03/07/2013 09:11 BST | Updated 02/09/2013 06:12 BST

aroundthefitnessworldin80days - Day 58! Xtendbarre Review

When I find something that I like, nay, love I'll stick to it. I won't get bored easily. Usually applicable to food - I happily ate the Leon chilli chicken box every Monday-to-Friday for lunch for about 2 weeks, much to the bemusement of my ex-colleagues. And I only stopped because I foolishly looked up the nutritional information and realised that the box was almost 700 calories. That's almost the same as a McChicken Sandwich and medium MaccyD fries, I wrote to Leon, and besides, if you add up all the individual components of the box (this was back when they still sold the rice and slaw as sides and you could calculate the chicken from the with/without chicken salad), it doesn't add up to 700 calories! It's un-creamy coleslaw, brown rice and some sauceless (but delicious) chicken! Something came back about proportions being different, lunch being the main meal of the day and it being a validly healthy lunch choice. Anyho, needless to say, I still have the chilli chicken box but can't help but feel a little guilty each time.

So, I'm back at Heartcore - the hidden gem (not for much longer!) from Day 56 TRXCore where I tried the much-more-difficult-than-it-looks-in-those-google-videos TRX Suspension class. I would've gone back to try TRXCore again but then that wouldn't make for a very interesting review and someone made up some rules about trying different classes (ppff) so here I am, at Heartcore's XtendBarre class.

To change it up a little (and nothing to do with the close proximity to Maison Blanc), I went to the Hampstead studio today. True to the Heartcore vibe, the studio was bright, open and quite spacious - some good use of space here, with no reception area per-say and the XtendBarre class taking place in between the reformer pilates machines.

Instructor Amy is a petit little ball of fitness energy - this is instructor inspiration defined - my main thought stream throughout the class was "if.i.pulse.a.little.higher.or.push.a.little.harder.i.might.look.like.her.must.push.harder.must.pulse.higher.must.also.remember.to.breathe." It might be weird to mention but I also found her instructor voice (probably similar to normal voice too) particularly soothing, so much so that I made a mental note to mention it. So there we go.

At the start of the class, each mat is laid out with 2 little weights (1kg) and less-little weight (1.5kg). 1kg? Pish-posh I thought, I'm better than that. It turns out, I'm not. The standing exercises we started with were non-stop and we were balancing, pulsing and pushing until one side reached exhaustion before switching sides. All I'm going to say is, 1kg was enough.

The second part of the class was at the barre and in contrast to the previous ballet barre classes I've tried (Day 29 Frame Method and Day 47 Barrecore), I found this class a bit more ballet-esque - between the moves, the focus on posture (even down to pointing/flattening of feet) and our "frames," I did enjoy the attempted elegance although I likely looked more like a baby panda trying to ballet.

We ended on some mat work abs exercises but these were fairly standard - by then end, I was happy to float my achey, but satisfied leg muscles to the incense-filled changing rooms for a quick shower and head on over to Maison Blanc for a delicious sandwich that I'm hoping didn't have more calories than the chilli chicken box.

The Need To Know:

- Where: Heartcore Hampstead (http://www.heartcore.co.uk)

- Nearest Station: Hampstead - Northern Line (30seconds)

- When: A few XtendBarre classes throughout the week (I actually went on Friday), else Pilates, Kettlecore and CycleCore

- How Much: Single class £27 (ouch) but they let you try first class for free and have multi-class packages which make it cheaper

- Special Note: Other studios at Notting Hill, Kensington and Chelsea (See Day 56 TRXCore at Chelsea)

The Want to Know:

- Who's it For: For those who like low-impact, ballet-barre toning classes

- Sweat Scale: 6/10.

- Strength / Cardio / Flexi / Tone: Toning

- Complexity: 7/10

- Fun Factor: 7/10.

- Changing Facilities: As with Chelsea, a few lovely showers, incense-filled toilets and lovely changing areas.

- Instructor Inspiration: 10/10. Small but strong!

The Stats:

- Total Time: 54mins

- Calories Burnt: 171 (did not negate my post-workout sandwich)

- Average Heart Rate: 97pm

- Max Heart Rate: 123bpm