Raising the Bar on Exercise

A death grip hold on the sidebar with your toes elevated as high as you can. Tuck your hips forward and squeeze your buns. Bend your knees and go as low as you go. Hold that pose until your legs begin to quiver.

This is one example of the exercises that will reshape your body with The Bar Method.

This hot new exercise craze is known for creating lean, firm, sculpted bodies through its high intensity, no-impact workout. Each class is composed of 8 to 9 strengthening exercises that work muscles to total exhaustion, followed by stretches, while maintaining an intense pace that burns fat and increases stamina.

This combination reshapes and elongates muscles to give a longer, leaner look.

The Bar Method takes Pilates and Yoga one step further by in offering a healthy heart, flexibility and a strong core. Connecting muscle mass to good health and longevity, the Bar Method has become one of today’s fitness trends attracting even Hollywood celebrities like Drew Barrymore, Alicia Silverstone, the Olsen twins, Kyra Sedgewick and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Burr Leonard, founder of the Bar Method, started her career after she opened a Lotte Berk franchise in 1991, and then established The Bar Method, along with partner Carl Diehl, in 2001. She now oversees the opening of Bar Method studios around the country, produces Bar Method DVDs and writes about fitness.

barmethod2Chicago owners, Lis Settimi and Catherine Wendel, have two studios in Chicago and one in Highland Park. The Highland Park location celebrated its one-year anniversary Oct. 2, 2009, and the Loop location opened its doors this year on Oct. 19.

“New students usually begin to see changes in their body within the first 30 days of consistent classes,” says Settimi, who recommends attending class 3-5 days per week. “They will see a drastic change after 3 to 6 months of regularly attending classes.”

Julie Kuhn, resident of Lake Forest and an instructor at the Highland Park studio, joined the Bar Method staff after becoming captivated by the program. She attended classes in Chicago and knew this was something she wanted to do.

“I was personally inspired by the exercise to become stronger. I wanted to be stronger, and if I could look good at the same time, even better,” Kuhn says.

After the intense training program, she began her journey of teaching others the Bar Method.

“I want to motivate others without scaring them,” Kuhn explains. “It’s a very precise exercise. It’s a butt kicker!”

Classes are 1 hour long and are available at a variety of times throughout the week. A new afternoon class has been added in Highland Park on Tuesdays from 1:15 – 2:15 p.m. to help clients with morning conflicts. Classes start for the early birds at 6 a.m. but the 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. classes tend to be more popular.

“We’ve loved bringing The Bar Method to Chicago and Highland Park and are thrilled with the reception we’ve gotten here!” Settimi says. “Our studios continue to get busier by the day, as people see positive changes in their bodies after only a few weeks of classes,

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