The Joy of Julia: Gentle Barre??

Callie was gone this past weekend, which means the dogs and I ate whatever we wanted all weekend long. Really from Thursday to Sunday. It was finally nice enough to grill so I grilled cheeseburgers for myself and the pups.

Mmm.. melty American cheese, double cheese for Bodie and Bunny because they’re big dogs.

And can’t forget the veggies!

Meanwhile, I was over at Kate P’s house Saturday night for UFC, where copious amounts of cheesy pizza, Korean fried chicken, and whiskey was consumed.

Then, it was Sunday. I had hardly moved a muscle since Callie left. I had eaten like a pig. And because fitness/weight loss works just like cramming for a college astronomy final, it was time to cram – hence, me forcing myself to do a Sunday University City tuck double – Julia’s barre at 11:30am, followed by Corey’s yoga at 12:45pm – all approximately four hours before Callie was to land. Despite still smelling like fried chicken and whiskey, I chugged two (diet) big gulps, fueled with one last McD’s sausage egg and cheese biscuit, and forced myself to go to Julia’s class.

This is (a blurry picture of) Julia. She’s a graduate of that very special first class of barre teachers from tuck’s first-ever group teacher training – the same class that produced Ann, Cass, and many of our other most popular barre teachers.

I had heard for a while that Julia was special – from her very first mock class, Callie was raving about how unique and different Julia’s style was. Callie’s teacher trainings tend to produce type-A, sadistic, drill-instructor-style teachers, but somehow Callie said that Julia taught barre the way a great gentle yoga teacher teaches, well, gentle yoga.

And you know what? Callie was right. Julia somehow teaches and cues barre exercises the way Snow White converses with the dwarfs.

Which is a very jarring juxtaposition, because the class is still absolutely brutal.

First problem – Julia teaches tuck’s only 60-minute barre class, and on a Sunday no less! Isn’t this the day of rest? Second problem – Julia does barre the way Kevin Durant plays basketball – she’s long, graceful, she does every exercise with perfect form, and she makes everything look completely effortless. Which is great for her, but when she demonstrates something, you get the mistaken impression that every exercise is easy. And, well, none of them are. So you end up starting each sequence with optimism, only to have your expectations unexpectedly slaughtered like your favorite Game of Thrones character.

This was the worst exercise we did all day – something called jet-skiing? It made the top of your legs (quads?) burn, but in a way different manner than, say, squats. Squats are a deep burn, but these things almost felt like a sunburn on the surface of your quads. They were the worst.

But, Callie was 100% right about Julia having the gentlest, kindest personality while she teaches a brutal barre class. At one point during the worst part of this exercise, she literally said, “If this is really painful, I’m so sorry!” And she meant it! This wasn’t like a blatant Ann lie, I really believed Julia when she said she was sorry! Of course, she wasn’t sorry enough to end the sequence early.

Usually during barre class, you can get kind of angry at what the teacher is making you do, and use that anger as energy, but it’s impossible to get angry at Julia. If she were a Jedi, there would be zero chance she ever turns to the dark side of the force.

She’s also strong AF – we did a crazy long back/arm sequence that ended up being about 8x longer than I expected, and Julia didn’t take a single break. Once we finally hit the mat, I understood why – she’s absolutely shredded in her arms/upper back.

I spent the last 10 minutes in “give up” mode – I just closed my eyes as Julia led the rest of the class through some weird stuff with stretchy rubber ribbons.

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