“Raising the Bar” for Pasadena Magazine

Feel the burn at Bar Method Pasadena

October 2009

If you can’t decide whether to take yoga, pilates or ballet, combine them all, add dumbbells and kick up the intensity 10 notches with Bar Method, which opened a Pasadena studio in August.

Celebrities like Zooey Deschanel and Drew Barrymore practice this system that uses strengthening and stretching movements in conjunction with a ballet bar. Erase any images of little girls frolicking in tutus because even a basic Bar Method class can leave your muscles shaking, which is actually encouraged and seen as a good sign of pushing yourself.

If this raises any questions regarding safety, it’s helpful to know Bar Method was designed using the consultation of physical therapists. Bar Method founder Burr Leonard was a Lotte Berk Method student who eventually went on to open her own Lotte Berk Method studio, but noticed certain exercises caused pain and difficulty. Over the years, she and physical therapists made changes that evolved into a completely new, more focused, fun and challenging exercise program.

“I discovered that the safer you make something, the harder you usually make it, so it opened the door for me to create an exercise system that could enable people taking it safely to reach their peak conditioning,” says Leonard. “If you align the body in such a way that you are not hitting the joints, then you can just go for the muscle much more intensely…It changes the shape of the body.”

Bar Method is also an aerobic workout since the movements are challenging and there is little to no downtime between exercises.

“Each muscle we strengthen we immediately stretch, so it ends up giving a really long, lean look to the muscle and body in general and really targets all the areas and gives you a full body workout,” says Liz Gayed, who co-owns the Pasadena Bar Method studio with Kate Kuo.

Gayed’s personal health and fitness tips include drinking plenty of water, incorporating exercise regularly and consistently and eating in moderation.

“The thing I focus on above and beyond that is looking at health and fitness in a holistic way; knowing those basics and working on how to incorporate them into your life,” says Gayed. “People find themselves not being healthy when they’re out of balance in other places, like when they’re really stressed out or don’t give themselves time or permission to take care of themselves and are not listening to their bodies.”

If you listen to your body after a Bar Method class, it will most likely tell you you’re going to be sore tomorrow because you just worked your butt off—literally.

Bar Method Pasadena. 32 Mills Place, Pasadena, 91105. (626) 844-7888.

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