By Joie Goh
For our next installment celebrating our brothers at the barre, we have Alec Boyd, a physicist and adventure-junkie whose WeBarre journey enabled him to return to the hiking trail with a vengeance!

What brought you to the barre?

Before barre, I did a mix of things: soccer, running, swimming, lifting, climbing, hiking, or whatever sports I could join in on.  On average, I worked out for at least an hour every day. However, I had been struggling with a strain in my lower back that I got while squatting at the gym.  I had been dealing with it for five months, but it eventually got so bad that I couldn’t hike comfortably.
So, I tried WeBarre off of a recommendation of a friend, who said it was a killer workout.  I was looking for something strenuous that wouldn’t re-injure my back.

How has barre helped with your recovery?

Barre has helped immensely in my recovery! My general level of fitness, core, and leg strength have all improved, which has made it possible to do the things I love without triggering back pain.  I can deadlift, squat, run, and hike again.
While looking for a suitable rehabilitative workout, I had tried both yoga and pilates, but yoga would often hurt my back with backbends.  And I liked barre better than pilates, because pilates doesn’t feel like a tough cardio workout.  After barre, I feel deeply exhausted in a very satisfying way that’s not easy to get with low impact exercise.

You’re often the only man in class. Did it ever feel awkward for you?

Sometimes, I feel cramped being one of the few men.  I take up more room than most of the other participants, so it can be a struggle to find enough space for both me and my neighbors in a crowded class.  I do my best to give my neighbors room, because I don’t want to be perceived as invading a space that’s normally all-women.
And sometimes the partner exercises are awkward, because some of my partners seem like they would prefer to be matched with another woman.  That said, the instructors are consistently welcoming and kind!

Would you recommend barre workouts for men?

Definitely! First of all, it would be nice to have a few other guys there so I didn’t feel like an outlier!  But more importantly, if they’re looking for a workout that will build lower-body strength with low risk of injury, barre is a great option.  And I’d give them the warning that, while the movements may not look like a challenge initially, they can definitely kick your a**.  So take it slow at first!

Leave a Reply