This review of the Barre Blend program will help answer all your questions about the Barre Blend workouts. Including what you need to know about Elise Joan (the instructor), the layout of the workout calendars inside the Beachbody library, the equipment you need (or if it’s optional) and (most importantly) whether it’s worth signing up for a Beachbody on Demand membership to try out these workouts.
I love these kinds of workouts (barre, Yoga, Pilates etc.) but they’ve never been a big part of my workout calendar because (if I’m being honest) I like to know I’m burning a bunch of calories when I workout. (And because I love the way I feel after intense cardio and strength training–which I don’t get with most barre workouts.)
But Barre Bland has completely changed my opinion of barre workouts.
My current 30-day Program Stacking calendar (my signature workout method based on your individual fitness goals and life) has Barre Blend workouts on 8 days (roughly DOUBLE the amount I was doing this style of workout before)!
So, let me tell you what I quickly discovered about Barre Blend (and why it’s now a permanent part of my workout calendar).
This was a topic featured on the Crunches and Cosmos podcast. You can hear the episode below:
What are barre workouts?
Barre fitness is a hybrid workout class – combining ballet-inspired moves with elements of Pilates, dance, yoga and strength training. Most classes incorporate a ballet barre and use classic dance moves such as plies, alongside static stretches. Barre also focuses on high reps of small range movements. But the real difference between barre and other workouts are the isometric movements you usually perform – holding your body still while you contract specific muscles, until you shake and feel the burn!–Cosmopolitan
What’s Barre Blend?
Barre Blend is a unique series of barre-style workouts created by Elise Joan, and sold by Beachbody.
Here’s the tagline for Barre Blend inside the Beachbody library:
Create a lean, toned physique through a fun fusion of ballet barre, Pilates, and cardio interval training. Feel the burn as you sweat, stretch, and strengthen to energize your entire body.–Beachbody
“The workouts are low-impact, but high intensity to help you create a lean, toned physique.”–Elise Joan, Creator of Barre Blend
Elise Joan and the team of exercisers in the workouts
“Barre Blend creator Elise Joan is a former professional dancer who has taught barre-based fitness and yoga for over a decade. She’s an inspirational mind/body professional with multiple fitness certifications, and is the co-creator of the Beachbody program 3 Week Yoga Retreat”.–Beachbody website
Elise Joan is PRO. We’re talking flawless.
Yes, she’s intimidating at first (I mean her butt is incredible…it looks like a rounded brick wall) but by the 2nd workout you’ll fall in love with her.
She’s relaxed and genuine and these workouts flow out of her like silk.
Let’s just say that by the 5th workout I was following her on Instagram and had dug through 10 frustrating minutes of Yoga Studio workouts in my Beachbody on Demand library to find some of hers (which aren’t as polished as Barre Blend but solid yoga workouts you should try).
And before the end of the program you’ll definitely be ‘googling’ where you can find her workout line of apparel. (Which apparently was sold online at one point but I can’t find anywhere now.)
The Barre Blend workouts were filmed in a classic gym-style classroom with other exercisers (all women) scattered around the room.
It’s the same group of women in every workout. The same woman is always the ‘modifier’.
Then the other girls take turns doing the ‘advanced’ version of the exercises. (And unless you’re a pro dancer, don’t expect to be able to keep up with this person.)
You’ll find out that many of the exercisers in the group are also pro dancers like Elise, but there are one or 2 ‘regular’ women in the group as well.
The program layout of Barre Blend
The program materials for Barre Blend include an 8-week (60-day) workout calendar.
They recommend you do the routines in the order (but not necessarily the exact days) that are on the calendar.
There are 5 consecutive days of workouts followed by 2 rest days.
There’s a progression of workout length over time.
The phase one and two workouts are all 30 minutes long.
Phase 3 workouts are 35 minutes, and the last phase (weeks 7 and 8) are 40-minute workouts.
There are a total of 40 different workouts (I love that!). Workouts with the same title follow the same framework (with similar exercises) but each routine is new.
The only thing that’s repeated is the warm-up and cool down (and even those are slightly different every time).
There’s no complicated choreography but most moves have 3 levels of intensity and many of the ‘intensifiers’ involve balance (that put you on one leg and/or on your toes).
There’s music but I kind of forgot about it. These workouts aren’t about the music.
If you’ve never done ballet, Pilates or yoga it’s not a problem.
There are some ‘Basic’ and ‘prep workouts’ to start you off on the right foot.
What equipment (and how much space) do you need to do Barre Blend?
You don’t need a barre. But you’ll need something to hold on to while you do the barre exercises.
Find something that’s sturdy (won’t slide out from under you if you lean on it) and is about waist height.
The height matters. For me, a barstool that I could grip around the bottom of my ribcage height was perfect. You may have to try out a few different objects to find the right height for you.
You’ll need a pair of very light dumbbells.
The program materials recommend 1-5 lb dumbbells.
I had some 1 lb. dumbbells I’d never used before that I pulled out for these routines and they were (embarrassingly) too heavy for some of the exercises where Elise is holding 2 lbs! (These workouts really did a number on my ego.)
But by the last week I was wishing I had some 2lbs. (I don’t think you’d need anything heavier.)
You’ll also need a resistance loop.
Pro Tip-Form is really important for these workouts. If you really want to make sure your form is spot on (and occasionally laugh at just how ‘un’graceful you look) then have a mirror in front of you for these workouts.
I didn’t follow the nutrition plan but there’s a 102-page pdf guide included in the program materials (it’s not a new guide that was created exclusively for Barre Blend, so you might recognize it if you’ve done any of the newer Beachbody programs).
Expect Beachbody’s Shakeology drinks and supplements to be a big part of the nutrition plan.
How many calories will you burn with Barre Blend workouts?
Honestly, not many.
If you’re like me you might start the Barre Blend program to work on your flexibility but you’ll quickly realize these workouts are total body conditioning.
So, yes, you’ll be working on your flexibility but you’ll also be working on your balance, agility, coordination, grace (I didn’t know I needed so much work on that until I started these workouts) and toning, shaping and defining your muscles.
There are push ups in these workouts!
Do these workouts because of that (total body conditioning PLUS flexibility work), not to burn a mega amount of calories.
What was my favorite routine in the program?
The Booty Blend routines were my favorite (followed by the Lean Legs Blend routines).
Is Barre Blend for men, too? What level exerciser is the program ideal for?
Some men will love these workouts. You know who you are.
People like my husband would benefit from these routines but he wouldn’t enjoy them.
The routines are for any level of exerciser.
I noticed on the Beachbody library dashboard that this program is put in the ‘beginner’ category (I’m not sure why). Don’t let that fool you. These workouts are hard. They will challenge you.
And leave your ego at the door because you’ll be putting (or trying to put) your body in positions that feel a little awkward at times. You might not want an audience in the room with you (unless they’re going to do it, too).
The best things about Barre Blend (that surprised me)
Barre Blend has the best true progression of exercises from week to week of any program I’ve done. (And I’ve been exercising at home for 20+ years so I’ve done a LOT of programs.)
If you’re familiar with me then you know my signature method for creating a workout calendar is called Program Stacking (which is based on creating a workout calendar that’s customized around your individual fitness goals and life with an emphasis on using many different programs mixed together). The Barre Blend workouts fit beautifully into the Program Stacking method.
I haven’t talked about the meditations that are included in the program. You’ll find them in their own tab inside the Barre Blend program. These are a hidden gem.
They’re short (around 4 minutes long) meditations lead by Elise Joan. I love them.
I also haven’t mentioned the daily affirmations that are a part of every single routine in Barre Blend.
With every workout, Elise declares an affirmation (‘I am adventurous’, ‘I am aligned’, ‘I am strong’ etc.). I have to admit that when she declared her first affirmation I wasn’t on board.
But it grew on me.
And honestly, it became one of my favorite parts of the program.
So, if you think you’re not into ‘woo’ stuff (like I thought).
My advice is to go into this program with an open mind because you’ll get a lot more than a physical transformation out of it if you do that.
And one more cool thing about Barre Blend (that I haven’t mentioned yet) are the 10-minute enhancement workouts for specific body parts that you can add to any routine (or do on one of your rest days).
Is it worth signing up for Beachbody on Demand so you can get Barre Blend?
I’m sure you know my answer to this by now.
Yes. I’m completely sold on this program.
Sign up for your free trial of Beachbody on Demand so you can try out these workouts for yourself.
My full review of Les mills on Demand (they have another barre workout series that you should try if you like this one)
Cathe Friedrich has a Barre program that’s really good (but nothing like Barre Blend)–click here to read my review of that workout