Sometimes, the most intimidating part about starting at a new gym or workout studio is that you don’t know all of the insider tips. I know that for me, it can be enough to hold me back from trying it. There is nothing I hate more than those moments when you realize you are making total newbie moves. I’m cringing just thinking about it. Here are my top 10 tips that are straight from this Bar Method beginner. I have six classes under my belt now and headed to class number seven this afternoon. Come with me for a class in Seattle or I’ll meet you in Redmond — it’s life changing. No joke.
1. Buy some of the Bar Method socks, or at least wear some that have grippy stuff on the bottom. That grippy stuff (that’s a technical term), will save you life in some of the exercises. Socks are required in the studio, so come prepared.
2. Wear pants that let you see your lower calves and ankles. They say on their website to wear full-length pants, but I have to say that as a beginner, it’s so helpful to see what’s going on down there in some of the more technical exercises. When I wear full-length pants, I end up pulling them up to my knees so that I can see my ankles and feet at the bar.
3. You’re going to feel like you’re breathing on the person in front of you at the bar. A lot. And guess what? You are. There is a lot of exhaling in Bar Method. Luckily, there is a person behind you at the bar exhaling too, so don’t worry about it. (But, maybe pop a mint before class, just to be kind.)
4. Lay off the lotion. The first few classes, I would put on a fresh coat of lotion on my legs before I left the house to make them shine, but I quickly learned that lotion makes for slippery legs and hands and that makes for trouble when you are attempting to grip them or the bar.
5. Go early enough to get a spot in the far corner, where you can see yourself in both mirrors — front and side. It really helps to make sure your body is exactly where it needs to be.
6. Listen for your name. Your instructor will know it and she’ll be calling it out when you need to make adjustments. Don’t take it personally — they aren’t picking on you. It’s important in Bar Method to be in perfect form to get those movements deep deep deep to where they need to be.
7. Remember the number on your key and more importantly, remember where you put it on the key rack.
8. You are welcome to bring a water bottle to class, but honestly, you’re not going to have time to drink it. Class moves so quickly that it will just get in your way as you’re moving from your mat to the bar.
9. The first things you’ll do when you get to the studio: Take off your shoes, sign in and say hello to the friendly faces at the desk. Next, put your stuff away in a locker (there are also lockers in the locker room in the back), put on your socks and grab a clean towel from the shelf. Once you’re in the studio, find a spot, grab two sets of weights (I usually skip the teeny tiny ones, and do the next to sizes, which are still pretty teeny) and wait for class to start. You don’t need mats — they’ll bring them out during class.
10. Most importantly, be open to having the instructors move your body to where it needs to be during class. This is harder than it sounds — trust me. I have the worst time getting in some positions and would never get there unless I had someone show me exactly how far that leg needs to be extended or moving my shoulders so that they are square to the mirror (I’m really bad at that one!). Let them do it — they’re gentle and trying to help and it will make all the difference.