Healthy living: Ballet-inspired workout at Xtend Barre

I’ve never been one to wear a tutu, and if you asked me to do a “plie” I would stare at you blankly. Luckily for me and my fellow balance-challenged fitness enthusiasts, the new Xtend Barre Bel Air studio offers a ballet-inspired full body workout that strengthens and lengthens for a lean, dancer-like physique -- with no previous dance experience required.

“My vision for Xtend was a beautiful, boutique-style studio that caters to women in this community who want to get an outstanding workout,” explains owner Deb DeVoe, who opened the studio in June.

The Bel Air barre philosophy is this: Combine easy-to-learn Pilates moves, cardio aspects of dance and light weight training to sculpt and tone your body without adding unwanted bulk. Deep stretching before transitioning to the next muscle group keeps your body loose.

DeVoe says she welcomes women of all shapes and sizes to her classes, and notes that, for some, having an instructor-led class “beats being intimidated by a gym full of equipment you don’t know how to use.”

Class begins with using handheld weights for a series of controlled upper body exercises (trust me, you’ll feel the burn). Then head to the barre to target your legs and glutes with the help of a stretch band and resistance ball before moving to the mat for floor exercises that strengthen the lower body.

The upbeat music keeps participants pumped up during the 55-minute no-impact workout, and grippy anti-skid socks (which can be purchased before class for $12) keep everyone grounded.

One Xtend barre class is $20, but new client packages and student discounts are available. Classes are offered every day; you can register in advance online.

And you won’t be able to resist taking a peek at the selection of trendy workout wear in the lobby -- I know I couldn’t.

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