by WYNNE LOVE

There are a lot of workout options out there. I should know – I’ve tried them all: running, biking, swimming, strength-training, spin, Pilates, yoga, Zumba, kickboxing, you name it. But even the best workout routine can become just that – routine.

And that’s how I found myself at an Xtend Barre class last week in Carmel Valley. As instructor Lina Harris put it, “It’s not what you expect when you enter a dance studio.” I can attest to that. A combination of core, strength training, and cardio exercises, all drawn from the foundations of ballet, Xtend Barre (pronounced “bar”) was an invigorating blend of rigorous exercise with a good dose of grace.

[pullquote_left]“When I took my first barre class, I was in love!”  – Amy Mewborn, Owner,Xtend Barre Carmel Valley [/pullquote_left]

As studio owner Amy Mewborn described, “Xtend Barre is a full body workout.” While you will find yourself doing pliés and relevés, you’ll be doing them with an energy and intensity that only the most serious dancers take on.

A few years ago, Amy was a successful financial planner. She always enjoyed fitness, but it was the discovery of Xtend Barre that inspired her to make it a career. “When I took my first barre class, I was in love!” exclaimed Amy. “I felt it was very well rounded. It gave me those quick cardio intervals in addition to the small isometric toning exercises of traditional barre.” She opened the first Xtend Barre studio ever in Carlsbad in 2010, and her second in Carmel Valley in 2011.

Research continues to support the combination of cardio and strength training as the most effective calorie blaster. This type of “interval” workout is shown to tone muscle, assist weight loss, strengthen bones, and improve cardiovascular health. “As women, we are busy!” said Amy. “I didn’t have time to go to barre class, and still go get a cardio workout in, so I felt that Xtend Barre really was efficient with my time.”

Her clients agree. “I tried lots of other studios,” shared one, “but I like this one best because it’s a nice combination of cardio, Pilates, and fusion, with the core of ballet.”