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While you were sleeping, a new fitness trend exploded. Here's what you need to know.

Barre Fitness – a hybrid of yoga, ballet and pilates. And there are little exercise balls too!

While you were sleeping, a new fitness trend came to town – and absolutely took over.

It’s called a barre workout and you’ve probably seen it being mentioned all over the place, although you’ve blocked it out until now, because your poor frazzled brain is still trying to come to terms with things like Zumba and Body Attack – let alone an entirely new fitness trend.

But let me take your overwhelmed brain and fill it with further information about barre. Because it’s great to know about – and even if you never intend to try it, at least you can keep up in conversations with your smug fitness-obsessed friends.

1. It was invented a really long time ago but has only just kicked off now

Barre was inspired by a dancer named Lotte Berk. In the 1940s, she injured her back and came up with the idea of making her ballet bar routine into a rehabilitative type of therapy. It’s since turned into a hybrid of yoga, ballet and pilates and incorporates the use of little exercise balls, little hand weights and – of course – the ballet barre.

It’s designed to strengthen and tone your body by using a combination of stretches and isometric exercise. Your whole body gets an effective workout and, with any luck, you end

There are a whole lot of different studios now cropping up all over Australia, each of which promote a slightly different version of barre fitness. Barre Body, Barre3 and Xtend Barre are all great places to start if you’re interested.

2. The celebrities love it

Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Natalie Portman and a whole bunch of Victoria’s Secret angels are all big fans of the barre workout. Until quite recently, I was not a big fan because I had never tried it. Presumably, this is why I look like me and not like Miranda Kerr.

Victoria’s Secret Angel Alessandra Ambrosia is a huge fan of barre workouts (image via Instagram).

3. It’s really freaking hard

I rocked up to my first class feeling confident that it would be a cruisy, relaxing class that would help to tone and strength my body.

Oh, how wrong I was. By the time we were done with our quick arms routine, the teeny weeny hand weights felt like 75kg free weights and I would have happily removed my arms from the rest of my body, should it have been an option.

By the end of the barre workout, I was cursing the wooden barre and the little exercise ball and everything else involved in the barre workout.

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It did not help that the woman next to me looked like an off-duty Victoria’s Secret model. She told me that she’d been doing barre for awhile. Trust. And here I’ve been running away on a treadmill like a complete fool.

I hobbled out of class with everything hurting (in a good kind of way, of course). My lovely instructor gently told me that her husband, who does triathlons, once came along to the class and also found it quite torturous. Which did make me feel better.

The next day, previously unknown muscles were making their existence VERY known to me. But even though I just about cried every time I moved… it’s the kind of class where you already feel more toned after just ONE class. Amazing. I’ll be going back again – hopefully every week.

4. You need special socks

No shoes are involved in barre workouts – just socks with rubberised non-slip soles. Your barre studio of preference should sell or provide these for you. Otherwise, wear totally normal workout gear – the kind of thing you’d wear to yoga or pilates class. Throw on a sports crop top, a pair of leggings and a workout singlet and you’ll fit right in.

You might discover muscles you never knew you had.

5. It’s not super-exxy

Studios generally vary in price. However, you’re generally looking at forking about $20 for a barre workout.

While it’s not the cheapest workout you’ll ever have, it’s an effective one – and if you really, really love it, you’ll use it more than you’d use a similarly-priced gym membership. Plus, as more studios open up, the price of barre workouts are only becoming more cost-effective.

Barre Body, for example, offers unlimited classes for a two-week trial for only $50. They also have a $25 DVD which is amazing – you can do it at home while holding onto a chair or the wall. (Incidentally, for those of you with even more spare cash in the piggy bank – they also have a barre body retreat to Fiji happening in August. Sign. Me. Up. For. That.)

Go and try a few studios before signing up to any big commitments. If you’re not feeling the Barre love, move on. But if you’re loving the feeling of those newly toned muscles – why not try it for an extended period of time and see what happens?

These celebrities are huge fans of the barre workout.

Have you tried a barre workout? What did you think of it?

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