By guest blogger – Beth W. Orenstein of Everyday Health
Excerpt taken from: Everyday Health

A bar workout is a dance class that combines ballet moves with core conditioning, yoga, Pilates, and weight training, and lasts about an hour. Bar Method is simply the name of the original franchise that created and popularized the workout. In the past few years, the Bar Method and other forms of ballet-based fitness have experienced a surge of popularity, thanks to the workout’s ability to help exercisers shed pounds, sculpt their bodies without bulk, and gain more energy in a motivating group exercise class. “The Bar Method is a low-impact, highly effective way of working your muscles that makes them lean and long,” says Liza MacFadden, a fitness instructor at Studio Fusion in Huntingdon Beach, Calif. During each class, this is what you should anticipate:

Interval training – Throughout the classes, you alternate high-intensity movements with deep stretches, MacFadden says.

Calorie burning – The intervals and constant motion make the workout fairly intense. A 125-pound woman in good shape burns about 400 calories during a 60-minute class. Heavier men and women will typically burn more.

Muscle shaping – The isometric exercises help you tone and shape your abs, arms, butt, and thighs. MacFadden says the method helps make your muscles long and lean.

Because the bar-based classes are unique, it’s best to try a class to see if you like it before committing to a package. Most studios will offer a trial class free. As with any exercise discipline, the skill of the instructor can make a big difference in how much you enjoy it, as well as how beneficial the class will be. Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you haven’t been exercising for a while. Wear comfortable clothes and have a water bottle handy so that you don’t become dehydrated as you’re sweating away pounds. For the best results, plan on taking a class two to five times a week, always warming up and cooling down before and after class.