The new Barre3 exercise studio combines controlled pilates and yoga movements, concentrating on major muscle groups including legs, shoulders, arms, and core.

Initially a Portland, Oregon based studio, they opened the first Canadian location in Toronto a couple of months ago on the second floor at 325 King St. West (across from the TIFF Bell Lightbox).

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At first glance, Barre3 appears to be for women only: the majority of merchandise is targeted towards ladies, there is one open change room with clearly laid out female necessities, and the majority of members and visitors are women. However, after trying out a few classes and noting the benefits of this balanced total body exercise, I’ve told all my running and fitness obsessed male friends about Barre3. From my experience, I think the Barre3 workouts can do wonders as an exercising routine and by doing it regularly because it is low impact, challenging and balanced. The studio also makes it easy to learn routines, and provides online support via classes and recipes to stay on track when you can’t be there in person.
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The classes are exceptionally friendly and will be challenging for most of us. I do believe that there’s a level of fitness awareness and dedication involved to reap the benefits of Barre3. Firstly, because the pace of each exercise is very slow, there could be a tendency to relax and slack off if you’re not concentrating. Secondly, because you need to mentally and physically concentrate on isolating and working the muscles you’re exercising. Typically, we just want to sweat and not think about what should be working. Lastly, the tough repetition of very minute, controlled movements will get you, no matter how fit you are. Sound scary? Well, you’re paying for it so you decide if it’s for you. That said, there is only one level of classes, and they truly are for all fitness levels as instructors provide a lot of modifications to suit anyone. A bonus in my eyes is that in an hour you get in a great workout without sweating profusely, and with very low impact on your body – ideal for something to do during the lunch hour.

With regards to pricing, it’s comparable with most Toronto-based studios.

For more info about the King West location visit www.barre3.com/locations/torontoksw or visit www.barre3.com

Photos by Nick Lee

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Natalie Korol

Nat Korol likes helping metropolitan dwellers lead a healthy, active lifestyle & especially enjoy the outdoors! She's a competing trail runner and an avid yogi. Follow Nat on Twitter + Instagram (@NatYKorol)