Exercise-Hating Mom Tries Intense 'Bari' Workout & the Results Suprised Even Her

bari studio
I'll admit it, I despise exercising. But I also hate the way my marshmallow-y thighs are cascading toward my ankles. So when I was offered the chance to check out the hybrid workout New York magazine named Manhattan's "best," I jumped at it.

Okay, not literally. I had to save some strength for this uber-intense but super fun class that combines sensory and trampoline cardio with serious muscle sculpting.

I was definitely a little fearful going in to Bari Studio, which just opened its fourth location in Summit, New Jersey. Since my main form of exercise is going up and down stairs doing, and then delivering, laundry, I wondered if I could I handle it. Would I collapse in sweaty heap? Fall off a mini trampoline? Should I have a team of paramedics on standby? 

Here's the inside scoop on the exercise craze that's attracting everyone from busy moms to professional athletes and Navy Seals!

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When I learned the workout was 55 minutes, that eased my nerves. I can do anything if it's for under an hour, right? Ha! Luckily, my smiling and incredibly toned instructor Tiffani assured me that everything was going to be fine. 

I began by putting on a heart monitor that also tracked the number of calories I burned. (Read to the end for the big reveal!) We started off with some fun dance-style cardio moves that reminded me why I'm not a Rockette. 

When I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I also had a flashback to my college roommate asking me to stop going to aerobics classes with her. 

"You make me laugh too hard because you're so distracting," she told me unapologetically. "Everyone else goes left, you go right."

She was right. I was always a beat behind. Apparently some things don't change!

But there was no time for reminiscing as we quickly moved on to the trampoline portion of the workout. The class, kept to 11 people or fewer, grabbed individual trampolines and continued those grueling jumping jacks and high knees on those. All the while, Bari's bass-thumping playlist kept us bouncing to the beat as Tiffani encouraged and implored us to keep going. 

One of my favorite parts of this fast-paced fitness class came when we used hanging resistance bands. Women often lament those "swinging bags of change" under their arms. Let me tell you: This will firm those up fast!

I really felt like I was on the verge of a Peter Pan moment, suspended above my trampoline. If only I'd had a bit more strength, I think I could've flown across the room or at least to the ceiling. 

From there we did some lunges, crunches, and other floor work that I will definitely be feeling tomorrow! 

The Woman Behind the Workout

After some cool-down stretches, I had a chance to talk to the pint-sized powerhouse behind Bari and this particular routine, Alexandra Bonetti Perez. 

Formerly a consultant in the oil industry, the Wharton business school grad explained that she often found herself worn out just from trying to fit exercise into her busy day.

"I was traveling all the time, and the only think that kept me sane was working out," she said. "I was living out of a suitcase and eating in airports. In every state, I'd try something different: running, classes, new gyms." 

Despite her efforts, Bonetti Perez said she was hard-pressed to find one style that combined the best of everything from Pilates and yoga to running, cardio, and muscle toning. So a few years ago when she was only 25, she "took the leap" and created the hybrid workout she'd been looking for.

"It's fun and it's hard. It's definitely not for everyone," she said. "But give it three tries and you'll get the coordination down!" And the results are what set this fitness routine apart.

"It shrinks and it tones," Bonetti Perez said. 

Leaving the studio, I actually felt energized and thrilled to see that I'd burned...(drum roll, please) 610 calories! Hours later, I still feel pretty good, as opposed to when I return from a hot yoga class and feel like I could go right from shower to coffin.

We'll see what tomorrow brings but I definitely look forward to returning to Bari and, ultimately, getting into much better shape!

What's your favorite workout?  


Image via Facebook/baristudio

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