2008, $2.99, at Goodwill on San Fernando in Glendale
First Impression: Fill glass… and bend the elbow.
Second Impression: And repeat.
This is “the workout that has everybody talking,” declares ABC 7 News, if the front cover of a DVD is to be considered a reliable source of information.
The cover also tells us that the workout “carves muscle,” which evokes a rather… squicky reaction. It calls to mind something between a butcher and a plastic surgeon. Maybe that’s why everybody is talking? “It sounds like a villain from a horror movie,” say they.
The Bar Method was founded and is hosted by Burr Leonard, an ageless, spandex-clad machine with an elfin voice. Behold the love child of Mia Farrow and Legolas, sprung to life and ready to tone your buns!
Never breaking a sweat, she lets pearls of wisdom drop from her lips in her mystical rasp. “This is almost fun,” she purrs, which sums up how most of us feel about exercise. After a particularly grueling series of tricep dips, she declares, “Life is full of second chances. We’re gonna do that sequence again.” When we get to standing ab work, she suggests, “Imagine that you’re blowing calories out of your mouth with every exhale.” This doesn’t work for me, because I’m picturing a hundred tiny doughnuts and then I want to eat doughnuts.
After a few times doing this workout, I get used to Burr’s otherworldly way of speaking and realize this is the original granddaddy of barre workouts that spawned a thousand imitators. Based on my extremely unscientific study of used exercise videos obtained from the thrift store, The Bar Method paved the way for Pop Physique, Physique 57, Yoga Booty Ballet, and the Tracy Anderson Method. There’s probably a Cardio Barre studio in your city that you’ve never gone to because it’s too expensive.
Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, a flotilla of fitness hosts have been flattering this workout for years. It’s actually one of the most effective toning workouts I’ve ever done. The routine isn’t boring because you’re always switching up the moves, and the hour flies by.
But does The Bar Method literally “carve muscle?” Goodness, no. You’ll have to go to the abattoir for that.