You may have first heard of Physique 57 from Hollywood celebrities like Chrissy Teigen, Zooey Deschanel and Kelly Ripa who have vouched for its effectiveness in keeping the body toned and lean. The dynamic barre studio is known for its tried-and-tested methods that promise rapid results in as few as only eight workouts (fifty-seven minutes per class) — the perfect formula for gals with a busy schedule.
I've always been drawn to physical activities that have a certain grace and art to it such as yoga, pilates and barre. So when we were invited by Physique 57 Manila to try their body-sculpting barre classes, I was totally up for it. Read on to learn about what it's like to take a class at this celebrity-recommended studio.
Their branch in Manila just celebrated their first anniversary
Co-founder and Physique 57 instructor Tanya Becker describes the studio's signature technique as a "one-stop-shop that works every inch of your body." It utilises a process called Interval Overload, which is basically overworking the muscles to the point of fatigue, and then stretching it after for relief. This method is said to help burn calories not just during the workout, but even after class, in order to lose weight.
The reps are a combination of classical ballet exercises and the Lotte Berk Method, developed by a classically trained dancer who conceptualized a combined workout of strength training, dance, and orthopaedic back exercises for maximum results. Physique 57’s head instructor Bernadette Osias explains further, "We use these techniques as we want our workouts to retain a sense of grace and femininity. That way, we achieve that long and lean physique, and get the toned muscles — without the bulk — that we want!"
Physique 57 Manila is located in Bonifacio Global Center at W Building in 5th Avenue, Taguig City. It's a convenient location but since the studio is relatively small and boutique-like, we had a hard time spotting it. If you plan on visiting, here's a tip: input F1 Hotel Manila on Google Maps and once you're there, look right across and you'll see a Metrobank branch, on its left is Physique 57 studio.
Despite its compact space, the facilities of Physique 57 are top-notch. They've got lockers with digital lock pads, a nice shower and comfort room with amenities, a water dispenser and a waiting area. The exercise area covers all the second floor, meaning it's very spacious and students have a lot of space to move around. That's really ideal because the last thing you want is to accidentally hit someone while doing stretches!
Before the session
Before the session began, we were asked to pick a spot. Each location has a nice set-up that includes a thin mat, two support foams, a resistance band and a playball. For the weights, we were asked to pick a pair that suits us (being a beginner, I chose only four-kilo weights). And then the fast-beat music began to pump us up...
During the session
Once settled, we started with our warm-ups, which are mainly upper body exercises using free weights, push-ups, and plank positions, specifically targeting the biceps, triceps, shoulders, and the chest and back muscles. Each class has different variations and modified to suit different needs, but the common denominator is its focus on core strengthening all throughout the workout.
The most challenging (but also the most fun and satisfying), was the exercises involving the barre and playball. You will need to put the playball in between your thighs and you have to squeeze it while balancing yourself and doing several barre reps. Whew!
The last leg of the session is all about abdominal exercises. And finally, the class winds down with soothing stretches that promote flexibility and allow the muscles to recover and relax.
Even though the workout was really rigorous, it left me with a satisfying feeling that makes me want to come back. I like how the instructors are attentive to what your body needs and can modify exercises to better suit your body's capabilities while providing a challenge from time to time. In the class that I attended, there were two instructors present to guide, which was really helpful for me to correct my form since it was my first time at Physique 57.
After only one session, I felt rejuvenated and uplifted, not just physically but also in relation to my mood. I'd say that Physique 57's sessions are best partnered with a more low-impact physical activity like yin yoga or a calm vinyasa to help recover from delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). But with all the intense, focused exercises, it does seem like a one-stop-shop fitness regimen you'd want to keep doing again and again.
Next, read about our experience with boxing-inspired HIIT exercise.