A D Staffer Works Up a Sweat at the New Bodybar in Highland Park

Summer is over. Our mission to procure a few visible ab muscles for poolside soirees has been replaced by hunting down the perfect boots. But we’re not letting ourselves go, altogether. No, we’re just waiting for the perfect fitness class to fall in our laps and make exercise during our chaotic holiday season convenient. Could Highland Park’s new Bodybar be the ticket? Chelsey Plumlee reports on her experience:

A fit and savvy coworker recently invited me to join her for a class at the new Bodybar studio in Uptown’s Travis Walk. Business developer Laurie Gatlin and Pilates master Kristin Moses have collaborated to bring Bodybar’s “Beautiful. Athletic. Real.” concept to life. The studio offers workouts that mix traditional Pilates, barre, yoga, and their signature “Burst” cardio segments between sets. A boutique entrance instantly drew me in with an earthy collection of jewelry, cozy active wear by Saint Grace, and a raw juice bar, but around the corner stood twelve of the most intimidating exercise machines I had ever seen. I spent the next fifty minutes jamming to pop music and following along while our instructor walked us through the “Reformer Jump!” class.

First Five Minutes of Class: Leaping up and down off of the “Jump” board was really disorienting at first, so naturally I laughed at how ridiculous everyone looked rather than focusing on the first few sets. Imagine jumping as high as you can then being pulled back down by weighted springs, all while lying flat on your back. Weird.

Middle of Class: I finally started to get the hang of things and stopped laughing because I couldn’t breathe after our first two minute “Burst” of cardio (burpees, jumping jacks, high knees, etc.). I also quickly realized that the Allegro 2 reformer machines are no joke. Every spring, bar, and pulley is designed to target muscle groups you don’t know you have until they’re quivering in pain.

Class is Over: Sweet relief! We wiped down our mats and machines then headed straight to the juice bar. I chose the “Bright Eyes” blend that includes carrots, celery, parsley, pineapple, and ginger. As we shakily walked back to the car, we re-lived the experience and agreed on two things: One, we were so exhausted we might not make it down the stairs, and two, we couldn’t wait to come back.

Next Day: The following day I was sore from head to toe in the best way possible. I purchased the “10 Classes and 10 Juices” package, and then scheduled my next class.

What You Love Most: Classes are limited to 12 and are rarely full so you receive a lot of personal attention. The staff makes an effort to remember and use everyone’s name. Each workout and instructor is different so falling into a rut or getting bored is nearly impossible. The juices and shakes are tasty and the pricing ($5 to $8.50) is at the same level as other local juice bars. The iPhone app and live calendar are simple to use when booking classes.

What You Love Least: Anyone strolling down Travis can watch you working out. This didn’t really bother me until I ended up on the mat closest to the window in the “Happy Baby” pose.

Cost: The pricing is set a bit higher than several nearby pilates and yoga studios. They offer several intro packages that you can purchase once (the “10 Classes & 10 Juices” goes for $150), but after using that, you’re left having to commit to one of the pricier sets. The “3-Month Unlimited” deal isn’t really much of a deal at all. Let’s assume you make it to three classes per week (probably the maximum an average person could participate) – the $310 “unlimited” monthly payment would break down to $25.83 per class. The $450 pack of 25 classes breaks down to $18 per class and would have you working out three times per week for two months. SEE UPDATE.

The Takeaway: The boutique atmosphere, killer workout, and delicious juice outweighs the lofty pricing for me. Your checking account may not thank you, but your body definitely will. –by Chelsey Plumlee

Update: Pricing has changed. Bodybar now offers new membership package pricing, including a three-month unlimited auto renewal program for $220.


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