Baby Meets Barre

One of the many beauties of barre is that it is maintainable during all aspects of life, including pregnancy!  Owner & instructor Rachel (RT) and instructor Jaclyn (JH) have maintained their barre routine throughout their entire pregnancy and share with us the modifications needed and its benefits!

 

How did barre help you during your pregnancy – overall, early and later stages?

JH: Barre was so helpful to me throughout my pregnancy! In the first trimester I had morning (all day) sickness. I tried everything to feel better and exercise was the only thing that gave me some relief. Getting off the couch when I was feeling so awful was really hard! I found that I was much more likely to attend class when I planned to meet a friend or told the instructor I was planning to see her at her next class.

Later in pregnancy, barre kept me physically strong so I was able to avoid many of the discomforts that women often feel in the later stages of pregnancy. I was actually surprised how good I felt! I found myself waiting to feel worse because I had been told of the horror stories and discomforts that come at the end of pregnancy; luckily I was able to escape most of the typical discomforts!

RT: Barre helped me so much! I have done barre through my two pregnancies now – currently awaiting the arrival of #2🙂 I attribute so much of my being blessed to feel really good throughout my pregnancy (and up until the very end!) to continuing to take barre classes and staying active! I have read that staying active is really good for baby, but I also found that it helped ease and decrease the usual aches, pains and discomfort that accompany growing a baby.

I would also say that staying active and strong has kept my energy level so much higher. But the greatest part is when I have felt exhausted, which is inevitable, getting a barre class in actually has made me feel so much better & energized afterwards, and more able to face the rest of the day.  So from early on, when I was feeling sick and like the last thing I wanted to do was exercise, I knew that getting myself to a barre class was the best thing I could do as I always felt better (even less sick) afterwards! Now in the final days before baby, I am grateful that I have been able to do barre until the end, because I still feel so strong and know that will help both during labor and delivery and the bounceback afterwards!

 
What modifications did you use and how did they change throughout pregnancy?

JH: When I found out I was pregnant, I checked with my doctor regarding restrictions. She gave me the okay to continue with barre classes since my body was used to them as long as I monitored my heart rate.

Each class I had to listen to my body, because what my body needed each day was different. Modifications that I found particularly helpful at the end of pregnancy were: push-ups and planks from the knees to keep my back flat and protected and core engaged, keeping my heels on the floor during portions of thigh and seat work because my calves often cramped, opting for upright positions during seat work to ensure I was able to maintain a neutral spine, and staying up much higher during curl work.

RT: The most fantastic thing about barre classes is that you can totally do pretty much all of class through your entire pregnancy, as long as you are listening to your body (and your doctor okay’d it)! So many other exercises would need to be modified so much that you feel like you’re not participating or getting a workout, but the beauty of barre is that the exercises are so muscle-focused and low impact that there isn’t anything that could be harmful to you while pregnant.

Other than simply feeling more tired (I am carrying a baby, after all!) and needing to call on my mental strength earlier than normal, I didn’t need to modify class much until later in my third trimester, and even then, it was just slight modifications to the ab sections and doing pushups on my knees (I never appreciated how much core strength pushups take until I was pregnant trying to do them!). I love that I can still do the ab work we do in class (because having a strong core is so helpful during labor & delivery!), but to adjust so I’m more comfortable I’ll simply take more breaks, hold on when I would normally release my hands for a challenge, not lower my legs as low for my “point of control”, etc.

While it seems counter-intuitive to do core work while pregnant, as long as your doctor says it’s okay, it can be one of the best things you do – having a strong core helps your body adapt to the inevitable postural changes that occur as your belly grows, and having strong ab muscles help support the baby’s weight!

There are other kind of “funny” parts of class that I need to modify simply because my belly gets in the way – like seated leg lifts (you bend one knee into your chest and hug it while lifting the other to work your thigh…I just kind of bend one knee out to the side instead because my leg runs into my belly these days!

What was your favorite part of class while pregnant?

JH: Earlier in pregnancy arms became my favorite portion of class because it felt like the one part of me that was unchanged when the rest of my body was becoming foreign to me. Later in pregnancy back dancing became my favorite because that position allows baby so much space and I was told they love it!

RT: I think upper body work! Lower body work feels more challenging because I’m carrying extra weight, and it’s kind of natural that the shape of your lower body changes while pregnant, but I love that my shoulders, arms and upper back haven’t really changed and I’m still able to see the hard-earned definition just as easily as before!

 
Any advice for other women who are pregnant?

JH: Always listen to your body and don’t be afraid to talk with your instructor about modifications. Every portion of class can be modified in some way to make it accessible!

RT: Of course, talk to your doctor before taking classes, but other than that – just give it a try! All of our instructors are equipped to help you if you feel you need a modification for any part of class – so just ask! Even if (or maybe, especially if!) you are feeling sick or exhausted in the early weeks, it is incredible what the endorphins from exercise can do for you – sometimes that’s the only thing that made me feel much better in the first trimester! Plus, I always told myself that once I was out of the first trimester and feeling better I knew I’d feel the desire to exercise again, and it’s so much “easier” to continue class rather than “start over” after couple month break.

Overall, listen to your body, because pregnancy is such a special time and a time to really respect yourself and your body – that means something different to everyone, but to me that means continuing to focus time each week on my physical and mental strength and taking pride in how much I can do (even if it’s not as much as before :)!

How has barre helped to keep you mentally strong?

JH: This is my first baby and I experienced all the anxiety that goes along with being pregnant for the first time and becoming a first time mom. Going to barre helped to keep me feeling confident and to keep those anxieties in check! The community at the barre has been so supportive! I always leave class happier and more confident than when I walked in the door!
RT: Enough cannot be said about the strength of someone not giving up in a barre class when her legs are shaking uncontrollably! Continuing to go to class and surround myself with that kind of strength has helped me stay motivated to not give up myself and push myself harder, to stay mentally strong, and visualize my goals I’m achieving when class “hurts so good” rather than giving up or taking a break!

Do you feel barre helped support a healthy labor and delivery?
RT: Oh my goodness, absolutely!!! My doctor and nurses attributed my quick labor and delivery to staying so active with barre up until the very end (I took class the day I went into labor with my first!). Enough cannot be said for going into the hard work of labor having a strong body and strong core, especially, and it’s incredible how the mental strength developed in class translates to being able to manage contractions! We often say something like “no pain, no gain” in class – and this is the ultimate “no pain, no gain” scenario!

How did barre help you bounceback?
RT: I’m hoping I have a similar experience the second time around, because after my first child I really felt like I was able to pick up where I left off after just a short break to recoup. My muscles remembered the shakes!🙂

It was also so great to be back in class and the supportive barre community, and to feel like I’m still “me” and retain that part of my life – because so much changes so quickly after giving birth, it’s nice to retain that piece of yourself. It’s also so incredibly important (even though difficult) to dedicate those couple hours during the week to yourself – because the rest of the time a newborn’s schedule pretty much rules all!

Yoga at the barre: Meet Catherine!

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We are so excited to announce that beginning Wednesday, May 4, we will be offering a yoga class to supplement your barre regimen!  Long time barre regular Catherine L. will be leading a 60-minute Ashtanga yoga class at 8:00am each Wednesday and she is so excited to bring her love of yoga to you!

Meet Catherine

Catherine has been teaching yoga to kids, teens and adults for 11 years. She was trained by Ashtanga Yoga Senior Teachers; David Swenson, Manju Jois, David Williams, Tim Feldman, Kino MacGregor and Michael Gannon.

Catherine is blessed by her supportive husband Mike and her personal guru and son, Caden. This yoga has been a huge and positive influence on Catherine. She lives with her family in Minnetonka.

“I love to share this amazing life practice for daily living, growth and personal acceptance. To teach compassion and respect for the Ashtanga tradition by providing a safe, open and tranquil learning environment. Most importantly, to inspire others that a commitment to practice can positively impact our families, our communities and our world.”

 

What is Ashtanga yoga?

Yoga can act as a tool for daily living. It is a time for you, which in turn positively affects all who are in your life. In times of stress, yoga can act as a calming balm as we pause and take time to just be, without judgement of ourselves or others. Each time you step on your mat, it is an opportunity to realign, sweat, cleanse, stretch, strengthen, focus and meditate.

 

Ashtanga is an energetic form of yoga that focuses on a series of flowing body movements combined with attention to a specific breathing technique. Anyone can do yoga. Any age, any ability. All that is needed is a willingness to practice and breathe. Catherine will be teaching a modified short form of Ashtanga yoga at the barre.

 

What you need to know

-Although the barre does provide mats for barre classes and you are more than welcome to use them for yoga, we do recommend bringing your own mat as they are less slippery.

-No socks are needed.

-Sign up just as you would for barre classes on MindBody.

-Class is $22 and any packages/unlimited months can be used!

Clients of the Month: Jane R. & Susan W.

Meet Susan W. and Jane R.!  Regular clients of our Wayzata studio, these strong women balance it all – work, family, friends, and hobbies – yet have learned the true value and benefits of setting aside time for yourself.  Two and a half years ago, Susan introduced Jane to the barre and they have been coming three days a week ever since.  Oh, and did we mention they are sisters?!

Read on to learn more about these two “barre stars” and their inspiring journey!

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Tell us about yourself! Work? Hobbies?

Jane:  I’m married with two children – a daughter, 25 and a son, 22.  I work in downtown  Minneapolis as an executive assistant and enjoy spending time with family and staying active.

I’ve always been active and interested in fitness, starting at an early age with dance classes.  Throughout my life, I’ve joined/participated in many fitness options – health clubs, yoga classes, dance classes and even tried to get into a running routine, but none of those really stuck.  Barre changed that…

Susan: I’m a married with 3 boys ages 25, 23 and 19.  I have my own market research firm and never really had much time for exercise classes.  I always did my own which never really worked out very well.  We have a home gym but my kids used it much more than I ever did.

In my early 50’s I started having issues with my lower back.  I was going to a chiropractor twice a month and things weren’t getting any better.  Even with the prescribed exercises my back was a little better but still had problems.

 

How long have you been coming to the barre and what inspired you to try it?

Jane: Sisters know each other and after hearing Susan’s testimonials, I joined her for class and quickly understood why she was so excited to find the program.  It’s been 2+ years and I’m still as motivated as I was after the first class.

Susan: I started coming to the barre in February 2013 with a  friend of mine.  I wanted to strengthen my core in hopes of making my back feel better.

 

How often have you been coming to class together?  Does having a “barre buddy” make you more accountable?

Jane: Susan and I attend 3 days a week.  I know that I am motivated by a class type of environment and with the added benefit of attending with my sister, it keeps it fun.  We look forward to seeing each other and believe we are both inspired/motivated by each other.

Susan: Jane and I attend 3 classes per week.  The buddy system works so well for us.  There are many times you just don’t feel like going but you know the other person will be there so you go.  It has really helped me stay on track.

 

What are your favorite barre benefits, mental and/or physical?  Challenges? 

Jane: I believe the benefits all play together – mental and physical.  I’m proud of myself for making barre class a priority and not sitting back, making excuses (no time, too tired) and letting nature take its course.  There’s also the important side benefit that I’m setting a good example for my family – that fitness is important at all ages.

Susan: The best part of the barre is the physical benefit which is why I started taking the classes.  I didn’t realize how you have the mental benefits as well.  I can tell when I come back from vacation and feel sluggish.  It only takes one class to start feeling more on top my game.

 

How has the barre impacted your life?

Jane: I love that I can do all the things that make me feel good whether it’s hiking or still being able to fit into an old pair of favorite jeans. Class clears my mind and give me that one hour to do something just for me.

Susan: My quality of life is so much better.  I haven’t been back to a chiropractor for 2 ½ years and have regained strength which I thought was gone.

 

How do you balance work, family, hobbies, etc. and still have time for barre? 

Jane: Like most, the majority of the day is completing tasks and doing things for others.  Setting aside three workouts a week is important for me.

Susan: Actually, it works out pretty well.  Jane and I attend the same classes each week so we already have the time allocated for class.  I feel fortunate to only need 3 hours each week to have the type of body and strength I’ve found at the barre.

 

What does “barre strong” mean to you?

Jane: Investing in yourself – mentally and physically

Susan: Barre strong means being the best version of yourself you can be.  It is never too late to start working on making your body strong.  Also, I learned at the barre that pushing yourself drives change.  I always thought shaking was a sign that my body couldn’t handle it and I needed to stop.  I’m so glad I learned that pushing myself was just what I needed.

 

15 signs you’re addicted to the barre

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1. When you recognize a “b” car magnet and give that person major props for those 20 classes in 30 days.

2. You need to dig through at least two pairs of sticky socks before you can find your wallet or keys in your purse.

3. When everything waist high suddenly becomes the perfect make shift barre.

4. Your non-barre friends don’t understand what you mean when you say, “I can’t get brunch tomorrow morning – I need to get my dot.”

5. When Pitbull comes on in the car and you immediately think of Kalli telling you you’re about to do a superset of thigh dancing.

6. Your children’s teachers suspect you may have a drinking problem because the kids told them you go to “the bar(re)” every morning.

7. The first thing you do Saturday morning is check to see if there is room in the 8:00am HIT class.

8. You have a love/hate relationship with Cindy’s love of push-ups.

9. When waterskiing on Lake Minnetonka has a whole new meaning.

10. You think Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” was totally written about Paula’s thigh series.

11. Wunder Unders have become a second skin.

12. You know there is nothing “mini” about Mini Barre.

13. #BarreStrong is a lifestyle.

14. You know the 6:00am Edina crew means business.

15. Somehow the most physically exhausting part of your day is the easiest and most satisfying❤

Client of the Month: Erica Z.

 

Meet Erica Z.!  A regular client of our Edina studio and mom to three little girls (almost 6, 4 and 1.5 years!), is our December client of the month!  When not lining up at the barre, Erica loves staying active through running, hiking, snowshoeing and downhill skiing.  She’s also an avid baker & cook and likes to volunteer as much as possible at her daughter’s school.  Read on to learn more about this “barre star” and her inspiring barre journey!

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How long have you been coming to barre and what inspired you to take your first class?

I’ve been coming to the barre for a little over a year.  We’ve been getting our family pictures taken with bellasaluti for many years and I saw the photos that they took for the barre pop up on their facebook page and thought it might be a fun thing to try.  It was quite some time between seeing those photos and taking my first class, but they inspired me to see what the barre was all about.  

 

What is your biggest challenge in class, physically and/or mentally?

Thigh dancing – ha!  It’s so hard!  I also think the abs portion is hard because it’s at the end of class when you’re fatigued and it’s hard to keep good form.  

 

You’re an evening class regular.  How do you keep yourself motivated at the end of the day to come to class?

I love the evening classes.  They’re usually a little quieter  and I love having all the stress and the craziness of the day to fuel my workout.  I also like that my daughters are home to see me leave to go workout.  I love giving them the example that it’s important to take time to move your body.  

 

What physical and/or mental changes have you noticed since making barre a part of your routine?

I’m 35 and honestly in the best shape of my life.  It’s inspired me to be more active and adventurous.  This summer I tried stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, and got on a bike for probably the first time in 20 years.  I also started running a few miles once a week and ran my first 5K!  These are all things I wouldn’t have done if the barre hadn’t whipped me into shape!  

 

How has the barre impacted your life?

It’s made me healthier, stronger, happier, more active, and I’d say a little more patient.  Oh, and I can do a lot more push-ups😉  

 

Favorite section of class?  Favorite position?

Push-ups – I love the challenge of trying to get through all of them on my toes while keeping good form.  I also love the side seat series.  Hair pin and clam shell are my favorite positions.  

 

What does “barre strong” mean to you?

To me, “barre strong” is the point in class where your mind is begging you to stop.   Maybe, your legs are on fire or your shoulders feel like they just can’t pulse those weights one more time.  Whatever it may be, you find a way to shut off that voice telling you to stop.  That little moment when you push through, that’s barre strong.  

instructor takeover: jenna’s favorite healthy dessert

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve got the biggest sweet tooth!  I’ll take sweet over salty any day.  I strive to eat as healthy and clean as I can to keep myself strong and energized to get through Paula’s killer thigh series, but I also know that I should treat myself in moderation.  I came across a healthy dessert blogger a year or two ago who goes by Chocolate Covered Katie.  I tried out a few of her recipes and I fell in love!  She has so many yummy, modified sweets recipes that won’t cost you a quarter of your daily calories like so many desserts do.

One of my favorites that I find myself making over and over is her oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  These cookies don’t have any butter in them, so they will have a consistency more like a soft granola bar.  Bonus: They also have walnuts and coconut in them, adding in omega-3s & potassium!  Healthier dessert with benefits — who says you can’t have the best of both worlds?!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of spelt or whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 3 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp vegetable oil (coconut oil can be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • pinch of stevia, or 1 extra tbsp pure maple syrup
  • if using stevia option, add 1tbsp milk of choice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees & grease a muffin pan or cookie tray.  I find the muffin pan works best so the cookies don’t roll around.  Since there is no butter in the recipe, they won’t melt like a normal cookie.

In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, stir together the wet ingredients.  Combine the two bowls to form a dough.  Chill for at least an hour in the fridge.  After the dough has chilled, roll the dough into cookie-sized balls and place in the muffin pan or on the cookie tray.  Place in the oven and bake for 7 minutes.  Once you remove these yummy bites from the oven, let sit in pan for about ten minutes to cool before moving to the cooling rack or plate.  Dig in!  I know you’ll love them as much as I do!

xoxo,  Jenna C.

Avocado Fries

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Be sure to choose firm but ripe avocados. To determine if the fruit is ripe, hold it in the palm of your hand and very gently squeeze–the avocado should give slightly under gentle pressure. Color does not indicate ripeness and can range from light to dark green depending on the variety. To ripen hard avocados, place in a brown paper bag and store at room temperature for up to two days. Store soft fruit in the refrigerator to extend its life for two or three more days.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 large egg whites
2 firm, ripe avocados
Cooking spray
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges

Preparation

1. Preheat broiler. Place a baking sheet in oven while broiler preheats.

2. Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Place egg whites in a small bowl, and whisk until foamy.

3. Halve avocados, remove pits, and cut each half into 6 wedges. Pull off peels.

4. Dredge avocado wedges in flour, dip in egg white, and then dredge in breadcrumbs. Remove baking sheet from oven; coat with cooking spray. Place avocado slices on baking sheet; coat avocados with cooking spray.

5. Broil 5 minutes or until brown on top. Turn and broil 2 more minutes. Remove and serve with lemon wedges.

Nutritional Information
Calories 144
Fat 10.1 g
Satfat 1.5 g
Monofat 6.6 g
Polyfat 1.2 g
Protein 4 g
Carbohydrate 12 g
Fiber 5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Iron 1 mg
Sodium 153 mg
Calcium 13 mg

Client of the Month: Catherine R.

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How long have you been coming to the barre?
I have been coming to the barre since January of last year🙂
You come to the 6am classes a lot. How do you deal with waking up so early?🙂
I usually come to the 6am classes in the warmer months, not so much in the winter unless it is the only time I can fit it in! But in regards to waking up so early, I set my alarm early enough to be able to hit the “snooze” button once or twice. Also, COFFEE. Coffee always comes first that early! Kristen and Kalli definitely make it worth the effort!
What have been your favorite benefits of barre so far?
Oh gosh, there have been so many benefits of taking classes at the barre! But my favorite is definitely the feeling I have once class has finished. It always feels like a great accomplishment, having worked every single muscle in my body in one hour. I feel stronger, healthier, and definitely happier! Even on days that I may lack motivation, coming to class always seems to be a positive part of my day. I also love that with each class, I am able to sink a little lower or hang on a little bit longer before taking a break as my muscles grow stronger. I just love everything about it!
What challenges are you working on in classes right now?
Well, my current challenge is training to become an instructor! Making the transition from student to instructor this spring will have its own set of challenges, but I am so ready to take them on! I cannot wait to share my love and passion for the barre with everyone else!

 

Bread Salad with Cranberries, Spinach, and Chicken

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Ingredients

CHICKEN:
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 teaspoons olive oil
VINAIGRETTE:
2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons cranberry juice
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
SALAD:
6 cups loosely packed spinach (about 6 ounces)
2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed French bread, toasted (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
2 tablespoons sliced pitted kalamata olives

Preparation

To prepare chicken, combine first 4 ingredients; rub evenly over chicken. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan.

To prepare vinaigrette, add 2 tablespoons shallots and garlic to pan; cook for 3 minutes or until shallots and garlic begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in red wine vinegar, orange rind, juices, honey, 1/2 teaspoon fennel, black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 1 minute). Remove vinaigrette from pan, and cool completely.

To prepare salad, chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. Combine chicken, spinach, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add vinaigrette; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information

Calories 307
Caloriesfromfat 24 %
Fat 8.2 g
Satfat 1.1 g
Monofat 4 g
Polyfat 1.7 g
Protein 29.5 g
Carbohydrate 28.9 g
Fiber 2.2 g
Cholesterol 66 mg
Iron 2.7 mg
Sodium 511 mg
Calcium 70 mg

Question of the Week

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Will I plateau in barre?

Answer (from Paula): No.  I’ve heard numerous times in class that the workout seems to get harder the more classes students take, and I agree completely!  A very common question is “Will this get any easier?”  While the positions are challenging from the start, as you start to master the form, it’s easier to understand how to engage your muscles in a deeper way, and how to engage (or ignore!) your mind’s cues as you experience the deep burning of your muscles that signifies you getting stronger.  Students thereby develop a craving for not only the physical results they see emerge from their hard work, but the mental challenge and emotional boost they get from committing and conquering a series.