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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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 ❤
1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and next 4 ingredients (through garlic); cook 3 minutes. Reduce heat; cook 10 minutes or until sausage is browned and vegetables are tender, stirring to crumble sausage. Add sage and tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add wine; cook 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Add stock; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add tomato and beans, and cook 2 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, or follow freezing instructions.
TO FREEZE: Cool soup to room temperature; seal in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag. Lay bag flat in freezer; freeze up to 2 months.
TO THAW: Microwave soup in bag at MEDIUM (50% power) for 4 minutes or until pliable.
TO REHEAT: Pour soup into a Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium heat until thoroughly heated (about 20 minutes).
Today is National Burger Day, so in honor we’re offering this delicious lightened-up turkey burger option. These are perfect as you start to get bored with the same-old burgers – serve with a bun, in a pita or bun-less, with traditional burger ketchup or traditional Greek Tzatiki sauce for a more “exotic” twist! Delicious with lettuce, tomato and onion as you’d dress up any old burger, as well.
Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 15 min
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 4 oz feta cheese
- 1 10 oz box frozen, chopped spinach – thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 tbsp dry oregano
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil grate.
- While the grill is preheating, mix together eggs, garlic, feta cheese, spinach, and turkey in a large bowl until well combined; form into 8 patties.
- Cook on preheated grill until no longer pink in the center, 15 to 20 minutes.
Fat: 13 g
Protein: 27.4 g
Cholesterol: 149 mg
Sodium: 266 mg
Sometimes you have those days where you just need a meal on the run, or the perfect afternoon snack is something frozen & delicious and preferably not of the ice cream variety (at least not every day!). We tend to throw spinach in most smoothies, for better or worse, but this option is definitely for better.
Even though there is a TON of spinach in here (we usually add last and simply fill up as much as will fit in our blender) – it really becomes pretty tasteless, masked by the peanut butter/banana flavor. I don’t think anyone will be upset about that – tasting more like a dessert but your body still benefits from the iron, antioxidants, beta-caroten & vitamins A, K and countless more – that any meal or snack would be lucky to give you. This is a pretty low-cal treat before adding the peanut butter (so don’t let the total calorie count freak you out if it’s a snack) – remember that the peanut butter is adding some heart-healthy fats that actually will help your body better absorb the nutrients from the spinach. Enjoy!
Peanut Butter-Banana-Spinach Smoothie
1 frozen sliced banana
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 cup 0% plain greek yogurt (or vanilla if you need to ease your way into green smoothies!)
1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze (or other kind of milk)
4 cups baby spinach (or more, or less)
1 tbsp chia seeds
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
About 350 calories, 10g fiber, 21g protein
The long-awaited emergence of spring weather here in MN has most of us rushing out to fire up our grills and deliver as many “charred” meals to our table as possible: grilled meals simply taste better, it seems, especially coming off on a very extended winter season, & have less clean up! Win, win.
Since the usual suspects to throw on the grill are of the red meat variety, we always love to search out other options – and grilled fish just happens to be a summertime favorite of ours. This recipe calls for halibut, but artic char or striped bass would work, as well – and topping the deliciously grilled fish with a fresh fruit salsa will make you rejoice in all things summery, fresh & delicious.
Grilled Halibut with Peach and Pepper
Serves: 4 (serving size: 1 fillet + 2/3 cup salsa)
Time: 40 minutes
- 1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped peeled yellow peaches (about 1 pound)
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (about 1 medium)
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh arugula
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- 4 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 habanero pepper, seeded and minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 (6-ounce) skinless halibut fillets
- 3/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Cooking spray
- To prepare salsa, combine first 9 ingredients; toss gently. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.
- Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
- To prepare fish, combine 4 teaspoons juice, oil, paprika, and 1 garlic clove in a large, shallow glass baking dish, stirring with a whisk. Add fish to juice mixture; turn to coat. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.
- Remove fish from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle fish evenly with 3/8 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Place fish on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve fish with salsa.
Jeanne Kelley, Cooking Light
- Calories: 267
- Fat: 8.6g
- Saturated fat: 1.2g
- Monounsaturated fat: 4.6g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 1.8g
- Protein: 35.3g
- Carbohydrate: 11.8g
- Fiber: 2.3g
- Cholesterol: 52mg
- Iron: 2mg
- Sodium: 389mg
- Calcium: 104mg
This is a delicious meatless meal that still packs the protein you need to power you through your day, with a deliciously exotic twist. Pair with slow-roasted asparagus that is packed with heart-healthy fats from the olive oil & almonds, and you will round out your wholesome dinner in under 30 minutes! If you are watching your carbs, skipping the pitas is a great option for these burgers – you’ll still get a serving of heart-healthy whole grains (and fiber to keep you full) from the bulgur! Bon apetit!
Skillet-Seared Chickpea-Bulgur Burgers
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup bulgur wheat
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 – 15 ounce can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon plus pinch coarse salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
- 4 6-inch whole-wheat pitas, warmed
1. Bring water to a boil in a small pot. Add bulgur and simmer, partially covered, over medium heat 8 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat, cover pot and let bulgur rest 5 minutes.
2. Pulse garlic in a food processor until minced; set aside 1/2 teaspoon. Add chickpeas to remaining garlic and puree. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and add carrot, scallions, cumin, cayenne pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Fluff bulgur with a fork and stir into chickpea mixture.
3. Shape 3/4 cup chickpea mixture into a 3/4-inch-thick patty; repeat with remaining chickpea mixture.
4. Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook 3 minutes on each side, or until browned.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt with reserved garlic and pinch of salt. Split pitas open and fill each with 1 patty, 2 slices tomato, 2 slices cucumber and 2 tablespoons yogurt sauce.
Nutrition Info Per Serving:
Fat: 6 g
Protein: 16 g
Carbs: 67 g
Fiber: 12 g
Sodium: 663 mg
Roasted Asparagus with Slivered Almonds
Makes: 2 servings
- 1 bunch asparagus spears, ends trimmed
- 1 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp slivered almonds
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until tender-crisp.
- Remove from oven. Sprinkle with almonds & serve!
Nutrition Info Per serving
Fat: 15.9 g
Protein: 12 g
Carbs: 22 g
Fiber: 11 g
Sodium: 25 mg