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An Alternative to Socks for Barre Classes

My love of ballet-style workouts like Physique 57, Figure 4, and Pop Physique is well documented (see barre class guide, Pop Physique love letter, and Kate Albarelli fan girl Q&A). I love everything about these thigh-burning, arm-sculpting classes except the footwear. Every class I’ve attended requires you to wear socks, which is fine until you try holding plank or doing triceps dips while slipping around. No fun. You can buy socks with little nubs on them, but I recently discovered a cuter option: 

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Barre Crawl West: Pop Physique

If New York is known for exporting restaurants, Los Angeles is developing quite the rep for its cult exercise classes. There’s Tracy Anderson, Barry’s Bootcamp, Yoga for Athletes, and many more. I was in L.A. this past weekend and, in between eating and beaching, decided to give the local fitness scene a spin.

I had heard great things about Pop Physique, a chain of stylish fitness studios specializing in ballet-inspired classes. I’ve been hooked on these thigh-shaking sessions ever since our barre class test-drive earlier this summer, so I signed myself up for one of Pop’s signature classes. Their whole vibe is very L.A., from the American Apparel-like models on the website to the zen-ed out lounge area at the studio. But there was nothing laid-back about the hour-long class: it had familiar arm work with light weights, thigh-shaking exercises at the barre, and ab-crunching curls to finish. By the end, my legs felt like Jell-O and I swear my arms looked more toned. Best of all, the class was $20—not inexpensive by any means, but a definitely less than New York studios. On my next trip, I’m planning on trying out Yoga for Athlete’s hybrid yoga-cycling—two of my favorite things in one class!

—Mollie

Read our roundup of the best ballet-style exercise classes—plus tips for preparing for your workouts!

5 Questions For…Figure Four’s Kate Albarelli

If you follow our Twitter feed, you may have surmised that we are on a bit of a fitness kick. We’ve been testing out New York’s best ballet-inspired classes (stay tuned for our take) and our bodies are definitely feeling the burn. We asked Kate Alberelli, a former dancer and founder of Figure Four, to take a break in between classes to answer a few questions.

Your #1 must-have beauty product?

Maybelline Full and Soft Mascara. It’s better than any other mascara I have ever used — cheap or expensive.

What’s worth the splurge?

Devachan haircuts! I splurge on the cut every 3 months. They really know how to keep a curly girl happy.

What’s your post-workout skincare routine?

I always wash my face with Cetaphil. My fiancé got my into it an I have been addicted ever since. Daily regimen of Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum and then moisturizer works like a charm.

Favorite ritual?

My work week ends on Thursday. Every Thursday afternoon, I buy the three latest gossip magazines on the newsstand, make cheese and crackers and sit on my couch completely uninterrupted and read each one while noshing on my snack.

How often do you get asked Black Swan-related questions?

Only about once per week. The questions usually asked are: Did I like the movie? Was the dancing good? Is that the authentic life of a dancer? To which I reply, Yes. Yes. No.