Donate 3 Cans of Food in Exchange for a Free Class

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Attention, studio clients: our holiday food drive starts next week! Bring three cans of food to the studio between Monday, November 24th and Sunday, November 30th and you’ll receive a pass for a FREE studio workout. It’s our way of saying thanks for giving generously to those that need it most. (Already a studio member? Bring a friend and give them your class.)

Also, we’d love to see you on Thanksgiving Day! All of our studios will be open on Thursday, November 27th with a modified schedule (check your local studio for details). Spaces fill up fast, so find your studio and schedule your class now.

Read more about the barre3 canned food drive on Self.com here.

barre3 Approved Thanksgiving Dishes

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With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time to start the menu planning! This year, we pulled barre3-approved side dishes from our favorite blogs to complement your holiday meal. Check it out!

If you make this Holiday Stuffed Pumpkin dish from Green Kitchen Stories, you’ll have not just a delicious main dish or heavy side but you’ll get a beautiful centerpiece for your table too.

Our favorite organic farmer Andrea Bemis from Dishing Up the Dirt told us that she’s serving this Butternut and Kale Salad with Roasted Chickpea Croutons at her Thanksgiving dinner. Some of our instructors in Portland tested it last week, and they fell in love.

This Roasted Carrot, Fennel, + Lemon Soup from My Darling Lemon Thyme gets its creaminess from the addition of sweet potatoes. A little scattering of lemon zest creates a bright, luscious flavor that even the little ones will love.

Calling all brussels sprout lovers! This Warm Brussels Sprout Salad from The First Mess looks divine and is loaded with healthy nutrients. Shredding and sauteing the veggies creates a tangle of deep green shreds bursting with robust flavor.

We recommend using coconut oil to make this decadent Herb Crusted Acorn Squash from Paleomg. It’s so easy to prepare—you don’t even have to peel the squash, because the skin is edible.

We can’t get enough of blogger McKel Hill from Nutrition Stripped. She’s a registered dietician and nutritionist who’s passionate about whole foods, and her recipes are simple, healthy, and super tasty. Be sure to check out her Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce. It’s perfection, and it doesn’t have any refined sugars.

And because we can’t just choose one recipe from Dishing Up the Dirt, here’s another one. This Green Bean Salad with Herb-Tahini Dressing and Toasted Almonds is to die for. Just ask barre3 Portland instructor Regan Nelson. It’s her all time favorite.

Bring this to your Thanksgiving dinner, and your friends and family members won’t even miss traditional mashed potatoes. This Cauliflower Puree with Garlicky Swiss Chard blows our minds, and we think it will blow yours too.

The barre3 Pumpkin Pie Mousse is one of our most popular recipes, especially this time of year! Whip it up (it’s so easy to prepare) and you won’t even miss traditional Pumpkin Pie.

No holiday dinner is complete without a little bit of chocolate. Have you heard of Oh She Glows? Our team adores Angela Liddon and her recipes. Definitely try this Easy Carob Almond Freezer Fudge. It’s a cinch to make.

Searching for more seasonal recipes? Subscribe to barre3 Online and get access to tons of delicious recipes curated by Sadie and her team of chefs.

What are you planning to make on Thanksgiving Day? Share in the comments below!

Ready, Set, Soak: The Benefits of Epsom Salt Baths

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When my muscles are sore or my body feels stressed, I grab a box of Epsom salt and head straight to the tub for a good soak. It might sound folksy or old fashioned, but there’s a reason Epsom salt has been used therapeutically for hundreds of years—it works.

Here’s why: Epsom salt is loaded with magnesium sulfate, which works as a subtle muscle relaxant. Health experts call magnesium the ultimate anti-stress mineral, because it’s also been proven to help you sleep, relax your muscles, improve your digestion, and balance your blood pressure. I love it because it’s a safe, natural alternative to all those spendy, over-the-counter remedies and leaves my body feeling healthy and rejuvenated.

To take an Epsom soak, run a bath with water as warm as you can stand it and mix two cups of Epsom salts into the water. Then settle in and relax for at least 15 minutes. I like to add a few drops of lavender essential oil with the epsom salts (it’s an effective aromatherapy cure for stress). I also like to keep a cold glass of water by the tub to keep me hydrated and prevent overheating. The deep soak gets the blood flowing to my sore muscles, while the Epsom salt helps flush toxins and restore essential magnesium to my system.

You can find Epsom salt in any grocery store, health food store or pharmacy. I promise you’ll love this pure and simple pleasure as much as I do!

Photo credit: Free People

Give It Up for Your Glutes!

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Your gluteal muscles are comprised of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. This muscle group is a real workhorse, helping you stay upright and powering you through the day. That’s why it’s so important to keep your seat strong and lifted. Here are six great reasons to celebrate a powerful posterior:

1) Your glutes are a part of the musculature that stabilizes the pelvis. We tend to be very overdeveloped in the front body and underdeveloped in the back body. Strengthening your glutes in signature barre3 postures like Carousel Horse, Sumo Pose, and Bridge Pose will help balance this musculature, resulting in a functional and strong pelvic floor. This is important because your pelvic floor is a key part of your core, and your core is the foundation for a healthy body.

2) Glutes are the power muscles that help you spring, jump and lift heavy things. When your glutes are strong, every activity you do—from running to picking up your kiddos—is positively impacted.

3) Strong glutes support the lower back. When the glutes aren’t strong enough to do their job, muscles in the low back and hips start to take over. Over time these “helper” muscles may become overstressed and spasm, pulling your spine and pelvis out of alignment and resulting in back pain.

4) Strong glutes help you stand tall and confident. A body that is standing tall with an open chest is a symbol of confidence, happiness and strength. Studies show that posture not only affects how others perceive us, but greatly affects your hormones and moods too.

5) Strong glutes help prevent lower body injury and pain. Because the glutes are also hip stabilizers, weak gluteal muscles can result in poor alignment of the entire lower body, leaving you prone to injuries like tendonitis, bursitis, and sprains.

6) Your glutes can help you get rid of that lower abdominal pooch. When your glutes and hip flexors are balanced in strength and flexibility, your pelvis is optimally supported. However, when the glutes are weak, your hip flexors start to tighten. The result is a tilted pelvis that prevents the abs from doing their job correctly. In other words, strong glutes=flat abs!

Are you inspired to strengthen your glutes? Here’s one of our favorite 10-minute online workouts that focuses on the back body. Join barre3 Online and do it now!

Beyond the Barre: Giving Generously

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Today Tammy Hischke, owner of barre3 Frisco, is sharing her thoughts on what it means to give generously. Read on and enjoy!Blog_HeartBreaker

Giving generously. Over the years, this phrase has meant different things to me. It wasn’t until I opened my studio in Frisco, Texas that I learned that giving generously isn’t just about giving to others. It’s about giving to yourself too.

I’ve always gotten a lot of joy out of making other people happy. In college when my friends were struggling, I’d take them out to lunch. When I was teaching jazzercise and a woman told me that my encouraging smile was what motivated her to believe in herself and keep coming back to class each week, I knew I had found my calling as a teacher. Giving was my reason for being.

While I could give so easily to everyone else, I had a harder time giving to myself. I often felt guilty and selfish for doing something fun like taking a class, getting a pedicure, or reading a good book. While I understood rationally that I needed to rest and recharge, I couldn’t help feeling like I was wasting time and abandoning my other duties as a Mother, wife, friend, and studio owner.

I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. When life gets crazy, we fail to prioritize the things that revitalize and rejuvenate us. Exercise, eating well, and quality time with friends and family are typically the first things that fall to the wayside. We continue to give and give and give, and we don’t do the things that fuel us. As a result, we feel depleted, run down, and unhappy.

I think one of the best examples of giving generously to yourself is the barre3 tradition of celebrating 100 classes. When a client hits the 100 mark, we honor their achievement with flowers and a special announcement in class. My instructors then gift the client a special item from our retail. It’s a big deal because that’s 100 hours that you gave to yourself. What a generous gift for your mind and body.

One of the many things I love about barre3 is that it’s helped me to understand that giving generously to myself isn’t just ok, it’s a non-negotiable. My clients have played the biggest role in teaching me this valuable lesson. Every day, many of them walk into the studio frazzled and stressed-out. But the hour they spend in the studio transforms their mindset, posture, and mood. They walk out calm, confident, and more energized. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing their transformation, and it’s my daily reminder to make time for the things that inspire me.

A final thought on giving: While giving generously to yourself needs to be part of the equation, there’s a flipside to that coin. I believe it’s equally important to allow people to give generously to you. To ask for help. To delegate. It makes someone else feel good to know that they are giving to you and making your life easier. Such a win-win!

barre3 Book Club: Tiny Beautiful Things

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This month our VP of Sales and Marketing Amy Leclerc is telling us why the book Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed is a must-read right now. Discover why this book belongs on your bedside table in Amy’s thoughtful review!Blog_HeartBreaker

I like to think of myself as a Cheryl Strayed early adopter. Being from the Pacific Northwest, I caught wind of the Wild phenomenon early on. In fact, Cheryl and I share some mutual friends here in Portland and it has been pretty spectacular to see her ascend. (Cheryl, my offer for a free barre3 class still stands!) At the same time she was touring Wild and killing it on the New York Times bestseller list, her other works were sharing the limelight.

Anyone who has read Wild knows, Strayed’s past is colorful and the death of her mother at a relatively young age might be considered the defining event of her life. And it is her vast experience, beyond her epic hiking endeavor that positioned Strayed perfectly as the voice behind Dear Sugar.

Don’t know Sugar? Simply put, Dear Sugar can be considered a modern day Dear Abby and for two years Strayed (anonymously) moonlighted as Sugar, an advice columnist for a literary website called The Rumpus. The column quickly gained traction, due in large part to Strayed’s incredible ability weave tough love, personal experience, and compassion into every passage. The popularity of the column quickly grew from the die-hard literati to people from all walks of life.

Tiny Beautiful Things is an anthology of Dear Sugar correspondence. Strayed culled an array of letters and responses, ranging from the loss of a loved one, divorce, debt and a host of everyday (and not-so-everyday) struggles that plague our society. People from all over wrote to Sugar in hopes of gaining clarity, insight, direction, sympathy and a chance to be heard. Strayed’s responses captivate with hard-earned wisdom and brutal honesty that result in some of the most thoughtful advice you’ll ever come across.  I can only assume her endearing nature (she refers to her advice seekers as “sweet peas”) is a part of her draw.

This book has changed my life. Not because Strayed tackles issues I’ve never heard or even thought of, but because the book serves as a pocket-sized reality check. Over the years since I read it for the first time, I have often referred back to it in times of contemplation and as a means to assuage any looming self-loathing. Talk about keeping it real!

In this crazy holiday season, where it’s easy for life to feel overwhelming and stressful, do yourself a favor and consider this book your survival guide. As well as it provides perspective, it also reminds us that at the end of the day, life really is full of tiny, beautiful things.

Cooking with Parchment Paper

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The French have a term for cooking with parchment paper: en papillote. Sounds fancy, but it really couldn’t be simpler. Just brush the paper with a little olive oil, throw in your favorite herbs and veggies, top with a little sea salt and lemon, and bake. It’s so easy to prepare, the kids can even make their own parchment packets and write their names on them before they go in the oven. (Plus when they get to pick their own ingredients, they’re way more likely to eat them!)

Sadie has teamed up with local Chef Abby Fammartino to show you how to cook with parchment in a short video. Watch and learn, then get creative with different combinations of seasonal vegetables or even fish.

What’s your favorite thing to cook en papillote? Let us know in the comments below!

One of our favorite recipes is this Salmon En Papillote with Lemon and Julienned Vegetables dish. Give it a try!