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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.

  • December 18, 2011

    by Gloria

    I have to practice the pose more. I was having trouble with the tuck trying to get it just right. Posture is important in everyday life. I am going to try and mix it up.

  • December 17, 2011

    by Marta

    I am sure my posture has improved since doing Bar Method. I try to do the basic pose - tuck, hinge very slightly forward from the him, pull the shoulders down and back - whenever I can: standing in the elevator (you can tell I am in New York), in line at the store, etc.

  • December 16, 2011

    by Marta

    Hi Gloria, the ball doesn't come with a pump or pin but I filled mine with a multi-purpose foot pump by Rally.

    As for my routine, I don't go to a gym (too time-wasting and expensive) so I do five minutes of rowing machine first and I alternate with Jackie Warner's circuits (2-3 times a week). I alternate between Super Sculpting and Change Your Body every few weeks just to stop getting in a rut. I am just starting to try the accelerated work out - which seems to be Change Your Body but a bit of a faster pace. Super Sculpting is the hardest and my favorite - it is the only one for which the ball is absolutely necessary. Keep us posted Gloria as we both transition from pear to... umm isn't there an elegant, slim fruit? Our transition to carrot doesn't have the right ring at all.

  • December 16, 2011

    by Gloria

    Okay TIA family, I have finally started using my DVD as of this morning at 5am. I normally go to the gym, but this morning it was particually cold at 23degrees so I said you bought it now is the time to try it. My husband had been ill for a few weeks so I had put it off and the day of reckoning had finally come.

    I did not do the super sculpting one just the basic one. It is a good thing or I think I would have collapsed. It was a great workout and I felt it in all of my muscles. I normally workout at the gym on free weights and do cardio after that. I can honestly say this workout was totally different and while I did not sweat as much I did get my heart rate up and I got an excellent workout in. I am going to try the super sculpting one after I get used to this one. I need to really limber up and after my massage on Saturday my massage therapist said I need to elongate my muscles and I am not stretching enough. This will be just what he ordered.

    Marta do you also do cardio workouts at the gym with this? Do you do the super scultpting workout with this one or on different days? I ordered the ball but there was no needle or pump so I have to get that filled yet.

    I am excited to try something different. My usual workouts I am just not getting any results and I am a bottom heavy person, you know the pear that's me. I will update in a month or 2. Thanks!

  • October 27, 2011

    by Nataaha P

    The reason Catherine Deneuve says "fannie or your face" is because if you are too thin in your BODY, your face USUALLY looks emaciated, Unlesss you are getting fillers, you can't have it both ways, and my dermatologist loves that saying because it is really the truth. I am 45 but don't strive to be TOO thin as it does make your face look really old.

  • April 8, 2011

    by Marta

    Sunday, that's great news. I still do Bar Method a couple of times a week and it is the most effective thigh slimmer I have found.

  • April 8, 2011

    by Sunday

    Just a quick update ~ I feel better than 3 weeks ago, I sleep deeper and my clothes fit more flatteringly. I am happy to say my skin loves it too and *wink* to Joan's comment about..." Maybe Catherine Deneuve said it best … “After a certain age, a woman has to choose between her fanny and her face.” " I don't want to have to choose!

  • March 22, 2011

    by colinmack

    I am going to check this out. I had some advice on Truth in Slimming about mixing it up with my workout routine so I am going mix this one in as well.

  • March 21, 2011

    by Sunday

    Ok that does it...I bought a Fluidity Bar about 4 years ago and LOVED it...that year for Christmas is where the tree went and so the Fluidity bar went into the closet ~ never to be seen again (I DO NOT have a good reason why since I really did LOVE working-out with it) ~ when we moved into this house, it got put into a closet AGAIN.

    http://www.fluidity.com/

    Kelly Osbourne does look great and when I see her doing those best&worst dressed shows she really seems happy with herself...and isn't that all we're trying to achieve, OUR own version of happiness!!?? So today I pulled my Fluidity Bar out of the closet ~ we're going to be friends again ~ I'll write back about my happiness quota. Thanks TIA I need that reminder :-)

  • March 21, 2011

    by Jennifer

    I used the Bar Method DVD workout, while attempting to lose some weight right after the holidays, and really enjoyed it. Being a traditional gym rat, doing isometric exercises just hasn't been part of my routine, mainly because there are so many options at the gym. I love following the Bar Method on non gym days, in order to focus more on toning vs. aerobic exercises. It also has been great to do, when I don't have that extra time required to drive to & from the gym, but still want to get some exercise.

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