A trailblazer was born on July 24, 1969.
Her name was Jennifer Lynn Lopez, and (I presume) she weighed at least 25 pounds…cause of dat ass.
J.Lo, or as I like to call her, the Patron Saint of Booty, fearlessly pioneered the art of curvy behinds, paving the way for newcomers like Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé, Jen Selter and, most recently, me.
On Sunday, I attended a class at Barre Forte, the new fitness studio located at 4994 NW 39th Ave. (Suite D), so Brinn Strange, co-owner and booty-sculptor extraordinaire, could whip my aforementioned tush into shape.
Barre workouts, generally speaking, entail small, targeted movements to activate muscles you didn’t know existed. They’re full-body workouts that challenge multiple muscles at once, and damn, do you feel the burn.
It’s the kind of workout you should rely on if you’re trying to tame problem areas like triceps, hamstrings and saddlebags, an unfortunate term for those little pouches of flesh on the side of your legs where all that late-night Pizza By The Slice gets funneled to.
Instead of the stocky physique weight lifting notoriously creates, barre fitness sculpts elongated muscles. Celebs like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Madonna and Natalie Portman swear by the ballet-inspired workout to create long, lean physiques.
As I sauntered into Barre Forte’s quaint but spacious new studio, I felt confident that weeks of squatting for #bikiniseason had prepared me for whatever Brinn would dish out. The bright natural lighting, smell of hibiscus and the sight of colorful workout gear hanging on the wall welcomed me as if to say, “Don’t worry. This will be cake.”
Brinn, who is certified in a number of exercise disciplines, including Spin, weight lifting and kickboxing, greeted me with a smile and led me into a mirrored room with ballet barres lining the walls. At precisely 9:45 a.m., upbeat music blared from the studio’s sound system and a smattering of spandex-clad ladies filed in.
Then shit got real.
Brinn instructed the class to get on our tippy toes, and like the maladjusted ballerina I am, I did. Then she told us to squat. Then pump. Then kick. Then pump. And pump again.
“Barre forte,” the particular workout that kicked my ass that Sunday, is sort of the standard iteration of barre: Controlled movements and high repetitions combined to #bless you with a ballerina’s tight physique without all the coordination required to actually be a ballerina. As Brinn said, it’s a “no-tutu required” atmosphere that’s perfect for even the most uncoordinated people i.e me.
Barre Forte also offers Les Mills Body Flow, which is a blend of yoga, pilates and tai chi.
Pricing varies based on the number of classes you want to sign up for and how you want to pay for them (auto-renew or not), but new clients have the opportunity to try seven days for free. (Cue the Hallelujah chorus.)
Because it’s summer and pants are totally out of the question, this is the perfect workout if you’re looking to strut your stuff at Royal Village pool or in your favorite teeny summer dress.
Barre Forte Gainesville is particularly perfect because its instructors create a challenging but fun environment for all participants, even newcomers like me who wince in pain with every micro-movement of my calves, which are on fire today, thank you very much.
Check out their website for more details and information.