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A shape changing method that really works

I never thought I’d say that Kelly Osbourne, 25, would be an inspiration. But all credit to her. Last year she lost 42 pounds and it stayed off (despite boyfriend breakups). Frankly, she looks fantastic. A serial dieter, she lost weight – but then gained it again – with the Atkins Diet and the Blood Type Diet. This time though she followed a no-frills low carb diet and gives huge credit to the Bar Method.

Inspired by Kelly's new shape, I decided to give The Bar Method a go with a DVD called Change Your Body. I loved it, stuck with it and, much to my surprise, it has changed my shape - and I am twice Kelly's age.

The Bar Method is an exercise routine that is part ballet, a dash of yoga, a pinch of pilates core work and body sculpting (see review here). It is based the muscle-shaping principles of isometrics (holding long muscular contractions). According to Bar Method founder Burr Leonard, it’s a form of cardio cross-training that is akin to interval training in that it alternates between intense bursts of energy and deep stretches. It is supposed to achieve a high caloric burn and firmer muscle mass.

When you look more closely, The Bar Method workout isn’t really a combo of pilates and yoga. For a start, it is more intense and the poses are held for longer. I found the exercises similar – to the extent that there is a focus on small movements that the many repetitions make deceptively hard on your muscles – to the Core Fusion exercises. This should not be surprising since The Bar Method founder, Burr Leonard, and the Exhale team behind Core Fusion both started out at the famous Lotte Berk studio before leaving to start up on their own.

I did find that The Bar Method has more of an isometric thing going for it than Core Fusion (holding muscle contractions for seconds at a time). Once I got the hang of the pace, I found I was enjoying that it gave me the time to be precise about how I performed and held the movement). The Bar feels a little less strenuous than Core – but only while you are doing it. A couple of hours later, my outer thighs certainly felt as if they had been given a wake up call.

Burr urges you on with comments like "you'll look great in blue jeans after this". And, after several months of twice a week Bar Method or similar (eg Madonna fave Barre3), my thighs are leaner. For the first time in my entire 51 year old life, I don't feel that jeans make me look little and fat.

By the way, I like what Kelly Osborne has to say about her diet. There’s no secret, no fad. She just stuck with it, stopped the incessant yo-yo dieting that the media obsessed over and quite simply made it a lifestyle change.

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  • January 26, 2013

    by Pat O

    Hello--does anyone know if the fluidity bar is too steneous for someone over 65 with low bone density and a protruding disk. I am mainly interested in this bar for weight loss. Pat

  • January 20, 2012

    by Marta

    Hi Joni, I typically start with a session on the rowing machine. I also alternate Bar Method with Jackie Warner's circuit training.

  • January 19, 2012

    by Joni

    What cardio do you suggest to do along with the bar method.....that won't cause bulking??

  • December 21, 2011

    by Marta

    Junko - would be interested in a review of Sculpting 2 and if you recommend it could add it to our Bar Method stash in the shop.

  • December 21, 2011

    by Junko

    Received the Bar Ball from TIA and WHAT a DIFFERENCE it makes to have the proper tools ** Best $8 spent in a while. Love the Super Sculpting 2 DVD ~ Its tough, but I find that it gets easier and easier (not every time) I do it, but I can definitely feel and see a difference in my body since I started 2 months ago.

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