Stacey Margaret Jones: Feel the Burn Studio in Conway

Recently, I thoughtlessly ditched my Fitness Odyssey companion to try out a new workout studio. In my defense, the center is in Conway, and I didn’t think my North Little Rock companion would want to get herself all the way to Faulkner County by 9:05 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

But I think Angel really missed something this time. Burn Studio, the new fitness center owned and managed by Robin Dayer, could be the place to get fit in Conway – and the area.

I was there to attend a barre fitness class, BarreAmped. I arrived at the studio, which is in a two-story office building across from the Salem Road Kroger. I waited for the class, which is in a smaller room, while admiring the larger studio. It has track lanes along one long wall, soothing gray carpet and various fitness accessories stacked and neatly stored. There is a lot of natural light, and the tidiness gives a sense of rigor to the room.

Robin was finishing a class in the smaller room, which contains the studio’s spin cycles and barre facilities. One wall separating it from the outer, larger space is glass, and, again, there was a lot of morning sun streaming through the windows, amplified by the mirrors in the room. Just watching Robin energetically lead the end of the class before ours intimidated me, and I knew this workout was not going to be something I could phone in.

As a runner, barre workouts appeal to me because they are a demanding, total-body, no-impact strength-training regimen. I’ve tried them before at Pure Barre in Little Rock, and was impressed with the results I got in a short time: I was stronger and more flexible in just a month of once-weekly classes.

I liked Robin’s instruction right away. She’s energetic, yet authentic; demanding, yet  encouraging; leading the way, yet participating with students. After she checked all of us in on her iPad, she spoke a moment about how barre class is a “practice.” If you have ever done yoga or meditated you know that means that you are not there to be perfect – you are there to try, to strive, to make the most of the attempt. That calmed down my little over-achiever sensibilities, and I dug in. Her shout-outs of praise to everyone in the class, as well as her attention to every student to correct or improve form were incredibly helpful to motivation. This is a tough 60 minutes; I needed all the help I could get.

Robin took us through various position and movement series to work out targeted areas. We focused on upper body and arms (two-pound weights get really heavy, y’all, when you don’t put your arms down for a long time); thighs (ouch!); gluts (still sore there!); core and abs (I didn’t feel as much here, but that might have been user error); and total body stretching. There were even push-ups and “hovers.” Ugh.

We used provided equipment, such as the aforementioned weights (she has 1-pounders, too), straps for stretching, mats and small fitness balls.

As I’ve come to expect in barre workouts, movements are tiny and purposeful, designed to target specific muscles. The Burn Studio Website reads:

“The precision-oriented technique focuses mainly on small, isolated movements within deeply held challenging postures. BarreAmped is proven to increase your metabolism, burn fat, and lengthen tight muscles. With commitment to the technique, you get results exactly where you want them.”

I will definitely keep this class in mind as a fitness option, and as I spoke with some of the other participants, I could see that though this is a new studio, they were already dedicated to the method. I was there on Saturday of Burn Studio’s first week, and I was the only first-time member of the class.

But as much as I was impressed with this single class, I was more impressed with the studio’s offerings and pricing overall. BarreAmped is only one of the classes on the menu. Members or drop-ins can choose from various spin options (“Burn Cycle,” “Burn Breathless,” “Burn Cycle Express,” etc.), Bootcamp, PiYo (a yoga-Pilates hybrid), running, and nutrition classes for $10 or $12 for drop-ins and between $99 and $110 per month unlimited classes. You can book personal training time for specific rates, and you can also buy various sizes of “class packs” to use in making your online reservations.

The unlimited monthly usage package is what struck me. The $110/$99 price is about half what some Little Rock studios charge for one type of class, and at Burn Studio you can pick and choose from a full schedule of a variety of classes – all with instruction and attention to the details of your own fitness Odyssey.

What: Burn Studio’s BarreAmped class

Website: http://www.burnstudioconway.com/index.php

Located: 824 Salem Road, Suite 101, Conway

What to wear: fitted capris or knee-length shorts or yoga pants, fitted tops. The workout is done in bare feet

Degree of difficulty: Hard. On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate it at least an 8.

Burn Studio

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