Crowding Out the Seasonal Blahs

B3_CrowdingOutSeasonBlahs_Blog

If you follow the barre3 Nutrition Philosophy you’ve probably heard us talk about crowding out unhealthy foods with healthier options. By doing this regularly, before long the healthy choices will actually turn into preferences.

Did you know that this same principle can be applied to your emotions? With winter in full swing, some of you have reported a serious case of the seasonal blahs. By crowding out negative feelings with the things that bring you joy, there won’t be enough room for the things that bring you down.

To practice crowding out, first ask yourself this simple question: What makes me happy? Once you’ve identified the things that lift your spirits, start incorporating them into daily life as much as possible. Do you love puppies? (Who doesn’t?) Foster a pup or volunteer at a local shelter. If music energizes you, make a playlist of your top power anthems and rock it regularly.

Of course, everyone’s list will be different. But to give you an idea of where to start, here are a few of our favorite mood boosters:

Aromatherapy

Essential oils stimulate a part of the brain that affects emotion, which means that certain fragrances can help you feel more balanced and relaxed. Our current obsession is this soy and paraffin candle from Lafco. It features a blissful mix of chamomile and lavender to help promote a sense of well being.

Acupuncture

Our moods and energy levels fluctuate with the seasons. Acupuncture can help balance your qi and increase your body’s energy flow, which in turn enhances your mood. Many of us on the home team swear by acupuncture treatments; after every session, we feel brighter, restored, and energized.

Light

Sunlight prompts our systems to produce the hormones directly responsible for improving mood. During the winter, we don’t see the sun much in rainy Portland, so several of us have invested in light boxes, which mimic natural outdoor light. 10 minutes is all it takes to feel calmer, happier, and more focused.

Friends and Family

A strong network of support is one of the best things you can do to beat the blues. Whether that’s going to the studio with a friend or an afternoon of playing with your niece, identify the people that make you smile and connect with them regularly.

Nature

Problems just have a way of seeming smaller when you’re in the great outdoors. So bundle up and take a hike, walk with a pal, or bust out a 10-minute app workout on your favorite park bench.

Remember, these are just suggestions—make your list your own! Then use it to crowd out the blahs with a whole lot of bliss.

What are your favorite ways to shake off a bad mood? Share in the comments below!

barre3 Book Club: Yes Please

barre3 Book Club: Yes Please

Barre3 owners and instructors around the country can’t stop talking about Amy Poehler’s memoir, Yes Please. We knew it would be hilarious—she’s a brilliant comedian, after all—but we were surprised by how honest and thoughtful it is. There were so many moments when we read something and said to ourselves, “Yes! This is exactly how I feel, too.” Read on for our seven favorite life lessons from Amy:

1. Self-actualization works. When people ask Amy if she always knew she’d be on Saturday Night Live, she tells them yes. We love her candid and confident response, and we agree that believing in yourself fuels your success. It reminded us of how Sadie answered “Are you surprised by how big barre3 has grown?” She said she wasn’t surprised. From day one, she knew she was onto something and that other women like herself would help power the growth of our barre3 brand.

2. Everyone has to muffle the negative self-chatter—even famous people. Amy has an entire chapter devoted to her own negative self-talk and strategies for overcoming it (“Plain Girl vs. the Demon”). Her description of her crazy big eyes, hair that’s too thin, and belly that isn’t flat enough is refreshing and honest. And we love her strategies for quelling the negative chatter—especially the one about sticking up for yourself as you would for a good friend. Simply say, “Hey. Cool it. Amy is my friend. Don’t talk about her like that.’”

3. When you give you also receive. When Amy was going through her divorce, she went to Haiti to help victims of the 2010 earthquake. Seeing the devastation and suffering instantly turned her focus away from herself and toward the people in need. We admire the way Amy handled this tough time. It goes right along with one of the tenets of barre3: Give Generously. We believe that one of the best ways to recharge and gain perspective is to help others, and we love that Amy feels the same way.

4. “Good for her! Not for me.” This is the motto Amy believes all women should repeat over and over again. It reminds us of two of our favorite sayings at barre3: “Honor Your Truth” and “Love thy neighbor, but ignore thy neighbor.” Just because something works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for you. And that’s totally fine.

5. It’s never too late to apologize. Amy talks about a rough experience when she unknowingly made a joke about a disabled child in a Saturday Night Live skit. Though she felt guilty for years, it took her a while to formally apologize to the people she hurt. Once she did make amends, she felt immensely better, and she could finally let go of feeling ashamed. Apologizing changed her and taught her about compassion.

6. Getting older is awesome. Amy jokes about superpowers that you develop as you age: “…you know how to exit a party without being noticed…you witness young people embarrassing themselves and you are thrilled that it’s not you.” She also talks about more serious perks of getting older: you know what you want, you don’t take everything personally anymore, you pick friends who fill you up and energize you. She compares fighting aging to the war on drugs: “It’s expensive, does more harm than good, and has proven to never end.” Her approach to aging is the perfect compliment to Sadie’s thoughts on the subject.

7. There’s no shortcut to success. One of the most eye-opening things about the book for us was how hard Amy worked—and continues to work—to achieve her dreams. As she puts it, “Years and years of hard work and little bits of progress isn’t nearly as entertaining as imagining me telling a joke in a Boston food court when suddenly Lorne Michaels walks up and says, ‘I must have you for a little show I do.’” The same is true for health and fitness. You can try all the quick fixes and diet tricks under the sun, but fulfilling, lasting results come from a commitment to eating healthy and regular exercise. All the more reason to keep up a consistent barre3 practice!

We talk a lot in class about honoring your truth at barre3, and Amy does it on every page. She’s down-to-earth, kind, and hilarious—in other words, exactly the type of friend we’d want to take a barre3 class with and grab a matcha latte with afterward. If you’re looking for the perfect mix of laughter and substance, this is your book. Have you read it? If so, share your thoughts on it in the comments below!

Slow-Cooker Comfort Stew

b3_RecipeSpotlight-VeggieStew_v3

We’re so excited to introduce you to blogger McKel Hill from Nutrition Stripped. Not only is she a barre3 client in Nashville, she’s also one of our food heroes. Read on for her Slow-Cooker Comfort Stew recipe. We can attest to how delicious and simple it is! Here’s McKel in her own words.Blog_HeartBreaker

This soup is satisfying, and it’s the perfect recipe for a lazy weekend. All you have to do is throw vegetables and other goodies in a crock pot with some broth. Then set the timer and forget about it for the rest of your day.

As an added bonus, you can add subtle variations to this soup to meet your needs; for example, if you want to add shredded organic chicken or top it with a Greek yogurt dollop for a protein boost, feel free. For you vegan readers out there, this soup is hearty enough to be a complete meal, although I love topping it with hemp seeds or creamy avocado. Get creative and make it your own!

Slow-Cooker Comfort Stew

Serves 10

INGREDIENTS

3 cups of your favorite dried beans (choose a mix of 4-5 different types)*

1 cup dry brown lentils

4 quarts vegetable stock

2, 15 ounce cans of organic diced tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large zucchini, diced

2 large carrots, diced

1 medium red onion, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon ground cumin

½ tablespoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

2 bay leaves

Freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons sea salt

*We like to add a mix of dried lentil, garbanzo, kidney, and black beans. Be sure to soak your beans for at least 12 hours before adding them to the pot.

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Using a large crockpot or slow cooker, simply pour all ingredients into the pot and stir to combine.

2. Cook on medium-high for 4 hours, reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook until all the beans and vegetables are tender. The liquid will evaporate as it cooks; adjust liquid by adding water as the cooking process goes along. Taste test and adjust seasonings to taste.

3. To serve: serve in a bowl with fresh herbs like parsley or thyme on top and an additional drizzle of olive oil. (You can serve on a bed of quinoa, millet, or wild rice for a heartier version.) Keep in the refrigerator for leftovers up to a week.

McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN is an internationally known Registered Dietitian, wellness nutritionist and the creator of Nutrition Stripped, a guide to living whole and well.

Studio Owner Spotlight: Megan Wilson + Gillian Brotherson

b3_StudioSpotlight_Blog_MeganGillian_v2

We are so lucky to have sisters Megan Wilson and Gillian Brotherson on our team of studio owners! Megan led the way opening a studio last year in Willow Glen near San Jose, then hooked her sister Gillian. Now, they’re opening a studio together in their hometown of Los Altos. Read on to discover how this dynamic duo is helping people feel happier and healthier.

Blog_HeartBreaker

Megan: I had done barre, yoga, and Pilates at different times throughout my life, but I never really felt connected to any of them. Then my best friend from college, Henderson studio owner Jackie Edlund, got me to try 28 to Great online. After two weeks into the Challenge, I was hooked. The workout felt amazing in my body, and I was seeing dramatic results. I immediately felt the warmth of the barre3 community through the computer screen and knew I had to bring this workout to San Jose.

Gillian: I was a dance major at San Diego State, so I’ve always been very active. After college, I started teaching fitness classes, but it wasn’t a perfect match for me. Fast forward a few years and two kiddos, and my sister told me that she was opening barre3. I was excited to try the workout, but I definitely wasn’t planning to open a studio (or even teach) at first. However the more I experienced barre3, the more I craved it. It aligns so well with my life, and I could see how happy it was making my sister. Megan and I have always wanted to work together, so it was the perfect opportunity.

Megan: When I opened my studio, seeing myself as a leader was challenging at first. However, I quickly learned from Sadie and her team that surrounding myself with talented and inspiring people is the magic element of leadership. One of the core barre3 mantras, “Seek to understand before being understood,” has served me well. That’s the psych major in me. I love learning about people, listening to their needs, and helping them to achieve success.

Gillian: Barre3 is so incredibly supportive and inclusive. I love helping clients feel good about themselves while they work towards their goals. It’s inspiring to see people from all different backgrounds and walks of life feel at home in our studio. They don’t have to worry about the rest of their junk; they can just feel happy for an hour.

Megan: In classes, we tell clients to honor their truth. By listening to their bodies, clients learn how to guide their own workouts. They learn to take modifications to see better results. They learn when to take it turbo, and when to scale back.

Gillian: Barre3 empowers us to not only be leaders, business owners, and entrepreneurs; it’s also helping us find balance in life. I’m so grateful that I can do something that I’m passionate about and still be the kind of Mom that I want to be to my kiddos.

Megan: Barre3 is a lifestyle. We’re a company based on whole-body health, helping clients to make healthier decisions throughout their day. I can’t believe how my body has changed since finding barre3. I’ve dropped four pant sizes and feel the strongest I ever have.

Gillian: As a mom of a four- and two-year-old I’m wearing the same size as I did at our wedding. When I wore my wedding dress, I was doing a crazy diet and exercise program for four months to lean up. I never thought I’d have a body like this after children (period!), let alone without having to suffer through more crash diets. I have my pre-baby body back, and I can’t believe how healthy and amazing I feel.

Megan:  I want people to know that exercise doesn’t have to hurt to transform your body. A workout that feels good is so much more sustainable. Gillian and I love helping our clients realize that.

Gillian: My favorite thing about barre3 is that we’re not just helping people while they’re working out with us in studio. We can help them figure out what book to read next with our book club recommendations or what to make for dinner (my family’s go-to is the Moroccan Stew). Megan and I are so honored that we get to share this lifestyle with the Willow Glen and Los Altos communities. This is our dream job.

Learn more about owning a barre3 studio by filling out the form here.

barre3 in O Magazine

OMagazine_Press_Blog

Oprah Magazine named barre3 Online one of your “totally doable must-dos” and recommended it because you “get a satisfying burn no matter your fitness level.” Pick up the March issue to take a look!

barre3 Challenge Success Stories

Hundreds of you wrote in to tell us about your experience doing the barre3 Challenge – thank you! We loved reading each and every word of your emails, and we wish we could celebrate all of you on our blog.

While each Share Your Story Contest winner experienced incredible results like a stronger and leaner body, more energy, and brighter skin, we’re especially proud of our winners because they’ve decided to keep the Challenge going. Rather than burning out or reverting back to unhealthy habits, these women have integrated aspects of the Challenge into their everyday lives in a meaningful way. For us, that’s what real success is all about. Read on to get inspired:Blog_HeartBreaker

b3_ChallengeSuccess_9_2

I lost 12 pounds and my entire body changed dramatically. I thought the Challenge was going to be a chore…that I would feel hungry, cranky, and deprived the whole time. I was so wrong. It was actually easy to do! I am shocked by my results because I feel like I didn’t have to try that hard. I’ve been a member at barre3 Fayetteville for over a year, but I didn’t take advantage of my free access to barre3 Online until now. I wish I hadn’t waited so long. Each week, I make tons of recipes (that even my boyfriend loves), and working out in my kitchen is now something I regularly do in addition to my studio classes. I’m hooked! - Jennifer Gartman, barre3 Fayetteville

b3_ChallengeSuccess_2_2

I have arm muscles! My abs are stronger, my legs are trimmer, and my seat feels firmer. What was incredible to me about this experience was that I didn’t feel the need, desire, draw, or even the possibility to give up. Unlike every running training program and restrictive diet I’ve tried in the past, I just kept clicking “play” on a new workout. Barre3 has changed my life. - Katherine Dopulos, online subscriber, Syracuse, NY

b3_ChallengeSuccess_1_2

Initially, I thought the benefit of doing the Challenge would be losing a few inches. And while yes, I did lose some inches, I lost much more. I lost the feeling that I was lagging every single day. I lost that tightness in my chest caused by job stress, and the feeling of being hopeless and lost. The Challenge changed me from a hyper-critical, depressed, strung-out, self-proclaimed hopeless cause to a happy, hopeful, and positive person. I never thought that the anxiety, stress, and depression would end…especially not in a month. But these positive changes are exciting and real, and I feel like a new person. The “challenge” has officially become a change for me. – Jamie Smith, barre3 Columbia

b3_ChallengeSuccess_4_2

I lost 5 pounds, 2.5 inches, and I toned my midsection during the Challenge. My off-the-scale benefits were even greater, though. One of my favorite things I learned from one of Sadie’s podcasts was that it doesn’t have to be ALL or NOTHING. I learned that it’s just as effective to do a 10-minute workout with my kids, then 40-50 more minutes during their nap time—or whatever I can get in that day! That was huge for me. If I can’t finish what I plan to start, I won’t start it for fear of failure. I can now feel good 10 minutes at a time, prolonging a healthy mood and attitude all day, making me a better wife, mom, and friend. -Krista Jacques, barre3 Bend

b3_ChallengeSuccess_3_2

The best part of the Challenge was doing it with my mom and sister. We texted each other multiple times a day for support and shared barre3 recipes at our family dinners. My mom and dad do everything together, so once he saw her commitment to barre3 workouts, he joined her. I am so proud of them, and it makes me love and appreciate barre3 even more for giving this to my parents as well! The physical benefits from the Challenge have been amazing, too. My glutes and my core have never been stronger or looked better. Never would I have thought that I’d have my best body after four children. I just went bathing-suit shopping for an upcoming vacation, and I’m actually excited to wear my bikini. - Katie Grainger, online subscriber, Spokane, WA

b3_ChallengeSuccess_8_2

At the end of the Challenge I achieved a lot more than I expected. I feel fit, more confident, and I am sleeping better. I also feel physically, mentally, and emotionally stronger, not to mention being down 9 pounds. Adapting my habits and lifestyle to find more balance has also transformed my connection with my husband, family, and friends. This has been a wonderful start to the healthy and happy lifestyle I now crave.” – Allie Huey, online subscriber, Chicago, IL

b3_ChallengeSuccess_5_2

Since I started barre3 in August 2014, I’ve dropped 30 pounds. While I had a strong practice before the Challenge, the Challenge took me deeper and helped me commit. For the first time ever, I didn’t make excuses. I fit in all my workouts (no cancellations!) and recipes. My favorite part about barre3 is the community—it keeps me motivated and healthy. I love it when an instructor reminds us that the work we are doing right now will benefit us throughout the entire day and explains how. It’s so true! Barre3 impacts my entire day in such a positive way. -Lora Zawisa, barre3 Scottsdale

b3_ChallengeSuccess_7_2

This has been a life-changing experience. I have never felt better in my own skin. I’m full of energy, I sleep better, I can see my body changing, and my skin is even clearing up (probably from all the water I have been drinking, thanks to the rubber-band trick)! -Emily Southwick, barre3 La Jolla

b3_ChallengeSuccess_6_2

I have actually been cooking barre3 recipes nearly every day since the start of the Challenge, not just one a week. I can honestly say it has been a pleasure, not a chore, to get in the kitchen and create healthy, tasty, whole-food meals that my whole family has absolutely loved. The recipes are so delicious! -Rahmi Shulman, online subscriber, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Do you have a story about how barre3 has changed your life? We’d love to hear it! Share it with us in the comments below.

The Health Benefits of Bone Broth

b3_BenefitsofBoneBroth_V3

Have you heard of bone broth? While it’s being hyped in the media as the latest health craze, bone broth has actually been recognized for thousands of years for its amazing healing benefits.

This mineral-rich broth nourishes the cells, promotes healthy digestion and calms inflammation in the body. It also contains the broken-down material from cartilage and tendons—compounds like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, which are sold as pricey supplements for arthritis and joint pain.

But bone broth is more than a health tonic—it’s also an incredible beauty booster, since it’s loaded with radiance-boosting nutrients like collagen and hyaluronic acid. (Collagen helps fortify the connective tissue in your skin, while hyaluronic acid keeps it plump and hydrated.)  According to local bone broth expert Tressa Yellig, bone broth can even help reduce wrinkles and brighten skin. “It detoxifies the liver and removes a lot of the stressors from your body that can negatively affect your complexion,” she explained.

Our favorite source for bone broth here in Portland, OR comes from Salt, Fire and Time, which Tressa founded in 2009. She makes organic, therapeutic-grade broths made from pasture-raised chicken, turkey, beef and lamb. (There’s even a formulation for babies!)

If you’re in the Portland area, lucky you—Tressa will deliver her bone broth right to your door. But if you don’t live nearby, no worries—Salt, Fire and Time ships anywhere in the country and even internationally. Click here to order.

If you’d like to try making bone broth yourself, Tressa has a few tips for beginners. “Slow and low is the key. You don’t want to heat the broth above a simmer, or you’ll cook off most of the beneficial gelatin,” she said. She also encourages you to start with high-quality ingredients like organic bones and vegetables. And never microwave bone broth; always reheat it on the stove.

Tressa recommends sipping a mug first thing in the morning to set your body up for success throughout the day; it can also be enjoyed as part of a soothing bedtime ritual. We love it so much, we find ourselves sipping it all day long!

Here’s one of her go-to recipes:

Bone Broth

Drink 1 to as many cups per day as you want or need. Use it to cook rice or saute your veggies, too.

Ingredients:

About 1 pound of mixed bones/quart of purified water

Vegetables and herbs for flavor (onions, celery, garlic, parsley, etc.)

Splash of vinegar (cider, red or white wine, rice, or lemon juice)

Directions:

1. Place the bones (knuckle, marrow, blade, etc) in a medium stock pot and add water to cover.

2. Mix in the splash of apple cider vinegar and allow to sit at room temp 1 hour. If there is a lot of meat on the bones, roast them first for flavor.

3. Bring the pot up to a gentle simmer (~ 180̊ F) and allow to continue for 8-72 hours.

4. Add the vegetables in the middle of your cooking time.

5. Strain out the bones, vegetables and herbs, allow to cool, and package as you like.

Have you tried bone broth? Let us know how you like it 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.

Why I’m All For Aging

b3_FebSocial_AntiAging

I just opened my mail to find the following cover headlines shouting:  “Stop aging now!” and “Reverse the aging process!” Really? The way I see it, aging is living, and I’m a big fan of living. These kinds of anti-aging messages make my skin crawl. When I think about the communication around beauty and aging, here’s the question I use as a litmus test: Is this a message I want my daughter to embrace? I don’t want her to view aging as a bad thing, nor do I want her to see women as “over” just because they’re older. I found myself hiding both magazines because I don’t want my daughter to see them.

But it’s not just for her that I hide magazine covers like this. It’s for me as well. I’ve made a conscious decision to surround myself with women of all ages so I am constantly reminded just how wonderful life is at any stage. The women I admire the most are those who don’t fight their age. The wrinkles, grey hair, and achy joints that all of us will grow into someday are not to be feared according to these women! One of the things I am most proud of at barre3 is the legacy I am building for my daughter. She does barre3 at 10 right next to me at 42 and her grandmother at 67. She also gets to meet all kinds of very cool young women who show great respect for their elders.

I recently taught a class in my barre3 West Village studio with an 81-year-old woman and her two daughters in attendance. They were visiting from Oklahoma where they do barre3 at our studios there. Guess who was doing the full expression of the postures and with inspiring form and alignment?

Instead of focusing on turning back the clock, I invite you to instead focus on all that we look forward to as we continue our life here on Earth. It’s a great privilege to age.

Beyond the Barre: Finding the Ease Within the Effort

b3_Beyondthebarre_FindtheEaseWithintheEffort_FBS

Lauren Kessler is an award-winning author, journalist, and director of the graduate program in multimedia studies at the University of Oregon. Needless to say, we were thrilled when Lauren graciously offered to share her experience as a barre3 Eugene client. Read on to discover what she’s learned at the barre and how it’s helping her live a more engaged, vibrant life.

Blog_HeartBreaker

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “finding the ease in the effort.”  This is what my supremely talented barre3 instructor, Summer Spinner, (yes, her real name) says as we are holding the most challenging pose of the morning. Finding the ease in the effort. It’s one of those potentially life-altering mantras I’ve now come to expect from my increasingly frequent time in the barre3 studio. Who knew that an exercise regimen I adopted purely for the purpose of getting out of my running-every-day rut would offer important life lessons.

The pose we’re holding this morning requires every muscle – including those you never knew you had – to fire.  There’s a way of achieving this by tensing everything, from inner thigh to outer glute, from multiple layers of abdominals to the entire back body.  When I first find my way to this pose, here’s what happens:  My neck tenses, my shoulders lift and my face scrunches up.  Then I hear Summer say, “now find the ease in the effort,” and the entire posture changes for me.  I release my neck and slide my shoulders down.  I untense my face.  I close my eyes.  I take that breath that I didn’t realize I was holding.  And everything goes deeper. “Ease” is not what I’d call it because all those muscles are still very busy. It’s more a place of stability, almost peace — “the calm within the chaos,” which is another thing Summer says.

This is important stuff. I’m not just talking about what happens in my body during an hour-long barre3 class. I’m talking about the bigger lessons I am taking away from that hour about how to live a truly engaged, vibrant life. I call this counterclockwise living — a constellation of attitudes and actions that maintains what we should prize about “youth.” No, not the absence of wrinkles. Rather the presence (in abundance) of energy, creativity and resilience.

Finding the ease in the effort is a way to change that severe, nose-to-the-grindstone self-talk (I am going to eat 8 cups of veggies and 4 ounces of lean protein and nothing white ever — except cauliflower — or scold myself unmercifully) to a calmer, saner, happier I am going to enjoy and delight in healthy, mindful eating. It’s a way to change I am going to drag myself to the gym or the studio 5 days a week because I know I should to I am going to live in my body and enjoy and delight in physical activity.

Because when you try so hard, the trying takes over. It becomes all about trying, and what you are doing and how you are experiencing what you are doing is lost in the effort and the sweat and the scrunched up face. Believe me. I know. This is one of most challenging lessons I am trying to learn. (But trying to not try so hard!) I am deeply surprised that finding the ease in the effort is so much harder than finding the effort.

This is the challenge that keeps me coming back to barre3. I know that finding the ease is a path to a more balanced, healthier, happier life.

Lauren Kessler, the author of seven books of narrative nonfiction, teaches writing at the University of Oregon.