The Benefits of Barre

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Barre classes are all the rage right now and for good reason. These classes are inspired by techniques in ballet, Pilates, dance, yoga and functional technique. Some moves are done at the bar, some on the mat and some use mini balls, resistance bands or small hand weights to maximize results. With fun music and inspiring group class leaders, barre classes can sculpt, define, and lengthen the body. Each Village Health Club & Spa location offers its own take on barre classes. Try them all and find your favorite!   Read more

Back to Class – Group Fitness Class!

Come August, summer unofficially comes to a close in the Valley of the Sun. Residents are back in town from vacation, and schools are back in session. When it comes to fitness goals and routines, back-to-school time is an ideal time to get back into a routine. Attending group fitness classes for accountability and motivation is a great way to commit to a routine. Read on for the top five benefits of choosing group fitness classes to ramp up your back-to-school routine.

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Have You Ever Tried Taking A Barre Class?

It is a common misconception that you have to be a ballet dancer to do barre work.  But the reality is that there is absolutely no dance experience required.  It is true that barre is used extensively in ballet training and warm up exercises but barre work is an excellent workout in and of itself. It can help improve flexibility and strength in individuals looking for an alternative workout. Most people are surprised to find out that barre is much more of a workout than it appears.  Here are the top 10 benefits of taking a barre class:

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Fun, Friendship & Community – Running Together is Better

By Abby Luedecke, Triathlon Coordinator at the Village DC Ranch

Running, for the most part, is a solo sport. Many of us run to clear the mind, relieve stress, and give us time for self-reflection. Who couldn’t use some “alone time” every day? However, after 15 years of running, I’ve come to realize the invaluable benefits of running with a group. It doesn’t have to be a big group, yours could be as few as two, but here are five good reasons why you should buddy up for your next run. Read more

How Good is Group Fitness?  Let Me Count the Ways.

I remember the first group fitness class I attended more than 35 years ago. The music, the instructor, the energy of all the other women there was intoxicating. I was completely sold. This was the fitness avenue I had been looking for but didn’t know it until that day.

I had always been an amateur athlete, playing softball, running track, playing soccer, tennis etc. so I always felt comfortable, even exhilarated by physical exertion. But this new playing field was absolutely joyful for me. The music transported me. I loved all the synchronized movements that the instructor dished out for us to interpret and follow. Donna Summers was headlining that day and it was “Hot Stuff.”


So much has followed since that day. Friendships that developed from that day still exist because we share the goal of feeling and being healthy and fit. I have watched so many people, men and women, timidly step into the Group Fitness studio, whether it’s Yoga, Cycle, Boot Camp, Bounce it Off, Strength training or Pilates, hoping not to be noticed and feeling a bit inept but in short order they become transformed by the experience.

The talent and strength of a seasoned professional instructor cannot be overestimated. He or she sets the tone, imparts the knowledge, bestows praise and captures the spirited power of being part of the fitness driven group. The infectious energy of an instructor can help to elevate the emotional response in everyone, which in turn provides the motivation to try a little harder, go a little faster and stay in the game a little longer.


Making new friends is a given. Zumba class is a great example of that. The people in class often have to be asked to stop chatting so class can get started. There’s group interaction with some of the songs that is sure to make everyone smile. The instructor often exhorts everyone with a call to “boogie” more. With smiling faces and sweaty brows, the dancers thump and bump to the beat. After class, the chatter escalates to an even greater level, now sharing the victory of the class along with the challenges that await each person in their day. We share our lives along with the dance.

While some people find a specific Group Fitness class niche and stick with it, others like a variety of classes to keep it interesting and challenging. Cross training in multiple modalities is the way to go in order to maintain cardio vascular fitness, muscle strength and flexibility.


It is common to see Boot Camp people heading to yoga or Pilates class for some concentrated flexibility work after a hardcore aerobic workout. Cycle junkies regularly come Pilates Mat to balance out the mechanical stress of being on the bike.

One of the latest trends in Group Fitness is to provide a Wellness component. Classes like Restorative Yoga, Meditation, Roll and Release are bringing mindfulness and a sense of well being to our members. Instructors have so much training these days including Masters Degrees and many certifications that help to educate and truly care for people physically and emotionally.

Age is not a barrier to class participation. One woman I have known for 25 years is now 88. She comes to class 5-7 days a week and does everything from Cardio Kickboxing to Bounce It Off on the mini trampoline. She is not the only octogenarian that

enjoys a wide variety of classes and who also has lots of friends whose ages span all the decades. Group Fitness is a culture that bonds people through fun fitness classes.

About the Author


Linda Hertzberg is  the Group Fitness Director at Camelback Village in Phoenix, Arizona.  Linda holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and secondary education from Arizona State University. She grew up playing baseball, soccer, volleyball, cheerleading, dancing, running track, and eventually tennis when the Village opened. She started her own fitness business over 30 years ago and has been committed to excellence in fitness programming and to the people using those programs ever since.

Hard Core – Pilates Gets Manly

If you walk into any Pilates class at any gym or health club, more likely than not the class will be dominated by women. While this trend has existed ever since Pilates started to become a popular exercise, men are quickly catching on to it’s benefits – including some of the world’s top athletes like LeBron James, Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant. It’s not just a couple of high-profile players, but entire professional sports teams from the NFL, NHL and the NBA are also getting in on the action.

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Suspension training — Up on the Roof!


Thanks to money made from the sale of some old spin bikes, Camelback Village Group Fitness Director Linda Hertzberg was able to have a steel beam structure and awning installed on the roof deck overlooking the tennis courts.

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Gainey Village Instructor of the Week: Jesica Drago


The Gainey Village Instructor of the Week is Jesica Drago, this week you can bring any guest with you for free to any of Jesica’s classes. Below you will learn a little bit about Jesica.

  • What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done? Jumped into a river from a 60ft cliff.
  • Do you prefer chocolate or vanilla? Both.
  • What’s your favorite vacation spot? Montana.
  • Who is your favorite musical artist and do you play much of their music in your classes? Anything from country to pop…right now, I’ve been jamming out to Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke and Cruise feat Nelly.
  • How many places have you lived in your life? Three states, Montana, California, and Arizona. Moved to Arizona right after college in 2002.
  • What is your favorite animal? Do you have pets at home? No pets, two toddlers are enough!
  • Other than the current classes that you teach, what is another class you would love to add to your portfolio of classes? I would like to get into Pilates but for now bootcamps, muscle, TBC, cycle, barre and Tabata keep me busy.
  • Seafood, meat, or vegan? Meat.
  • Favorite restaurant in the Valley? Grimaldi’s pizza I might be a little biased my husband works for them.
  • Favorite movie ? Depends if I’m watching alone, with kids or with my hubby. Watching alone I like girly comedies, with my hubby suspenseful and my kiddos can’t watch enough Barney.
  • What does your ideal day consist of? My ideal day would be sleeping in with no plans for the day!