Meet Me at the Gym is an occasional Tuesday column about Southwest Florida group exercise classes. Wellness reporter Shelby Reynolds finds the newest workout crazes, unique locations and the interesting people behind them, then gives them a try so you know what to expect. Shelby Reynolds
Knowing very well I was out of shape after Hurricane Irma interrupted my workout schedule, the ballet barre seemed a little intimidating.
I imagined having to hoist my leg over the top and perform some kind advanced ballet maneuver that would surely split my yoga pants.
Luckily, I was wrong.
On a recent Tuesday morning, I found my place at the barre in Amy Lademann’s fusion fitness class alongside about 10 other women. Outfitted with floor discs, a stretchy exercise band, yoga mat, 3-pound dumbbells and a miniature exercise ball, I was armed for class.
Barre motion combines conditioning elements of barre, Pilates, yoga and ballet designed to target major muscle groups, burn calories, increase flexibility and improve posture.
Lademann and her husband, Rick, opened Beyond Motion in 2009 in the Riverbend Plaza in North Naples off U.S. 41 just north of Immokalee Road. The studio is washed in white and turquoise blue, with pretty hardwood floors. Natural light cascades through a wall of windows on one side.
Other classes include strength training and Pilates bootcamp.
In addition to group fitness classes, Beyond Motion also offers massage therapy, Pilates and personal training. They train anyone from high school athletes and teams to professionals from the NFL and MLB.
Lademann has experience teaching about every exercise program under the sun. She grew up dancing and cheerleading. She studied martial arts in college and started teaching aerobics, yoga and NIA dance, a workout program popular in the ’80s and ’90s that fused martial arts and modern dance.
Through it all, she battled pain from sciatica.
“Yoga and dance was making me hurt,” she said. “Pilates was the one thing that took my pain away.”
After moving to Naples 13 years ago, Lademann continued to instruct Pilates, yoga and barre, but dreamed of forming her own program at her own studio.
“I wanted to be able to package it all together so that by the end of the class (students) had moved every part of their body without feeling cheated,” she said.
So Beyond Motion was born, and along with it the Barre Motion group fitness class two years later.
Group fitness classes can be purchased in packages of five, 10, 15 or 20 classes, which expire four months after the date of purchase. Drop-in classes cost $20.
Each class is different, from the music to the movement. While most barre classes focus on small pulse movements, Lademann leads her students through an interval-style class mixed with that and some low-impact cardio.
“You will probably leave sweaty,” she warned before class. She was right.
On that Tuesday morning, we started with a quick full-body warm-up and moved right into an upper body strength section using dumbbells. We worked shoulders, especially, with raises and lifts. I was happy to start with 3-pound dumbbells, while my more experienced classmates used 5 pounds and heavier.
We moved through each piece of equipment from there, doing bursts of cardio and stretches in between.
The elastic band wrapped around our ankles, we did squats and leg lifts, using the barre for balance. As a beginner, some of the squats in first- and third-position (there’s the ballet influences) felt a little uncomfortable, but Lademann made quick work of correcting my form.
By the time we got to the inflated exercise ball wedged between our thighs, my legs were shaking, and the lower body movements didn’t stop there. We used the floor discs for lunges and more squats.
Next was core on the mat. Here comes more shaking.
We ended with a cool down and full-body stretches
It’s not uncommon to find fusion fitness classes with elements of different forms of exercise — martial arts and kickboxing, ballet and barre, plyometrics and weight training.
“It allows you to get a taste of more than one modality,” Lademann said.
And you have the benefit of a full-body workout. After barre motion my muscles — especially lower body — were sore for several days. My initial fears of the barre were unnecessary. I tackled the barre and many other movements that were completely new to me before walking into the Beyond Motion studio.
“When I grew up dancing you left it all on the floor,” Lademann said. “I want everybody to feel they did everything they feel they could.”
Barre Motion at Beyond Motion
- Sweat scale: 3 out of 5 drops
- What to bring: Water and a towel
- When: 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday; 6 p.m. Wednesday
- Where: Beyond Motion, 11985 U.S. 41 N., North Naples
- Cost: $20 for drop-in class; $90 for five classes; $160 for 10 classes; $210 for 15 classes; $240 for 20 classes
- More information:go2beyondmotion.com; 239-254-9300