Burr's Tips on working out with the new Bar Method DVDs:
"Change Your Body" and
Frequently Asked Questions
for detailed specs,
video clips and
What is the difference between the two new workout DVDs?
The two Bar Method dvds are both complete Bar Method workouts but vary in a few ways. "Change Your Body" includes the "pretzel", and "Accelerated Workout" gives "standing seat" (both give "fold-over" and "leg lifts"). "Change Your Body" provides more guidance on form and positioning. The music and pacing in "Accelerated Workout" is a bit faster. Both are challenging.
I have enjoyed the earlier Bar Method DVDs "Designer Sculpting and "Fat Free". What's 'new' about the new dvd's? Do they include some new/added features for advanced users, or are they re-releases of the older dvd's with some new material?
The new dvds are completely new. A team at the Bar Method produced them in 2008, whereas the old ones were produced by another company. Both sets present similar exercises, but there are many differences. The new dvds are significantly more challenging and are designed both to sculpt and burn fat, unlike the old ones. We also offer the Bar Method's most updated and targeted technique in the new workouts.
I just bought the new set and really like both of the workouts. Is it okay to alternate between DVDs during each week, or do I do one DVD until it seems like I've "mastered" it, then move on to the next one?
The Bar Method workouts are designed to give students more of a dancer's look, and you'll definitely get results by doing them 5 days a week. As for how to alternate between the two workouts, you simply pick the one you feel like doing each day you use them. Both dvds are complete workouts that target the same muscles, but the music, choreography and a few of the exercises are different for the sake of variety. You can mix and match as you choose. One exercise tip is to start alternating as soon as possible, since the different choreography is beneficial and will help you hold your interest.
I have read that muscles need time to recuperate, and that it is during periods of rest that muscles grow and regenerate. How many times a week should I do the workout. How much time do I need to allow in between workouts?
You're right about the importance of giving muscles enough time to recover. Because the Bar Method is non-impact and quite gentle (in spite of the terrific muscle burn you get) -- as well as just an hour long -- it can be done up to five days a week and still allow enough time for muscles to recover.
We recommend that students do the Bar Method three-to-five times a week. Within that frequency, individuals vary with regard to what works best for them. The best way to tell how many times a week is right for you is to listen to your body. If you feel yourself getting stronger and feeling better, your frequency is okay. If you start feeling fatigued, you're probably going too often. The right frequency also depends on what else you're doing in your life. If you're working 10 hours a day and not getting a lot of sleep, you might not be able to tolerate more than about three days a week.
Going more than five days a week is not productive because it doesn't make you much stronger and can actually slow down your progress by not leaving enough time for your muscles to recover. By the way, the Bar Method is different from weight routines at health clubs. You don't have to skip a day between workouts because we don't use heavy weights.
I used the bar method videos very regularly before I become pregnant and continued to exercise throughout most of my pregnacy. I am now interested in going back to using the videos again. I'm recovering from a c section and my son is now 3 months old. Are there any exercises I should avoid and/ or take slowly.
Three months is usually enough time for tissues to heal enough for gentle isometrics like the Bar Method to be safe. So I'm confident that the new dvd workouts would be okay to use. There's one exercise in "Accelerated Workout" that involves quickly lifting the knees towards the abs again and again (it's towards the middle of the workout) that I suggest modifying by lifting your knees just a little. Also you can follow Jen, the "modifier" in the dvds, who uses a pillow under her back and shoulders during the abdominal sections. In my experience, post-natal women benefit greatly from the Bar Method.
Will these workouts help me trim down, and are there special diet tips that will increase the benefits?
The new dvds are designed to trim you down in about three months. As for diet, beyond limiting sugar, watch portions, and consume most of your calories early in the day. As for wine it tends to lower energy, so if you start to feel tired, cut down on how much you have. These guidelines plus the Bar Method workout three-to-four times a week should get you great results.
How heavy should the weights be that I use with the Bar Method workouts? (I'm someone who has done a lot of weight training).
For the Bar Method routine, an exercise tip to remember is to stick to weights that are no heavier than 5 pounds -- and use a 4-pound or lighter weight for the "one-weight lifts" for the posterior deltoids, because good form is especially important in that exercise. The reason for the lighter weights is that the Bar Method routine is designed both to open up the chest and to carve "forward-to-back" shaped arms, that is, arms that have defined biceps and triceps and so look slender from the front.
I have read that you should change your exercise about every six weeks or so to to avoid plateuing. Do I need to do this with the Bar Method or will I keep progressing?
In my experience working with Bar Method students, I've rarely heard someone tell me they plateaued on the workout. Most students say that it stays challenging indefinitely and that the workout grows on them. One reason, I think, is that the positions are so precise that students can continually work on perfecting them. Another reason is that the results are so specific that the cause and effect between taking a class and seeing and feeling the results becomes increasingly clear cut. So people develop a craving for what they get out of the workout.
How many calories are burned when doing these workouts?
Bar Method students burn 250-500 calories a class and then benefit from a post-exercise additional calorie burn-off for several hours after the workout. Many Bar Method students lose weight and/or inches after having taken the Bar Method for three-to-nine months. However, we cannot predict whether individual students will lose weight by doing the Bar Method. Weight loss depends on a number of variables such as the amount of calories consumed, how hard students work during class, age, previous weight loss history, and many other unknowns.
I love working out with the Bar Method DVDs. I also do Bikram yoga about 3 days a week. Is this a good combination and should I still be doing some type of cardio along with this workout regimen?
Unless you absolutely love Bikram yoga, you don't have to do both. The Bar Method workout challenges all the muscles that Bikram does and more. Also it's intense enough to burn fat and strengthen the heart because it uses an interval training format. For that reason you also don't need to supplement it with cardio workouts. However, since the Bar Method is largely composed of small moves and isolations, your body will enjoy performing some activity that uses larger movements. Dancing, skiing, tennis, basketball, martial arts and biking are all sports that are highly compatible with the Bar Method.
I have seen a change in my body, going down 1 jean size and losing approx. 10 lbs! The question I have is, it seems the firmer and tighter I get in my mid section and tops of thighs the looser my skin seems to get and the cellulite looks more noticeable. Will improve as I continue my workouts?
I'm glad you're getting results. Your question is a good one. The Bar Method induces body change in two stages: In stage one your muscles gain firmness. In stage two the fat around and between them burns away and your muscles wrap themselves closer to their underlying bones. The new dvds are expressly designed to quicken the fat-burning process. Stick to doing them three-to-five times a week and in a few months you should see the intra-muscular fat shrinking down.