If you’ve been reading here the past seven months (especially any of my bumpdates!) then you’ve probably heard me mention how much I absolutely love The Bar Method. I joined when I was 8 weeks pregnant and y’all. I’m not kidding when I say joining was the best thing I did during my pregnancy. Not only has it helped me stay active and fit in these months when my body has been busy growing a tiny human, but it’s helped me in so many other areas as well. I’m stronger, happier, and have formed so many sweet friendships from it. I never knew that a workout class could do that, but it really did!
My very first class was the day before my Dad’s funeral. I was in a first trimester funk and had just sat by my dad’s side for weeks, watching cancer destroy his body. I was mourning the loss of the greatest man I knew, struggling with understanding why the Lord took away my Daddy two weeks after we told him he was going to be a grandpa, and I was drowning my sorrows in sweets and pizza. The last thing I wanted to do was get up before work to do an at home workout or go on a run, and by the time the afternoon hit I was exhausted and just wanted to lay down.
But I knew that working out would help me (hellooo endorphins!) and so I started looking around the area for local barre studios and stumbled upon The Bar Method Southlake. It had rave reviews, was just down the road from my school, AND they had a new client special running at the time. I decided to give it a try and from the minute I walked in I was smitten.
The staff was welcoming and friendly. The workout was killer (I was sore for days- thanks Lauren!). And I couldn’t wait to go back. I knew having an instructor telling me what to do would push me to not give up mid exercise. As I got to know and recognize people in the classes I took, a sense of community began to form. I didn’t mind waking up at 4:30 to make it to the 5:45 class before work three times a week. I actually looked forward to it! And then one day it hit me…
Joining The Bar Method was THE best thing I did during my pregnancy.
And today I’m here to share why.
(Read more about The Bar Method and what it is here!)
It helped me heal
I know this may sound a little weird, but it’s true. Having a consistent workout schedule, sweating 3-5 times a week with other strong women, and spending an hour doing something for myself helped me SO much. There are so many studies out there that talk about the emotional and mental benefits of working out. When you work out, your body releases endorphins, which helps improve your mood, and reduces anxiety and stress. The more I went to class, the more I found myself enjoying the workout, looking forward to sweating it out, and the pain over loosing my dad slowly healed. While I know working out wasn’t the only reason I have been healing, I know it helped SO much.
It is safe to do through the entire pregnancy
One of the reasons I searched for a barre class to begin with was because I had heard that that type of workout was great for pregnancy. And let me tell you… I REALLY is! I had no idea where to begin when it came to pregnancy modifications, but the instructors have been amazing at helping me adjust as my body changed, and protect me from hurting myself during class. If I ever struggled with a move, or needed to do something different, they were accommodating and made sure that I was okay. They also offer prenatal classes (which I unfortunately was never able to attend) where you can learn even more modifications, and practice stretches that help keep your body in tip top shape for pregnancy, labor and postpartum.
And let me tell you… Even though I have to modify, the classes are STILL killer. 7 months in and I am still having to reset because my arms or thighs are burning, and I love that every class is a little bit different. It keeps things interesting, and my body guessing! I can’t wait to see the changes I’ll have after James is born.
Read about the different pregnancy modifications here!
It helps make pregnancy easier
According to The Bar Method,
Studies have shown that regular exercise during pregnancy decreases backaches and discomfort due to swollen feet, makes women less likely to gain excessive weight, decreases the risk of diabetes, and improves mood and self-esteem. Babies of pregnant women who exercise have been found as a group to be leaner, calmer and generally healthier at birth.
And I can agree that these classes have helped me tremendously during my pregnancy! I gained a lot of weight at the very beginning (thanks to the holidays and stress eating) but have been able to keep my weight gain in check the past few months, which I (and my midwives) are very happy about. I’m also one of the least flexible people I know. It’s been a problem since I was young, but even with a big pregnant belly in the way I can tell the regular stretching and exercise has really helped loosen up my hamstrings and quads like never before. And don’t get me started on how much stronger I feel! While I still can’t get through a whole set of arm work without resetting (someday… someday…) I have spied muscles in my back I didn’t have before, and get compliments on my abs at almost every prenatal appointment. Trust me. Those abs were NOT there before Bar Method!
I have been so blessed with an easy pregnancy, and I know that consistently going to The Bar Method has been a huge factor in that. Staying active and surrounding myself with other strong and amazing women has been exactly what I needed.
It helps during labor and postpartum recovery
So there’s this website called Spinning Babies which has a whole section on stretches and exercises that my midwives wanted me to do during pregnancy to prepare my body for labor. As I looked through the site, I started recognizing things we do all the time during class at the studio. From squats, lunges and pelvic tilts to stretches and hip flexor openers I’ve done it all in class. And knowing that helps me so much as I approach labor. Without even realizing it I’ve been prepping my body for this incredible feat for the past seven months!
Nicole, one of the co-owners at the Southlake location, talked to me one day about the benefits of doing bar classes during pregnancy. She said she’s had OBGYNs come to her and comment on how they can tell a difference between women who do Bar Method and women who don’t based on their labor and postpartum recovery. Since they had such a foundation and strong body to begin with, it made everything else so much easier.
Because of the safe abdominal exercises done in class, pregnant women are able to strengthen their abdominal wall to not only prepare for labor, but to also help their body recover from carrying a baby for nine months. Bellies shrink faster, recovery is easier, and you’re able to get back to “life” sooner. In fact, one of the women I’ve been working out with was released by her doctor to go back to working out four weeks after delivering her precious baby! And y’all… She did full on pushups her first class back. Talk about a super mom!
It created friendships
I know I mentioned this a little before, but the reason I keep going back to The Bar Method Southlake is not just because I love the burn, but because of the people there. The sister co-owners, Nicole and Erin, are some of the sweetest most genuine people I’ve met. They are always so encouraging, caring and fun to talk to. Their smiles are contagious, and the classes they teach are killer.
During the school year when I was going to the 5:45 class, I loved having Megan as the instructor. She’s quirky, funny and James seems to love her. He always moves more during her classes than any other! Since I have no schedule this summer, I’ve had fun going to classes at different times and getting to know the other instructors as well. I’ve yet to meet someone there that wasn’t welcoming and kind.
And then there’s all my workout buddies. From fellow pregnant ladies who are so fun to catch up with and cheer on during class, to friends who I’ve made or grown closer to since joining, there’s a sense of community at the studio I’ve never been a part of before. I love chatting with some of the women in the class, telling them about the baby and hearing their pregnancy advice. Faces and smiles are familiar, and it makes it that much more fun to go to class!
There’s something empowering about having a community of women to sweat it out with, and I’m so thankful I found it.
There is so much more I could say about how much I love The Bar Method. Like my favorite moves, the science behind the method and all the different classes the offer, but I’ll save that for another post and another time. ; ) However, if you are pregnant and looking for a way to stay healthy and active during your pregnancy, I highly recommend checking out a local Bar Method studio near you. You won’t regret it, I promise!
I wanted to thank Erin and Nicole for allowing me to take over one of their studio rooms for pictures, and my sweet friends for spending a Saturday morning taking these pictures with me! Y’all are amazing!
Now it’s your turn to talk! Answer one of these questions in the comments below:
What did you do to stay active during your pregnancy?
Have you ever tried or even heard of The Bar Method?