Hands up if you know that meditation and/or taking a mental ‘time-out’ is insanely good for you, but it simply doesn’t a) remotely appeal or b) fit into your busy schedule? What if we told said you could get that same Zen-like mental break while you were doing your bikini-body sculpting workout class? Sound too good to be true?
Perhaps it is, but that’s exactly what Australian fitness expert and influencer Emma Seibold is promising from her newest studio offering, called Elements.
The founder of popular workout chain Barre Body has created a new workout called Elements that is designed to be a complete mind, body and spirit experience in a one-hour session, according to the official press release.
“Rather than carving out a separate mediation practice, cardio workouts, strength regimes, and at-home stretches, this can now all be found in one class, in one hour, at Barre Body,” Seibold tells a curious GRAZIA team. (Note: it’s all those body-friendly elements that give the class its name.)
Elements hinges on a concept called mindful movement. This, according to Seibold, who is a certified yoga teacher, Pilates instructor, Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach and Mindfulness and Meditation teacher, is “the embodiment of ‘being’ during movement, being truly present to embody the physical experience without thinking judgment”.
“Mindful fitness is the way forward and I want to give clients a truly holistic, transformational experience at Barre Body and Bende,” says Seibold of her two studio brands, which – as an aside – are aligned with philanthropic group One Girl to fund the education of 50 girls in Sierra Leone annually.
“It is about letting go, being conscious and enjoying the experience.”
Getting down to the practicalities, each Elements class is split into three sections. The first is a kind of fluid, low-impact cardio in the same vein as a flow yoga or barre classes are. This part is the warm-up to get your heart racing but in an almost hypnotic way.
Part two is the slow strength work to tone muscles and burn fat known as Low-Intensity Interval Training (LIIT). Each person is standing on their yoga mat and at times uses equipment like the ballet bar, stretchy bands or a gliding disc that you push along the floor.
“The movements are fluid, graceful and flowing, lending that true Barre Body signature to the style and results in a slow, strong burn, with Barre Body’s renowned toning,” Seibold says of this element.
Part three is clearly where the mindful bits come into play most. Most barre or yoga classes end with guided meditation, but this one involves movement as you focus inward. Slow and steady breathing is key in each section and something the teacher gently reminds attendees of the whole way through.
All sounds great in theory, right? But does it actually work? GRAZIA sent four exercise-savvy team members to several of the Elements classes to decide for themselves. Here are their verdicts.
Rachel (GRAZIA Fashion News Director)
Also does: Jujitsu, TRX Training
My Review: “I’m not going to lie – I’m dubious that any workout that gets my heart racing can make me feel more Zen. Happy from endorphins, yes, but more chilled out and happy? I needed convincing. This class was more fluid than I expected – I’m coordinated, but I found I had to concentrate at times to get the moves right. There was no jumping or jarring movement, and definitely no sweat, but let me tell you, my muscles knew I’d done a decent session when I woke up the next day. That was the ‘secret burn’ I’d been warned about with Elements. It doesn’t feel like a workout at the time, but it creeps up on you. My favourite part, though, was the guided meditation at the end. I’d never take a meditation class but I love the idea of it, so to have it rolled into a sculpting class was a fantastic bonus. Besides, all of the Barre Body studios are designed to feel calm and well-lit – lots of blonde wood and white walls and soft light – so you automatically feel calm just for having been there.”
Chrisanthi (GRAZIA Beauty Editor)
Also does: Pilates, Studio Training
Her review: “As someone who dabbles in Barre from time to time, the Elements class is now by far my favourite. It combined enough cardio to break a sweat (but not too much), some interesting strength training which includes plates and a good old bend and stretch, plus a beautiful meditative moment at its conclusion. It’s the perfect antidote for a stressful workday. A class that keeps you on your toes (literally), but also tones and restores. It really is a triple threat! A little dancing, a little strength, a little Zen, all done in a lunchtime. What more could you want?”
Therese (GRAZIA Commercial Manager)
Also does: F45, Personal Training
Her review: “I found a new kind of strength in my body during this Elements class. I left feeling really reenergised and my body felt like I’d had a really good workout. A few sessions in and I can already see that my body shape has changed and I’m starting to feel more toned. Barre Body generally has been great for me especially for strengthening my core after having a C-section and becoming a lot more connected with by body. The studio has a wonderful vibe and the instructors are very supportive.”
Jessica (GRAZIA Entertainment Editor)
Also does: F45, Running, Personal Training, Boxing
Her review: “The one aspect I really love about Barre Body is that it’s very female-centric. It’s designed for the woman and for the woman’s shape and body. I loved the new Elements class as it brought dance, movement and rhythm into the class. By the end, your heart rate is up, you’re panting, you’ve had a really good workout in both cardio and strength zones. Then, a little meditation at the end ensures the mind and its intention is set for the day. You feel as though you are leaving the class with a new energy.”
There are 10 Barre Body studios Australia-wise, plus sister studio Bende in Byron Bay and an online studio offering. Visit the Barre Body website for more details. Follow Emma Seibold on Instagram here.