Video of our Day at the Barre with Mrs. Jessica Diaz
Excited for the warm weather, but maybe not so excited to slip into a bathing suit? We weren’t too psyched about the latter either. But, don’t fret ladies (and gents) bathing suits don’t have to be scary if you’re willing to put in a little time at the “barre.” Say what? No, not that type of bar. We’re talking about the hot and sexy routine shaping women’s “seats,” and lengthening their core, and we knew just who to call: Boston Barre Superstar, Jessica Diaz.
Jess H. Falls in Love with the Spectacular Mrs. Diaz
Jessica is quite the impressive person; a mother of two, fellow blogger, a stroke survivor, spokesperson for the American Stroke Association, and barre hotshot, all rolled into one sweetheart of a person. When you first meet Jess, you can’t help but be taken by how strikingly beautiful she is. High cheekbones, gorgeous almond eyes, and a barre-scuplted body (barre, not bare folks. :-)) But, it only takes the flash of a minutes into a conversation to realize her true beauty is on the inside. 🙂
Before we had our private barre lesson, which you can catch in the video at the top of the post, we had the chance to interview Jess. Here’s a quick Q&A with the lovely Mrs. Diaz.
1. WHAT IS YOUR GENERAL BACKGROUND
I am a mom, Barre instructor, NCCA certified personal trainer, and spokesperson for the American Stroke Association. I also am co-founder of a fashion and fitness blog called Ms Fit For Society. Prior to becoming a mom, and moving into a career in fitness, I worked in television advertising, marketing, and sales. I also spent a few years as a Research Analyst for a consulting firm and published a few research papers.
2. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TEACHING BARRE?
I have been taking Barre classes for 14 years and teaching for almost 4 years. I teach at Asana in Charlestown and at Equinox on Avery street in Boston.
3. WERE YOU EVER A DANCER?
No, I wish I was. I now living vicariously through my daughter who is in her 6th year at the Boston Ballet School. She loves it so much!
4. HOW DID YOU GET INTO BARRE?
I found Barre in 2002 when I was living in San Francisco. I happened to be walking down the street when I saw this woman standing outside of her studio, The Bar Method. I had never heard of it before. What struck me about this woman is that she had a sophisticated look, but the body of someone in her 20s. It was the founder of Bar Method, Burr Leonard. At that time she was in her late 50’s and so youthful looking. She still looks amazing today. I started taking barre classes with her and fell in love with not only the results, but also how energized and accomplished the method made me feel. I took classes with her for almost two years, and am so grateful for that time and all that I learned from her. I continued to take classes and ended up moving back to Boston in 2004. After having my second child in 2010, I once again turned to Barre to get back into shape. That is really when I decided to become an instructor. I wanted to become a teacher to incorporate the modifications and all the things I had learned to help others find the same type of transformations I had with Barre.
THANKS JESS! 🙂
Now, that you know a little more about our marvelous instructor, onto what we learned.
Named after the handrail used for support in ballet class, barre borrows some of its moves from ballet, stretches from yoga, and a few concepts from pilates. One thing is for sure, this hybrid method is all hard core strength, and as we quickly learned, not as easy as one might think. And why would one think anything birthed from ballet would be easy; honestly, did you see Black Swan?
Okay, well, maybe it isn’t that daunting. But, it still was incredibly challenging, and from the look of Jess and other barre beauties we know, very effective. Jess Hennessy is an avid runner, and going into the lesson felt very confident. But, as Jess Diaz explained, part of why barre is so effective is that it targets the muscle groups that are often ignored in traditional cardio workouts, such as running. She even predicted Jess H. might shake during the workout, since she would be using muscle groups that have been chilling out during her runs. Um, she was right, except it was more like major tremors than minor shakes. As we said, incredibly challenging and rewarding.
This looks easy-right? Wrong! So challenging, but we loved the burn!
The best part about our interview is that Jess Diaz taught us a few simple barre movements you can do at home, which you can watch in our video. All you need to set up your own in-house barre studio are the following:
- Mobile barre (A sturdy chair or counter top will also work.)
- Resistance bands
- Floor Mat
- Stability Ball
Be sure to watch the video, but here are a couple of quick moves you can do at home to not only sculpt your body, but also to improve your health and wellness, which really is what matters the most.
Strengthen Shoulders and Back
- Bring band over head and reach for ceiling.
- Lift out of waist and slighting hinge back.
TIP: To avoid rounding shoulders, focus on being long, strengthening your back, shoulder, muscles and core.
Tone those thighs!
- Start with feet hip distance apart.
- Take a light grip on the bar.
- Draw belly button in until you have a nice flat spine.
- float heels up and back.
Push Up That Body!
- Get into a push up position, on your knees.
- Extend calves and feet into the air.
- Keeping the body straight from head to knees, lower your truck.
NOTE: We love this exercise for an entire body workout!
Trim and Lengthen Those Thighs
- Stand with feet hip length apart.
- Grip the barre for support.
- Pretend you have on your highest stilettos and get onto the ball of your feet.
- Bend your knees, while keeping your back straight and lower your body up and down just by a few inches.
A gigantic thanks to the beautiful Miss Diaz for spending an afternoon with us. Read more about Barre and how it hits it’s all of the major exercise points on Jess’s (and Alisa’s blog) MsFitForSociety.com.
We love you Jess! You’re an inspiration to us all! XOXO
Until Next Time, Stay Fit and Have Fun!