I am not usually a fan of home exercise videos. The last time I completed a home programme was during an exam period when I had no time to go to the yoga studio or for a run. This time, I injured my wrist and cannot even hold a plank. The doctor told me I had a cyst in my wrist and I had to avoid putting weight on it.
I decided to buy the Barre Sculpt programme on Codyapp, which costs US$39.99 for five videos, each 30 minutes long. The exercises can be assessed directly from the Codyapp website or can be downloaded as an app on your iPad, iPhone and other media devices. The trainer, Jacqueline Umof, has a dance background and also taught at Tracy Anderson’s fitness studios.
How Barre Sculpt works
There are 30 days in total and each week consists of the five workouts and two rest days. At the start, we are given a short introduction on how to use the plan.
The strength and beauty of this programme is that it focuses on the smaller muscles that dancers use, which are often neglected in regular cardio or strength training exercises. The movements are somewhat similar to those done in barre classes but I really like that Jacqueline focuses more on ballet positions. She also uses ballet terms (“Do a deep plié! Sauté!) and gets us to turn out our legs. This means that you’re not just doing pilates moves while holding a chair; you are actually doing conditioning moves that dancers use.
This is not to say that the classes are ballet classes disguised as a modern upbeat exercise routine. There is a good mixture of ab exercises on the floor; arm toning with light weights and unusual leg work with the help of a chair.
Here are screen shots of what some of the moves look like:
My experience so far
I have completed two weeks out of the four weeks so far. This means that I have done 10 workouts (i.e. twice for each workout since there are only five unique videos).
The workouts are low intensity, particularly the videos from Day 1 and Day 2. They go up in intensity towards the end and on Day 5 there is a small dance segment to get your heart pumping. Even so, this goes nowhere near the interval training workouts associated with Beachbody, such as the Focus T25 that I have tried.
As such, I believe that this is not a programme for weight loss. It is a supplementary toning exercise to be used in conjunction with more high-intensity exercises. Jacqueline recommends spending 10 minutes warming up the body before embarking on her workout. I follow her advice and spend 10 minutes dancing to any random dance cardio videos on YouTube before starting Barre Sculpt. I believe this is essential, otherwise you barely sweat doing her workouts and cold muscles are more difficult to stretch. If your goal is weight loss, you can even spend up to 30 minutes doing your own HIIT or go for a run before starting her toning exercises. This way, you can get a full one-hour kickass workout.
That being said, I really like the Barre Sculpt videos. Technically you are only paying for five videos and there is no reason why you have to stop after 30 days. But I use the iPad app and when you finish a workout, you can “log” it and you get a tick on the video as well as an update on your feed telling people that you have done it. If you have followers or follow other people within the Codyapp community, it is very encouraging to see their progress. So when I look at my profile, I can see that I have completed 14 days out of 28 days (two rest days per week included).
The coach is also effective; she is encouraging without being overly chirpy. She doesn’t have annoying catch phrases. Plus the background music is soft so it doesn’t become tiresome after one month of exercising.
I must admit that I didn’t work out as consistently as the programme asked for. I fit the exercises around my schedule instead of the other way round. So if I had a badminton game planned on Sunday, I would skip the day’s barre workout. Or if I had a late night of drinks with friends, I wouldn’t make the effort to work out that day. But having done this for 10 days, I think it’s fair for me to say that:
- My core is stronger. I used to be unable to do V sit-ups with straight legs but I could do it yesterday. Yay!
- I am more conscious of my posture. Jacqueline reminds us constantly to hold the lower belly in when standing and doing all the exercises.
I have not really noticed any overall toning (and definitely no fat loss) but that’s because I have not done this long enough for any physical change. Will I have abs as flat as Jacqueline after I finish Barre Sculpt? One can always hope.