As you know I’m a fond supporter and student of Bar Method. The absolute most horrific part of each class, the section you dread each time, is “thigh.” I have yet to meet a single person who will tell you it isn’t the worse exercises of all time. The goal of “thigh” is to thin down your thighs by building “long lean muscle.” That is what you hear while sweat is dripping from your brow and you are cursing the gods in your head while you are doing it … “stay in it … you are building long lean muscle.” At some point during your three (or four if the teacher is the devil) sets of thigh your legs will start to shake. If you are me it is a uncontrollable, vibrating through my entire body, shake. When this happens you will be encouraged, “good shaking!” or “way to get to your shaking zone!” or “Wendy go lower you aren’t shaking enough ….”
Let me walk you through the set up so you can see that I’m not over exaggerating. Most “thigh” positions take place on your tippy toes. You stand on your toes with a hand on your hip and the other hand on the barre. Then you bend your legs and slide down to your lowest possible point. Then for the next few minutes you go a tiny bit up and a tiny bit down fast, slow, over and over. Sometimes you swivel your hips. Sometimes you come down a couple counts. I even had one teacher make us come down 10 counts once. I wanted to punch her in the face.
In all the sections of Bar Method, like thigh, I tend to go through phases of it being super-duper hard or a little easier but still hard to barely bearable. A lot of this has to do with how much I’m concentrating on my form and “giving it my all.” Lately (as in the past 6 months) thigh has kicked my butt! I seriously struggle with staying in every position and sometimes feel like I have to (and I do) reset and come out of the position. It’s aggravating but I felt better when I read on a Facebook page, “Confession of a Bar Star” that others had the same problem. A couple of people suggested eating protein before class.
First of all I can not eat before class. I can’t even eat a few hours before class. I usually go to the 5:15 PM class so will eat lunch at noon. I will allow myself an apple or orange as an after lunch snack but any more than that and I spend all of Bar class feeling like I’m going to puke. It seemed very possible to me that giving myself some fuel pre-class could help. I decided to give protein bars a shot.
Yesterday I ate a bar an hour before class. It really did seem to pep me up a bit! I’m sad to say I still didn’t stay in thigh the entire time but that really isn’t my fault. First of all it’s been 10 zillion degrees in LA this week and by the time we get to thigh in class I’m sweating so badly I look like I’ve jumped in a pool. I’m surprised I don’t collapse into a pile of dehydrated ash. Also we did “chair” which is the most evil of all thigh positions. I have the best shot of staying in thigh for the entire set if it is the first position we do (which it wasn’t yesterday). The last time this happened I literally could not stand up after. I had to plop my bottom on the ground and then hoist myself up with the help of the barre. Let me explain the position. You stand facing the barre with your hands holding on wider than shoulder width. At that point you pull back until your arms are straight. Then you bend your knees until you look like you are sitting in an invisible chair. Your knees should be over your ankles and your thighs should be parallel to the ground. From there you go up a little, down a little, over and over until you die. The only thing holding you up is your thighs (and your butt and core but mostly your thighs). I do like one thing during this exercise and that is my arms look amazing. I try to concentrate on that but often the overwhelming pain breaks that self admiration!
Even with stupid chair I do think the protein bar may be the hot ticket and I’m anxious to keep at it to see if it really does help me in conquering the dreaded thigh section of class. I have to tell you whatever I’m doing it is working. One thing that use to horrify me was that my upper thighs were spreading out. You know what I mean right ladies? That fleshy pillow-y part of your upper thigh that for some of us can get out of control. Nightmare! With all thigh work I do in class my thighs are all muscle! No pillow-y part here! Very much worth all the pain and suffering!
* Note I am in no way a nutritionist. I dare say I’m about as far away from a nutritionist as you can get. I chose power bars because I thought I could digest them easily enough before working out. There is a ton of “natural” food that is high in protein that could work well. Soy beans, lentil soup, greek yogurt (gross), cottage cheese (gross), sandwich meat, and eggs are all examples. A quick Google search can find you others.