About two weeks ago, I attended a BariONE intro class at Bari Studio to prepare for Kara Griffin’s outdoor master class this past weekend. This review will focus on the master class, but it’s worth noting that Bari made the best first impression I’ve ever had of a fitness studio. From the moment I walked into the Tribeca studio, I felt like they got it all right. The staff was beyond personable, the space was trendy but cozy, and the studio looked like a fitness jungle gym. New Bari students take BariONE to get a taste of each of Bari’s primary elements–sensory cardio, trampoline cardio, and muscle sculpting. Thanks to Sarah Hackwith, I was instantly hooked on the Bari method.
I was especially excited about taking Kara’s master class over the weekend because almost exactly three years ago we graduated from Elon University together. Kara and I shared a major and took some of the same classes, but she was also heavily involved in Elon’s dance program. While Kara danced with a company here in New York after graduation, she’s taken time off for an injury. I’m so glad that injury hasn’t kept her from teaching, because Kara is a natural instructor.
I was so quickly hooked on Bari because the method is smart. In their words: “Our anaerobic and aerobic formula uses the most evolved and cutting-edge forms of movement. It’s designed to defy general conceptions about the body and its inability to change. By studying different forms of movement – from dance, Pilates and yoga to sports and agility training and martial arts – we’ve accumulated a repertoire of sequences and exercises to force the body to overcome its own weaknesses, change kinetically and transform aesthetically…The result is an intelligent workout; one where we approach fitness in a strategic and balanced manner, working out smarter instead of harder, while still obtaining the results you crave.”
The master class took us outside to Pier 25 for 90 minutes of cardio and sculpting. The above photo is gorgeous, but I have the scenery and 70-degree weather to thank for that. Kara started the class, which held less than 10 students, with 30 minutes of cardio dance. She gradually taught two sequences that combined dance steps with jumping jacks, squats, and high knees. By the end of the 30 minutes, the group was grooving to Kara’s club-worthy playlist with an audience of runners and tourists. Part two took place on these steps, where we completed a series of lunges with one foot on a step higher than the other. Holy booty. This was a tough sequence, but Kara offered corrections and encouragement to get us through. After lunges, it was back to dancing to run through the steps we had already learned.
Next, we moved to the railing on the far right of the picture and looped our resistance bands through to continue sculpting. This series focused on triceps, which Kara called an underdeveloped muscle group. We also squeezed in some rows and curls before switching back to cardio dance to add one more sequence. I was amazed at how quickly I picked up her choreography and could piece the sequences together. Finally, we pulled our mats up to the cardio dance area for barre-inspired exercises. We worked our booties on all fours then worked on obliques and adductors before closing with abs. Somehow, even though we were mainly doing plain old crunch variations, Kara’s verbal cues helped me take the stress out of my neck (a common problem for me) and focus more on toning my stomach.
The master class was a strategic balance between cardio and sculpting. The cardio dance intervals were intense (my calves felt it the next day), but lower-impact sculpting kept my heart rate up. Ninety minutes is a long workout, especially in the sun, but Kara kept me feeling strong and smiling throughout class. I’m hoping to make it back to the studio soon to see her moves on the trampoline.