By: Fred DeVito, Core Fusion co-founder + the world’s first male barre teacher

Most men are programmed from sports training in high school and college to think that lifting weights and doing cardio is how you stay in shape. But after high school and college, most of us realize that only doing exercises you’re used to can limit your fitness potential – and as the first male barre teacher in the industry, I learned this the hard way.

The first time I ever took a barre class, I thought it would be easy. After all, I was a 23-year old athlete with a professional background in sports conditioning and training. I thought I was in great shape. But after an hour at the barre, I was totally humbled (and ready to learn).

By my next class, I knew that I had to check my ego at the door and approach this with a deeper understanding that if I worked on these physical challenges presented in the barre class, I would improve my overall physical conditioning.

Men are competitive. We tend to assume that the sports training we’re already used to is “the right way” to stay in shape. But when you neglect key areas of your physical fitness, like core strength and flexibility, you’re more prone to injuries.

All my life, I have learned to focus on working on the things that I need in fitness — not just things that I like to do. I learned this at the barre, and that’s why I believe every guy belongs at the barre.

And, I get it, guys: it’s a barre class. It’s intimidating. You’re surrounded by women in a fitness class where you feel awkward doing moves that require flexibility and positioning finesse. It takes a great teacher and gender-neutral barre program to not only attract men but to keep them as regular students. Not all barre classes are alike and it is important for men to know what programs offer quality teaching and safe, effective exercises. That’s why we want to see every man who tries barre to try it at exhale – just ask Clay from GQ Magazine.

Here are my top 8 reasons men should do barre class:

  • Barre exercises are a man’s missing link in fitness. Those muscles you never thought you had? Yeah, you’ll find them at the barre. And when you work on your weak links, your entire fitness level improves.
  • Barre exercises help to keep the body youthful since the focus is on muscle density, bone density and muscle elasticity. (Oh hey, long-term fitness goals.)
  • At the barre, you’re using your body weight as resistance (instead of always using heavy weights) which challenges your core stabilization, posture and alignment.
  • Building flexibility is the number one way men can prevent injury – and for most of us, it’s missing from our training.
  • Core conditioning — it’ll improve everything from your weight-lifting to your coordination and balance.
  • In sports, we compete with an opponent. In barre, we compete with ourselves. Don’t underestimate the power of setting a goal and meeting it on your own.
  • Barre classes are proven to improve overall sports performance — whether you’re playing tennis, golf, running or cycling.
  • Barre classes can be your workout routine for the rest of your life to help control weight, improve muscle tone, and facilitate a healthy lifestyle.

For me, the endless challenges presented in a barre class have kept me youthful, fit and in great shape as I enter my 60’s. And as the world’s first male barre teacher, you could say I’m proud to be a guy at the barre.