Primary Posture

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We begin and end every studio class in primary posture, which is our most important posture at barre3. When you stand tall in this position, your body is optimally aligned, your ligaments and muscles support your joints to prevent the risk of injury, and your spine is in a neutral position (meaning it has a natural ‘s’ curvature). When you’re standing in primary posture, you breathe better, digest your food better, and minimize the potential for aches and pains. Studies show that people with good posture have more energy, feel happier, are better able to manage stress, and think more clearly.

In primary posture, your feet are hip-width apart, facing forward, and evenly weighted to the ground. Your pelvis is level, meaning your hip bones and pubic bone are on the same plane. Your shoulders are wide down your back and stacked over your hips.

Primary posture looks easy, but everyone has muscle imbalances that throw the body off this ideal alignment. Each exercise in barre3 works strategically to train the body tall so that standing in primary posture becomes effortless. For example, in class you’ll hear us talk about the importance of countering the “office slump,” which is a rounded upper back. We do this by including exercises that open the chest, which tends to get tight, followed by exercises to strengthen the upper back, which becomes weak with all the sitting we do. To achieve a balanced body and a tall, upright stance, we strengthen the postural muscles in every workout. These muscles work together synergistically to support the body and improve posture for the long term.

So the next time you notice your shoulders starting to slump or you’ve been stuck in one position for too long, stand tall in primary posture and take five deep breaths to hit the reset button. (Even better, hit play and join us for a 10 minute workout to open up, strengthen, and align your body in this strong, graceful position with us). Over time, standing tall will become second nature.

Spotlight on barre3 Co-founder Chris Lincoln

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Clients are always asking us if barre3 is for men. The answer is yes! Just ask Sadie’s husband and business partner Chris Lincoln. As our studios gear up to host the annual “Man Up to the Barre” event, we think it’s the perfect time to connect with barre3’s leading man. Read on to get to know Chris, in his own words.Blog_HeartBreaker

I oversee many of barre3’s business functions, from franchise expansion and support to real estate, the construction process, finance, and legal matters. The best part of my job is the diversity of my roles and responsibilities—no two days are really the same.

Before founding barre3, Sadie and I were executives at 24 Hour Fitness. During my time there, it dawned on me that I could merge two of my passions: business and helping people. That’s when I realized that it’s possible to have a successful career that serves others. I love that my work helps people get into good shape and feel amazing.

Barre3 is extremely humbling, which is a good thing for men. A lot of guys take exercise to the extreme and go hard all the time, which causes imbalances in the body and can lead to injuries. Barre3 is an effective way to build strength while you’re still being kind to the body. A lot of men need that. Even if a guy takes class once a week, they’ll become more aware of moving with intention, and they’ll reduce their risk for injury.

My advice to men who are coming to barre3 for the first time is to check your ego at the door. Expect to shake and sweat. You may not look as graceful as some of the other women in class. You may not be able to hold postures like plank for as long as they can either. That’s ok. You’re carrying more weight than them. Don’t push yourself to go crazy hard.

No matter what your gender, I think it’s important to listen to your body and give it what it needs through exercise and nutrition. My favorite barre3 recipe is the Slow Cooker Moroccan Stew. I love the cinnamon—it’s the key ingredient that makes it a little bit sweet. Even our kids love it!

When it comes to parenting, I really believe that leading by example is key. If kids see you exercising, eating healthfully, managing stress and finding work-life balance, they will learn to do the same.  It’s so important to take care of ourselves so that we can give to others, especially family. That’s what barre3 is all about.

barre3 Book Club: The Body Book

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Today, we’re giving you one more reason to love Cameron Diaz. Not only is she a talented actress, she’s also a grounded health and wellness expert who recently added “New York Times Bestselling Author” to her resume.

Cameron Diaz’s new book, The Body Book, is a manual on how to achieve optimal physical, mental, and emotional health. Loaded with lessons in nutrition and anatomy plus takeaways from personal experiences, she encourages readers to connect body and mind in order to live a more vibrant, enriching, and fulfilling life. Most importantly, she stresses the importance of loving the skin you’re in.

Cameron writes in a conversational way that feels like you’re talking to a girlfriend (which is why we feel like we’re on a first name basis with her). We loved learning about her life-changing turning point at age 26 when she ditched smoking and fast food and embraced whole foods and exercise. And we’re inspired by her healthy habits, like how she drinks a giant bottle of water every morning, how she’s established a bedtime routine, and how she uses Sundays as a time to prep food for the week ahead. She also warns against the dangers of sitting for long periods of time and advocates that we move all day long to stay healthy. Cameron’s advice is smart and practical, and our heart skipped a beat when she recommended that we do push-ups at the counter while we wait for our toast to pop. (She totally gets us!)

We knew Cameron was the real deal when she shared her thoughts about getting older. Rather than to try the impossible of attempting to look 25 forever, Cameron asks readers to embrace aging healthfully and happily. Her message is simple and refreshing: It’s more about how you feel than what you look like. She reveals that she feels more vibrant and strong at 41 than she did at 26, and that getting older is the best thing that has ever happened to her because every year she gains more wisdom and knowledge. We couldn’t agree more.

Until we find a way to hang out with Cameron in person, this book is definitely the next best thing. Let us know how you like it in the comments below!

Check out Sadie’s workout featured on Cameron’s blog here.

barre3 Makeup Tips

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Whether Sadie’s filming an online workout or a video for the media, hair and makeup artist Meghan Stoll always gets her looking camera ready. Today, we’re excited to share some of Meghan’s makeup tips for radiant-looking skin. Read on to learn more from Meghan herself.

1. For a fresh face: Everyone needs a great tinted moisturizer or Beauty Balm (BB) cream to moisturize and protect their skin. It’s also an amazing way to correct any blemishes. I love anything from Laura Mercier. Stila’s tinted moisturizer is also one of my favorites. Both brands offer products with a finish that’s flawless and not overly dewy while still providing seamless coverage. When selecting a cream, choose a color that’s one shade more golden than your skin tone to illuminate your face. Also, if you have extremely oily skin or if your skin gets shiny after applying your tinted moisturizer, I recommend that you use Laura Mercier’s Secret Brightening Powder later in the day. It’s light, goes on easily, and will leave you with a fresh, natural finish.

2. For vibrant cheeks: Adding color to the cheeks is youthful, fun, and gorgeous on everyone. Creme blushes are best for an easy and carefree summer look. Ladyblush by MAC is a color that looks incredible on a variety of skin tones. To apply blush, just dab your finger in the creme blush, smile, and then blend it in the apple of your cheek and outwards.

3. For long, lush lashes: For me, curling my eyelashes is a must. Curling lashes lifts and opens the eyes. Be careful that your lash curler actually curls and doesn’t crimp your lashes instead. My favorite curlers on the market now are from Nars and Bobbi Brown. If you use your curler daily, you’ll need to replace it every four months.

4. For healthy, beautiful lips: Wearing some color on your lips is an easy way to take your look to the next level. I like using a tinted chapstick with SPF, lip gloss, or a soft, moisturizing, sheer lipstick. Lean towards your natural lip color; pink generally flatters everyone. Check out MAC’s lipsticks—they have great staying power and I love the way they feel.

When it comes to makeup, the best piece of advice I can give is this: less is more! No matter which products you use, a heavy-handed approach actually detracts from your natural beauty and can even make you look older. The idea is to look like the best possible you, not a vamped-up version of someone else.  To me, nothing is more beautiful than a confident woman with minimal evidence of makeup!

Body-Shaping Moves from Love Your Lower Body

You never know when workout inspiration is going to strike—for us, it can be at the pool, the playground, on a hike, even at our kids’ soccer games. Whenever we feel like busting a few energizing moves, we turn to these three favorites from Sadie’s book Love Your Lower Body. You can do them no matter where your day takes you—no props required.

Get up right now, (seriously, right now!) turn on your favorite jam, and follow along with us. You’ll be amazed by how these go-anywhere moves can boost your energy levels, clear your mind, and tone your body.

1. Narrow Athletic V Twists

Reps: 15

Setup: Bring your heels together and turn your legs out so your toes are 3-4 inches apart. Press your heels firmly together, then lift them slightly off the floor, coming onto the balls of your feet. Your hips stay level and square. Bend your knees over your second toes and lower your hips 6 inches. Your spine is long with your shoulders stacked over your hips. Bend your elbows back by your sides with your hands on your hips. Hold for 5 deep breaths.

Movement 1: Keep your hips and legs still as you use your abs to twist your upper body to the right. At the same time, extend your left arm forward and across your body.

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Movement 2: Keep your core engaged and hips still as you twist your upper body to the left. At the same time, extend your right arm forward across your body.

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2. Starfish

Reps: 15 each side

Setup: Stand in profile with your right hip next to your barre. (You can also use a chair, a countertop or even a park bench!) Come to Horse Pose by stepping out wider than your hips with your feet turned out to 2 and 10 o’clock. Your shoulders are stacked over your hips and your core is engaged. Bend your knees and slide your back 6 inches down an imaginary wall. Your knees are over your ankles and in line with your second toes. Place your right hand on your barre and keep your left arm low. Hold for 5 deep breaths.

Movement 1: Press into your right foot and lift up and slightly over your barre. Lift and extend your left leg and sweep your left arm overhead.

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Movement 2: Return to your starting position, lowering your lifted leg and arm and bending your knees 6 inches.

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3. Power Leg

Reps: 30

Setup: Stand a forearm’s distance from the barre (or try balancing!). Place your feet hip width apart with your toes, knees, and tops of your thighs pointed straight ahead. Place your palms lightly on the barre, lift your heels high, and root down into the balls of your feet. Bend your knees forward and slide your back down an imaginary wall. Keep your hips stacked over your ankles and your shoulders stacked over your hips, and engage your core muscles. Hold for 5 deep breaths.

Movement 1: Bend your knees, lowering your hips 1 inch as you keep your heels lifted.

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Movement 2: Press into the balls of your feet and lift up 1 inch.

Easy, right? Once you’ve got these simple moves down, you can take them along for the ride and do them just about anywhere. Where’s your favorite spot for an impromptu workout? Let us know by commenting below or by sharing your pics on Instagram with the hashtag #barre3anywhere.

Looking for a breakdown of more barre3 moves you can do anywhere? Check out Sadie’s book here.

Chocolate Mint Shake

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Chocolate lovers, rejoice! This shake is for you. Not only is it delightfully crave-worthy, it’s also loaded with antioxidants, energy-boosting nutrients, and disease-fighting properties. The healthy fats in the coconut milk, chia seeds, and sunflower-seed butter support brain health by keeping your memory sharp and reducing your risk for cancer, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Those same healthy fats are also essential for balancing hormones and regulating metabolism. And the magnesium in the raw cacao powder can improve bone health and support a well-functioning immune system, while the mint leaves ease inflammation and promote good digestion.

We like this nourishing Mint Chocolate Shake even better than the “real” thing because of the way it makes us feel: energized and satiated. Give it a try, and I bet you’ll agree. Enjoy!

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 frozen banana

8-10 small fresh mint leaves

2 Tbs raw cacao powder

2 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped

2 tsp. coconut oil

2 Tbs. sunflower-seed butter

2 Tbs. chia seeds

1/2 cup canned coconut milk (full fat)

1 cup almond milk

Directions:

Place all the ingredients into a high-speed blender and whirl away until smooth.

Tip: If you don’t have a powerful blender, soak the dates in water for 30 minutes prior to making the shake.

Love this recipe and looking for others like it? Get unlimited access to hundreds of whole-foods based recipes created by our favorite chefs when you join barre3 Online.

Studio Owner Spotlight: Jessica Leonard + Nicki Insley

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Barre3 Laguna Niguel owners Jessica Leonard and Nicki Insley have big hearts, they’re passionate about helping people, and I’m so lucky to have them as part of my team. Read on to learn more about these two in their own words.

Jessica: I’ve always been into fitness, but nothing has ever stuck before barre3. I’ve done everything from running to yoga to spinning to body pump to kick-boxing…you name it. I had fun trying different types of workouts, but I’d get discouraged when I wasn’t seeing results. Then I’d move on to something else. Enter barre3. Barre3 totally transformed my body like no workout ever has. When I first started doing barre3 online workouts at home, I was struggling to regain my pre-baby body. I immediately saw results, and after a few months I had not only lost all my baby weight, but my pre-baby jeans became too BIG for me. I am the strongest and leanest I have ever been thanks to barre3.

Nicki: I used to be a gym rat. I did kickboxing 5 days a week, plus weight training and some yoga. No matter what I did, I never saw a big difference in my body. That all changed when I decided to fully commit to barre3. I quit the gym, and Jessica and I started doing online workouts and taking each other’s classes all the time. The results were unbelievable. My body changed faster than I’ve ever seen it change. I’ve never been this long and lean. I feel stronger and healthier than ever before.

Jessica: Before barre3 I thought that I could eat whatever I wanted, as long as I worked out. I don’t think that anymore! Now that I eat whole foods, I have more energy and I manage my stress a lot better. I follow the Portion Rx and include fat, fiber, and protein with every meal and snack. As a result, my preferences have changed. I don’t crave brownies anymore —I crave barre3 bars!

Nicki: One of my favorite recipes is the Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Tamari-Ginger Sauce. They’re delish and easy to make. I have to double the recipe because my kids love them so much!

Jessica: Looking back, I don’t even recognize the person I was when I first started the process of opening a studio. I’ve grown so much. Sadie says to give generously to yourself so that you can give to others. I didn’t understand that concept for a long time, then one day, a light bulb went off. I realized that I have a lot to give, and I needed to take better care of myself. I’m nicer to myself now. I feel like I’m becoming the person I’m supposed to be, and barre3 has helped me get there.

Nicki: Jessica and I are such stronger people in general from opening barre3. Not just in our bodies. Our relationships with each other, our friends and our family members are stronger. We’re way happier. I don’t second guess myself anymore. I feel blessed to have my dream job, and I’m enjoying every minute.

Jessica: Don’t be surprised if you swing by the studio after hours and you see Nicki and I dancing. When we need to blow off steam or just want a quick break from working, we go into the studio, turn the music up full blast, and dance hard for 45 seconds. Try it! I promise you’ll feel amazing afterwards. It’s important to not take things too seriously, you know?

Jessica: Our clients are so supportive and excited about barre3. It’s mind-blowing to see how quickly they grow and change. Sometimes we see people come into the studio frazzled or hunched over because they had a bad day. After class, they leave standing tall and proud. They seem more confident and happier. Nicki and I are honored that we can have the opportunity to make their day a little bit better.

Nicki: Our job is to keep it fun. For one hour, people can forget about their problems and focus on themselves. We love barre3 so much—to be able to share it with others is a gift.