So there I was about to get up from bed on New Year's morning, thinking of my resolutions for 2012. I really can't think of any as 2011 has been very very good to me and I feel I've been very very good that year too. However, I looked in the mirror and realized that I might have gained a few inches here and there. My first plan was to continue doing Barre3. It has helped me tone my body, increased my stamina, made me more flexible than ever and strengthened me overall. But it's a new year, and there has been a lot of new workout regimens sprouting in Manila for the past 2 years. I know I should stick to what works for me, and the results I got from Barre3 prove how effective it is. It is indeed my perfect kind of a workout. Still, I wanted something new but not that far off from Barre3. So I called Plana Forma right after I arrived from my holiday trip and booked my first class with them.

I arrived at the studio fifteen minutes before my class at 10:15am. Gino, the instructor, oriented me with the equipments and assured me that since I've been doing Barre3, my first Plana Forma class is not going to be all hell for me. Truly, it wasn't all hell. 10% wasn't, but 90% of that hour was. But before you stop reading, let me tell you one this: I've been in this for almost two months now and I've never been this addicted to working out. Unintentionally, I've lost 7 lbs in just 6 weeks. (That's nothing compared to the 16 lbs KC Conception lost while doing Plana Forma.) I'm sure that caught your attention, so here's more about the workout.

What is Plana Forma?

The key principles of Plana Forma is based on the techniques of Physique 57, a focused workout with a cardiovascular program of isometric exercises and orthopedic stretches. The workout involves target-specific exercises which work on the abdominals, thighs, hips and seat muscles, while strengthening the back muscles and working the hamstrings. 


How is a session like?
A session starts with warm-up exercises using two sets of weights then moves on to barre exercises which work the thighs, calves, hips and seat muscles. Afterwhich, we move on to floor exercises that focus on the abdominals. What makes a Plana Forma class memorable is the intense heat of muscles firing up to the point of exhaustion and then having them stretched out after. The workout is so intense, by the time you realize how painful it is, you're moving to the next sequence! Before you know  it, the 55-minute grind is over. It took me just 2 sessions of Plana Forma to get to the rhythm of the workout. 


What benefits have I reaped since I started Plana Forma? 
I reaped almost the same benefits I reaped from Barre3. Only this time, the results came in faster. My body became noticeably toner and firmer especially my seat and thighs in just 3 weeks. My core feels stronger and I'm getting less backaches. The more classes I attend, the more flexible I become each day. 
I only wanted to get rid of the holiday bulge, maybe just 2 lbs when I started, but instead I lost 7 lbs out of doing this in just 6 weeks. Right now, I'm in my lowest weight but my body isn't waif-like and I don't look dried up comparing to how I looked like in 2007. I weighed 3 lbs heavier then than I weigh now. Even so, I'm not all skin and bones. I still look healthy and I don't hear any complains from family or friends. And like any other exercise, this workout improves my mood (thank you endorphins!), improves my productivity and keeps me focused at work.

What are the other perks?
  • You get to use their towels, both for the workout and for the post-workout shower. 
  • They partner with a lot of brands and have timely raffles and give-aways. Some brands they've partnered with are Nivea, Havaianas, Posh Nails, 2nd's Restaurant and Starbucks just to name a few.
  • You can get your workout outfit right then and there as they have a wide range of merchandise at the studio.
  • They have the 4x4 challenge for added motivation. You even get freebies for finishing the challenge such as free socks, free parking tickets and discounts.
  • They have special classes at minimal rates (P300-P500) such as Jazz, Zumba, Mat, Stretch, etc.
Are there any cons?
  • You need to book a class or you won't be assured you can get in. If no one books on a certain class, it can be cancelled. If too many books a class and you didn't, you won't have a slot.
  • You need to bring your own water bottle though they sell water bottles at P25 each.
  • If you cancel late your booked class, you need to pay a 200-peso fine.

Is it worth it?
I enrolled myself in the monthly unlimited membership at P5,300. Basically, I can go every day, even thrice a day for 31 days. Compared to having your own personal trainer, this definitely costs less.
How is it different from Barre3?
  • Rates: The rates are almost the same, maybe P200-P500 less than Barre3. 
  • Equipment: Both uses the same tools and equipment: barre, playground ball, fitness strap and a mat.
  • Intensity: You sweat more and burn more calories in Plana Forma as it is more intense and done in a faster pace.
  • Sequences: Barre3 has more balancing sequences and focuses on holding certain poses while Plana Forma involves a lot of rapid movements and focuses on exhausting the muscles before stretching them out. I've heard a lot of people say that Plana Forma is a version of "Barre3 with steroids".
  • Elements: I feel that Plana Forma has less "yoga" elements but has more "pilates" elements as compared to Barre3.
  • Duration: Time flies during a session in Plana Forma. Just when your mind has realized the pain and the burn, you're onto the next sequence. I sometimes find myself looking at the clock at Barre3. Both lasts about an hour.
  • Floor: I like Plana Forma's carpeted floor better than Barre3's cork floor. It's less painful on the knees and soles of the feet.
  • Instructors: I feel more comfortable with the instructors at Barre3, maybe because I've been with them longer. I just feel more pampered there. Though both Plana Forma and Barre3 have really accommodating, qualified and credible instructors.
  • Music: Both uses fast "aerobic" kind of music. 
  • Amenities: Both offers free use of locker, toilet, shower and some toiletries. Free refill of drinking water at Barre3. Free use of towels at Plana Forma.
  • Location: Barre3 has studios in 4 The Spa branches in BGC Fort, Alabang, Eastwood and Rockwell. Plana Forma has one two studios in Jecoprime building at the Fort. 
  • Class Frequency:  Plana Forma has class every hour from 7am to 9pm while Barre3 has less classes daily but spread out in their 4 branches.
  • *You can read more about my Barre3 experience in my post last year "Raising the Barre".
Which workout do I like more?
Honestly, I get bored a lot on routine workouts and my mood is ever-changing. There are times when I want a super intense workout, so that's Plana Forma. But there are times that I want more challenge for my balance, so that's Barre3. I'm not really into losing weight, I just like to be fit and toned. Both workouts give me those results, only it's faster with Plana Forma. But I feel more aware of my body and posture while I was doing Barre3 as compared to now in Forma. Considering all the pros and cons of both workouts, I think I'll alternately take classes from both Barre3 and Plana Forma.
In the end, it's finding the right fit for you. If you want to lose weight, I think Plana Forma can help you get there faster. But if you want a more yoga-like work-out at a slower pace, then go for Barre3. Either way you go, you build muscle mass, which helps in maintaining your desired weight. 

Here's a video of the Top 5 Celebrity Workouts in Manila featuring Barre3 and Plana Forma:

The Plana Forma Studio is located at the 6th Floor Jecoprime Building, 20th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig (behind Essensa). For more info, check their website or like them in Facebook.

Related Posts:
Raising the Barre
The Ohm in Yoga
Staying Motivated to Be Fit