Workmom: Leila Henderson Gary (Dallas, Texas)
Heaviest pregnancy weight: 175 lbs.
Starting post-baby weight: 145 lbs.
Current weight: 132 lbs.
Children: James, 3
What is Barre? It’s essentially a mix of ballet, pilates, and yoga, and there are many versions available. Leila explains, “My classes follow the BarreAmped method: it’s influenced by classical and modern dance (though it is not a dance class) and utilizes a (ballet) barre to achieve optimal positioning. The precision-oriented technique focuses mainly on small, isolated movements within deeply held and challenging postures. BarreAmped increases metabolism, burns fat, and lengthens tight muscles.”
If you’re thinking of classical music and an intimidating instructor, you’ll be surprised: “The music is upbeat, my classmates are all hard-working women with great attitudes, the instruction is detailed and motivating, it has lifted my behind to whole new latitude, and given me back my dancer's legs,” says Leila. Beginners should expect to be challenged by exercises that require one to hold muscle-burning positions. “Your muscles will feel like they are on fire, but power through it; the results are phenomenal.”
As a low-impact workout, Barre is a great way to strengthen and define muscles without jarring your body. “I get lots of compliments on my arms, shoulders, and back and love my new, trim, calf and thigh muscles.” Leila now wears a size four from a size eight to 10 post-pregnancy. “I weigh a few pounds more than I did before I got pregnant, but wear a size smaller, indicating to me that I've toned up and slimmed it down, but increased muscle mass,” she says.
Leila has been able to build an almost daily routine by heading directly to the studio after work for a one to two-hour session. “My husband is the key to my workout success, since he leaves his job to get home to our son so that I can exercise.” If you’re doing other workouts such as Pilates, Barre may be a nice supplementary regimen. “I love it because it is a great complement to my Pilates routine while including some classical dance moves.”