Favorite #barre3challenge Instagram Pics

We’re in the last week of the barre3 Challenge, and all of us participating are focused on finishing strong. For me, the best part of the Challenge has been the connections I’ve made on Instagram with other challengers. I love looking at the #barre3challenge pictures each day as participants document their progress. I’m so inspired and motivated by these photos that I wanted to share some of my favorites with all of you. Take a look below and be sure to connect with me on Instagram here. I love hearing from you!Blog_HeartBreaker

One of our clients here in Portland, Sarah Grace McCandless, told me that she stays motivated by giving herself weekly rewards for sticking to the Challenge plan. Her week-one reward was Yes Please by Amy Poehler. It’s on my list of books to read, too.

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Christine Su Via from barre3 Atlanta – East Cobb turned her Challenge tote into a beach bag.

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My entire team of studio owners joined in this Challenge, too. Here’s a shot of barre3 Frisco owner Tammy Hischke squeezing in a 10-minute online workout between classes.

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I love this one of online subscriber Emily Anderson holding Sumo pose while snowboarding. Way to multitask, Emily!

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Workouts are always way more fun with friends. Barre3 Fayetteville client Carlye Dennis rallied a handful of people for a quick 10-minute lunchtime workout at the Fayetteville Public Library.

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Barre3 Tulsa studio owner Brenda Oakes whipped up our decadent treat, the barre3 Chocolate Truffles, to crowd out her sweet tooth.

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Chelsea Barroero and Courtney Martin from barre3 Tucson are taking a break from the classroom to fit in a quick 10-minute online workout.

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Owner Natalie Denka is gearing up to open her studio in Cincinnati, Ohio later this spring. She pulled a few recipes from my book Love Your Lower Body to stay the course during the Challenge.

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Whether or not you’re doing this Challenge, my team of studio owners and I love to connect with you on Instagram. Plug into our barre3 Company page and your local studio’s Instagram page for daily inspiration. Hashtag all of your posts with #barre3 so that we can stay in touch and continue to support one another.

Tips for Choosing the Right Tea + How to Get Off Coffee

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We’re in the midst of the barre3 Challenge, and many of you are struggling to cut back on coffee for the month. We avoid coffee during barre3 Challenges because it contains a high level of caffeine, and caffeine causes your blood sugar to spike. It also increases your stress hormone, cortisol. All of which can be bad news for your waistline.

Instead of coffee, we recommend drinking green tea, which is well known for its cardiovascular benefits, antioxidant effects, and support of mental clarity. Not only does it contain powerful anti-cancer properties, it also gives your metabolism a healthy boost. And with only a quarter to half the caffeine as a cup of coffee, it’s a far healthier alternative to your morning latte.

We asked naturopathic doctor and barre3 instructor Jen Curtiss to share a few tips on how to choose (and enjoy!) a cup of tea. Here’s what she recommends:

1. When possible, purchase organic loose leaf teas. Not only is the flavor of loose leaf more robust and full, you also avoid chemicals that are often found in tea bags and packaging. To best experience loose leaf tea, find a beautiful tea strainer and mug and turn tea time into a soothing ritual.

2. If you prefer the convenience of using tea bags, give Numi or Traditional Medicinals teas a try. The packaging of these brands uses eco-friendly materials that are healthier for the environment and your body.

3. Avoid over-steeping your tea. This can create a bitter taste. Green tea only needs to steep for 20 seconds or so to develop a mild, delicious flavor.

We also learned from Dr. Curtiss that if you’ve been wanting to switch from coffee to green tea, try not to go cold turkey — caffeine is a drug, after all. To get off coffee, try substituting one cup of green tea for one of your cups of coffee, reducing your coffee intake by one cup every three days. This will help reduce any withdrawal symptoms like headaches, fatigue, or foggy thinking.

Even if you’ve been a die-hard coffee devotee, we think you’ll love the way green tea makes you feel. As Sadie said in a recent podcast, when she switched to green tea she noticed that she had brighter skin, better digestion and sustained energy all day long. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience. Let us know in the comments below!

barre3 Book Club: 10 Mindful Minutes

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You’ll often hear us say that we’re big believers in the power of 10. Usually we’re referring to our transformative 10-minute workouts, but in this case, we’re talking about Goldie Hawn’s book, 10 Mindful Minutes. While it was written for parents, we found tons of valuable lessons that anyone can embrace.

The premise of 10 Mindful Minutes is pretty straightforward: if we can explain to our children how their brains function, we can also teach them to better control their emotional states. Fear, sadness, anger—they can all be managed by mindfulness, and Hawn explains how in easy-to-digest sections.

We weren’t surprised to read that everyone—children and adults alike—experiences stress at one point or another. But what really struck us was how much the stress hormone cortisol can negatively affect our health when we allow it to take over. Heart disease, high blood pressure, lower immune function and gastrointestinal issues are all connected to elevated levels of stress. The good news, we learned, is that it’s possible to teach our brains to better manage stress by practicing mindfulness.

A great place to start is in the digital realm. Hawn touches on the overuse of digital media and its negative effect on attention span, memory and communication skills. She calls the phenomenon “butterfly brain,” because our brains flit from one subject to another without really focusing. If you’ve ever bounced between your laptop, the television and your smart phone, you’re probably familiar with the concept. Although it can be difficult to break this “e-diction,” the book made us determined to log off more often and truly reconnect with friends and family.

We particularly enjoyed reading about the many ways that optimism can positively affect our lives (including greater longevity!) and appreciated the suggestions on how to increase optimism. We also loved the short personal anecdotes scattered throughout the book. Our favorite was the question Hawn’s dad asked her every day when she came home from school: “Hey Goldie, what did you learn today?” It’s a question she still asks herself every day as part of her mindful practice.

With the New Year upon us, this is a great time to start practicing mindfulness and encouraging your children to do the same. We hope that 10 Mindful Minutes will inspire you and your family to live a happier, healthier, more mindful life!

Instructor Spotlight: Katie Lovell

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Katie Lovell’s passion for barre3 is contagious. She inspires our entire team of studio owners and instructors company wide to embrace whole body health. Read on to learn more about Katie’s barre3 journey, what she’s learned from her practice, and more. Here’s Katie in her own words.

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When I walked in the door at barre3 Columbus, I immediately felt at home. The owner Courtney Gerlach was so welcoming, the studio was beautiful, and the instructors were phenomenal. Above all, I connected with the community and found my people. I’ve tried so many different types of workouts (including yoga, running, and other group exercise programs), and nothing has ever resonated with me the way barre3 has.

The online classes hooked me too. With my hectic schedule, I appreciated that I could do this at home when I was too busy to get into the studio. Watching the workouts, I loved how positive Sadie was. The way she and the other instructors educated and broke down the moves really helped me deepen my practice.

After three months of being a loyal client (I took class 5-6 times a week), I started teaching classes. I loved it so much that I wanted to get more involved. I recently became the studio manager at barre3 Columbus – Powell, and it’s a dream come true! I’ve learned so much from the clients at barre3 Columbus. They inspire me to be better every day. I LOVE spending time with them before and after class in the lobby. They make me want to be a better teacher and learn more.

I’m also motivated to help my clients embrace whole-body health. They’ve taught me how to soften my approach when dealing with friends or family who have unhealthy habits. Before I would get angry when I saw my loved ones eat processed foods and never exercise. I want them to be healthy and feel good, but I’ve realized that’s not my job. My job is to be supportive and love them. That’s helped me go easier on myself and realize it’s not the end of the world when I slip and eat a cupcake.

Before barre3, I didn’t understand that I could eat a balanced diet with whole foods without depriving myself. I was always going for low-fat ice cream (no sugar added, no fat, lots of chemicals). The barre3 Dark Chocolate Donut holes were a game changer. I always have them in my freezer and I have one every night. I don’t deprive myself anymore.

I’m also calmer and more grounded because of barre3. I’m better at managing stress and have learned to say “no” to the things that I don’t have the time for. The physical benefits are incredible as well. I’m not stick thin—I have curves. But I feel strong, I look good, and I have a newfound confidence. Now I wear tank tops and shorts with pride to show off my defined muscles. My husband always tell me how great I look, and every time I go home to see my friends from high school, they always ask me what I’m doing.

Now whenever my mind starts to wander or I feel a dip in energy, I get up, do a 10-minute online workout, and I’m focused again. I’m working smarter, not harder. You can’t believe how much more efficiently you’re able to tackle your to-do list.

With the January Challenge in full swing, my goal is to set myself up for success. That means food prepping on Sunday and always listening to my body in class. In the past when I’ve done these Challenges, I’ve always pushed myself to do the hardest thing. This time around, I’m going to embrace modifications so that I finish strong!

Photo courtesy of DDF Photography.

Beyond the Barre: Strengthening From the Inside Out

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Ashley Kaiser was one of Sadie Lincoln’s first clients at the barre3 flagship studio in Portland, OR. We’re so excited to have her write for us today on our blog. Read on to see how Ashley has discovered a newfound strength both at the barre and beyond. Here’s Ashley:

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Part of what hooked me from the beginning with barre3 was the instructors’ frequent reminders to stand tall and move with grace and strength, so that we can strengthen our bodies from the inside out. Shaking and quaking in class, strengthening those tiny stabilizer muscles, surrounded by women of all ages, shapes and sizes – and sometimes men too – I took this to heart and carried it with me not only in class, but also in my life outside of the studio.

I joined barre3 in 2008, when my three boys were 12, 10 and 10, and I was a full-time mom. Life was good in some ways, but my world, and my time, revolved around everyone but me. My back was going out. I was experiencing random and extreme nausea for no reason. I knew I needed to start taking better care of myself.

When I found barre3, I felt I had found the workout I had been looking for my entire life, but little did I know how much more it would come to mean to me. In the beginning, I preferred to face the back wall as opposed to facing the mirror. I didn’t like the way I looked. To be honest, I had always felt self-conscious about my body, and I particularly did not like my butt or my legs. But staring at that wall, hands in prayer position, finding a newfound balance and strength, I began to heal.

One year later, at my annual physical, they measured my height and instead of being 5’4”, I was 5’5.” I had grown a full inch! As my posture improved, so did my ability to stand up for myself in daily life. I started to set boundaries and explore who I was and what I wanted in life.

That same year my mom was diagnosed with cancer, and she died eight months later. Her death coincided with my decision to file for divorce. I have never cried so much in my life, and I have never been so afraid as I navigated those dark days. At times, it felt like climbing a mountain and upon reaching what you thought would be the top, you find a false summit and realize your climb has only just begun. But then there I would be in class, holding some seriously intense pose, shaking like crazy, and I would get through it.

The dark times and the steep climbs have led to one of the most joyful and fulfilling times of my life… just like the hundreds of planks and thousands of inches up and down, and the long, formidable holds in class led to amazing changes in my body. Somewhere along the line I began to face the mirror. I began to receive compliments on my butt and legs. Today, I feel more beautiful – inside and out – than I ever have in my life. My boys are now 18, 16 and 16. I hope the example I have set for them is one of finding the grace within to live an authentic life, and choose joy over fear. I know how strong I am now; I know what I am capable of. And barre3 has had a lot to do with that.

Ashley is a freelance writer and creative consultant. To learn more visit her at ashleykaiser.com.

Spinach, Apple, and Pecan Salad

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This zesty apple and spinach salad has a crowd-pleasing secret ingredient: hemp seeds! In addition to their delicious nutty flavor, the seeds also provide essential fatty acids for heart and brain health, along with protein to maintain healthy blood-sugar levels. This salad contains all the protein, fat, and fiber needed to be a stand-alone meal, or you can serve it as a delicious side.

Ingredients:
4 cups spinach
1 medium apple, cut into ½-inch chunks
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 of a small red onion, diced
3 Tbs. hemp seeds
2 1/2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. pure maple syrup
2 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Place the first four ingredients (apple through hemp seeds) into a large salad serving bowl. Toss until well combined.

2. Whisk the last five ingredients (balsamic vinegar through salt and pepper) together until smooth.

3. Drizzle dressing over the salad and serve.


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Sadie’s Flu-Fighting Elixir

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The holidays are over, and we’re guessing you indulged a time or two last month. (We know we did!) All those sweet treats can weaken your immune system, making it easier for cold and flu viruses to make themselves at home in your body. In fact, flu season typically peaks in January, right when your system is more susceptible to illness.

Whenever Sadie feels a bug coming on, she brews up a batch of this Flu-Fighting Elixir. It’s loaded with immune-boosting ingredients that have been used for centuries to combat colds and flu. Ginger and honey both have antiviral benefits, while lemon is loaded with Vitamin C. Fresh garlic boosts your immune system and possesses powerful antibacterial properties. And the active ingredient in cayenne pepper beats congestion by thinning the mucus in your nasal passages so you can breathe freely again.

Here’s how to make it:

1 Tbs. chopped fresh ginger
Juice from 1 lemon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 garlic clove chopped (optional but really gives the bug a kick in the butt)
A pinch of cinnamon
Sweeten with honey and add enough hot water to fill a mug.
Blend it up in a blender or VitaMix and enjoy!

We hope you manage to dodge the flu this season, but if you start to feel under the weather, a soothing mug of this elixir will have you feeling better fast. Here’s to your health!

Want more healthy recipes? Join barre3 Online and get access to tons of recipes curated by Sadie Lincoln and her team of chefs. Get started.

Why We Don’t Believe in Counting Calories

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Have you been counting calories in an effort to lose weight? One of the first things you’ll notice about the barre3 Nutrition Philosophy is that we don’t count calories. Here’s why:

  • First off, losing weight and being healthy is more than a matter of calories in, calories out. That’s because not all calories are created equal. 100 calories of sugar will cause your energy to spike and crash, increase your insulin and stimulate your appetite, which can lead to overeating. Compare that to 100 calories of whole foods that balance protein, fiber, and healthy fats. The latter increases satiation, boosts the metabolism, and optimizes digestion.
  • Another important reason that we don’t count calories is because it can increase stress and anxiety about eating. If you’re used to crunching the numbers over every bite that goes into your mouth, you probably know what we mean. We prefer to celebrate food and find the joy in eating instead.

While counting calories may be an effective or medically necessary approach for some, barre3 takes a different approach—one that’s built around the idea of listening to your body, eating whole foods, and following the barre3 Portion Prescription.

Listen to your body. Instead of measuring food and tracking every calorie, learn to recognize the signals that your body is full. This is a far more nourishing (and satisfying!) way to enjoy food. It can also help your body get to a healthy weight and stay there.

Eat whole foods. The trick to eating for weight loss isn’t so tricky: it’s as simple as eating whole foods, those that are as close to their natural state as possible. Not only do whole foods flood your body with healthy nutrients, they’re also high in dietary fiber, which helps keep you feeling full so you eat less.

The barre3 Portion Prescription:  This simple visual guideline shows you how to balance your plate with the right mix of veggies, whole grains and protein. It also reminds you to include a balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats in every meal and snack.

After a few weeks of healthier eating, you’ll find that you’ll start to crave kale chips over potato chips and barre3 chocolate donut holes instead of brownies. That’s because your body feels so much better when you eat the foods that are part of our Nutrition Philosophy. And instead of counting calories, you can count on feeling lighter, leaner, and energized.

So are you ready to ditch your calorie counter once and for all? Let us know in the comments below!

Get access to tons of balanced, healthy recipes curated by Sadie Lincoln and her team of chefs by subscribing to barre3 Online.