Real Clients giving zero effs about anything except working hard…

For our next #RealClients #RealResults post we are beyond thrilled to be hearing from this particular client.  We preach about the journey of Barre…the ups and downs, the struggles that everyone faces, the misconception that no progress is being made when in fact it is.  But sometimes its hard to listen and truly hear what is being said.  The journey that each of you faces is difficult, long, and at times seemingly bleak.  What makes the difference and keeps people going in that moment is all about perspective.  Our next contributor shares her approach to the all important perspective and how it has shaped and changed throughout her Barre journey.  She has been with us for some time now and we are very proud to have her in our Barre Crew.  She works hard, she is determined, and she is tenacious in overcoming obstacles.  In her own words, here is Suzy Jackson:

As a plus-sized person, when it comes to exercise classes or gyms, I often felt like the elephant in the room.

And I struggled, for years, with every fad exercise regime and celeb DVD transformation. Because I hated it. Because I thought I sucked at it. And because my body was so far removed from theirs, I simply couldn’t move the same way as they did. I felt a failure; disheartened, and pretty hopeless.

Five years ago, I took a chance on the Barre, after recommendation from a really enthusiastic Barre regular. With a background in dancing, I thought the movements might just make a little more sense to me. And it was after a number of false starts and many deep breaths that I poured my butt into a pair of leggings and shimmied on in.

The first class was a rollercoaster. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing; I vaguely pointed my limbs in the same direction as the instructor, and hoped for the best. Around the end of plies, I hoped for a fire alarm or a power cut to end the experience. By arabesque I was plum-purple in the face and wobbling from my eyeballs down.

And by the end of stretching, I was shellshocked, because I actually had some flexibility. Something really weird happened… I wanted to do it again.

And I did.

The Barre has become far more to me than an exercise class. It’s a community, and you can be as involved in that as you like. For me, the support I get from my fellow Barre enthusiasts, and from everyone involved in running the studio, is absolutely priceless. It’s what keeps my head in the game.

So here’s the bad news. It doesn’t really get any easier. You get stronger, and more capable, and that enables you to make the moves more technical. I guarantee you will want to do this stuff really well – there’s a huge sense of satisfaction there, and not just from avoiding being adjusted by the hands-on instructors!

But it’s easy to forget that… the aim of Barre is not to make a class easy. The aim is to finish your sets, perfect your form, and keep pushing your edge.

You’ll learn so, SO much about your body. And your body will thank you for it, even if it does protest quite a lot at the sheer volume of plies it’s expected to do in any given class.

I’d say that you’ll notice lots of people struggling in class, but that’s not entirely true. You won’t notice anyone, but you and the instructor, because you’ll be far too busy. And so trust me when I say, nobody is really looking at you either. We all have a game face.

The Barre has taught me that fitness is half physical, half psychological. They make the first one challenging, but they help so much on the second one, that you love them anyway.

Notice I haven’t mentioned being plus size since that very first paragraph, right up there?That’s because it could not matter less here. Small groups means the instructors can help you find the right movement for your body type and your ability, and focus on your priorities too.

I love this place. I never thought I’d say that about anything that made me move my butt, but… I do. I’m proud as hell of what I can do now. I always, ALWAYS leave Barre feeling good – they wouldn’t let us leave any other way.

We are Barre. We come in all shapes and sizes, and we give precisely zero effs about anything but working hard… and playing harder.

#RealClients with #RealResults from real Barre moments…

For our third instalment of the #realresults client blog we are focusing on the moments, the milestones, the small wins that come as you make your way towards the promise land of real results.  There is nothing quite like the sweet taste of a Barre victory and our next writer talks a little bit about her victories and what they mean to her.  No one says it will be easy but it will be worth it in the end.  Catherine Johns has been a consistent client at The Barre for darn near 5 years now.  She has worked hard, listened closely, applied methodically, and reaped the rewards.  It has been a real pleasure to have her with us.  Here is a look into her journey in her words:

I hate exercise. Really, I loathe it. But I’ve been a loyal Barre peep for 4.5 years. What
gives?
Before my first ever Barre class, I hadn’t exercised in about 20 years – the day after that first class I was surprised that muscles hurt in place I hadn’t even known I was supposed to have muscles. I went, it hurt, so why did I go back? Partly the shock of realising how unfit I was but why Barre? Certainly I think it helps that I love dance (at least, I love watching it) and Barre has the best bits of dance training.
But it’s the ethos that counts: there is no such thing as “the perfect body” at The Barre, it is about being everyone being strong and fit, no matter age, gender, body shape, or current state of fitness. There’s also a complete lack of pretense – if you want to be strong and healthy, you have to work, and Barre doesn’t pretend that it’s easy. It does take time, it does take consistency, but it does produce #realresults. It’s authentic, it’s honest and it’s empowering to be in an environment that supports you to commit to your own fitness.
And it’s fun (it is, I promise). The Barre crowd is friendly and supportive – we’ve all been on the same Barre journey, we all remember our first class and when we go from First Barre to Open Barre to Second Barre and beyond, it’s celebrated. The instructors know you
– they knew my name when I turned up for my second class. They know when you’re cheatin’, when you’re under the weather, when you’re in the Barre zone. The focus on good technique makes you feel protected in class – they don’t miss a thing. And they always always bring it.
In the end, it comes down to lots of different “Barre Moments”
• The time you get your 100 shot t-shirt, 100 classes done!
• The first time you can walk up the steps from The Barre Studio on the quayside right to the top by Central Station without feeling like you’re dying.
• The first time you hit the perfect framework in BRX class and realise it’s because you have at least a bit of core strength where none existed before.
• The first time you realise that it’s all in the mind: when it’s the last 10 seconds of the set, the last few pliés, your legs are screaming “Give up! Give up! We hate this! We hate YOU!”, and then your brain clicks in and says “You’re. Not. Giving. Up.” and you can finish the set.
My Barre journey has had many such lessons but the most important one, and one I hadn’t counted on at all when I started, is that the stronger you become physically, the stronger you become mentally. Because if we can push ourselves to do that one last plié, what else
could we do?

Real Clients preaching The Barre gospel…

We are back with our next instalment of our #RealResults #RealClients campaign posts…and after the success of our last post we were absolutely thrilled to have our next guest writer contribute.  Before we make the introductions we’d like to take a moment to mention that all of the response we are getting from you regarding these client posts has been tremendous and simply reinforces what we already know.  That our clients are the bees knees!  Please feel free to share these posts far and wide on all of your social media platforms.  Our hope is that these brilliant messages reach untold numbers of people who might be inspired.

And now without further delay…our next contributor is a familiar face in the studio.  She is a veteran of The Barre and has always been a pleasure to have in class.  Her particular style of hard work, over-analysis, and borderline obsessive habits have carved a very special place in our hearts.  We have always found her an inspiration and we think you will too…here is her Barre story in her words:  Barre Crew we give you…Fiona Hutchinson.

Around three years ago I was due to go on a skiing holiday with a good friend, while discussing our preparation she said, “I know! Why don’t you come to The Barre, it will be great for building leg strength before we go.” This was not the first time she had made this suggestion and while previously this was met with the response, “I don’t do exercise classes.” This time, to try to avoid the aches on the piste, I relented.

To give you an idea of my previous exercise attitudes and experience, I enjoyed sport, I had played a lot of tennis, I swam, I ran and I dabbled in the gym. I was not remotely flexible (I couldn’t touch my toes), and I think I may have mentioned already that I didn’t do exercise classes. My fitness and shape varied, with my dress size fluctuating wildly and from being pretty fit to a couch potato. My attitude to exercise and diet was very much ‘all or nothing’ which accounted for these changes, I just couldn’t sustain a fitness routine for any length of time.
My first experience of The Barre was a ‘doubles’ session with instructor Natalie and my friend Elizabeth. It’s fair to say I spent most of the session in a state of confusion (what the hell were these weird movements that burned like a thousand fires in my thighs?), pain and realisation that certain muscle groups in my body had done absolutely nothing for my entire life. On several occasions I proclaimed, “I don’t have those muscles!” when I was asked to do exercises that my body would not comply with and I definitely shouted, “It burns, it burns!” as I tried not to cry. After a couple of classes I was unconvinced that this was for me and the post-class pain, which kicked in every time I made a movement and was unlike anything I had ever experienced, was making it unlikely that I would stick at it.
On my return from my holiday, my husband had broken his collar bone so was unable to go running or play tennis with me and I spent a month sitting on my couch, eating garbage and hunting for stretchy clothing in my wardrobe, I had to do something to stop the downward spiral into elasticated waistbands, so I decided to return to barre class. I started with one class a week, then after a few weeks I asked Maxine the question, “What is Barrdio?” and decided to give that a whirl. Barrdio, I found, was both exhilarating and horrific, I most definitely thought I was going to throw up within the first ten minutes but was delighted to make it to the end without decorating the studio floor. From there on in I was hooked. Over the next couple of months I built up my training schedule with a mixture of barre and power classes until I was training around five times per week. And the elastic waistbands were a distant memory.
Fast-forward three years and I am approaching my 1000th Barre class and do around eight classes per week. I haven’t dropped my schedule once in that time. There has been no period where I have taken time off from Barre (except for family holidays and the enforced Christmas break). During this time I have had periods of healthy eating, had loads of energy and had 100% focus on my training and I have had periods where I really can’t be bothered, just want to eat all the food in the world and would rather do anything but train. Despite this, my schedule hasn’t wavered. So why has Barre worked for me where other exercise regimes haven’t? There are many different reasons. Firstly, I like the effect Barre has on my shape, so that even if I’m eating all the food in the world and I am gaining a bit more padding, I still have good muscle tone and shape and Barre goes some way to counteracting crisps, wine and haribos and reducing the increase in ass size! In addition, Barre is something I do for my mental health, it doesn’t matter what has happened during the day, how much work stress I have or what is going on in my life, for the time I am in class, I have to focus on it completely. I have so many things to think about: shoulders down, engage my core, long flat abs, back straight, breathing…the list is endless, there is just no room in there for any other thoughts. This brings me to my next point, I love the technicality of Barre, there is always something to work on, more to learn. Just when I think I have mastered one aspect of an exercise, something else pops up that I have to address, this keeps it interesting and means I can never ‘coast’. I have monthly 1:1 sessions with Nat and these enhance my Barre experience infinitely. I learn so much about the technical aspects of Barre in these sessions and, shockingly, it is only in the past four months or so that I have made the realisation that I have the laziest ass in Barre history and I now have to work so hard to activate my glutes in class, but it has been a game-changer for me! I want to get better and know I still have so much to learn and it’s a challenge and I’m stubborn and like a challenge. Finally, I love the people. So many gyms are full of people who are all about showing off how good/ strong/amazing they are. This is not what The Barre crew are about. The atmosphere is overwhelmingly friendly and supportive. Nobody has an air of superiority about them, there’s not ‘look at me, I’m fabulous’ crowd. I have made a wonderful group of friends at The Barre, but even if I’m in a class where I don’t know anyone, we share looks that say “We’re in this together’’. It’s a special place, full of fun, laughter, music and like-minded people and I know that I will always come out of the studio feeling better than when I went in.
So am I a completely changed woman? Am I no longer ‘feast and famine’? Do I still have couch potato periods? Yes .……and no.
I recently had my ‘February dip’ dark nights, long days at work, family bereavement, cold miserable weather…. I sought solace in sausage rolls and wine for a couple of weeks and ate doughnuts for breakfast and chocolate bars before 9am. It could easily have been the start of one of my ‘elastic waistband’ periods, but that was the old me. I kept my training schedule up, even though some nights the temptation to lie on my couch in a blanket with a packet of haribos, a family sized bag of crisps and a glass of wine was overwhelming and seemed like an infinitely superior option, and now, I’m back to being ‘good me’ – fully committed to my training, eating healthily and set on losing a few pounds and drop a dress size. If I had dropped my schedule for these two weeks, it would have been so much harder to get back into it all and I fear the ‘dip’ would have lasted much longer and left me with a much higher mountain to climb.
So, If you are struggling to hit your groove with exercise, or you do Barre but you sometimes have breaks in your schedule and then suffer from ‘The Fear’, my advice is this: be consistent, keep your training up through good times and bad, through healthy ‘clean eating’ and deep fried, wine-soaked bonanzas, through work stress and relaxed, fun weekends, through family crises and carefree days. If you train no matter what, it becomes part of your life and it helps see you through the more difficult times when you’re just not feeling it. You will come out the other side and you will hit the ground running and not have to work yourself back into a schedule and the pliés will hold no fear (well, almost!). Try it, the next time you feel the temptation to cancel class because its cold/dark/you’re too tired etc. just go to class. It will make you less likely to cancel the next one and just not book any for a while and you may find the ‘dip’ doesn’t last as long as you feared!

Real Results from Real Clients…

Barre crew, Barre Peeps, Barre Badasses, and Barrebarians all…we are thrilled to announce a new element of our #RealResults campaign!  As we’ve said before our greatest asset is you our amazing clients and now we have taken it to the next step!  To us there is nothing more inspiring than hearing from you about your Barre journey.  So with that in mind we are beside ourselves as many of you have offered to start sharing your fantastic stories as actual real clients and the real results you’ve achieved on your fitness journey along with your Barre insights and, if you will, your inner Barre monologue.  Without further ado, we give you our first client and her story in her words…

She is a lovely person, who always gives it hell, and who we absolutely love having in class…please enjoy the thoughts and insights of Charlotte Currie:

How many times have you thought to yourself “I can’t do this” during a barre class?

I’ve been going to The Barre for almost three years now and looking back I’d say I’ve probably made some progress. I can now make it through Beautcamp without breaking a set (well on a good day I can!), BRX is no longer a complete mystery, and 3rd Barre feels like the worst hour of my life but somehow I miraculously make it through. Yet even though I feel like I’m improving there’s still a part of me which holds me back.

There’s three Barre exercises I’ve convinced myself I can’t do, and here’s my general thought process for each one:

  • 2nd position pliés –“ I always do these wrong: my back isn’t straight, my ankles are sickled, I’m not low enough, now my legs are shaking too much, and I’m tipping forward, my ankles are even worse, now my bum is sticking out, now it’s tucked, my hands are so sweaty I can’t hold onto the barre anymore, I’m going to fall over, actually I’m going to faint, my heels aren’t high anymore, when did I last breathe? I need to breathe, oh my shoulders are around my ears…begin the list of what I’m doing wrong again… I CAN’T DO THIS!”
  • Arabesque – “my head/shoulders are in the wrong place, is my spine straight? Stick my bum out, but not too much, where are my shoulders? Is my forehead still on the barre (probably not unless Natalie is holding it there), now bend my knees, oh god where is my forehead? Is my spine straight? Something feels wrong? Is that because it is wrong or no one has seen? Straighten my leg, how high does it need to be? Is it straight? What’s happening with my other knee? Are my hips aligned? Where the hell is my hip supposed to be? Oh no something’s happened to my shoulders, when did I last breathe? My hands are getting sweaty again … I CAN’T DO THIS!!”
  • Abs under the barre/C curve with a strap – “ I CAN’T DO IT with a strap! Which loops? What with my abs? Where’s my bum? BLIND PANIC! Legs bent or straight? Where are my abs again? Actually, what abs? How do I breathe? Where are my shoulders? No I’ve lost it, I CAN’T DO THIS!!”

The problem is the more I think I can’t do this throughout class, the more exercises I’m adding to my “I can’t do it” list.

What I realised today, whilst dying during 2.5, was that my main thought constantly was “I can’t do this”, repeated over and over and over, reinforced with a “what am I doing wrong?” So maybe it’s no wonder I struggle with some exercises if I’m convinced I can’t do them, keep telling myself that and am completely negative about what I’m doing? Because actually I can do them, fair enough normally the only time my technique is perfect is during a 1:1 when the posture stick is out and Nat is watching me like a hawk and correcting me, but that does mean that I can do these exercises. And every time I do them I probably do them a little bit better, so maybe that’s what I should be focusing on rather than beating myself up.

I have a sneaky suspicion I’m not the only person at The Barre who has this “I can’t do it” mentality. We probably all have a few exercises that we hate, or even entire

classes, and avoid them because of this “I can’t do it” mindset. How often do we

have conversations about what we can’t do in class, but never mention the things

we can do?

So I’m going to change the way I think, instead of thinking I can’t do 2nd position pliés I’m going to think “I can do these” and focus on what I’m doing right instead of beating myself up about what I’m potentially doing wrong. I’ll still have to run through my mental technique checklist, but I’m going to attempt to do it in a positive way.

From now on I suggest the phrase “I can’t do this” is banned from The Barre.

Repeat after me, “I can do this”.

The Learning Curve

For once were not focusing on the rib tickling, stomach burning C.Curve.

NO, were delving a little deeper . . .The feedback from the ‘Mental’ Masterclass was phenomenal and to be honest we can’t stop talking about it and felt it necessary to blog and share our thoughts.

Another big muse for this blog started a couple of weeks ago when myself and Nat read a fantastic and articulate piece, written by a total Barre Badass.

The article was all about our nasty inner monologue, those cruel comments, the constant hate and expectations our mind unloads onto our body. A touching personal journey and a heartfelt apology for the hate that the mind (over several years) had caused. Closing on congratulating the body for what it is and what it can accomplish. A very clever, resistant, beautiful machine.

Here Here …. We’re always talking about the mind to body connection . Not only does it develop your training form wise but it also makes sure you don’t ignore all of those small wins, progressions and victories. When your mind and body aren’t playing on the same team (or so to speak) these can go unnoticed.

The first thing people think about when it comes to a regular and consistent exercise schedule are nearly always physical i.e; a tight butt and abs of steel ;-).  Both of course an undeniable perk, however, the mental benefits should be JUST as sought after and are HUGE.

The main mental advantage, the one that takes the cake for me, is the benefit to your self esteem and the ability to believe in yourself (sorry i’m aware this is a bit cheese on toast but in this case, its needed). When you allow your mind to stop hatin’ and make friends (not war) with your body, you will smash your goals, perform a celebratory dance and give your old mind set the ‘V’ sign.

carlton

It’s all about the learning curve. It takes time to connect with your body, remember you are teaching your body something new, something challenging. Just chill for a second and credit your body, it’s got this . . . you will get there!

After all, it’s pretty good at bouncing back . . . anyone who has had a raging hangover will be able to vouch for that !! If your body survived that time you thought it was a good idea to order another round of ‘Jose Cuervo’ then it can cut through the pesky DOMS and shakey legs to get YOU where you need to be.

You have to admit, it does its job for you. Even on the days you feed it crap (accidentally of course) and expect it to work like a boss. It still manages and puts up a good fight. 

When you relax your mind, tune out you inner daemons and actually just celebrate the fact that your making strong efforts and progressions (however small or big) then that’s the hardest part done . . . your body will take it from there. It’s kinda awesome.

In case you missed the last one, we are hosting another ‘Mental Masterclass’ on Saturday 4th March. Get in and get booked. If you can’t make it, don’t worry. Ask your instructors, for five mins, to just you know, go over the niggly bits . . . whatever they may be. Treat Barre as an open forum, your go to and your place to just be YOU and do YOU!

See your ass in class,

MisMaxine

XOXO

 

 

New Year, Same YOU . . .

Happy New Year everyone !! You made last year at The Barre fantastic and we just know that this year is gonna match that. Your hard work, utter strength and determination (constantly) blows us away and we are looking forward to getting back into the ‘plies of things’.

Already trembling at the thought of your 1st position plies?! Lets just chill,don’t waste your energy, it’s only been two weeks not two years. You’ve got this and are complete Badasses. Remember my blog on ‘The voices in your head’?! Remind your inner monologue to mute out all the hatin’ and turn the volume up on the lovin’.

You must hear us talk about muscle memory?! Well, muscle memory is your absolute saving grace after a Barre Holiday. It’s amazing how quickly your body reacts *warning* you are still likely to experience the infamous ‘jelly legs’ but we DO pride ourselves on having the ‘Best Buns and Shakes in Town’ !!

It really is all in your head. Just go into your first class with a good attitude and enjoy it. Remember why you come in the first place folks, we all know you love it, even when we accidentally forget how to count and add extra reps 😉 we alwaysssss have your best interest at heart.

January is an amazing month and i feel it always gets a bad rep! Yes our bank balance is a little barer, jeans a little tighter and our recycling bin a little ‘fuller’. But have you had a great time?! My Instagram and Facebook feeds have been overflowing with brilliant photos of families and friends having a blast. Those are the kind of memories that you can treasure and will never erase.

We (and i am guilty of this also) have a big habit of responding to the ‘How was your Christmas’?! with ‘Good but my goodness i have eaten SOOOO much’! Let’s stop focusing on the guilt and reminisce about the best bits. I will be testing you all on this ;-).

Just ‘Gan Canny’ will ya?! You don’t need to go on some crazzzzzyyy juice diet, cut out major food groups or check yourself in for a colonic and a tummy tuck.It’s just a bit of bloat! Nothing that a balanced meal, a lot of water and a good old plank challenge wont sort out.

Try not to bargain with yourself, it’s amazing the deals that can be made to avoid getting back into your normal routine. Waiting until you have polished off  your Christmas chocolates before you make a kick start simply does not cut it 🙂 if they really are holding you back then you can leave them in the responsible property of  Jason Holcomb.

We cannot wait to see you and to make this Barre year another one to remember. Let’s start it with a bang not a flop . . . speaking of flop, i’ll see you for BRX in the morning ;-).

To 2017 !!

MisMaxine

XOXO img_2518

 

 

The Naughty List

So, we’ve been in touch with Santa Claus (not an easy task) and we have heard that a lot of Barrer’s have been naughty this year! Yes, Mr Claus proclaims that there has been some unusual activity at The Barre studio of late. Stating . . . cancelling of classes, missing workouts and generally being a bit on the distant side (his words of course, not ours). He expressed that if this behavior were to continue then a lump of coal and a black listed name on the naughty list is a standard procedure !!

After hours of delegating and bribery (cough), a slightly tipsy Santa agreed that we would let you off, but under one condition . . . return to The Barre immediately and get those beautiful butts back into class :-).

Gosh me and Santa really ARE on the same wavelength!

All jokes aside it really has been a little quieter than usual and the fact is . . . we miss you! I know, I know ‘Holidays are coming’ but people it’s only November you’ve still got bags of time to do your Christmas prep and plenty more classes to take in the lead up.

We know December can get a little overwhelming, that’s why were asking you to treat November as it is, just a regular month. Keeping consistent is not only key from a fitness point of view but also great for stress relief. There’s nothing better than a wave of endorphin’s to put everything into perspective.
We all have half an hour to spare no matter how busy we are, luckily for you we have an abundance of express classes. Don’t ignore these powerful classes. They do exactly what they say on the tin! Efficient, fast and effective!

Come December we will be giving you a condensed schedule. Don’t lose sight, they’re will be plenty of options and times. If you are a creature of habit then get in and perfect your favourite class orrrr why not try something new in December?! After all ’tis the season for giving’ give your metabolism a treat with a little pre Xmas push.

3a1b87f7-0cd4-47aa-a1df-38f6aed6d3b8
If your waiting for January to start a frantic ‘get fit’ plan then you really ought not to give yourself an uphill battle. Two months off Barre is gonna feel a whole lot worse than two weeks. Keep as consistent as you can and when you can and i promise it won’t feel at all frantic.

When you knock out a kick ass class your less likely to over indulge on the delights Winter brings and even if you do, at least you’ve blooming well earned it!

Now then . . . did someone mention mulled wine 😉 ?!?!

MisMaxine

XOXO