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? 😉
Hungry For More?
Get recipes sent to your inbox + a FREE blender muffin e-book!
You rock, Beth! ^^ So inspiring. Now, to find a Barre3 class here in Paris!
Thank you, Clotilde! If you don’t find a class in Paris, you can still do Barre3 online! They have lots of classes and the monthly membership is super affordable, only $15/month (US). In fact, some of the instructors from my studio are in the videos! 🙂
Good to know, Beth, I’ll look into it! I’ve been running and swimming lately, and enjoying both equally. ^^
Get it, Girl!!! Your journey has been so inspiring and fun to me to watch and be a part of. You’re such a bright light and such a powerful person in so many ways! Keep it up Beth, this is JUST the beginning!!
Thank you so much, Emily! 🙂 This just made my day.
This is so beautiful, Beth!! We love you and we’re so proud of you!!!! You are such an inspiration! ❤️
Thank you, Amy! I am so proud to be a part of your tribe. 🙂
I love this post, Beth. Barre fitness is my jam, too, and it is so great to see you finding such a great niche!
Thanks so much, Rebecca! 🙂 I know you love Barre too, I’ve meant to chat with you about that before. I’ve never been a “class” person until now! There’s something so centering about it, I don’t think I’ll ever quit.
Hannah Elizabeth says
Firstly, out of all the Barre classes/videos, Barre3 is my favorite!! ?? Number 1 kind of weird thing: I literally was just looking up the lyrics to “Adventure of a Lifetime” the other day. And then Really Weird Thing #2: are those Jess Lively’s Intention Tattoos?? Because I have several of hers and I’ve already used quite a few!! I haven’t used the “Be Love” one, but I’m thinking I should put that on before I come down there next. ?
Hannah, I hope when you come visit we can go to a class together, that would be so awesome! Regarding weird thing #1, that’s just crazy cool. Vida is obsessed with that whole album, we listen to it daily and she can name the songs after the first bar. As for weird thing #2, I’m not sure, but I’ll ask! 🙂 Vida would be SO EXCITED if you had “Be Love” on your hand when you arrive.
Wow, 2nd year anniversary of the blog already! Way to go. So glad you found these classes, they sound totally awesome. 🙂
Thanks, friend! I was just thinking today that I need to get you into class with me soon. 🙂
Congratulations on taking this powerful first step!
“One day at a time.
One good decision at a time.”
You are an inspiration!
Thank you so much, Sharon! 🙂
Raquel @ My California Roots says
I love love this post, Beth! One day you WILL be a Barre3 instructor, and I so look forward to coming to visit you and taking one of your classes!!
Elaine @ Flavour and Savour says
Way to go, Beth! I love your brutal honesty about your self-discipline and being kind to yourself. xo
Thank you Elaine! 🙂 When it comes to talking about myself, I can’t be anything but brutally honest. It’s a blessing and a curse, honestly. 🙂
Beth this is so Amazing! Keep up the good work!
Thank you so much Sunny! I will. 🙂
Beth, this is so inspiring, really you are amazing! This post brought tears to my eyes. I have tried these barre style classes before, and I know exactly how you felt going into them. I call them the land of sticks – completely intimidating! I wish I could find a Barre3 near us – there are only other options and I have tried but am never comfortable at them. Keep up the great job, and by the way we miss you on Snap Chat!
Thank you so much Denise. The land of sticks – wow, that’s a true statement. I am so sad that I missed seeing you and Lenny in Portland last weekend, we had some life stuff going on. Hopefully we can get you up here again for a video workshop and I can take you to my studio! I miss Snapchat too, I’m getting back into it slowly. 🙂
Sarah @ Will Run for Pasta says
Love this!! And “One class at a time. One good decision at a time. Plank by plank, squat by squat, bridge by bridge.” is a great reminder for me right now. It’s so easy to feel like that one class or that one run isn’t making any kind of difference, but it’s all the classes and runs put together that starts to change things. I love your full row of stickers, and totally remember that sticker pride when my yoga place had a similar challenge. Who knew stickers could be so motivating, haha!
Oh, and those are totally Jess Lively’s tattoos, I have some and love them! http://jesslively.com/project/intentiontattoos
Thank you so much Sarah! Isn’t it crazy that as grown up ladies we still get motivated by stickers? We really make things too complicated for ourselves sometimes. 🙂 So I am totally late to the party regarding Jess Lively, and I’m so glad I am finally getting the memo. I didn’t know I lived under a rock until now.
Oh, and one of these days, we WILL get together. I just know it. 🙂
brittany | words like honeycomb says
This makes me so happy! You are such an inspiration, Beth! I hope you realize that! Thank you for your honest approach to your journey <3 Can't wait to read the post titled: I am Officially a Barre3 Instructor!!!
Thank you for sharing your story! I recently found Barre3 and fell in love with the program immediately as well! I have been searching for months to find a complete program that was easy to follow and most importantly NOT Cross Fit. I am only my first week in, but know that this is something I can stick to for years to come! So excited to have found your blog and a vocal member of the B3 community! I hope all is well and you are thriving in your journey!
Mary S says
This is SO inspiring Beth! It is so beautiful to hear about your journey with Barre3. I am an instructor at Barre3 Seattle and I can attest to the fact that It really is life changing! I have so much hope for your journey towards becoming a barre3 instructor. With time and dedication I know you will be able to achieve it. And then you will have the joy of inspiring others! So much love! -Mary