I did zero research before showing up for my first Barre Code class. So, when Molly and I arrived at the new(er) downtown fitness studio, I didn’t know much about the studio. I didn’t know the Chicago based franchise was started by two female corporate powerhouses turned entrepreneurs in 2010. I didn’t know the franchise was founded on a “code” of 8 values (hence the name Barre Code) including: seek growth, embrace evolution, create opportunity, and celebrate success. I didn’t know Barre Code instructors across the nation are fighting body stigma and shame and encouraging females to embrace strength and confidence.
Without any of that knowledge to frame my experience, I truly left class feeling empowered. I later googled the franchise and learned that this is exactly how they wanted me to feel walking out of the studio--empowered. Mission accomplished. Michelle Ziegler, local studio owner, led us through their “Interval Brawl” class, which consisted of a series of cardio and strength boxing-esque exercises that made me feel a little bit like I could kick someone's ass in a dark alley.
Like Barre Code’s founders, Michelle too has a corporate background. She worked at Dunnhumby for a number of years. Michelle found Barre Code while living in Chicago, and used it as an outlet after her dad passed. The combination of physical activity, community environment, and motivational support helped her cope with the loss. When she and her husband relocated to Cincinnati, (hubby, Nick, is a native) Michelle decided Cincinnatians needed a Barre Code. So, she opened the first Barre Code in the state of Ohio. Michelle has a great head for business, and a professional resume that will no doubt propel her to success. More importantly perhaps, she has amazing passion for what she is doing. She loves the workout, she loves the studio, she loves the people. And she has a really cute baby.
Our local Barre Code studio is on Main Street in Downtown Cincinnati, in a building that used to be a convenience store. The classes are all 50 minutes long, and you can choose from three options: TBC (total body cardio), Barre Code Strength, and Interval Brawl. Barre Code differs from other local and national barre studios in a number of ways, but it really depends on what class you attend. The strength class is a total-body workout of isometric holds, heavy repetition and deep stretching. This class will seem most similar to other barre offerings. The TBC class is more HIIT focused and mixes in plyometrics, speedwork and agility training with strength work. The newest class offering, Interval Brawl, has been recognized by SELF magazine as one of the best workouts in the country. Interval Brawl is an intense class that combines cardio kickboxing sequences with strengthening work for the thighs and glutes. TBC and Interval Brawl use bigger movements than classic barre classes, similar to kickboxing or dancing. If you attend these classes, don’t expect to just be at the barre. You’ll be moving. Barre Code instructors also have the option to incorporate a lot more props (think kettlebells, a myriad of weights, resistance bands, etc.). Nationally, Barre Code offers 9 classes. It will be fun to watch what Michelle brings here next.
Barre Code is at 615 Main St. The location is a great option for downtown workers before heading into the office, on their lunch break, or after work.