At one point in my life I was a dancer. I danced on the school team in junior high and high school and taught dance camps after high school for a national company. I was always the first to be a part of my sorority’s dance competitions and performances all through college. After college, when I lived in Nashville, I was known for requesting Thriller at every wedding reception and would get everyone out on the floor with me (um, it was a blast.) I essentially danced my way through the first 20+ years of my life.
Dancing was such a huge part of my identity in those years (and it still is, in my own head.) I never had to think about exercise. I would just dance. But you get to a point where other life takes over, your body changes, you move, you have a busy job, you have a kid…circumstances just change. That younger identity is gone and in this case with it went my regular form of exercise. It’s a weird transition and a tough one.
I tried a few dance classes here and there (also can I please come to Shana’s dance class? right?!), including an amazing Zumba class in Nashville and some killer YouTube dance video workouts, but nothing worked its way into my regular schedule. I was slightly successful with some other online/subscription workouts like 21 Day Fix and Bikini Body Mommy. But, with each of these, I would do these workouts for a few weeks or a couple of months in a row and then fizzle out. Nothing stuck. Nothing changed my habits for real.
Enter barre3. I started with their ALL IN challenge last January 2017. They offer special new client pricing and I decided it was time. I was stressed out last winter due to some personal/family stuff, I wasn’t feeling great physically and I was tired all the time. I was a stressed mama to Sienna. I felt like I had lost touch with my body since becoming a mother. I don’t think I could turn on a single ab muscle. Seriously.
I started ALL IN and went 4-5 times a week to barre3 classes in January. Whew. It was hard y’all, but everyone was so encouraging and nice. I worked booty and ab muscles I didn’t know existed. I put my classes in the calendar like appointments and stuck to them (best advice ever, Sadie.)
Over the last year I then found my groove. I eventually discovered that 3 times a week in the studio was perfect for me, my schedule and my body. I started feeling my muscles again and was amazed when I was able to hold a plank for the whole time. When I had to go a week or so without barre3 due to travel or illness or life, I MISSED it. This is the change I had been looking for.
Why Barre3 Works For Me
There are a lot of workouts out there. There are even quite a few barre workouts out there. Here is a breakdown of the main reasons I like barre3 and think I have stuck with it:
- low-impact: I love that there is no damage to your knees and other joints and rather you’re doing strengthening exercises that will help support these joints instead of hurting them.
- smart postures and instruction: the creators and instructors know what they’re doing and they guide you to do what feels best for your body that day. They focus on form and building your butt and core muscles that we lose sitting all the time. They offer alternative suggestions for every posture you do in class and encourage you to listen to what your body needs. There’s no pressuring you to kill yourself during a workout.
- yoga elements: I love that breathing and some yoga practices and postures are included in each class. Mindfulness and attention to your body are highly valued.
- friendly community: everyone I have met at barre3 has been encouraging, friendly and inclusive. First time in class? No problem. You’ll be walked through the steps and allowed to do what you can that day. 100th time in class? You’ll be recognized and gently encouraged to push yourself to your limit.
- additional resources: Not only do they offer an easy online sign-up/cancellation process so you can get your classes on your calendar, but they offer additional support through recipes and Q&A online.
- childcare: you guys. They have childcare at most all locations and it’s $5. If you have a membership, it’s free. Sienna loves going to barre3 as much as I do. They typically have a small number of people working with the kids so they get to know your kiddos and it makes them feel comfortable.
- tough workouts: barre3 is NOT easy. You pretty much do lots of supported squats and more squats and hold it and then do more. But it works. And you’re taught proper form and the reason why it’s important to work various muscle groups. You build so much strength. I’ve never felt stronger, even when I was dancing everyday.
Before & After
So I know everyone is interested in results. Well, I haven’t weighed myself the whole time because I just don’t do that anymore. But I’ve gone down almost 2 pant sizes since last January, my waist is more defined than it used to be, there are abs now under my tummy skin and I could pretty much crush anyone with my booty and thighs. Haha. Not really but omg I’ve done a lot of squats. I’m also proud of those biceps because being a child of the 80’s and 90’s my goal has always been #madonnaarms
What’s best of all though? I feel so healthy. I get sick less often. I need fewer massages and chiropractor visits. I can still eat the good food I love without feeling guilty. I eat fairly healthy but I enjoy food and this allows me to balance it all out.
If you follow my Instagram stories @elletrain you’ve heard me go on and on about barre3. I know I come off as a little obsessed but you know what I’m obsessed with? Feeling good. Feeling strong. Feeling accomplished. Feeling in tune with this weird thing called my body. This picture above was from just a couple of weeks ago on my 1 year anniversary. (These are my two favoritest barre3 peeps, by the way.) I know it sounds like I really drank the barre3 Kool-aid, but it’s because whatever they’re doing works and I want to share that with you other mamas who may be lost like I was, trying to find what you need but struggling.
Star Tank by Chaser – I love this tank. So soft, lightweight and the length doesn’t get in your way when you’re working out. The front knot also helps it from hanging open when you’re bent over in plank. Wearing size small.
Beyond Yoga High Waisted Long Legging in Charcoal – THESE are the softest leggings in the world. They hold you in well and aren’t too thick but aren’t too thin. Eventually I will have all the soft Beyond Yoga leggings. LOVE. Wearing size small. The black and white space dyed crop leggings I’m wearing in the studio at the top of the post are also Beyond Yoga and the same super soft material. LOVE them all.
Handful Bra with Removable Padding– These are my favorite sports bras. They flatter instead of flatten you, but the padding is removable if you don’t want it. They’re comfortable enough to wear all day long, travel in, sleep in, hike in, etc. They’re soft enough for nursing mamas, too, even though they’re not a true nursing bra. They are seriously THE best workout bras hands down.
So what if you don’t have a barre3 studio in your area? Their online classes are amazing and are taught by some of the instructors I workout with here in Portland. They’re so good, you guys. They offer a variety of class lengths online so you can squeeze them in anytime at home, traveling, etc., from 10min classes up to 60min classes. They update the classes weekly so you don’t get bored. It helps to have the barre3 ball and some small hand weights, but you don’t have to have a thing to get going. You don’t need a lot of room to do the workouts at home. I do them in my small office area and it’s great.
My friends at barre3 have generously donated some free class cards for me to share with you all! I have some for in-studio (any location in the US!) and some for online for those of you who don’t have a studio near you. Follow me on Instagram @elletrain and watch for my posts for each of these giveaways! I’m so excited for you all to try it out for yourselves.
Is there anything else you want to know about my favorite workout ever? Please leave a comment and I’m more than happy to let you know my thoughts. I know barre3 isn’t going to work for every single person in the world, but I hope my little healthy obsession helps you to get out and find what does work for you. I have a birthday soon. It’s a big one. #thisis40