September 21, 2012

Interview with VBarre Founder Veronica Combs

For the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to try out sessions of a new class at New York Sports Club – VBarre.

“Vbarre transcends the typical ballet barre exercise class by blending ballet, Pilates and resistance training into a calorie-burning workout. The result is a lean and sculpted body in minimal time. Choreographed movements using a ballet barre, light weights and a glide board are set to motivating music.”

After two months of classes at NYSC, I have to say – I am hooked! While the class uses extremely light weights and lots of repetitions, which I am usually against (in favor of low reps and heavy weights), I was surprised to find how much I feel the burn! There is one particular set of reps we do at the barre that makes my legs shake like crazy every single time, even two months in. Pretty neat! I also love how the movements mimic ballet exercises – that definitely helps me work on my posture, and I also feel like it helps with my body image to see myself looking all graceful in the mirror during class. /cheese

Today I’m staying in Dallas for the weekend, and so I’m not in New York for my regular Friday morning VBarre class – but with my newfound barre addiction, I couldn’t resist taking a class here. Turns out that the creator of VBarre, Veronica Combs, is actually an instructor at a pilates studio here in Dallas where she invented the class! How cool to take a class right at the source 🙂 Thanks to New York Sports Club, I was granted the opportunity to interview Veronica and learn a little bit more about how she came to create VBarre.

Tell me about yourself! What made you get interested in diet/fitness? Did you have an “aha moment” or was it something that’s been with you all your life?
I have always been interested in fitness and movement. It started at an early age with Ballet and my dreams of becoming a principle dancer in New York City. After pursuing a professional career for years, I realized I had to make a living and attended and graduated from SMU in Dallas, TX. I danced through college and moved into a career as a Pilates instructor. The past 8 years working as the Director of a Pilates studio at an upscale fitness center exposed me to the exciting world of group fitness. My entire life has been an “aha moment”! Every time I exercise I feel “it” and I know that fitness will always be a part of my daily life.

How did you come to develop VBarre?
I saw a need in the “Barre workout” community for a new approach that fuses Ballet, Pilates, and Resistance Training. It is the prefect blend of exercise that incorporates dynamic, graceful movement and cardio for a total body workout that is fun! An added benefit is that when you are able to provide a challenging workout with fluid transitions then participants maximize their caloric burn.

What should people expect for their first barre class? What should they wear?
People should expect to sweat, feel the burn, and have fun! I am a total believer that working out should be a blast. I use popular music to help boost the energy of the class and keep everyone moving non-stop from start to finish.

Participants should wear comfortable workout clothes, no tutus required! Light weight sneakers are fine for portions of the class, but socks or ballet shoes are needed for the Glide Board. The Glide Board is a tool we use that allows for gliding movements and amps up the cardio challenge. It is one of the things that makes Vbarre fun.

What makes VBarre different from other barre classes?
First, Vbarre is different from other classes because of our emphasis on dynamic movement. I define “Dynamic Movement” as targeting multiple muscle groups with one exercise. Second, we utilize fun simple tools like the Glide Board, resistance tubing, and balls. The choreography of the movements and layout of the class maximize muscle recruitment, and the cardio intervals deliver amazing total body results. Most importantly people enjoy it! People look forward to working out when it’s fun.

What other exercise would you suggest in conjunction with VBarre in order to achieve balanced fitness? (E.g., VBarre twice a week, running twice a week)?
I still get on a “stair stepper” a few times a week, but the nice thing about Vbarre is that it really covers it all. In one Vbarre class you get dance, yoga, pilates, cardio, and resistance training all at once. You really can’t beat it!

After my first barre class, my friends and I went to 16 Handles for frozen yogurt. What’s your favorite food indulgence or post-workout treat?
My favorite food indulgence is definitely chocolate! I eat dark chocolate and don’t feel guilty because I can rationalize that it is “healthy” for you.

Thanks, Veronica – and thank you to New York Sports Club for the opportunity to try what has become my new favorite class!

Disclaimer: I received a free two month session of VBarre classes, but the reviews and opinions in this post are my own. I paid for my Vbarre class in Dallas and will continue to pay for sessions in New York going forward, so you know that these opinions about how much I liked it are true!


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