Physique 57’s Low-Impact Barre Classes Combine Strength Training with Finesse

The signature workout born in New York City has been sculpting bodies in Manila for a year now, with barre-based classes that highlight their 'Interval Overload' process.

Don't let Physique 57 fool you. It's a minimalist studio, resembling a ballet studio, may not have heavy machinery and only has small dumbbells stored on the shelves. In fact, there's barely any equipment save for the light items like the inflatable mini stability balls and padded mats. But take one of their barre workouts and in 57 seven minutes, you'll experience a muscle burn and leg-quake unlike any other exercise you've taken.

Inside Physique 57 Manila's barre studio

The signature workout born in New York City has been sculpting bodies in Manila for a year now, with barre-based classes that highlight their Interval Overload process. According to Physique 57's founder Tanya Becker, the process is set to overwork the muscles to the point of fatigue, and then stretching it after for relief. Interval Overload burns calories during the workout and even afterward (afterburn).

Free of any complicated workout machines, Physique 57 only makes use of a ballet barre, hand weights, and playground ball. Come in activewear and grip socks!

I've taken several classes in Physique, and they offer several kinds of classes depending on your fitness needs and goals. What really brings me back to the barre is that each workout is very challenging, unlike any other strength class or group workouts I regularly take — the signature leg-quake is real, your thighs and glutes will fire up quick with small pulsating movements, and your core will also be challenged with every class. Why is the barre giving us that burn and why is it such an effective form of exercise? I sit down with Head Teacher Bern Osias after one class to know more about Physique 57.

Physique 57 Head Teacher and Director of Training Bernadette Osias

Question: What's the main principle behind Physique 57's barre workouts?

Teacher Bern: At Physique, we work with the idea of overloading the muscles and bring them to the point where they're fatigueing. So we want to exhaust the muscles, but then we alternate that with some stretches. So we're actually strengthening the muscles, and then lengthening the muscles. So we talk about creating longer and leaner muscles in that way. 

How do you categorize it? Is it a strength class, is it cardio?

It is a combination of both. We do work with the music, so it is beat-based, but we also work with a lot of slow control movements, or even if we go at tempo, we're always going to encourage you to isolate the target muscles, so that you're not using momentum. So even though it's really kind of targeted in one area, it doesn't mean that you're not working your entire body, but at the same time, we will keep it a little more focused and then bring that heart rate up again. So we have different levels of classes. Some classes have a lot more higher cardiovascular value, because we go a lot faster. Some are little slower, but still all of them are still a combination of both. 

"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!”  

And then there's the afterburn. What exactly is the effect after a class?  

In a class like Physique, in a barre class, you might not have that high burn within that class of like an hour, but, you're still burning after the class. Versus like a pure cardio class, like a Zumba class; once your class is over, you're not burning calories anymore. So the Afterburn is the fact that you're still burning calories, even though you are done with class. 

A typical class begins with a warm up, focusing on upper body exercises using free weights, push-ups, and plank positions

What can a first timer expect here, someone unfamiliar with barre?

I think the the most surprising thing, or the thing that kind of shocks first timers is that sense of overload when muscles are really heating up.

Oh my god, yes. My legs were shaking at one point!

I'll use this as an example. You know how like, when you were a kid and you have a candle, like in birthdays, they say "Don't put your hand there," and your instinct is to pull away? But what we want you to do is, we want you to feel that burn and we'll tell you to linger there until it gets really, really hot. And then we'll just be a little short of, okay, "hang in there, hang in there!" And then, that's it.

A fifty-seven minute class includes nine distinct moves and exercises, each targeting specific muscle regions

Because your first instinct is to pull away and to stop. But we want you to go to that place where you are, are going to really make those muscles work, to the point you get so tired. And that's when people are like, "What is that feeling?" Especially when you do more like, Crossfit type of things where they really kind of focus on quick and explosive and heavy, but it's over. You know. So it's like, "Oh, my gosh. What is this?!" No, hang in there. Hang in there. Hang in there! So that's, I think, what people kind of are surprised by the most, because it's sort of counterintuitive. 

You have a lot of regulars at Physique, it's been a year now since the studio opened. What has been the more exciting feedback or progress report from people who have been taking classes here regularly? 

Well, apart from the usual weight loss, we have a mix of clients in terms of ages. And you'll see a lot of the clients who are, you know, like in their 30s, 40s, even in their 50s. We had a client, because of the summer breaks and their kids in high schools, and they're traveling a lot, she was out for two months. Then she came back. Prior to taking Physique, she always had a lot of back issues. And then she took Physique, she was pretty regular for about three, four months, and then summer break happened. But then she came back she says, "You know what? The things I'm always complaining about when we go on vacation, especially with my back, I didn't even feel a thing."

Core muscles are strengthened all throughout the workout

Even the posture. Because we really talk about how it's a non-stop full body workout as well, and we try to have you kind of carry that outside the class. Sowe're trying to give you tools in class to also use outside especially people who are contantly on their desks, or you know, kind of slouching all the time? You know, so it's like, then they actually recognize it outside the class. You know, "Oh wait, I should pull my shoulders back it's like, I should be doing this instead of slouching down. So it's a big thing. So it's not really just weight loss, but how to change the posture and really, their everyday lives.

The barre studio set to open two more braches in Manila soon! As part of their first year anniversary, Physique 57 is offering 20% of on all their class packages until the end of July 2019. New to barre? Newcomers can avail of the First timers Package (3 Classes for P1,500).

Physique 57 Manila is located at W Building, 5th Ave., BGC, Taguig. Follow Physique57 on Instagram (@physique57manila) and like on Facebook (/Physique57 ). For inquiries, call 0998-999-9757 or 898-1731, or e-mail 


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Beatriz Acosta

Beatriz Acosta

Bea is ClickTheCity's Features Editor and Head of Content Services, and gets into quite a number of food mischief due to her appropriately feisty appetite. Travel, food, and fitness go hand in hand for her -- this fitness fangirl enjoys working out to counter all the glorious food. Bea graduated DLSU with a double degree in Communication Arts and Advertising Management, and considers her Taft life to be her first formal education on street food. While doughnuts and ice cream are the known weaknesses of this self-confessed serial snacker, she also has a soft spot for puns.

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