, precise exercises that force you to “stay in muscle” and push the muscle to its limit). During certain thigh and seat exercises, your body will actually shake from fatigue. This means that you are working extremely deep and burning fat within your muscle. We want people to embrace the “shake”!
Q: What are some benefits of the class?
A: It’s a hard core workout that’s easy on the joints. It will firm, tone and tighten, and many clients have changed the shape of their bodies and lost weight as a result of The Bar Method. Creating a “lifted seat” is one major perk that we love to brag about.
Q: What kind of teaching program do the instructors complete?
A: Instructors undergo a rigorous 4-6 month training program (that goes in tandem with a 500-page teaching manual) to make sure they know all the moves and how to teach them safely.
Q: What other types of fitness are incorporated in a Bar Method class?
A: Our workout, which hits just about every muscle in your body, uses many moves from yoga, Pilates and ballet. Stretching is also a big part of the routine.
Q: How many classes should you do a week?
A: We recommend coming 3-5 times per week to maximize results. The Bar Method is also a nice compliment to any other fitness activity you do.
Q: How is The Bar Method different from other barre classes out there?
A: The Bar Method is constantly evolving. Burr Leonard and her team continue to work with physical therapists to update or change exercises to keep up with the times, all the while making sure the movements are effective and safe. Under the guidance of these PTs, Burr has found a perfect way to organize the class so you’re alternating working the front and back parts of your body (i.e. you tone one side of your body, while elongating the side you just worked).
85 Mill Plain Road