On a Sunday afternoon three months ago, I sent this text to my husband Michael.
He had bought me a three-day pass to try out the Barre3 studio that had opened 5 minutes from our house 9 months prior. I had driven by it regularly, but always thought that it was for skinny model dancer types – essentially, the opposite of me. I also knew that the studio classes were an investment, and “worried” that if I were to go and like it, then I wouldn’t be able to afford a membership. Basically, I was using every excuse I could come up with not to go. But in the end, I did go, and this is the text I sent to Michael after I left.
From the moment I first walked into the studio, I was greeted by name by Katie at the front desk. Katie showed me around the GORGEOUS studio (seriously, it’s super fabulous), and then I met my instructor, Kris, who put me immediately at ease with her million-watt smile and warmth. I took my place at the barre, and, I kid you not, the next 60 minutes changed my life.
I have a hard time capturing the experience into words, which, as a loquacious person (there’s your word for the day), typically comes easy for me. That makes it sound like it was transcendent or something, which might be taking it a little bit far, but truly, it was wonderful. I remember feeling more confident as the class went on because many of the postures were familiar to me from having done yoga and other core strengthening exercises in the past. The whole class just had this calming, centering vibe about it, even when my muscles were quivering while holding a static posture. Every so often Kris would come by and check on me, and I could hear her do that with other people in the class as well. Towards the end I remember looking into the mirror, and my eyes welled up with tears, just knowing that I’d found a place where I could come and have an hour all to myself doing something that improved my quality of life. I even had the thought cross my mind that one day I’d become an instructor. During my first class. So yeah, I guess you could say I was hooked from Day 1.
So, you might be wondering – what exactly is Barre3?
The basic concept of a Barre3 workout is a combination of pilates and yoga and ballet. For example, what would be called a Grand-Plié in ballet is called Narrow Athletic V in Barre3, although the form and movements are very similar. Yet Warrior 3, a common yoga pose, is called just that in Barre3. Each class is a 60-minute core workout, because every posture and exercise requires constant engagement of the core muscles. The same basic postures are done in every class, yet they can be varied so much that every class feels totally different and unique. Not to mention that each instructor brings their own flavor and personality to the class. Like Christine, who one day had an epic playlist that kept us all giggling through the infamous Power Leg posture.
January – The Barre3 Challenge
Just a few days after I started going to the studio, a 30-day challenge started with the goal of going to 4 studio classes per week. I decided that I wanted to try to go every day of the challenge. For one thing, I got to put a sticker on a chart for every day that I went, and there was just something in me that wanted to see an uninterrupted row of stickers next to my name. Another reason was that Michael had gifted me a whole month of unlimited classes, so I wanted to make the most of my time.
And so I just kept finding a way to make it to class every day. My mom and sister joined me for one of the classes! It’s pretty obvious which of us has made exercise a priority in the past. 🙂
Day after day, I kept showing up. People started noticing, and I could feel the momentum starting to build. I totally looked forward to getting my sticker at the end of every class, and especially loved when Vida helped me put my sticker on the chart. 🙂
This is me with the studio owner, Amy. She is an incredible woman with so much joy and life coming out of her every pore – and she is all about building community. Because of her I have met so many amazing people and now feel like I am part of a tribe. Amy, I can’t wait to take this same picture next January. Who knows how much will have changed? 🙂
Of course Josh got in on the sticker action too! 🙂
During the challenge there was some sort of giveaway at every class, and one day I won a Barre3 tote bag! I’ve been using it as my purse lately, I’m am ambassador wherever I go. 🙂 This is one of my instructors, Anne. She loves to make me blush by telling other people in the class that I’m famous because I went to class every day of the challenge. 🙂
Another fantastic instructor, Emily! She is a super encourager – I can’t ever be down after I’ve gone to one of her classes.
Throughout the challenge there was always something fun in the studio, like fruit-infused water or lavender bath salts, or fresh veggie juices. My favorite were these temporary tattoos that Vida and I put on our hands. She still says, “Mommy, where is Be Love?”, 3 months later. 🙂
This is my barre buddy Mandy! We started taking class at the exact same time, and met while we were both babbling about how much we loved it. I always get so happy whenever I see that she’s in class with me! Love you, girl.
One the second to last day of the challenge, there was a free community class to celebrate the end of the challenge, held in a local hotel conference room. It was wall-to-wall people getting their sweat on as we did a full class with barely enough room to keep from bumping into each other. Towards the end I got emotional as I realized that I was closing in on reaching my goal of going to class every day for 30 days. To top it off, I won a free month as part of a raffle! It was quite a moving experience to get to have all of the instructors from the studio celebrate with me.
This is the last class of the challenge, at 3pm on a Sunday (the same day and time of my first ever class), and our group picture after we earned our final stickers! It even worked out that Kris was my instructor that day. 🙂
So what’s next?
In February and March I did not go to class every day, because I knew it wasn’t a healthy/sustainable approach, but I am pretty sure I am averaging at least 3 classes a week at this point, some weeks I go more. When I go too long between classes, I regret it, and when we were on vacation recently for a week I REALLY missed it. I have classes booked 5 days in a row this week, and I can’t wait to get back to the barre.
This is me as of a couple weeks ago. I can definitely tell that my body is changing, and my clothes are fitting better. But I also know that for me to see the real benefit and lasting change of all of this effort, I need to conquer the other side of the equation, which of course is the core of this blog. I need to get control of what I am eating – I need to truly learn what it is to Eat Within My Means. Though we eat healthy food, I haven’t been doing any sort of portion control, and I can tell that I’m working against myself in that area. So as I come up on the second anniversary of the blog, my thoughts are centered around sharing more of how I’m approaching my own journey to finding my means and staying within them. I hope that sounds interesting to you, let me know in the comments, ok? 🙂
Whatever happened to Less of Beth?
Last fall I started a video series called Less of Beth and shared it here on the blog. I ended up taking those posts down, as the updates weren’t all that interesting, because things were staying pretty much the same week to week. There was no Less, so to speak. 🙂 After discovering Barre3, I kept it to myself for the most part, but now the time is right to share this part of my journey with you. I don’t know exactly what that will mean for Less of Beth, in terms of video updates and that kind of thing, but I figured some of you were wondering what happened, and I owed you an explanation.
In class a couple of weeks ago, I stood in the same spot at the barre where I had on my very first class. I looked into my eyes in the mirror and had a wordless conversation with myself. I do weird things like that. The gist was that I knew I had a lot more work to do, but that I couldn’t give up. And one day I would look at myself in the mirror as a Barre3 instructor. It’s a big dream, but I know it’s achievable.
One class at a time.
One good decision at a time.
Plank by plank, squat by squat, bridge by bridge.
I’ve even started picking out the songs for my music playlist. One of them is Adventure of a Lifetime by Coldplay. In the song, there’s a line that says, “we are diamonds taking shape.” That’s how I feel about what is happening for me in every class. And in Barre3, there is even a posture called Diamonds. So when the day comes that I teach a class and put Diamonds in the rotation, I already have the perfect song picked out. It never hurts to plan ahead, right? 🙂
Amy, I love being a part of your studio, and one day not too long from now, I hope to have the privilege of joining your team. How’s that for setting an intention? 😉