So many women are afraid that traditional weight lifting will cause them to bulk, so they turn to Pilates or Barre as an alternative to lose weight or stay in shape. If you Google “barre before and after” and compare it to “Bikini Body Guide before and after” you will see very different results.
If you’ve read the post where I tested the (supposed) most accurate fitness tracker on the market, you’ll know that calorie burn is different to each individual based on body composition, age, etc. Based on my personal results and the fact that I only lot some of my muscle mass, I think Barre builds lean muscle but at a slower rate than weight lifting. As I mentioned above, according to the Glamour article the Bar Method class burned 272 calories versus 565 burned in spin class. One common misconception among women is that Barre or Pilates classes alone will help them get the sleek physique of a Victoria Secret model. This entry was posted in Workout and tagged barre, pilates, toned, weight lifting, weight loss. Hey Jessica, first of all WELL DONE for changing up the diet, it’s sure not easy when you’ve got old habits but it makes the world of difference!
The elliptical is great for just chillin with a magazine or your phone, I love that you can multitask on it!
I have never tried out Barre but after reading the success story I’ll definitely try it out. Jill is a San Francisco based lifestyle blogger who covers career, fitness, fashion, travel, products she loves, and every millennial concern in between.
Playing Heidi in the Swiss Alps - it really does look like the story books, and the hikes are the BEST workout - no joke!
This past January after almost a year of high intensity resistance training and interval cardio, I decided to switch up my fitness routine for a more gentle, low maintenance approach.
The Bikini Body Guide is a high intensity resistance and cardio routine created by a personal trainer, and is similar to the type of workouts I was doing before.
However, it’s fairly undisputed that to maximize that burn you need to have some cardio in your life, at least a few days a week. The calorie burn of the Bar Method class and weight lifting for an hour (slowly however) were about on par at around 270, and nothing came close to the calorie burn of the high intensity spin class, which was over 500.
In my experience, Barre is similar to Pilates in that it uses light or body weight only resistance and focuses on the core.

Many Pilates instructors including those that I have worked with recommend a combination of both Pilates and weight lifting for maximal muscle development for this reason.
Due to the effect it had on me and based on the fact most people genetically have more body fat than swimsuit models, I think incorporating cardio and weights would be the most effective approach. I wonder which one worked better too – I guess we will never know, definitely don’t want to go back and try it all over again! It’s really cool to watch your body change as you try new things, which is why I love experimenting with fitness! I appreciate your perspective on fitness and are that barre is a great way to break up your workout and add some variety, but doing it along won’t necessary produce the results of a HIIT program. Question – when you were mainly focused on more intense workouts, was it because you were trying to lose weight and now you are in maintenance mode? When I decided to focus on really intense workouts, it was after about a year of being in NYC and slacking a little on my resistance training. I definitely don’t think it’s weird to love weight training, I think most people are so blown away at the results once they try it that they get addicted!
I’m a fan of barre classes but like you, I think a mix of cardio and resistance training is key. I totally agree, exercise should be challenging and push you to grow, but never cause injuries or unwanted effects.
I traded free weights for Barre exercises and low impact mat work (a few of my favorite workouts here and here). The trade-off is that my new routine is much lower maintenance and I can replace some gym cardio with long walks. To lose fat, you need to maintain a sustainable calorie deficit and there is no more effective way to do that than through cardio and reasonable calorie restriction through proper diet. Two studies I found (here and here) that show Pilates is not effective at changing body composition, but the study participants only did it for an hour a week. To build lean muscle and tone up quickly, involving some weight lifting is probably recommended. Barre in conjunction with 45-60 minutes of cardio four to five days a week would also likely be effective.

However I can’t say which helped me get in shape faster because I changed up my diet as well. I agree that you will need to see what works best for you, and that really does come with time and consistency. Everyone has their own perception of what toned looks like, and ability to achieve it differs for everyone. The good thing about that, is no matter what you do at this point you will notice an improvement! The cardio part is a definite must, and there are lots of great ways to pass the time during steady state! It’s got more of a cross country skiiing-like motion to it and forces you to have correct form. When I was in NYC I had a membership at Equinox, but spent most of my first year kind of half-assing it at cardio and weights.
If it shows bad signs or causes bad effects on your body then you should immediately stop working on that particular workout regimen. I was curious as to how it would change my physique, and a whether it would provide insight into whether weightlifting causes bulk.
I can’t seem to get into yoga, pilates, etc because I just love the intensity of a good workout. The girls who do the BBG (girl in the photo) are doing really high intensity resistance which creates more of a muscle “pump”, so I think you would be safe with a less intense machine circuit following some cardio!
For interval cardio, I usually do 15 mins of 30 seconds of 9mph and 45 seconds of 4.5 mph on the treadmill, then 15 at a relaxed pace on the elliptical or bike.

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