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Sprint To Summer

With Summer just around the corner, it’s time to start finalizing vacation plans, camp schedules, and working to get yourself feeling great on the inside and out! To help, many of our studios are running a Summer Sprint Challenge, where clients are encouraged to take 15 classes and to eat and healthy and clean foods for 21 days (note: some studios may have a slightly different version of the challenge!). Whether you are joining us on this journey or simply working your own program, we’re here to help you feel strong, confident and beautiful for Summer.

 

Set Goals

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Write down what you hope to accomplish by completing the challenge in both the short term and long term: what you would like to achieve in the next few weeks, where you see your ideal self in six months and where would you like be a few years from now. Before you accomplish anything, you’ll have to consciously recognize that you want it. We’d love to hear about your goals in the comments section at the end of this blog!

 

Commit to a Schedule

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The most challenging aspect of any exercise plan is commitment. Bar Method classes generate the best results when taken 3-5 times/week, which gives your body and mind time to absorb new exercises and learning with appropriate muscle recovery. Improve your chances of commitment by scheduling your classes weekly, and treat these blocks of time as you would any important business or personal event! For the Summer Sprint Challenge, push yourself and get into the studio 5 times a week – once you work class into your daily routine it will be easier than you think. And you’ll start to notice a difference in how you feel!

Create Healthy Eating Habits

Over the next 3 weeks, we’ll share healthy recipes and nutrition tips from our partner Urban Remedy, a plant-based organic food company that embodies the belief that Food is Healing. Blending ancient medicinal principals with modern culinary innovation, they offer the cleanest, naturally functional food. All of Urban Remedy’s ready-to-eat meals, snacks and cold pressed juices are certified organic, certified non-GMO, gluten free, and low glycemic. Follow their tips each week and/or jump start your efforts by using the code BARMETHOD for a 10% discount on all food and juices at Urban Remedy online!

Drink Warm Lemon Water

It’s important to start the day with a system booster. Drinking warm, lemon water a is great way to alkalinize the body naturally and to flush your system first thing in the morning.

Make Green Juice

Green juice also helps to alkalinize the body naturally. It’s cleansing and energizing, saturating the body with essential phytonutrients. Phytonutrients, which are simple nutrients that come from plants are some of the most power-packed substances on the planet. For some people, green juice can taste unpleasant, but you’ll find that, as you get accustomed to it, the juice will help reset your body so you don’t experience sugar or caffeine cravings. Try a juice featuring with E3Live, a brand of highly nutritious blue-green algae, for a great energy booster. See our healthy green juice recipe below!

Eggs for Breakfast

Make dishes that provide a good dose of nutrients for energy during the day and that are delicious and satisfying. Eggs boost blood and the yin in your body, are high in Vitamins A and B and are a good source of protein. The yolk, rather than the white, hold this rich array of nutrients. Whenever possible, use organic omega-3 rich eggs from pastured hens. See below for the recipe to Pouched Eggs with Avocado Salsa and Cilantro.

Plant-Based Foods for Lunch

Easting mostly plant-based foods is one of the best things you can do for your health. Plants contain valuable phytonutrients, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin, and minerals. Also great for you is flaxseed oil, which is rich in lignans, antioxidant and essential omega-3 fatty acids. Check out the the below recipe for a Spinach-Hemp-Currant Salad.

Savory and Satisfying Dinners

You’ve had a busy day, we are sure you have an appetite, pick dishes that are savory and satisfying. Try Pad Thai Vegetable Noodles. A Thai classic made with plant-based ingredients. This dish is a bit time-consuming, but worth the effort. Ginger supports digestion and you get a plethora of healing phytonutrients from the zucchini, daikon, carrots, red pepper and herbs. (see below for the recipe)

Recipes from Urban Remedy

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Recipes are created by Urban Remedy Founder, Neka Pasqaule. These recipes are featured in her book, “Urban Remedy, The 4-Day Cleanse Retreat Book” available at ‪UrbanRemedy.com.

E3 LIVE® ENERGY GREEN

2 kale leaves

1/4 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley

1—2 cups (1—2 oz/30—60 g) spinach leaves

4 celery ribs

1 cucumber

1 tablespoon E3 Live

Cut the vegetables as needed into pieces that will fit into the chute of your extraction juicer. Then, following the manufacturer’s instructions, juice the kale, parsley, spinach, celery, and cucumber in the order given. Pour into a tall glass and stir in the E3 Live.

Makes 1 serving

 

Avocado Salsa and Cilantro

1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1-inch (2.5-inch) chunks

1 cup (6 oz/185 g) cherry tomatoes, halved

Leaves from 1 bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

Juice of 3 limes

1/4 jalapeño chile, finely chopped

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) apple cider vinegar

Filtered water

2 organic eggs from pastured hens

In a bowl, combine the avocado, tomatoes, and cilantro. Drizzle with the lime juice, sprinkle with the chile and salt, and toss to mix evenly. Set aside.

To poach the eggs, divide the vinegar evenly between
2 small bowls. Crack 1 egg into each bowl, taking care not to break the yolk. Let the eggs stand for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour filtered water to a depth of about 3 inches (7.5 cm) into a saucepan and bring the water to a boil
over high heat. When the eggs have stood for 5 minutes, using a whisk, swirl the boiling water to create a whirlpool effect, then carefully slip 1 egg with its vinegar into center of the whirlpool. Continue to swirl the water around the perimeter of the pan until the water returns to a boil. The egg white will begin to wrap around the yolk. As soon as the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and gently simmer the egg, frequently swirling the water, until the white is just set and the yolk is still runny, about
2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, gently remove the egg from the water and place it on paper towels to gently blot it dry. Repeat with the remaining egg.

Carefully transfer the eggs to a plate and smother them with the salsa mixture. Serve right away.

Makes 1 serving

 

Spinach-Hemp-Currant Salad

3 cups (3 oz/90 g) loosely packed baby spinach leaves

2 tablespoons dried currants

1 tablespoon shelled hemp seeds

 

FOR THE DRESSING


1/2 clove garlic, pushed through garlic press

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons unfiltered flaxseed oil

1 tablespoon fresh Meyer lemon juice

To make the salad, in a bowl, combine the spinach, currants, and hemp seeds and toss to mix well.

To make the dressing, in a small bowl, stir together the garlic, salt, both oils, and the lemon juice, mixing well.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat evenly.

Makes 1 serving

 

Pad Thai Vegetable Noodles

1 large zucchini, about 6 inches (15 cm) long

1 large daikon radish
2 large carrots, cut into julienne

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into julienne

1/4 cup (1/3 oz/10 g) chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup (1/3 oz/10 g) chopped fresh basil

 

FOR THE SAUCE


2 tablespoons almond butter

1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) fresh lime juice

5 fresh basil leaves

1-inch (2.5-cm) knob fresh ginger

1/4 cup (3/4 oz/20 g) shredded raw coconut, soaked in 1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) filtered water for 2 hours, then puréed

1/4 jalapeño chile

1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar

1/4 cup (11/4 oz/35 g) chopped Soaked Almonds (page 168)

2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds

Using a spiral vegetable cutter, cut the zucchini, followed by the daikon, into noodles. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl. Add the carrots, cilantro, bell pepper, cilantro, and basil and toss to combine.

To make the sauce, in a blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend on high speed until smooth.

Drizzle the sauce over the noodle mixture and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle with the almonds and sesame seeds

 

Want more from Urban Remedy? Use promo code BARMETHOD to receive 10% off your next online order (http://www.urbanremedy.com)

Bar Madness Highlights

Once again, we’d like to thank the thousands of the Bar Madness participants across the nation! You guys rocked it!

We also want to recognize the local winners at all participating studios! These teams showed exceptional dedication during the challenge and deserve a special shout out.

 

Boulder – Ann Firstenberg and Cindy Cruz – The Bar Junkies

Carmel Mountain – Darci Shaw and Dana Hatfield – Victorious Secret

Denver – Cherry Creek – Kris Streeter and Stacey Fujiwara – The Barre Belles

Denver – Stapleton – Jilayne Smith and Talia Goldsmith – #BarreBums

Englewood – Japneet Gharaya and Bruce Biebe – Low Expectations

Fairfield – Sara Gavey and Nicole Choiniere-Kroeker – The Bar Belles

Fresno – Talin Garabetyan and Susan McLaughlin – Mother Tuckers

Highland Park – Laura Iasacson and Cindy Orr

Hingham – Callie Shanahan and Darcy Woodyatt – Arabesties

Honolulu – Yunji De Nies and Ashley Nagaoka – The Bartenders

Indianapolis – Carmel – Deanna Duncan and Erica Foit

Long Beach – Stephanie Aquino and Ashley Aquino – Shakers gonna Shake

Miami – Marie Mato and Betty Lopez-Castro – Brunch N Crunch

Montclair – Michele Crisalli and Allyssa Tzavlakis – Team Pachanga

Mountain Lakes – Patty Luisi and Jurgita Frahlich – Tuckers & Squeezers

Naperville – Michelle Walker and Patti Foley – The Nightingales

North Potomac – DeShaun Stallworth and Maria Fernandez – Arabesties

Plano – Jane Boyett and Lilis Pramasjura – Sexy & Fabulous

Point Loma– Michelle Yantos and Mitch Yantos – M&M Shakes

Portland – Liz Carter and Anna Vonroseenstiel – TEAM GRUMP

Princeton – Eliza Whittaker and Kat Kelly – Donkey Kong

Ridgewood – Claire Reilly and Joan Ortland – The O’Reilly’s

San Francisco – Marina – Lisa Chui and Anna Beyer – Team Bar Dr.’s

Spokane – Stashia Kaiel and Sascha Flanigan – Flanikaiel

St. Louis – Denitza Allen and Hank Kauffman – “Hank Kauffman”

Tampa – Westshore – Dani Howell and Anna Peterson – Keep Calm and Bar On

Tysons Corner – Amy Rushton and Kelly Crider – Shaking Shamrocks

Westfield – Migee Shin and Magdalana Janas – Shaky Thighs

 

We’d also like to share some amazing stories of the local winners that were submitted by our Studio Owners!

 

Denver – Cherry Creek

Denver’s winners are The Barre Belles – Kris Streeter and Stacey Fujiwara.

Kris is 62 years old and took class everyday during the challenge except for Easter and a snow day, which were days that the studio was closed. She recently completed her 740th class!

Stacey is 52 and also took class everyday except Easter and the snow day during the challenge. She recently completed her 469th class!

 

Fairfield

The winners in Fairfield are Sara Gavey and Nicole Choiniere-Kroeker, The Bar Belles, who took 33 and 31 classes during the month of March, respectively. They were so passionate and energetic and motivating during the month of March. They made t-shirts, and even kept a log of their challenges on spreadsheets.

The final day of Bar Madness was the 100-day mark before Sara’s wedding. She’s slimmed down and become so strong since coming to Bar Method, and we’re really proud of her. The two of them are also part of a group of women at our studio who have become really great friends and even just had a “Bar Bachelorette” for her.
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Hingham

The Bar Madness winning team for the Hingham studio is the Arabesties – Callie Shanahan & Darcy Woodyatt. They each came to class nearly every single day during the past 5 weeks and managed to knock out the teams we originally pegged as most likely to win. They both work full-time jobs at a local school and are 50 years old (or as they like to say “together, we’re 100”). Darcy, a single mom, has 3 kids and Callie has 4, including triplets! It was no easy feat for them to accomplish all they did during this challenge. They organized special carpools, went into work late some days and re-scheduled family events just to be able to make sure they made it to class. So many members of their school and our community have been cheering them on. It was amazing to watch them take Bar Madness as their 50th year challenge.

Hingham

 

Honolulu

Yunji De Nies and Ashley Nagaoka – The Bartenders are both in local TV (Ashley used to be and now is in PR) and ridiculously kind. They have lots of aloha spirit in them!

Yunji De Nies is kind of a local celebrity as she’s an evening anchor for KITV.  She just finished filming a segment at the studio.

 

Miami

The Miami winners are Marie Mato and Betty Lopez-Castro. Their team was “Brunch N Crunch”.

Marie works as a prosecutor in charge of homicides for Miami-Dade County. She has taken more classes than anyone else at The Bar Method Miami. She came on opening weekend (2010) has been a member ever since. She has taken 1250 Bar Method classes in Miami. During the Bar Madness Challenge, she took class 3 times at The Bar Method Nashville during a girls’ weekend trip.

Betty works in banking. She joined The Bar Method Miami in 2012 and has taken 572 classes. Before The Bar Method, Betty had never stuck with any exercise routine for more than 6 months in her whole life! During Bar Madness, Betty had to go to New York for work. She took class twice at The Bar Method in Manhattan.

 

Montclair

Montclair’s amazing winners are Michele Crisalli and Allyssa Tzavlakis!  Their team name was “Team Pachanga”.

Michele has been with us since the very beginning and brought her good friend Alyssa on for the Bar Madness challenge and this is how Alyssa started her career at the Bar Method, by taking classes every single day!  INCREDIBLE!

MONTCLAIR

 

Naperville

Patti Foley, one of the winners at the Naperville studio, offered her insight into the challenge:

“I think madness was a great word to describe this challenge and I would do it all over again! I learned that I can take an early class and still survive the workday and I took my first level 2 class and made it through! I even dropped a pant size. 34 days in a row was easy with a team like yours cheering us on! Thanks for all you do!”

 

Plano

Plano’s winners are Jane Boyett & Lilis Pramasjura – Sexy & Fabulous!

Jane’s Story:

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My road to fitness didn’t begin at Bar but this has been the final leg of my journey back to health and well-being. After all, it’s not how you start, it is how you finish. My journey started around eight months before discovering The Bar Method and joining this great group of people. Between working many hours, getting my two children through college and taking care of elderly parents, life got stressful and before I knew it, I weighed almost 200 lbs. I could have continued this way but it was time for the light bulb to come on and to do something about it!

The week before my daughter’s college graduation, I decided it would also be my graduation. My goal was to lose weight and regain my old self back the old fashioned way – through proper eating and working out. I began working out with a trainer and while there were many changes in the months before discovering the Bar Method, my body was wearing down from the constant pounding on my joints at the gym and I had reached a plateau in weight loss.

My daughter, Shelby, kept advising me that there was a better way to reshape your body in a great environment. I didn’t believe that the kind of workout she was doing would have any effect on me but I decided to give it a try. Needless to say, I was converted my first day!! I found wonderful motivating instructors and welcoming fellow classmates that I enjoyed being around.

Each class I would up the ante and challenge myself to push even further. It has been fun to not only see the physical changes in my body but also the emotional benefit I feel.

And best of all, I am 65 pounds lighter with new muscle definition!  I just passed another decade but I feel better than I did at 20!

Here’s a fun tidbit about Jane’s teammate Lilis:  She NEVER wore a sleeveless shirt until now, after she finished the Bar Madness challenge!  She said it was scary, but she feels good in it!

 

Point Loma

Point Loma San Diego’s winner was M&M Shakes: Mitch & Michelle Yantos. They ended up beating their daughter/god daughter team and also were the studio’s  testimonial of the month:

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“And so it begins…the front door swings open… “Mom, Dad, I signed you up for classes at The Bar Method. You are going to love it!” Uhh…? A glimpse of fear appears upon our faces, but we agree to go. Our daughter, Nicole (a Bar regular since October 2015) and our goddaughter, Diana (a Bar regular since December 2015) will hold us accountable.

Mitch had shoulder surgery in May of 2015 and had limited flexibility. He was given exercises to do at home and did them, however, it was not enough. He had a difficult time trying to reach his arm above his head without someone there to push him through the pain. We were walking a couple of miles about three to four times a week to keep active, but we never noticed any physical changes. We both had poor posture, aches and pains in our shoulders and lower back and we were blaming it on age – but neither one of us were willing to give up that easy. Age is just a number… It was time for change! We needed discipline and someone to push us past our comfort zone while keeping us safe from injury.

Our first Bar Method class was December 31, 2015 at 7:15 a.m. We survived!!!

We honestly felt things working immediately from the inside out. All the instructors are the BEST!!! They work with you on any modification you may need and encourage you to take the challenge options to work your body to its maximum capability. It is amazing how the slightest modification such as relaxing your shoulders during “flat back” or tucking your hips can make the exercises that much more challenging and effective. The instructors are so knowledgeable and truly care about your well-being.
We are empty nesters and enjoy doing The Bar Method together. We continue to attend classes 4 – 5 times a week. In addition, we have learned to speak a little French… “Relevé.” We are up and hip (or is it hip and hop?) on all the latest jams… “Gotta g-g-g-get get get get get that Boom Boom Pow” and we have rhythm (“tuck, tuck, tuck, tuck”)!

 

Portland

Anna Vonroseenstiel (right side of the photo) & Liz Carter (Team Grump) made different colored shirts with their team name on them and wore them each day throughout the challenge!! 🙂 They both have been very impressive throughout the challenge, and they inspired other teams to create their own team apparel as well! Also, these two are business partners and own the company Carter & Rose.

PORTLAND

 

Princeton

Team Donkey Kong took a total of 80 classes in 42 Days!

Eliza Whittaker took 41 classes, the only day she missed was Easter because we were closed. Kat Kelly took 39 classes, missing 3 total and one of them being Easter! The final week came down to a tie-breaker with both teams all coming the max amount 7 classes per person. The studio finalized their tie-breaker by who as a team came the most since the challenge started.

Bar Madness Grand Prize Winners

Congratulations to everyone who participated in Bar Madness! Thousands of clients across the country competed at the local studio level, taking as many class as they could each week to advance to the next round. We are so impressed with the dedication that ALL of our clients showed during this challenge!

We are thrilled to announce the grand prize winners ….drum roll please!!!

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Lisa Grossi and Tory Dalena, the “Mother Tuckers” from The Bar Method Summit in New Jersey!

Lisa and Tory are both long-time clients at the Summit studio. They met at Bar! They have seen each other for years in classes, and they have chatted in the locker room and admired each other’s hard work in class. They decided to join the challenge together because they knew they would be a compatible team but mostly because of their shared love and commitment to The Bar Method.

Lisa has always enjoyed being with Tory in and after Bar class. She knew her partner’s drive and determination would push her to her very limits. Tory could never have imagined just how far, and how life-changing the challenge would be. This challenge impressed and reminded them of the amazing high quality of the Summit studio, and pushed the “Mother Tuckers” to their limits.  Although they live in different towns, have kids of different ages, Bar Madness has brought them together.

They both look better than ever! Lisa feels that even though she has been a regular and consistent client, the challenge upped her Bar game and she feels stronger and more fit than ever. It’s nice to gather some compliments along the way too! Lisa feels more committed, and now that she will return to a more regular class schedule, she is inspired to push herself to attend more Level 2 and Move classes.

Incredibly, after 5 weeks of Bar Madness, Tory has lost 20 pounds! She looks and feels better than ever.

Angie and Jen, the owners of The Bar Method Summit, are grateful to have these amazing women as ambassadors of their studio. “They are proof that our community is stronger when women work together. Tory and Lisa have shown that with teamwork, dedication and hard work in class that you will achieve the results you are craving.”

Congrats Tory and Lisa on your amazing accomplishment! And for the national prize of $500 and a swag bag with the latest Bar Method merchandise!

Check back later in the week when we’ll be posting stories and photos of other clients across the nation who participated in the challenge!

 

Join The Madness… Bar Madness!

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How are you tracking against your YOU Years resolutions? Need some extra motivation to get back to it? The Bar Method is here to help! Our national challenge, Bar Madness, starts today. If you feel like you’ve hit a plateau, this challenge is the perfect way to refocus and recommit to your fitness goals, with a little friendly competition!!

Check with your local studio to find out if they are participating. Winners will have the chance to win great prizes (and bragging rights). The winning team from each studio will also be entered to win a national prize: $500 + the latest Bar-branded gear!

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Sometimes all you need is a little encouragement from a friend to keep moving towards your goals. Whether you are participating in the challenge or not, grab a buddy and push each other to take 3 to 5 classes per week for the maximum benefit. You’ll both look and feel great as a result.

Don’t forget to share your Bar Madness journey with us on social media using #BarMadness!

Happy YOU Year! Week 1: January 4

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Kick your resolutions into gear with a plan for healthy living. It’s not just about a diet or a number of pounds to lose (even though we can all relate this time of year) … it’s about overall wellness and feeling good about YOU. That means something different for everyone. Spend time reflecting on what makes you happy and what are some of the small changes you can make in your life, across nutrition, fitness, sleep, relationships and all of your daily habits.

For the next 7 weeks, we’ll tackle some key topics that will encourage you to live well, make good decisions, and be happy with yourself!HYY_Week1_600pxwide_bFirst, find a workout and commit to a schedule that’s realistic and works around your lifestyle, and stick to it! It takes a few weeks to create a habit, so commit to at least 4 weeks of a new plan. Identify your goals and come up with a plan to tackle them, whether to get those biceps bulging a little more, losing an inch or two to make your jeans fit a little bit better, trying a new activity or beating your best race time.

If you want to gain strength, posture and flexibility, sign up for a New Year Challenge at your local Bar Method studio – most are offering one this time of year. You’ll push yourself with the help of others, stay accountable, track your progress, and perhaps benefit from a little friendly competition!

Or create your own challenge by committing to a certain number of Bar Method classes each week – we suggest 3-5 to see the optimal results. If you can only get in 1 or 2 per week, then do it! Each month work to add one additional class per week until you are going several times a week. You’ll start seeing real differences in your body that you didn’t think were possible.

You can also supplement with Bar Online – we offer nearly 50 classes from more than 20 teachers. Take an advanced class or squeeze in a 20-minute class before work or at lunch. Something is better than nothing and it will keep you motivated, on track and headed towards your goals.

Now, get your exercise plan in place and get after it. Ready, set, go!

Happy Holidays from The Bar Method

As we wrap up the year, we have a lot to be grateful for and to reflect on in 2015.

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We celebrate and appreciate our clients all across the globe in our local studios and Bar Online! We are inspired by your drive to be the best you can be and by your amazing strength, on the inside and out. Your commitment to better yourself, your encouragement of one another, and your positive attitude is the reason we are all here everyday.

We welcome and congratulate our 10 new studios that opened in 2015! It’s so exciting to see The Bar Method growing and touching more lives every year.

While you’re traveling over the Holidays and into the New Year, come check out one of our 92 studios across the United States and Canada and say hello. We love to have Bar visitors from other studios!

As we end the year, we also celebrate our incredible community of Studio Owners. We are honored by your dedication and passion for delivering The Bar Method to local communities every single day. You represent the brand with strength, intelligence, energy, commitment, humor, poise, and beauty. You left careers of all types, including law, finance, education, health, marketing, sales, entertainment, and more because you were deeply impacted by The Bar Method and wanted to bring that same joy to others, taking the leap to run your own business and to follow your passion. Thank you!

There is one particular Studio Owner that we celebrate today and always, Hoddy Potter, owner of the Kansas City Bar Method studios. As many of you know, Hoddy was diagnosed with Lymphoma several years ago. We are deeply saddened that she passed away last week after a very courageous fight.

Hoddy represents the heart and soul of The Bar Method. Her energy was magnetic and her presence would always light up a room. She was very sharp with a quick wit and a creative mind. She believed in The Bar Method with everything she had, and spent her life sharing it with the world. She generously took time to mentor new owners as well as give advice to current owners about how to run a successful business. And in return, our Studio Owners rushed to support her when she had to step away from the studio to undergo treatment. Owners across the country flew in to guest teach in Kansas City, on their own will and at their own expense, to show their support during a difficult time. It illustrates just how much people loved Hoddy, and also the strength and love of the Bar Method family. We will miss Hoddy dearly and send our love and prayers to her family, clients and everyone she touched. Her spirit will live on in us forever.

Hoddy

We wish our clients and studio owners, and those you love, a wonderful Holiday season and a happy New Year. We hope to see you at the Bar in 2016, and as Hoddy would say, “Get it girl and go kick some ass!”

barre-barmethod-barre fitness

IS THE BAR METHOD “BARRE FITNESS?”

Fitness-June-Cover-242x334An editor at a national fitness magazine contacted our office a few weeks ago to ask if I’d contribute to an upcoming article. Usually, I’m delighted when the press calls, but this time, the subject of the article gave me pause. “Would I write a piece about the benefits of barre fitness workouts?” the editor asked. Her question presupposed that barre fitness workouts share the same benefits and that as creator of The Bar Method I would be a good person to speak about them. The truth is, I am not an expert on barre fitness workouts, not having taken more than a few of them, and do not consider myself qualified to talk about their benefits. I understood where the editor was coming from, but I turned her down.

Now if she’d asked me to talk specifically about The Bar Method, I would have felt confident about giving her this list of its benefits:

  • The Bar Method adheres to the principles of exercise physiology and was designed under the guidance of physical therapists. It is thereby safe for the joints and highly efficient at changing the body.
  • Blog on barre fitness 4 editIts workout is mindful. Students experience a heightened mental focus during the class, which helps them to precisely target muscles and gives them increased self-confidence and well-being.
  • Its technique places a special emphasis on posture and good alignment.
  • Its students are multi-generational. The class gives both 20-year-olds and 70-year olds a challenging, result-oriented workout.
  • Its teachers receive among the best training and ongoing guidance in the fitness industry.
  • Its teaching is consistent across all of its studios.
  • Blog on barre fitness 3 editIts studios are beautiful and comfortable environments.
  • Its desk and teaching staff are welcoming and supportive.
  • Its student communities are closely bonded and passionate about The Bar Method workout.
  • Its studio owners are all teachers themselves and serve as mentors and guides for their own teachers, a system that sustains an overall high quality of teaching throughout The Bar Method.
  • Its brand continues to introduce new and innovative Bar Method workouts.

Are these Bar Method benefits also “barre fitness” benefits? I have no evidence that they are. Our students rarely mention the bar (or “barre”) when they tell us why they love The Bar Method. They talk about the results, the quality experience and the supportive community. Take, for example, the students’ comments in this three-minute video recently posted by our Seattle studio, which I admired and share with you here:Seattle video shot edit

All considered, barre fitness may not even be the best classification for The Bar Method. It might be a better fit in an upcoming fitness group called “studio workouts,” a collection of service-focused brands that has gained a reputation for giving its students personal attention, community, results, and a well-honed, well delivered experience. But then, where else but from The Bar Method can students achieve supremely sculpted arms, beautiful posture and increased flexibility? With so many benefits to be gained from taking its class, it may simply be the best workout in any category, bar none 🙂

If the thought of helping people change their lives from the outside in resonates with you and the thought of creating a community where people feel welcomed and encouraged inspires you, then you might be just who we are looking for.   Email us at franchising@barmethodhq.com or fill out our online inquiry form to find out just what it takes to be a Bar Method studio owner!

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THE SECRET BEHIND THE BAR METHOD’S HIGH QUALITY CLASSES

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Kristen

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Samantha

Bar Method studios have grown to more than 90 in number, and the quality of our classes, to hear it from our students, remains as high as ever.  “I can always count on getting a great workout no matter who is teaching,” Samantha, a DC student, posted on our Facebook page. Fresno student Kristen told us in her post: “I’m in love with the concepts of bar method, also, the high standards that each location and instructor is held to.”

How does The Bar Method manage to keep growing and keep our teachers at the top of their game? We begin with a comprehensive training program, but our focus on quality really kicks in after our teachers begin teaching. That’s when The Bar Method’s unique evaluation and coaching system comes into play.

We developed our evaluation system five years ago when our family of studios was still small. I would travel around to watch classes and noticed something interesting. When left alone, teachers usually got better at some things, such as confidence and “flow.”  At the same time, even our talented and dedicated teachers could actually get worse at other things, that is, unless Sharon evaluating editthey received regular feedback. One special challenge exercise teachers face is that they must repeat similar instructions class after class. Over time, that good bit of verbiage gets put on automatic, and teachers can stop hearing everything they’re saying. On top of this, they could develop “tics,” phrases unconsciously said over and over such as “that’s it,” “great job” and “good!” Teachers could also develop blind spots in their teaching. One example is getting into the habit of never looking at a certain part of the room. Any student who happened to be standing there was therefore not getting noticed. This slippage is not the teachers’ fault! All of us need guidance in order to stay alert and focused. What’s more, I was happy to see that feedback could play a positive role as well. Constructive guidance helped teachers to deepen their understanding of the technique, hone their flow, sharpen their observation, and become more creative motivators. This last component of growth gave teachers an exciting opportunity to become masters of their craft.

Jen and Sharon at meeting Aug 14 2015 edit

Master trainer Jen Hertsenberg and Sharon

To these ends, every year, The Bar Method now sends a team of national evaluators to every studio to evaluate/coach, and give guidance to each one of our approximately 1000 teachers. Even though I founded The Bar Method, I’m evaluated the same as any teacher (and get just as nervous beforehand!). All of us get a score that is an average of what we receive on a list of skills. Those skills include how well we present the exercises, how well we connect to our students and help them with their form, how motivating and supportive we are, how fun and challenging our choreograph is, and how well we use the music.

Sharon Sabrina Lauren edit

Sabrina, Lauren and Sharon

As you might think, the evaluation process can be nerve-racking to studio owners, but they love the results. “We find evaluations an integral part of success,” says Atlanta studio owner Melissa White, adding that “We were all nervous. At the same time, as a studio, we came out better teachers.” Sarah Kuzniar, who co-owns three Boston-area studios, values the Bar Method’s evaluation system because it validates the feedback she gives her own teachers. “You guys reinforce what we’ve been telling them,” she says. ”To hear it from the outside is helpful.”

I want to say a last word about our 15 intrepid evaluators led by our VP of Teacher Development Sharon Demko and her team members, Sabrina Porter and Lauren Ford. Sharon and her evaluators go to great lengths to assure that every Bar Method teacher receives a thorough and supportive evaluation. They take red-eyes, fight through snow and traffic to show up at 6 am classes, watch teachers all day, then spend more time writing up their evaluations, coaching and giving guidance. Their work is the secret sauce that keeps our classes top-notch. Thank you, guys!

WHAT CELL PHONES ARE DOING TO OUR BODIES

Head in the cellphone - Lauren March 2015 smallA new malady is sweeping the world, one that mainly targets children and teenagers but does not spare any age group. If you become afflicted, you can suffer disc herniation, pinched nerves, metabolic problems, reduced lung capacity, vascular disease, gastrointestinal issues, chronic headaches, poor emotional health, and chronic pain, not to mention reduced good looks. In 2008, the medical community named this new disorder “text neck.”

“Text neck” occurs when you allow your head, a ten-pound weight, to fall significantly forward of your body as you gaze down at an electronic device for long periods of time. This posture becomes more stressful on your spine as your head tilts progressively downwards. According to experts, every inch your head moves forward puts ten more pounds of weight on your spine.  If for example you hold your head six inches forward, you are putting a crushing 60 pounds of weight on your back and shoulders. Worst of all, this posture eventually becomes engrained in your body. bad-posture-620w from CBS NewsWhat our mothers told us, it turns out, is true: Slump, and you will get stuck that way! No wonder that we have an epidemic of young people with neck and back pain!

How do you treat “text neck?” Some doctors tell their patients to text less and try calling people. Others suggest lying backwards on an exercise ball. Chiropractors, who are all over this issue, recommend neck stretches and adjustments, and the cosmetic industry has come out with lotions to smooth neck wrinkles caused by texting.

These treatments might provide short term relief, but they fall short when it comes to providing a long term solution, one that would guard against getting “text neck” in the first place. Such a remedy could reset people’s posture physically and mentally so that they maintain relatively good posture throughout the day, even when they text. In my view, this solution would need to address “text neck” on three fronts: 1. Strengthen weak back and core muscles, 2. Increase poor body awareness and 3. Train in habitual good posture. You probably have already guessed where I’m going with this: the remedy is exercise.

Holding good posture during "diagonal seat"

Holding good posture during “diagonal seat”

Now that we’ve gotten this far, we still need to determine what kind of exercise best accomplishes these goals. For back strengthening, I’d like to suggest that barre workouts are an excellent choice. All barre classes, whether dance or exercise, compel your back muscles to work harder than usual over gravity as your muscles contract and extend, and many barre workouts include intense back strengthening intervals as well. In contrast, some ways of working out such as doing Nautilus circuits have you leaning on equipment much of the time. Second, an exercise-based remedy must teach you good posture, and last but not least it must increase body awareness by keeping you aware of your body alignment throughout the class. Without these last two features, a barre class could allow you to do the workout with your shoulders slumped, your back arched, and your head dropped forward, putting the 60 pounds on your spine that you’re trying to avoid!

All this considered, my recommendation for a long term solution to “text neck” is a barre workout that puts special emphasis on both improving posture and increasing body awareness. I know from personal experience that one such workout is The Bar Method.  In a Bar Method class, teachers mention the posture benefit of each exercise, then help you as you work on your individual posture goals. If your shoulders go up, they will remind you by name to draw them down. If your head drops forward, they will encourage you to keep it lifted. They may also give you gentle hands-on adjustments to give you a deep awareness of your alignment.

Over the past decade, countless students have told me that The Bar Method’s focus on body awareness has transformed their posture. Hear it from a student named Amy, who wrote us this testimonial after one month of classes:

“I am becoming convinced that improved posture is now within my reach. I still have a ways to go, but that daily awareness is there, which is huge. An additional benefit is that in “standing tall” (versus slumping) I feel more energized and balanced. I’m sure I’m breathing deeper too. As I learn how to integrate all my muscles into good posture, I have a picture in my mind of what that looks and feels like now. I don’t want to go back!”

 One last word on posture (see below): As the saying goes, if you don’t stand up straight, you could get stuck that way…forever 🙂

texting crop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE LINK BETWEEN MUSIC AND MUSCLE TONE

I love to make New Year’s resolutions, and most years, one of my promises to myself is to get better results from my workouts.  If you’re like me and this goal is high on your resolution list, here’s a tip that can get you on your way: Whenever you work out to music, make it a project to sync your moves to its beat. Research studies have discovered that following a musical beat when you exercise improves your brain-muscle connection, not only making you look hotter on the dance floor but enabling your muscles to work harder during exercise, resulting in more tone and strength from your workouts. This is why Bar Method music mixes use exclusively tracks with a clear, strong beat for its strength exercises.

In this video Hoddy Potter, owner of the two Kansas City Bar Method studios, and I show you how it works.

Hoddy and Burr blog on music and muscle tone Jan 2015 small