As a former dancer (and dance instructor) in my young-adult years, I never thought much about movement. I just did it.
I had to dance.
I still have to dance…but as dance became less and less a part of my everyday, I didn’t quite realize how much I needed that movement — not only for my body, but for my soul.
As I’ve gone through childbirth, postpartum and into mid-life, I’ve come to appreciate how crucial moving is to my overall well-being. But I’ve never really been a gym person. I do love workout classes and learning something new, but I hopped around for years from kickboxing, to Zumba, from short, intense online interval workouts to YouTube dance videos. But nothing has stuck for any length of time after moving away from my fab Zumba hip-hop-focused teacher in Nashville (hey, Kiya!)
Why I Love Barre3 Classes: A Source Of Strength From Postpartum To Perimenopause
Six years ago, I found my local barre3 studio after dabbling in its online classes off and on for a few months. And I’ve never looked back.
Barre3 has been the only workout I’ve stuck with for this long, ever. In six years, I’ve missed only a few weeks (here and there) without doing either in-studio or online classes. I cannot tell you how much strength, joy, friendship and body positivity these classes have given me all throughout my motherhood journey.
What Is Barre3?
From the barre3 website: “Barre3 is a full-body balanced workout combining strength conditioning, cardio and mindfulness. Our mission — and the driving factor behind every move we do in class — is to teach people to be balanced in body and empowered from within”.
Sadie Lincoln started barre3 here in Portland over 14 years ago as a way to help, specifically, expecting and postpartum moms maintain strength and body support throughout their childbirth journeys. I’ve loved witnessing how these workouts, as well as the company, have grown and changed with the new knowledge, wisdom and experience Sadie and the barre3 community have gained throughout the years.
And this is definitely a challenging workout for all bodies, regardless of your history. A huge range of ages are represented in the studio classes I attend too, from early 20s to women in their 70s. I love, love that.
My Favorite Elements of Barre3 Workout Classes
The standout qualities of barre3 as compared to other Pilates/barre workouts I’ve tried:
- Positive language and encouragement during class
- Safe, healthy-but-challenging workouts built for functional movement outside of class
- Post-partum friendly (see “safe” above – even those with diastasis recti can do these classes)
- Yoga and breathing elements incorporated with the barre + Pilates moves
- Beat-driven workouts, but flexibility to move with your breath vs. the music at times
- Continual reminders to listen to your own body
- Body diversity in classes + no weight-loss-focused language or other harmful language used
- Encouragement to use modifications to suit your own body + zero shaming that those mods are easier or lesser than
- Thoughtful updates to movements, class styles & in-studio programs to support members
- Super-cute, high-quality workout clothes for sale online and in studios
Barre3 Online Fitness Classes: For Those At-Home Workout Days
I know many of you have mentioned how much you love barre3 online classes. Whether it’s tough to get into a studio (as a new mom this was especially hard) or you just prefer working out at home, you can get phenomenal benefits from barre3 online.
If you’re a studio member, it comes with your membership. I use mine mostly when traveling, but also if I just can’t work a studio class into my schedule during the week, I know I can find at least a 15-minute — if not a 30-, 45- or 60-minute — class online.
Many of the online instructors are the same lovely people I take classes with here in Portland, and they’re amazing. Some of my very faves? Christa Joy, Meredith, Andrew, Tiffany M., Franny, Allison B. and Stacey F. And if you ever see classes offered by Sadie, the owner and founder, online or otherwise, TAKE THEM. There’s a reason this is such a lovely creation, and a lot of it has to do with that woman.
Why Shana Loves Loves Barre3: Feel Stronger Than Ever
A few of my TME teammates have also found deep value in barre3 at various points in their lives. Shana swore by these safe, healthy workouts postpartum.
“I first found Barre3 sometime after Pax (my second) was born. I’d recovered fairly well after my first pregnancy, but when I got pregnant with Pax…I don’t know quite what happened, but I looked a full nine months pregnant for, oh…seven of those nine months? It was rough (and uncomfortable), and I ended up with that diastasis recti (abdominal separation), which meant that I continued to look pregnant long after losing the baby weight. In frustration, I did a deep dive into diastasis recti and found barre3.
The founder, Sadie, is roughly my age (she likely doesn’t remember, but we met once at a barre3 studio on the mainline), and she’d mentioned that one of the reasons she started barre3 was out of frustration with the lack of safe (but hard) postpartum workout options. Barre3 gave me my hope and confidence back, and I continued to do these workouts even through chemo recovery.
For a while I primarily did online classes (I never had kids who would tolerate even one freaking hour of in-studio daycare) — although I definitely work harder in those in-person classes. While I know the focus of barre3 is core (and thank goodness for that)…one happy side effect of barre3 classes is a pretty epic bum.
These days, I feel stronger than I have in years…but need to get a major sweat on at least four days a week to keep those perimenopause symptoms at bay. Barre3 is one of those classes that definitely get me there. Whew.”
Why Kat Loves Barre3: Body Positivity + Self-Love
Kat also adores barre3 and the positivity of the classes.
“I fell in love with barre3 after my very first class. I absolutely love the format that combines dance, yoga and Pilates techniques all into one, and I especially resonate with how empowering the ending of each class is.
My first class ended with a moment to focus on appreciating our bodies and all that they accomplished within the hour. It made me feel a sense of gratitude for giving myself the time and space to connect with my body, and I personally found myself crying as I listened to our instructor leave us with words of wisdom, self-love and body acceptance.
It’s so rare to find a workout class that isn’t centrally focused around weight loss or achieving your summer body, and this class left me feeling on fire and glowing with even more confidence than I already have. Barre3 is a spiritual connection with my body for me, and I love that it makes me feel so damn good.”
Barre3 Exercise Class Updates + New Offerings
What’s exciting about barre3 in 2023? It’s offering even more wonderful classes in the lineup. You’ve already been able to get a sampling of new ideas in barre3’s online classes, but lately it’s been rolling out new barre3 strength classes in-studio too! They’re currently on the books in Portland studios and are rolling out to other locations across the country as we speak. I HIGHLY recommend these classes!
I’ve been taking them from Tiffany Millikan, the instructor and mentor helping to spearhead these strength classes. I’ve taken them once a week for about five or six weeks now, and I feel SO STRONG. We’re using heavier weights (you work up to them!) and moving intentionally and slowly to build muscle — especially in our upper backs, where we are so weak these days from sitting, hunching, and being on our computers and phones.
In addition to strength-focused classes, barre3 is also rolling out Flow and cardio-focused options. You can find those online for now and in some Portland studios. Strength is rolling out nationwide first, but I believe the other two will follow! Highly recommend them all, based on how you’re feeling that day!
By the way, just as an aside, barre3 has never sponsored me to blabber on about these classes, haha. I just adore them so, so much and want to share with all of you lovely readers who may be searching for this same style of healthy, positive movement in your lives. I’ve heard from so many of you over the years about how much you also love this workout community. I think that’s the big thing for me — not only am I getting stronger and more in tune with my body, but I’m also doing it surrounded by community.
I hope this updated review helps you if you’re searching for something like this, whether you’re a new mom, postpartum or just wanting to bring in healthy movement…and here’s to loving our bodies in 2023, regardless of where we are in life.
Laura (+ Shana + Kat!)
Want to keep up with everything else I’m into? Pop over to my Instagram @laurajansenstyle where I love talking about food, sharing OOTDs, posting travel pics and chatting everyday mom-life-stuff from Portland, Oregon. Oh, and lots of sarcastic memes and cute pet videos because what is social media without plenty of those. xoxo