#RealClients and the legend of the spreadsheet…

The enemy of progress, certainly in fitness, is the excuse.  Its the force of evil that ‘convinces’ us that we simply can’t or aren’t able to do a class.  It tells us that its okay to cancel or miss because something infinitely more important has come up or happened to us.  Its the rationale that we give ourselves to make us feel like we’ve got no choice.  “I really want to workout, but this thing that has happened just won’t let me…”  Its not easy to own up to our use of the excuse.  We’ve all been there and it is a very difficult obstacle to overcome.  It takes real courage to do so.  In our last, but certainly not least, of the #RealClients #RealResults blog posts we discuss excuses, where they come from, and how to manage them.  We have been so very thrilled with all of your blogs and we are so proud to have you all as clients.  That you have been so willing to share your stories and possibly help others is a testament to your wonderful character.  So to all of our contributors we want to say thank you.  With that in mind, today’s post is from someone who has quite a lot to teach us all about courage…and spreadsheets.  In her own words we give you the one and only:  Jane Bruce.

My name is Jane and I’ve been a fan of The Barre fan since November 2009, when I did a whole two classes before coming down with a case of the excuses for 3 months.

Between 2010 and 2015 the amount of time that I spent in class was variable. To paraphrase one of my lovely friends, I’ve had more comebacks than James Brown. For the record, if you ever need an excuse for missing class, being sent to a different continent is the winner.

The reason for this little history lesson (and no, it isn’t just for my token graph, but I do love my spreadsheets) is that if you’d asked me what my attendance has been like, I’d have said it was a solid 2-3 classes a week when I could. But it wasn’t. I hoped you noticed the excuse that made its way in there. I’m pretty logical but my brain is prone to, how shall I put it… fibbing and leaving wiggle room?


That technical and logical head is also home to a nagging horrid voice that hasn’t quite cottoned on to the fact that I’m not 14 doing sports training 5 days a week and that at 41¾ ‘things’ are different. It couldn’t really understand how, since if I’ve been going to class for so long, I wasn’t, well, better at it.

In early 2016 that voice peaked niggling away and telling me that I had no right to be in class. That I was obviously taking up someone else’s space. That people (including instructors) were obviously just being nice to the tubby lass in the corner who was having a go but not quite nailing it. That voice goes by the name of Morag, and damn it, she’s persistent. She drowned out everything else including logic. For a few months afterwards I was MIA from class (again) and filling the time by topping up my levels of the sweeties that melt in your mouth, not in your hand.

Logical brain didn’t leave completely. I know that Barre gives me breathing space in life. I’ve always loved is the utter lack of judgement from the Instructor team (Morag was just plain wrong on that one). Every class is a clean sheet and making it in the door is your first win. I say this because I know that there are times when the easiest thing to do is cancel or not show and then that just gives Morag some more ammo to add to the list.

Eventually I realised that I needed and wanted to come back. I shot an email to studio asking if I could have a quick catch up, ideally under cover of darkness, to work out how to get ‘back’. I knew I needed a plan since on previous comebacks I’ve gone with, ‘hey it’s been a while but barrdio isn’t going to kill me’. You can guess how that worked out. This time I needed to get into a routine so that I could build some strength and stamina to give me a solid base to work from.

I started with a combination of 1st Barre (that’s an hour people, an actual hour!) and Express classes, mixed in with fortnightly Express 1:1s with #BarreBoss. Over the time I’ve built on this and I’ve got a nice variable programme to tackle. I’ve even made it back into BRX (cheers to Charlotte and her blog which got me into that one). I’m (reasonably) consistent in the number of classes I’m doing so that I don’t have that rollercoaster from week to week. I’ve set myself a couple of targets for this year and I’m in a pretty happy place. You might want to remind me of that if you’re next to me while I’m muttering ☺ .

I’ve found express classes have that focus that makes them fantastic building blocks in their own right and help me work on stamina and technique. Anyone who tells you 1st Barre or any of the Express classes are easy options is downright deluded. I think of 1st Barre as the place where you can’t hide; the set ups are precise and technical. The fudge of sliding into position at the last available minute*, won’t cut it. (*busted.)

The revelation for me was regular 1:1s. That technical bit of my brain loves breaking down the mechanics of the movements that I struggle with or think I’ve nailed only to find that it felt ok because it wasn’t getting the requisite ‘welly/edge’ behind it. Breaking things down in a 1:1 when I’m fresh as a daisy, as opposed to trying to focus when I’m 45mins through class makes it all so much clearer. I’m constantly saying, ‘oooooh, that’s what you meant/why you say that/what we should be doing’. I think my favourite lightbulb moment was realising I was effectively trying to hover off the ground holding straps in re-ab.

There are some other things I’ve learnt since the last comeback (all things willing, it’s THE LAST comeback, I’m here and I’m planning to stay)…so here we go:

  • 1. I used to come armed with excuses to each and every class, effectively, giving myself a get out for not trying, for giving up (I favour a face down starfish position on the floor) or breaking a set. Now I don’t. Or at least, if I know it’s a get out, I don’t mention it on my way in the door.
  • 2. I don’t use my, ‘ooh I need some more water, I’ll just go now…’ trick to dodge the bits of class I know I find tricky. I bring more water.
  • 3. I accept that I CAN do it. It’s not pretty and it’s very much a work in progress, but it’s happening and the only way it keeps happening is if I keep doing it.
  • 4. My questions help me. Anyone who’s ever been in a masterclass, it’s me! The one with all the questions. Questions work for me and I am utterly shameless about asking them. Join me!
  • 5. Morag hasn’t quite toddled off, but she’s offset by Candi, my spirit Cheerleader. Toward the end of last year I was going into class thinking, ‘Eeh, I was rubbish last week, it’ll be rubbish again’ and I realised I needed a tool to wave at myself. There is now The Spreadsheet. It’s set up to highlight the good stuff rather than being a stick to beat me with. It’s only ever a best guesstimate of what I remember happened but it helps me focus on what I’m doing. Most importantly it’s what works for me. I’ve drawn the line at bringing a paper copy to update in class, but stranger things have happened.

I love Barre; I love what it does for my mind and my body. It’s taken a while for me to realise that utter honesty with myself, focus and consistency are what I need to see progress but I think we’re there. It’s not all me though, the support from the Barre team and the Barre Squad of lads and lasses, both in and out of class is amazing. I’ll see you in class!


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