barre3 Book Club: Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland

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As soon as barre3 Georgetown instructor Alicia Sokol finished Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland, she reached out to us and told us that this would be the perfect book club pick. We couldn’t agree more. Read on to hear from Alicia herself why this book is not to be missed.

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Have you seen the new ad campaign by Under Armour, themed “I Will What I Want?” The campaign features strong, beautiful women who have risen to the top of their professions through hard work, perseverance and iron will. I’m not a TV watcher at home, but I was dining at a restaurant one evening when an image on the bar TV took my breath away. The muscular calves above nude pointe shoes caught my eye first. Then a wide shot revealed the sculpted curves of a dancer with tawny skin. I watched the spot until the end, unsure what the commercial was for or who the woman was. She stayed in my mind and a day or two later, I stumbled upon the memoir of Misty Copeland and put the pieces together. (See Misty dance on her “I Will What I Want” page here.)

Growing up in southern California, Misty spent much of her childhood shuttled from place to place, never staying long as her mother drifted in and out of marriages. For a period of time, the family lived in a rundown motel in a questionable neighborhood. A shy child, Misty found comfort in dancing first alone in her bedroom to TLC and George Michael, then later on stage for school performances and on drill team. Her mind was clear while dancing – no worries about where they would sleep, if there would be enough money for food or which of her mother’s boyfriends might be her next stepfather.

At the age of 13, her drill team coach suggested she try a ballet class after school at the local Boys and Girls Club. Misty showed up in her blue gym shorts and baggy white tee and stood along the barre next to girls clad in leotards and tights. Her dance teacher quickly discovered that Misty’s body moved and bent in just the right ways. She was encouraged to continue and even moved in with her dance teacher for a while to continue studying ballet.

Anyone who has danced (I have not!) can tell you it takes years to progress to pointe. Within just two months, Misty was on pointe and learning at lighting speed. She had found her home at the barre and despite the challenges she faced – too old, too curvy, too brown – she worked tirelessly, taking chances and opportunities that eventually elevated her to soloist with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. Today, she dances the most coveted of roles, such as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. Previously, she became the first black woman in history to dance the lead role in Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird for a major ballet company.

The book entertains and dazzles with stories of Misty dancing on stage with Prince (atop a piano, no less!) and looking up to see herself on a 24-foot ad in front of the Metropolitan Opera. But her tales of struggle and heartache draw the reader in just as intensely – an ugly, very public custody battle between her mother and dance teacher, the pervasive undercurrent of racism in the white, privileged world of ballet, injuries and surgeries, and ultimately her battle to love and respect her body despite its nontraditional curves.

What I loved most about Ms. Copeland’s book was that many of the values that have carried her are the same we hold dear at barre3 – belief in one’s self, vigilant focus on the needs of our own bodies, learning to tune out external forces that do not serve us and pushing past our comfort level to rise to the next echelon. It’s unlikely that any of us will become a soloist for a major ballet company by exercising these values, but what we can learn from Misty Copeland’s story is this: the unlikely is not the impossible. With love, hard work, respect and proper care of your own beautiful body, you may be surprised what is indeed possible.

Studio Owner Spotlight: Julie Ligon

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After watching her long-time friend Sadie turn barre3 into a successful business, Julie Ligon was thrilled to join the team as a studio owner in Danville. Today, she’s sharing the valuable lessons she’s learned from studio ownership, as well as how she’s giving her favorite barre3 recipes a holiday twist.

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I’ve been a dancer for as long as I can remember and love a good tennis game (pretty much from preschool on up). I’ve always been active—whether it’s kick-boxing, spin or yoga, I really have tried it all. However, nothing truly satisfied me or transformed my body like barre3. Sadly, I don’t have too much time to take dance lessons anymore, but I get my dance fix at my barre3 studio.

I’ve been friends with Sadie for years, so I’ve been following barre3 for a long time. I honestly love everything about barre3; the large range of motion moves really speak to the dancer in me.  The combo work section makes my heart pound and sweat flow, and the dynamic stretching grounds and centers me. I absolutely LOVE that I can get everything I need in just one hour—I’ve never found that before in any workout I’ve done. I am also so profoundly excited about the whole-body health aspect of barre3. It’s so critical to what we do. I’ve always said that the class is amazing, but in order for the class to show up on your body, the nutrition has to be on point. Having online access to healthy barre3 recipes and nutrition tips is huge for me. I cannot wait to bring the first barre3 challenge to the Danville community this January (you’ll get details about that soon!). When you’re firing on all cylinders with nutrition and your barre3 practice, it’s like you are lit from the inside out. The thought of that thrills me to no end!

I’m kind of in love with the Cauliflower Couscous. This season, I’m going to try to winterize it—maybe turn it into a risotto and heat it up. The Butternut Squash Soup is also phenomenal. I add a little bit of pancetta to make it more hearty and festive. The Dark Chocolate Donut Holes are a given almost every weekend, but I think I’m going to add a little more ground, fresh nutmeg to give it more of a holiday flavor.

As as studio owner I’ve learned so many amazing things about energy and giving. What you give always comes back to you two-fold; I experience that every single day at barre3. To teach with honesty and authenticity means that you have to put yourself out there, share who you are and give generously. This is the barre3 way and it’s how I have always lived my life. I have such a passion for what I do because I want everyone who takes my class to feel the way that I feel when I take class…powerful, content and completely lifted up, both in spirit and body.

Our community in Danville is pure magic. My clients inspire me to be strong and to never give up. Their work ethic and loyalty astound me. I look around in class and see women of all ages, sizes and shapes, and they’re all killing it. They’re strong, graceful, and so supportive of one another. They motivate me to be better and give them my very best. They’ve also taught me how much fun exercise can be. It doesn’t have to always be so serious! We laugh, holler, groan and work our bootys off. It’s so easy to find joy in each movement when the room is vibrating with such positive energy. When you take that out into the world with you, you become a better mother, friend, person..there’s nothing you can’t do.

My biggest takeaway from being a business owner and a mom is that it has shown my girls how much is possible and given them the confidence to do anything they want in life. They never ask “what am I going to do when I grow up?” Instead, it’s “what business am I going to own?” That to me is everything. Growing up, I never would have thought about owning my own business. It didn’t even cross my mind as a possibility. For that, I’m forever grateful for Sadie and the whole barre3 team. The support that they provide to me as an owner is beyond my wildest dreams and allows me to be a mom and focus on the things that make my heart sing.

 

Interested in owning a barre3 studio? Fill out the form here to get more information.

Holiday Sale: Save on Studio 10-Class Packages

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Calling all studio clients! We’re celebrating the season with a special offer for you: 20% savings on all 10-class packages. Not only is it a great way to reenergize your body during the hectic holiday season, you’ll be extra glad to have it for the barre3 Challenge that starts on January 5th. (Stay tuned for more details on that!)

Buy a package for yourself, or pair it with barre3 gear to create the perfect feel-good gift for friends and family. The sale starts December 15th and ends December 24th, so be sure to take advantage of this special pricing before it’s gone. Packages can be purchased either in studio or online. (If purchasing online, find your local studio, click on the Purchasing/Pricing tab, and select class packages.)

The team at here at barre3 wishes you a season filled with balance, strength, laughter and joy. You’ve brought us all of the above—we can’t wait to spend another year with you at the barre!

Turkey-Stuffed Butternut Squash with Mushrooms and Sage

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We’re serving up this hearty, immune-boosting recipe just in time for cold and flu season. Each serving of butternut squash contains more than your daily requirement for Vitamin A, which is essential for respiratory health. Mushrooms do double duty, supporting your immune system while providing powerful nutrients like potassium and Vitamin D.

Beyond the health benefits, this savory meal is also the ultimate comfort food on a cold winter day. Let us know how you like it in the comments below!

Serves 4 with leftover stuffing

Ingredients:

2 small to medium butternut squash
2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
1 lb. ground organic turkey (or any organic ground lean meat)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3/4 lb. mixed mushrooms (portobello, cremini, button etc.), diced
10 sage leaves, minced, plus a few leaves minced for garnish
1/4 tsp. red-pepper flakes
Fine sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425F degrees.

2. Slice each butternut squash in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and strings. Drizzle each slice with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place squash cut side down on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until fork tender, about 20-40 minutes, depending on the size of your squash. Be sure to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t overcook!

3. While squash roasts, cook your quinoa. Place 1 cup of quinoa in a pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until liquid has evaporated and quinoa can easily be fluffed with a fork, about 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey, using a wooden spoon to break up large clumps, and cook for about 8-10 minutes, until cooked through. Remove turkey from skillet and place in a bowl. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and stir in the diced onion. Cook until fragrant and slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Add diced mushrooms, minced sage, and red pepper flakes. Cook until mushrooms are golden and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Return the cooked turkey to the pan and stir in the cooked quinoa. Heat through for a few minutes longer (just long enough for all the flavors to blend together). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Divide turkey, quinoa, and mushroom mixture between the four squash halves (you’ll have leftover mixture). Save and use as leftovers!

6. Add a few extra minced sage leaves for garnish and enjoy!

Looking for more nourishing seasonal recipes? Subscribe to barre3 Online.

Reduce Stress in 10

Put down that holiday to-do list and give us ten minutes! Sadie Lincoln’s created a new stress-busting workout to help keep you feeling sane through this whirlwind season. Get up and do it right now.

Beyond the Barre: Make It Your Own

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We have a saying at barre3: To make it your own. Read on to see how Portland client Sarah Grace McCandless has internalized this mantra during her barre3 workout and beyond.

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If you’ve ever participated in a barre3 class, you’ve likely heard the instructors encouraging you to, “Make it your own.”  It’s a permission I try to remember and live by throughout all 24 hours of my day. It’s also one of the thousands of reasons I love barre3, and not just as a physical endeavor.

I have never been an athletic person by nature. I didn’t grow up playing any sports on a regular basis. The closest I ever came to doing so was mustering enough skills to pass my swimming tests to become a certified lifeguard. Truth be told, that was simply to get the coolest summer job available to a Grosse Pointe teen. I could swim, of course. I just wasn’t breaking any records, and I still can’t do a flip turn to this day.

Maybe it’s partially because I didn’t play regular sports as a kid that I had such a hard time finding an exercise routine I wanted to stay committed to, and truly enjoyed. At my best, I begrudgingly committed to 5K training and runs, or 45-minute cardio classes, but I was clock watching the entire time.

I initially came across barre3 a few years ago by way of a previous business relationship, and as such, needed to understand the practice and brand. Sadie taught the first studio class I ever took, and there were several points throughout where I wondered if I would make it through the entire session. I was sweating and shaking profusely, and couldn’t understand why my body was having such a strong reaction to such seemingly small, controlled movements.

But I did finish, and strong, largely because as Sadie reminded us throughout class to “Make it your own,” along with suggestions for modifications, I was actually listening, and present. This was a first for me. I didn’t even realize there WAS a clock in the room until I was leaving the studio.

I immediately connected to and fell in love with barre3, because I had finally found something that wasn’t about doing it the “right way,” but about doing it in the way that was right for me. I didn’t need to apologize for putting my own spin on things, or worry about whether or not doing so would hinder my results. Tailoring to my tastes meant I was honoring my body, but also mind and spirit, too.

There’s an even bigger payoff here, one we can and should all embrace. Putting our personal imprint on our studio practice, and all aspects of our lives, creates stronger connections – be it with Narrow V’s, a work presentation, the meal we just prepared, or the new friend we just made. And I am a firm believer (and living proof) that stronger connections lead to long-term commitment and success.

So…how will you “Make it your own” today?

Whole-Body Holiday Health Tips

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The holidays are an especially busy time. On top of our typical daily routine we’re buying gifts, entertaining guests, traveling, attending parties, baking holiday treats, and more. While it’s fun to dive headfirst into the holiday cheer, it’s also easy to lose sight of the things that make us feel energized, happy, and healthy. We’ve pulled together a few tips to help you stay balanced and manage stress during the coming weeks:

1. Volunteer/Donate.

Giving back isn’t just good for the community, it’s good for your body. Studies show that volunteering boosts your self-confidence, combats depression, and can even help you live longer. Visit createthegood.org to find volunteer opportunities in your area. If you don’t have time to volunteer, consider making a donation to a charity that you’re passionate about. One of our favorite organizations is Every Mother Counts. This incredible nonprofit is dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every woman by supporting maternal health funds around the world. Check out everymothercounts.org for details.

2. Go Outside.

Sunlight and just being outdoors can do wonders for a case of the winter blahs. In fact, a recent study showed that women who took a brisk, outdoor walk for 20 minutes every day had better mood, higher self esteem and an improved sense of well being. So grab a friend, throw on your warmest coat, and head outside for a mood-lifting dose of the great outdoors.

3. Indulge Mindfully.

It’s totally normal to indulge now and then again. Just make sure that when you do indulge, you don’t beat yourself up about it. A study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology notes that people who had an attitude of forgiveness and self-compassion after dipping into foods that sabotaged their fitness goals were less likely to keep binging. So if you overdo it on the holiday cookies (yum!), don’t wallow in despair and reach for a bunch more. Enjoy every bite, then return to your healthy habits at the next meal.

4. Slow Down.

Be sure to create a calm space for yourself in the middle of the holiday whirlwind. Think about the things that re-energize you, then be vigilant about scheduling time for them. Maybe it’s meeting friends for a barre3 workout or curling up in front of the fire with a good book. Whatever it is, do it every week.

5. Take 10.

It can be hard to find a solid hour in the day to work out, especially during the holidays. With our mobile app, you can do barre3 anywhere, anytime. (We love to do a quick workout at the kitchen counter!). By doing shorter fitness blasts throughout the day, you get the same metabolic boost and burn calories all day long.

6. Find Gratitude.

For many people, the holidays can bring on feelings of sadness or solitude. Instead of letting the holidays get you down, take the time to be thankful for the things that lift you up, whether it’s family, friends, music, nature—the list goes on. Studies show that people who practice gratitude experience a number of positive emotional and physical benefits, including more energy and optimism.

Above all, remember that the holidays don’t have to be perfect. So what if you overcook the turkey? It’ll make a great story later on! Instead of stressing, cherish your loved ones, be good to yourself, and if you need to blow off a little holiday steam, we’ll be waiting for you at the barre.

barre3 Gift Guide

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To create our holiday gift guide, we asked the barre3 home team what they’re planning to give their favorite people this holiday season. From wellness goodies to fun stocking stuffers, you’re sure to find something for everyone on your list. (You might even find a few treats for yourself!). Happy shopping!

1. Magic Carpet Yoga Mat

Sadie Lincoln, barre3 Founder, adores this colorful yoga mat! Fashioned after a Persian rug, it features ornate floral and diamond patterns printed with sustainable inks. Perfect for your favorite yogi.

2. R.L. Linden. Royal Lemon Bombs and Manatea from Fred and Friends

Founder Sadie Lincoln is obsessed with this tea blend that doubles as a facial steam. Once she started drinking it, her skin brightened up big time. Tip: Brew your tea with this adorable tea infuser shaped like a manatee from Fred and Friends. It’s the perfect stocking stuffer!

3. Brown/White Stoneware Bedside Carafe Set

One of the best things you can do for your body when you wake up is drink a big glass of water. Not only does it fire your metabolism and flush out toxins, it gives your body the hydration it needs after 8 hours of sleep. Communications Manager Kait Hurley loves this beautiful bedside carafe set because it keeps her morning glass of water within easy reach.

4. Stem Cellular Moisturizer by Juice Beauty

When one of our team members raved about this moisturizer, we gave it a try and now we’re all hooked. Certified organic and rich in antioxidants, it’s ideal for all skin types and leaves skin feeling downright luminous.

5. Lena Flash Tattoos

Community Manager Tiffany Le is all about these jewelry-inspired temporary tattoos. Each set comes with four sheets of designs that you can use to create necklaces, bracelets, and more. Just apply, glimmer and go!

6. Natural Rose Cut Slice Stud Earrings

Walking the line between classy and edgy, these rock studs feature natural grey-black diamonds in a 14kt rose gold setting. Franchise Operations Director Jenni Johnson admits they’re a little spendy, but she thinks they’re a worthwhile splurge for someone special.

7. Women’s Every Mother Counts Hoodie

Our VP of Sales + Marketing Amy Leclerc introduced us to this amazing nonprofit, which is dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother in the world. Show them some love by sporting this cute hoodie; not only is it ridiculously soft, 40% of the proceeds goes to support their cause.

8. Mukluks from Gunn and Swain

Stay warm and cozy with these handwoven multi-colored mukluks. You can thank Corporate Studio Operations Manager Candace Ofcacek for selecting these for our gift guide when you fall in love with them!

9. Legs for Days Legging from Beyond Yoga

These flattering pants are a perfect example of why Beyond Yoga is a team fave. Their apparel is incredibly comfortable, stylish enough to wear beyond the mat, and best of all, it’s designed to fit real women of all sizes. Love!

What are your favorite gifts to give? Tell us in the comments below!  

Cyber Monday Sale: Save 50% on a 12-month barre3 Online Kit TODAY

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Now’s your chance to buy our barre3 12-month Online Kit for just $64.50 on Cyber Monday only (a whopping 50% off the regular retail price.) Get unlimited access to hundreds of online workouts, seasonal recipes, and whole-body health programs. As an added bonus, you’ll receive our favorite fitness gear: the barre3 Core Ball and our signature tumbler. Get one for yourself or give to a friend for the perfect fitness gift. This special offer ends tonight at midnight, so get this incredible deal before it’s gone! SAVE 50% NOW »

Redemption of the 12-month subscription is for new barre3 Online subscribers only.

Sale starts midnight of 12/1/14 and ends midnight of 12/2/14. While supplies last.

All orders will be delivered within 7-10 business days. A flat shipping and handling rate of $6.95 will apply.