If you’re waiting for that extra nudge to sign up for the barre3 Anywhere Challenge, this story is for you. Katherine Dopulos didn’t have a stellar track record when it came to exercise regimens, so when she signed up for our January Challenge, the most she hoped for was to finish. She shocked herself by not just finishing, but absolutely loving it—and transforming both her body and her mindset in the meantime. Read on for Katherine’s inspiring journey in her own words.
When I signed up for the barre3 Challenge in December of 2014, I was armed with a million reasons why it wouldn’t work. I’m not coordinated. I have never taken a ballet class in my life. I have never managed to stick with a fitness regimen for more than a few weeks. I have registered for 10-mile runs and half marathons, but I have never made it to race day.
The negative talk came easily, and I figured it would win out as it always does. So while I was vaguely hopeful about the challenge, I can’t say I was optimistic.
I was wrong. Not only did I stick with the challenge all the way through to the end, but I actually enjoyed it. Was I perfect? No way. But I never once felt the need, desire, or even the possibility to give up. Unlike every running training program and restrictive diet I’d tried in the past, I just kept clicking play on a new workout.
I learned so many things during the Challenge. Here are some of the most important lessons barre3 taught me:
No matter where you are, the barre3 community is behind you. Even though I don’t live near a studio, I felt embraced by the community from the start. Whether it was connecting with others through the #barre3challenge hashtag or hearing Sadie answer my question during the live Q+A, I felt inspired and propelled through our virtual community. I also felt like my progress was important to Sadie. She replied to my tweets, posted adorable stars on my Instagrams, and her workouts, recipes, and podcasts energized me.
You don’t have to be a size 2 to be graceful. Growing up, I was surrounded by friends who were thin ballet dancers. At 5’9” and over 150 pounds since age 15, I never felt dainty. Doing ballet videos with Candace changed that. Because I was alone, I wasn’t embarrassed about pointing my toes, standing up straight, and moving my arms fluidly. I felt like I’d found a new part of myself—a part of myself that I was always dying to know but too embarrassed to reach for.
Taking a modification is not a cop out. In the past, coaches and instructors have made me feel like slowing down was a sign of weakness. Barre3 has taught me quite the opposite: It’s almost always better to modify a move if I’m struggling. Pushing through actually means sacrificing form and losing out on the balanced, intentional workout you get from barre3. Sadie’s motto of “work smarter not harder” is now my motto too.
You can do barre3 anywhere. I used to think that I had to go to the gym to get an efficient workout. Thanks to the Challenge, I now know that isn’t true. I will often close my office door at 3 p.m. and bust out a 10-minute online workout. I do sumo squats while waiting for the microwave and power leg while making dinner. I’m so excited for the barre3 Anywhere Challenge to kick off next week so I can take my practice outside and try some of Sadie’s new park bench workouts.
Quite simply, barre3 works. The benefits I have seen in just one month are incredible. Just the other day I was gesturing with my left hand and my boyfriend’s eyes shot open as he touched my upper arm. “I’ve never seen your triceps flex like that!” he said. My upper body is stronger, my abs feel engaged all the time, my legs are trimmer, and my seat feels firmer. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I can put on a sock while standing on the other foot without falling over. I find myself sitting up straighter at my desk.
But as eye-opening as these lessons were, none of them came close to the most important lesson of all: Barre3 taught me to silence my negative talk. All of those “I never” statements have been replaced by “I cans.” I’m learning to love my body how it is, not constantly hoping it will be something it’s not. I’m proud to see that lump of a muscle, even if Kate Upton doesn’t have one there. Instead of waiting for the thigh gap, I am embracing the perfectly round shape that my bum makes in my yoga pants. Feeling stronger and healthier is actually leading me away from the desire to be bony and pointing me towards the beauty of a strong body.
When I paid my $15 at the beginning of the January Challenge, I thought in the back of my mind that it would be a waste of money. Since then, I have renewed my subscription, bought a barre3 ball, emailed my referral link to all my friends, and my yoga mat doesn’t move from under the TV because it’s in such frequent use. Barre3 is the first exercise program that has impacted my lifestyle, and unlike the doubting Katherine of January 5th, I know that it will continue to change my body and my life for months and years to come.
Ready to kickstart your own transformation? Join the challenge today.