When Mer and I set out to create CincyStateOfBeing, our focus was and is to promote holistic health. Not just fitness, but spiritual, mental, and nutritional health. We talk alot about balance, which has been my personal one word affirmation as of late. So, finding a boutique fitness studio that has balance as the core for their entire franchise model had me giddy as all get out.
Meet barre3. Barre3 started in Portland, Oregon by founder Sadie Lincoln who set out to create a studio that focused on whole health fitness to achieve mind and body results. Recognizing that everyday life throws people off kilter, she developed barre3 to balance out the damage done in day to day life (sitting, driving, spending hours at a computer…). Class at barre3 focuses on building strength, flexibility, and improving posture, all of which increases your quality of life.
Since opening in 2008, barre3 has opened over 100 locations around the world and has over 250 online workouts that can be done literally anywhere. Their member resources also include hundreds of whole-foods based meal recipes, an e-magazine that pumps out some seriously great content and they host an annual retreat focused on living a healthy, well balanced life.
The 3 in barre3 stands for their 3 pillars: Exercise, Nourish, and Connect. To quote their website, “It’s not just about how hard you work out or the numbers on the scale. It’s about nourishing your body and making connections in order to lead a balanced and happier life.”
Greater Cincinnati is fortunate to have three barre3 studio locations: Montgomery, Mariemont, and Ft. Thomas. Mer and I took Meggie Brennan’s class at the Mariemont location around the holidays, and I most recently took Kayla Cothron's class at the Montgomery location. Having taken barre classes elsewhere, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. But I was so wrong.
First off, these classes are so much more than barre. I dripped sweat in Kayla’s class, due to a slightly elevated room temp and the larger movements. Needless to say, this was extremely unexpected. Both Meggie and Kayla incorporated traditional yoga and pilates moves in the center of the room- we only spent about ⅓ of class at the actual barre. Like yoga and pilates, the class flowed from one movement to the next, all to the beat of the music (curated by the instructor). To quote Kayla, "barre3 classes are so much more than just a workout-- they’re an experience, and the music adds to that. Classes are set to remarkable playlists that include innovative songs and a variety of genres that carry you through an entire journey".
To me, the flow of group fitness classes is EVERYTHING (closely followed by the playlist). These classes are designed to get people in and out of the studio in less than an hour, so spending every second purposefully in class is essential and expected. Both Meggie and Kayla’s classes did just that- from the purposeful warm up to the poignant instructions and the smooth and simple transitions, never once was I looking around wasting time wondering what I should be doing. Kayla does an amazing job assisting and coaching you to proper form and movement, which is huge for those who are new to the class format.
The basic movements in barre3 class are:
The HOLD: Aligning the body, building that mind-body connection, and engaging your muscles
MOVING SMALL: working deep in the muscle without compromising form to build strength
MOVING BIG: building functional strength for everyday activities (love that this is a focus), toning muscles, and energizing your body. These bigger movements were a surprise to me, since majority of the barre classes I have taken focus solely on the smaller movements.
Like yoga, I walked out of class feeling recharged, both mentally and physically. And like pilates, the larger movements and challenging positions had me sweaty and sore the next day. I highly recommend trying barre3 if you are looking for a studio that offers more than just a workout, like barre class but crave larger movements and a good sweat session, and want to walk out of class with a huge smile on your face from the mind-body work.