review: barre studios in vancouver

So some of you might already know that I'm a barre addict. I picked it up back in March 2016 at Singapore's first boutique barre studio and never looked back - which is quite a feat because I usually can't stick to one type of exercise for long, and I get bored quickly.

Since moving here, I've been wanting to get myself back on the barre, and I've managed to visit some of the popular barre studios in Vancouver. Read on to find out which workouts I absolutely suffered in (okay, it was all of them, really): 


Class routine: 4/5

Killaaaah. I went for Pure Barre Classic and ached for a few days straight. It's fast-paced and challenging, but there are a few water/stretch breaks here and there. The studio is carpeted so socks are a must. The instructor also took the time to introduce the class to newbies and corrected my posture at times, which I appreciated.

Studio space: 4/5

Clean and bright, with a good selection of barre gear up front to browse through (was really tempted to get a muscle tank!).

 Image: Iz O.


Amenities: 3/5
They have two large bathrooms stocked with Saje products (like a hydrating face mist, which I applied liberally before and after class), but no shower facilities.

Friendliness: 4/5

Front desk staff were really friendly and helpful, and I also liked how the instructor was paying attention to my form/posture throughout the class.


Class routine: 4/5

The pace wasn't as fast as Pure Barre's, which meant that I wasn't struggling as much (yay). The instructor was very clear and also helped to correct our poses occasionally. We worked with two sets of weights during the class, which actually helped me to go beyond my comfort zone - albeit with sorely aching arms as a result. The routine here is also rather similar to what I'm used to back in Singapore, so I did feel more comfortable.

Studio space: 5/5

High ceilings, brick walls, a large studio with mirrors all round - loved the interior decor here!

Amenities: 3/5

The bathrooms are large but pretty standard, and there are two changing rooms opposite the lockers in the front of the studio if you just need to change up.

Friendliness: 3/5

The girl at the front desk was nice, but I didn't exactly feel very welcome (more like she was just going through the motions of introducing me to the studio).


 Image: Iz O.

Class routine: 2/5

I was surprised that there were hardly any ballet-inspired moves in the Mixed Level class I signed up for. There was, however, a lot of planking (definitely not my strength) and other core exercises. Granted, it was a good workout, but I couldn't really follow the instructions given for some reason. Also, the instructor never once asked if I was new here.

Studio space: 3/5

Located on the second floor of a building, it's a bright and clean space. The studio I was in had large windows on one end for loads of natural light to get in.

Amenities: 4/5

There's ample locker space, a shoe cupboard, a large mirror (for that inevitable i-survived-barre selfie) and shower facilities.

Friendliness: 3/5

The front desk staff was nice enough, but again, I think the let-down was that the instructor didn't exactly make me feel like I was a part of the class.


 Image: Iz O.

Class routine: 3/5

The routine here was pretty challenging! There was a lot of work with resistance bands, and the pace is similar to the Barre Fitness class I tried - not overly fast but up-tempo enough to get your heart racing.

Studio space: 3/5

White walls, big mirrors - nothing much really stood out design-wise, but it was certainly clean and spacious enough.

 Image: Iz O.

Amenities: 4/5

I visited its downtown location, which is designed with a large lobby area, a retail section on the side, one barre studio and toilets/changing rooms at the back.

Friendliness: 4/5

I had a little chat with the instructor after class on the barre tee I was wearing and where I was from, which was nice :)


Class routine: 4/5

I signed up for a Mixed Levels class, and it definitely got me sweating. We worked our arms, our core, our glutes, our legs - basically, everywhere that would hurt the next day (sobs). The instructor was super attentive and helped correct my postures throughout the class. She also had a very encouraging and gentle voice when pointing out ways to improve our form (instead of the "name and shame" tone I've had the misfortune to experience).

Studio space: 4/5

The Yaletown studio is located on the second floor of a building. It has two studios, a reception area with retail merch like socks and yoga pants, as well as toilet and shower facilities. The studios here are carpeted so socks are mandatory, and the one I was in had windows on one end so it felt cheery and airy.

Amenities: 4/5
For its compact size, what this studio has managed to pack in is impressive, with rows of lockers, large sinks and shower stalls. It was a little crammed, sure, but not to the extent where you feel like you're on everyone's toes (and vice versa).

Friendliness: 5/5

When I stepped in, an instructor asked if I was new and proceeded to give me an exuberant welcome. Before class started, my instructor also took the time to ask my name. I also saw staff chatting with customers on random stuff like their new socks. Definitely liking the personal touch here.


THE SHORTLIST

After sampling Vancouver's barre "buffet" (ClassPass was a lifesaver in this respect), I have to say that I enjoyed the workouts and the vibes at Pure Barre Kitsilano, Barre Fitness Gastown and The Bar Method Yaletown the most.

My advice if you're looking for a barre studio to join here: Go with the one you like the most (whether it's the routine, the people, the location, whatever). It may not be the most challenging or the cheapest, but if you actually do like it, you'll keep going back - and that's how you turn exercise into a habit - in my case at least!
Β 

xx,
iz

Images: Embedded from respective studios' Instagram accounts unless otherwise mentioned.