All about barre-style workouts, what inspires me and tips on healthy eating for life

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Being Thankful

In 2010, just 8 months after I opened the Danvers studio, I wrote this blog post in the barre n9ne® November Newsletter.  Since I enjoyed writing it so much and many new clients have joined barre n9ne® since 2010, it has become a tradition for me to re-share this write-up each November.  Enjoy.

Many of you know that from 2005-2008 I was a New England Patriots Cheerleader. The number one question I am asked when people find this out is “Was that so much fun???”  Now obviously the calendar shoots, games, promotions, endless practices and the bittersweet trip to the Super Bowl in Arizona top my list as amazing times during these 3 years….but nothing compares to the experience I am about to share with you…

In 2006, my second year on the team, I was selected along with 5 other women to represent our team and travel overseas to entertain the troops and boost morale for our annual Operations Seasons Greeting Tour (OSG as we like to call it!). Now let me share an inside detail with you….when you are a Patriots Cheerleader you hope, pray and cross your fingers that YOU are selected for this tour so you can IMAGINE the joy and excitement that rushed through my body when I received the call from my coach one day that I was one of the 6 invited to go on the OSG Tour. Think of the most amazing thing that could ever happen to you and multiply it by 1,000,000!

The OSG tour is about 2 weeks long. We travel with the Air Force and leave before Thanksgiving and return after the beginning of December. Because a two week tour could not possibly be summarized in this blog I will share you with you two eye opening experiences from this trip.

During the tour we traveled to Incirlik Turkey, Ramstein Germany, two bases in Iraq, one base in Afghanistan and one base in Quatar.  In a nutshell, one November day we departed Boston and landed in Georgia at the Air Force Base. Two hours later departed Georgia on a military plane for Turkey which would become our “home base” for the next 2 weeks.

Upon arriving in Incirlik we were greeted by our Chief who would be responsible for keeping us safe for the next two weeks…..what a huge responsibility!  We were given our agenda for the next two weeks in a very long briefing then shown to our rooms. From there the craziness began….tons of meet and greets, practices, performances, autograph signings, interviews, flights from here to there, more briefings, rules, secret locations disclosed to us minutes before landing….you name it, we did it. It was amazing.

On Thanksgiving we arrived in Iraq and were brought to the soccer field where Saddam executed the soccer team…this is where we were performing on Thanksgiving night….intense. When we got out of the plane we were quickly brought behind the stage into a “dressing room” where we got as dolled up as we could with the wind blowing tons and tons of sand around….I could literally scratch my head and pull out sand….and we were supposed to look “glamourous” Yeah Right.  When it was our turn to take the stage we took off our warm up suits and headed up the stairs IT WAS FREEZING! I kept thinking, ” I can’t believe my family is sitting around the dining room table right now having Thanksgiving dinner and I am in Iraq.”

At this point my heart dropped…….as I looked out into crowd, there weren’t just a few people waiting for us to perform…there were hundeds, maybe thousands of troops lined up for miles and miles into the darkness waiting for the performance we were about to give. I couldn’t believe it.

After we danced we were brought to a side table where we would take photos and autograph our team posters. All the troops we had just danced for lined up to meet us. We were there until about 2 or 3am signing. The line went on forever. We told our coach we didn’t want to leave until we met every last person. It was incredible. We met men, women, older, younger, married, single, kids, no kids, etc from all over the world.  Get this….each one thanking US for coming. I couldn’t believe it. These men and women, who are fighting for our freedom everyday, risking their lives, are thanking US for giving up our Thanksgiving with our families to visit them? It didn’t seem right. All you could hear down the table from our girls was “No, thank YOU for all that you do.” It was breathtaking.

During the signing I met an attractive young man who had a smile that could light up the room. He exchanged jokes with us, made us laugh, asked us where we were from, told us a little about himself, took a photo with us, received his signed poster and moved along. We smiled at each other. I figured I would never see him again.

A few days later while we were visiting a military hospital we were brought into the rooms where the most critically wounded troops were. Guess who I am faced with…the same charming, once smiling young man I had met only a few days prior, however, now his whole life has been changed.

The short story is that he stepped on a landmine and lost both legs along with numerous other injuries. The tears started flowing as my teammate and I realized who he was. We squeezed his hand and each gave him a long hug. Although this selfless man could hardly speak, he thanked US for coming to visit him and told us how much he enjoyed the show. I could not believe it.

Whew! Now if you are tearing up, I apologize. I know our blogs are typically motivating and uplifting and not tear jerkers!

At this time, as we approach the holiday season I feel it is so important to give back, appreciate our freedom, appreciate our loved ones and be grateful for all that we have. As you spend your Thanksgiving with your family sitting around the long table surrounded by endless appetizers, foods, drinks and desserts, I encourage you to take a moment to think of those who are not spending Thanksgiving with their families because they are overseas risking their lives and fighting for our freedom.

For those of you whose mother or father, son or daughter, husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, brother or sister, aunt or uncle is overseas at this time, my heart goes out to you. For those of you who have lost someone while they were fighting for our country, please accept my heartfelt condolences. I know I speak on behalf of all the staff members at barre n9ne® when I say we are so thankful for the men and women who are fighting/have fought for our freedom.


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5 Questions with…Jaimie Tartis!

Jaimie Tartis is our latest barre n9ne® 60 day challenge success story! After two challenges, Jaimie is down an amazing 22 pounds and 11 inches lost! She shares her story here, about how she went beyond her own expectations and feels like the best version of herself! Congratulations Jaimie for your hard work and dedication, it has definitely paid off!!

Why did you decide to do the barre n9ne challenge (and when did you start)?

I was inspired to join barre n9ne after seeing results a former co-worker posted on Facebook. I had difficulty getting my pregnancy weight off after my second child in 2010. I had changed to a sedentary job and we ordered a LOT of take out! I gained a lot of weight and was at my heaviest I have ever been, 138. I took my first barre n9ne class 2/27/2013 to make sure I liked it before signing up for a challenge. It was such a warm, welcoming environment, nothing I have ever experienced before. I became addicted from the first class! I signed up for the April/May challenge. Between barre classes and following a clean eating diet before starting the challenge, I surprised myself by weighing 135 at the kick off meeting for the April/May challenge.

What were you doing previously (if anything) for fitness?

I was inconsistently going to the gym and using the elliptical.

Did you have any reservations going into the challenge? Or any skepticism?Summer2013

This was my first time doing anything like this, so I was unsure about my goals going into the challenge. I actually set what I thought would be a “realistic” weight and also my “long-term” goal weight. I was worried that I would not be able to follow all the aspects of the challenge, mostly the steps and calories, and that I am only able to take 2 classes a week due to my busy schedule. It was reassuring hearing at the meeting that Tanya and the instructors follow this lifestyle and seeing how amazing they look (and feel!)

What have your results been – both physical and mental?

Since walking into the barre n9ne studio doors 2/27, I am happy to say I have lost 22 lbs in total. I have barre n9ne to thank for everything I have lost. I lost 19lbs and 11 inches total between the April/May and June/July challenges, more than I could have ever hoped for! I am officially at what I thought my “long term” weight was, never thought I would be here this quickly! I feel AMAZING! This has been an incredible journey for myself. For the first time in my life, I am at peace with food and my body. I feel comfortable in my own skin. For years, I have battled with my weight and feeling guilty for eating certain foods. I am amazed at how strong I have become and I have so much more energy!

What was your biggest a-ha moment during the challenge?

My biggest a-ha moment during the challenge was when I had my first weigh in with Tanya. I successfully followed every aspect of the challenge, including not weighing myself in between. I was surprised and motivated by my results; I said to myself that I can do this!

How have your eating habits changed or evolved since embarking on the challenge?

I love food and I LOVE to eat! I notice that my body has grown used to my calorie “number”. I found that I enjoy cooking clean eating recipes and proud to share them. It was very helpful to attend Tanya’s Nutrition Seminar. I faithfully log my calories and plan ahead, especially for a treat or if I know I am going to go out to eat. I love ice cream and now I measure out the portion to the gram on a scale. Most importantly I never feel guilty about it!


What motivates you to continue the challenge and what advice do you have for anyone embarking on the 60 day challenge?

I am motivated to continue the challenge knowing that I now have the tools to maintain this weight. I truly feel that this is my lifestyle. Going to Barre N9ne is a great way to relieve stress for me. I love that every class is challenging and I can feel myself growing stronger. For anyone embarking on the 60 day challenge, I strongly recommend following all aspects and believing in yourself! I take it one day at a time and break down the aspects like a check list to make sure I meet them daily. I found ways to get my steps in despite my sedentary job. I take the long way to the bathroom or to refill my water. I eat lunch at my desk and go for a walk on my lunch break. I put laundry or dishes away one at a time; you will find ways! I was surprised how successful I was with taking 2 classes a week. I find the 60 day challenge page on Facebook a very useful tool. It’s not always important about what you have lost, but about how you feel!

Bonus question! What is your favorite and least favorite barre n9ne® signature ‘move’ and why?

I would have to say my favorite and least favorite “move” is chair! I would groan inside when the instructor announced it as the next pose. After a few months, I felt incredibly accomplished the first time I was able to fully complete a series (shaking away)!

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5 questions with Rochelle Cooper

Today we are celebrating the barre-versary of Rochelle Cooper, one of our amazing clients at the studio who, one year ago, started the 60-day challenge. Since then, after embracing every single aspect of the challenge (and then some!), she has emerged as a beautiful, strong and fit, totally transformed woman. We’re sharing her story with you all here, in her (very beautiful) words. Congratulations, Rochelle, we love you! 


Why did you decide to do the barre n9ne challenge (and when did you start)?
Barre n9ne challenge was my total savior. About a year after having my second child, I was at an all-time low (or high…depending on how you look at it) in terms of my body image and overall happiness.  I had gained about 50 pounds with each of my pregnancies.  The person that I saw when I looked in the mirror was just not “me”  and, frankly, just made me sad. At that point, I was so miserable that I would avoid being in pictures with my kids (I did not want my kids or anyone else to remember me that way) and would detest social events because I dreaded getting dressed for them. I was still wearing maternity garb (the horror!) and hiding in stretchy clothes (if it had a button or a zipper, I was definitely not having it).  It is sad, but I had totally given up on myself and actually had the thought one day, “Maybe this is just the way I am supposed to look in my role as ‘Rochelle the mom.'”

Ummmm….HELL NO!?! I started my first barre n9ne challenge on August 1st of last year.  I ran into Erica Brown (of b9 instructor fame), a friend that I have known since middle school, at the Endicott Park playground one day. She looked so amazingly fit and happy.  I asked her, “What are you doing?” and she gave me the low-down on b9.  She had done the challenge after having twins and was totally my inspiration. She then mentioned that she was starting a new challenge called the “Skinny Jeans Challenge”.  The deal was officially sealed. If, after 60 days, I would be wearing skinny jeans or any jeans at all for that matter, I was “IN”.  That day I went home and emailed Tanya about signing up for a challenge. I had NO idea what barre was — all I knew was that I needed to do something.  I remember emailing back and forth with Tanya and saying, “Just tell me what to do and I will work my ass off (literally).” It was game on. 

What were you doing previously (if anything) for fitness?
Nothing! Now matter how much I tried to justify it, chasing my kids around all day could NOT be considered “fitness”!!

Finding time for yourself as a mom can be tricky.  You kind of get sucked into this world where YOUR needs are last on the list. The limited amount of free time you have gets filled up with things like laundry, showering, maybe grocery shopping.  I would say things like, “How am I supposed to find time to exercise? I barely have two seconds to myself!” It just did not seem possible. Leaving to do any kind of exercise felt selfish and I had a lot of guilt about it.  Like, why am I doing this when there are about 7 loads of laundry to be done!? 

Did you have any reservations going into the challenge? Or any skepticism?
No, I was totally ready! I knew after seeing Erica and chatting with Tanya that I was going to make this happen for myself no matter what.  It was like I was given a game plan to follow — steps, classes, water, my number.  I just had to follow the game plan and work my butt off and I would be golden.

Also, I had no idea about barre so I was kind of happy-go-lucky about it all! I remember bee-bopping into my first class with Tanya with sneakers on and seeing everyone on their mats with bare feet.  I was like, “You mean, you don’t need sneakers for this? It should be a cinch!” and then, afterwards, I practically crawled out of the class on my hands and knees saying, “Whhhat just happened?”

 What have your results been – both physical and mental?
My physical results have been incredible.  I have lost jussst about 40 pounds and a boatload of inches. I have gone down 3 dress sizes.  My flexibility is improving and my balance has come a long way! I look at my arms and legs and don’t even recognize them. My butt, though a mere shell of its former self, is still holding on for dear life…but I am good with that. This is definitely my best physical self of all time.  Which, after having two kids, feels pretty darn amazing.  (Did you just applaud?)  I go into my closet now and it is a place of bliss because clothes that I wore when I was 25 are too big for me now. (Finally! An excuse to get rid of those high-waisted Monica Gellar jeans!)  And, the jeans I was trying to squeeze into after 60 days of the challenge have been given to goodwill and traded in for a much skinnier and sexier pair.


Because of the awesome Barre to 5k page I have started running, too.  I have done a few 5k races and I am training to run the Tufts 10K in October.  A major goal for me because I ran it right BEFORE having my kids. 

Also, I especially love situations where I can prove how  freakishly strong I have become from doing barre. For instance, when I am in Market Basket carrying 4 gallons of milk AND my two year old and the clerk asks me if I need help I can say, “No. I’ve totally got this.”  Or when I am in a parking lot carrying  5 beach chairs I can say, “Yeah, I’ll grab the cooler, too.” ;) 

All kidding aside, there is definitely a feeling of empowerment that comes along with being fit and strong. The positive mental results have been insurmountable. As a result of this journey, I have become a better wife, mom, and overall woman.   I smile and laugh WAY more.  Taking time for myself now feels essential and not at all selfish.  Everyone in my family benefits from me being in a good place. Now, I crave barre and running.  If I DON’T exercise I get so grouchy!

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What was your biggest a-ha moment during the challenge?
My first a-ha moment was definitely the time I weighed out 2 oz. of pasta and 5 oz. of wine. I had never counted calories in my life, so it was totally eye-opening.  I was like, “Annnnd herein lies the problem.” I was pretty much eating my day’s worth of calories in one sitting. 

In addition, I have recognized the importance of managing eating AND staying active. It is a perfect symbiosis.  I have never managed to mesh the two before.  If I was exercising a lot, I would always eat more and say, “Well, I ran on the treadmill so I can totally eat this bag of cheese curls.” OR I would do the complete opposite of starving myself and NOT exercising. 

How have your eating habits changed or evolved since embarking on the challenge?
My eating habits have done a complete 180 degree flip since embarking on the challenge.  I had gotten to a pretty bad place with eating. I am home with my kids so it got to the point where I told myself there “wasn’t time”  to eat during the day.  I would be running around crazy, “forget to eat breakfast” and raccoon things like sandwich crusts and fishies off of their plates for lunch.  Then, I would be so starving at dinner that I would have a HUGE meal that usually involved a second helping.  I would drink coffee all day and essentially no water and wonder why I was exhausted! 

 Now, I make sure to eat throughout the day.  My quick breakfast is usually a yogurt with granola and fruit.  But I will often times feed my kids then make myself an egg white omelet or egg sandwich on toast.  I also always sit down to eat lunch with my kids now.  When I make their lunch, I make one for myself and sit down to eat with them.  It’s good connection time for us and it gives me a chance to refuel.  In the afternoon I make sure to have a snack, too.  Oh, and two dark chocolate Hershey kisses. :) And, at dinner, I usually make a side salad instead of having a second helping.  Logging my food and planning for the day definitely keeps me on track.  I love the My Fitness Pal app on my phone because I can log my food while doing steps or waiting in line, etc.  Also, I cannot live without my food scale and measuring cups! I have a little “measuring center” on my kitchen counter so that they are easily accessible — no excuses! And, if I do not drink my huge jug of water I feel like I am going to shrivel up like a raisin.

I am definitely a person who has always loved to eat, My husband and I come from Italian backgrounds where eating is a central part of family and life. I think the challenge worked so well for me because I did not feel deprived. No one was telling me, “You can’t drink wine” or “You can only eat grapefruit.” I think If someone said, “No more pasta, no more pizza, no more wine, no more chocolate, etc.” I would cry :) So, the fact that I have a certain amount of calories each day to play with is very freeing.  I have learned to make healthy choices that will keep me full longer and give me energy rather than grabbing the first thing that appeals to me in the cabinet.  I also have learned to enjoy me some good stuff.  A wise woman once coined the phrase, “Commit to the cookie.” In other words, if I want to enjoy that chocolate chip cookie, I am going to do it and enjoy every bite of it dammit.  I just have to factor it into my number and maybe not follow it up with a brownie sundae ;) 

What motivates you to continue the challenge and what advice do you have for anyone embarking on the 60 day challenge?
My kids are the hugest source of motivation.  Throughout this journey, they have really taken notice of my lifestyle change. To me, the most profound result of this is the fact that my kids are learning how to be healthy from me.  It is amazing to me that my 2 year old knows the word “exercise” and runs around the house like a maniac saying that he is “exercising” like me (Do I really look like that when I run, Buddy?).  He also knows the words “Fitbit” and “pedometer” ;) Today my 4 year old asked me to go running with him simply because we are “running pals” and he wants to run all the way to his school with me.   He didn’t even care that it was raining out. Both my kids love going to Monkey Barre and seeing where “Mommy exercises” and that makes me proud.  Also, to have my kids see that a woman can be strong is important to me (I have two boys).  I love that I can say, “Mommy can lift it,” instead of saying, “Let me call Daddy to lift that.”  My husband has also been a big motivator throughout my journey.  He truly believes in the “happy wife, happy life” school of thought and I could not have done it without his love, support and an infinite amount of high fives.

Also, I just feel great overall.  I have loved seeing the results I have worked hard for and reaping their benefits.  I feel strong, powerful and fit.  Like I could conquer the world or something…

The other b9 ladies are also a huge motivating factor.  I could not have done all this without them.  I have made some great friends through this whole experience–b9 ladies are strong, amazing people. Tanya, all of the instructors, and my fellow b n9ners are truly a family that has kept me laughing, working hard, and feeling supported.  If ever there is a day where I am feeling down or lazy, all I need to do is check in to the Facebook page to see who’s just run 5 miles or who’s legs and butt are broken because of an intense glute series.  It keeps me honest and gets me up off my butt.  In this past year, I have had the chance to witness many an amazing transformation–you other ladies have been so inspiring!

Advice for future challengers–DO IT!! Embrace every aspect and it works.  Don’t look at it like a diet, approach it like you are changing your life.  You will be transformed.  Do your steps, drink your water, stay within your number, go to class and join the FB page.  Take the tools and run with them.  You’ve totally got this. 

Bonus question! What is your favorite and least favorite barre n9ne® signature ‘move’ and why?

Favorite would definitely be a killer plank series. In the beginning, I could not even hold myself up in a plank, so know I love seeing how far I can push myself.  I also love thigh dancing because, let’s face it, who the heck doesn’t love a good thigh dance?

Least favorite would be glutes at the bar AND glutes on the mat simply because I always feel like my form is horrendous and I am leaning to one side.  I also have a LOVE/HATE relationship with “chair” because it kills me every time but it hurts so good. 

Regardless of it all, ANY time at the barre is a GOOD time!  If you see me, come say “hi” — I will be the chick shaking and making crazy faces! :)

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Staying ‘focused on fit’ for summer:

You know the drill…the unofficial start to summer – Memorial Day weekend. Food abounds, cookouts aplenty and oh, the drinks, let’s not forget those. Wine, beer, sangria, the works! Summer is one of those times that really tests willpower and this lifestyle, in a sense, because there are so many more ‘triggers’ to fall off track, more social activity, more vacations and time off away from routine and suddenly, that fit lifestyle slides out the window.

But rather than allow yourself to slide, why not use this unofficial start to summer to amp it up? Re-focus, or focus even more keenly on this fit lifestyle you’ve created for yourself, steps, steps, steps, (and/or runs!), logging your eats and getting those sweatastic classes in.

I remember kicking off my 60 day challenge just about two years ago and thinking Memorial Day weekend would be my first big ‘test’ to whether I could be in a setting filled with temptations, and drinks, and walk away from it successful.

And was I successful? You better believe I was – I had my eye on the prize, inches and pounds lost, and that was not going to change for a cookout, or many cookouts throughout the course of the summer. I found my happy medium of eating foods that would fuel me (lean proteins, veggies, and fruit) and planning for, and allowing myself, the glasses of wine that I wanted far MORE than the potato salad, pasta salad, and chips and dip. I knew those things would taste good in the moment but later? I’d be feeling empty and hungry, even, and not as satisfied, had I stuck with my food plan.

So, as you head into the holiday weekend, and summer, generally, why not use this as a chance to challenge yourself to stick with it - because this is a lifestyle, not a short term ‘diet’ – and even step it up – pun intended – add more steps to your day, tweak your workout schedule, and get creative with the fabulous summer fruits and veggies coming into bloom?

Whether you are officially doing our 60 day challenge, or not, here are some ways to renew your focus on being FIT for summer, because let’s face it, it’s hard to stay motivated, slide 49ff730f6516b366c9d807c295de629ea6f0f1c67b637eac13b28803fea3d6c3into comfort zones or old habits and it feels easier to just stick with the status quo…but instead, why not challenge it head on?

Here are our tips to stay FOCUSED ON FIT for spring!

  • Commit to your number, no if’s and’s or but’s. Even if you aren’t doing the challenge officially, but have in the past, why not follow along ‘virtually?’ Renew your focus on your number, plan ahead, and stick to that number! Don’t ‘count as you go’ and find yourself over your calories, or the reverse, have TOO MANY calories at the end of the day – plan plan plan. That’s truly the key to success – plan ahead, eat when you’re hungry, not out of habit, and keep your body fueled!
  •  Focus on your trouble spots with a little ‘at home’ b9 action. Commit to an extra round of situps, tricep dips on the edge of the couch or on a mat, stretching to loosen and lengthen tight muscles, back dancing to tone that tush…you can do all of these things while you watch TV! Who wants to watch commercials, anyway? ;-)
  • Drink more water, stay hydrated! It is amazing what a little extra water can do to keep you more awake, less hungry, staving off the ‘hungry horrors’ and, as we all love to hate them…PMS cravings!
  • Choose. Yes, choose. What do you want more? Wine? Cake? Appetizer? When it comes to cookouts or parties or just a date night out, do your best to choose between everything and pick ONE, and enjoy it to the fullest. I guarantee you’ll feel better and enjoy it more than if you chose all three – the wine, the cake and the appetizer.
  • Amp up your cardio. If you’re a runner, tack on an extra 10 mins to one run a week, if you’re a walker, bump up your steps to 15K, if you’re a swimmer, swim a few extra laps. The key is – stay moving and bump it up! 
  • Switch up the classes you are taking, or take an extra one every other week. Surprise your body with something new! Long & Lean Legs if you usually take Cardio, Cardio if you usually take Fusion! Keep your body guessing and it will keep changing and transforming!

A lifestyle change takes time, but once you really commit to it, and treat it as just that – a lifestyle – it won’t feel like ‘work’ but natural. We encourage you to look at this way, because that is truly what it is, a lifestyle that is achievable, maintainable and natural. And we challenge YOU to stay focused on fit as we head into summer. What do you have to lose but inches, right? See you at the barre!


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We did it! $6,300 raised for the OneFund #b9forboston

Like many of you, Boston has been my home for my entire life. I remember going into the city with my family as a kid to watch the Boston Marathon and cheer on the runners.
Like many of you, I was at the Boston Marathon this year with a close friend, her husband, her 2 year old son and 4 month old baby and my 2 year old son, Jalen.
Like many of you, I will never forget every detail of
Monday April 15, 2013…
For the past few years I hadn’t been able to go to the race as I was working at a financial advising firm during the day and we had to work on Patriots Day. This year, a close friend and I made a last minute decision to go into town with the kids and watch the race.
We arrived in Boston at around 10:30am. We parked in Brookline in Coolidge Corner. From there we walked to the park near Zaftigs, let the kids play for a bit then headed to Upper Crust pizza for lunch. After lunch we walked down to Beacon Street (the 24 mile mark) to cheer on the runners. There was a man and a woman where we were standing. They were so kind to let our little boys through the crowd so they could stand right up front.
I relive that moment every time I think about Monday April 15th.
The fact that our boys were not even a foot away from us, smiling, clapping, and jumping up and down waving at the runners.  The fact that just 2 miles away terrible things were about to happen. The fact that I considered when the boys were getting antsy and my friend was going to go home, that I was going to take a walk closer to the finish line so I could get some steps in.
The list of ‘what ifs’ is endless.
Thankfully I didn’t walk down to the finish line and we headed home to beat the traffic since I was supposed to teach at 5:30pm. While driving home I began receiving tons of text messages asking if we were okay. I was so confused.
After learning what had taken place I was literally in a state of shock. We were *just* there, having a wonderful day. My friend and I had just finished saying how much fun we had and how glad we were that we decided to take the kids to the marathon.
Like you, I have many pictures from that day.
They hold such a different meaning now.
Since then I have been working hard with the girls on my team to put together an event to raise money for The One Fund. It was never an option not to do something to give back to this great city and its people.
Today was such an amazing day. We held a total of 10 classes between each studio with each class participant paying $15 per class. Additionally many clients who could not come to class donated $15, $30, $45, and $60!
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I cannot even thank you all enough for the outpouring support and generosity for our event today. You raised $3,300 with your donations. barre n9ne®matched $3,000 totaling $6,300 which we are sending to The One Fund.
Additionally, many of our clients donated prizes for our raffles.
We are so grateful for your donations.
At 10:45am clients, their children, friends and family members gathered at each studio to walk/run around town. With my son Jalen, my other half- AJ and our amazing clients walking by my side these steps symbolized so much: unity, generosity, love, support, community, kindness, strength and determination.
Thank YOU from the bottom of my heart for honoring those affected by the events of April 15th and for making this event a huge success We couldn’t have done it without you and we are forever grateful to have you as part of our barre n9ne® family.
 Thank you for helping us give back.


the story behind the barre n9ne® 60 day challenge

Before delving into how the 60 day challenge began and why as well as the evolution of it I first need to start by saying that this program would not be what it was if it weren’t for Jessica and Jolene, two of our amazing instructors. From Day 1, these girls have put their heart and soul not only into barre n9ne® studio but into our 60 day challenge program. They have far exceeded my expectations and I am so very thankful to have them on our team.

In April 2011 I launched a studio wide contest to win a free 60 day challenge. Many clients submitted a paragraph explaining why we should choose them. Jolene submitted a write up for herself and Jessica. I hadn’t even thought about selecting two ladies but their story just spoke to me and I thought, “why not have two?”

By winning, the girls had to take 4 classes per week (were allowed to take more if they wanted), drink the recommended amount of water, follow our nutritional advice and complete 10,000 or more steps per day. Also there were a few other rules associated – no squats, lunges, spinning, or artificial sweeteners. {If you want to know why come to one of our nutrition seminars :) }

Jess and Jolene’s free 60 day challenge kicked off May 12, 2011. I highly recommend reading Jessica’s blog post after they had their first meeting with me. We actually did not weigh them. We only focused on inches lost because honestly in my opinion the number on the scale does not matter even close to as much as how you feel, how your clothes fit, and most importantly if you are happy with what is staring back at you when you look in the mirror- because lets be real, the actual goal is for you to be HAPPY with your body.  {Jess recaps how she felt at the 30 day mark here}

{If you are interested in reading how many inches the girls lost at the 30 day mark here are their posts: Jessica’s and Jolene’s}

I think what makes me the most happy when I re-read these blog posts from Jessica and Jolene is not just the results it’s the feeling behind all of it. These girls were not the same girls I met in May. Not even close, and they sure as heck did not look the same. They stood taller, prouder, were more confident and had a sparkle in their eyes that no one could take away. They truly were transformed, in more ways than one, forever.

{If you are interested in reading how many inches the girls lost at the 60 day mark here are the posts: Jessica’s and Jolene’s

After posting their results in emails and blog posts and getting the word out to all the barre n9ne® clients, we officially launched the barre n9ne® 60 day challenge studio wide in August 2011.

For Jessica and Jolene, after their “60 day challenge” officially ended they continued to purchase unlimited months and would come to class as many times as they had been. Since they were my original challenge girls, I continued to measure them every 30 days until they hit the 6 month mark-  really just for business purposes for barre n9ne®. I wanted to ensure my program was still working and was actually a lifestyle- and it was.

Almost two years later Jessica and Jolene still to this day just LIVE. They take class (and of course teach!) They follow the same nutritional advice they were given on May 12, 2011. They get their steps in from running or walking. They drink the recommended amount of water. They enjoy the foods they want when they want to and that is that. There is no dieting, or weight fluctuations of 10lbs in one direction or the other. There are no good days and bad days. They learned the tools to succeed and they carry those with them each and every day.

Since August 2011 we have helped hundreds of women change their mindset about food and dieting, transform their bodies into one that they are comfortable in and proud of, and most importantly they have learned how to live a happy and fulfilling lifestyle, for the rest of their life.

As we approach the kick off of the April 1st challenges that you all have been inquiring about, I felt that it was important to reach out to those ladies who are contemplating doing a challenge, those who have done a challenge in the past, and those who are completing the current challenge and are not sure what exactly to do next.

As you know I do not promote dieting, in any way, shape or form. I am completely and totally against it. I don’t believe it works for the long term and I don’t feel that you are actually livingbecause you are not -you are dieting- two different things.  {Take a moment to read a post drafted by Jolene at the one year post challenge mark.}

In my opinion once you participate in a challenge you should be good to go. You should not necessarily need to do challenge after challenge after challenge. This program was truly designed to get you started. To learn the tools you need to live a healthy, fun, happy lifestyle. I know it is scary. I know that me measuring you helps keep you accountable. I know that you are scared you will gain back the weight and inches. YOU WON’T IF you truly accept this for what it is supposed to be- a lifestyle, not a diet. Doing challenge after challenge after challenge tells me you are scared to do this on your own. I am here to tell you, YOU CAN DO IT! I have faith in you. Jess and Jolene have faith in you. We KNOW you can do this. You just have to believe in yourself :)

In a few days I will be launching the sign ups for the April 1st challenge. Those of you who have inquired about it already and haven’t done a challenge before I am so excited to work with you! Those of you who have been doing challenges back to back, I think it is time to let some new girls participate. {again YOU CAN DO THIS!}

It brings me happy tears and I am so beyond flattered and grateful for the outpouring response to our program. I seriously wish I was superwoman so I could measure every single person that has ever done a challenge each month so you could see your ongoing results- and so that I could see the smile and excitement on your face when you have reached your goal or surpassed it!

The reality is I am not superwoman {shockingly enough ;)} I am only one person. I can only measure so many people in a day and I want to help as many women as humanly possible reach their fitness goals and to come to peace with food.

What I haven’t mentioned yet is that because of all of you who have been doing challenges back to back you have made a lightbulb go off in my head- and without you what I am about to say wouldn’t have happened.

I am in the midst of creating a bunch of new packages-2x per week packages, 3x per week packages, 4x per week packages and more fun things! This is to alleviate the fear inside of you that without a ‘challenge’ you won’t be successful! These will be non-measuring packages so that you can continue to follow the same program as the challenge and you will still be held accountable in the sense that if you don’t use up those classes in a set time you will lose them- same as a challenge :)

Also the MOST exciting news is that in honor of the 2 year anniversary of Jess and Jolene’s challenge we will be giving a FREE 60 Day Challenge to one lucky lady! Details soon on how to be considered!

I hope you are as excited about this as we are!

I seriously cannot thank the barre n9ne® community enough for your support and love for us. We love you back just as much and as so excited to be on this journey together.

See you at the barre,


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Creative ways to stay active and avoid temptation when snowed in!

While most of us are snowed in by Blizzard Nemo, it becomes extremely challenging to not only stay active, but to avoid the temptation to hunker down and eat ‘out of the ordinary,’ so we thought we’d share some fabulous tips and motivation to stay on track when snowed in (and the beauty of these tips is that they transcend beyond just being snowed in, too!). Some of our fabulous 60 day challengers have also been coming up with unique ways to get some steps in, stay active, and avoid temptation!

  1. Walk and read. Now is a great time to get to that book you have been wanting to read but never have time to. There’s no time like the present to cozy up to your book…and walk around your house or apartment! Alternate between cozying up under a blanket on the couch and walking around your living room reading your book. You’d be amazed at how many steps you’ll get in!
  2. Tap into your cable’s on-demand feature. There are a number of walking workouts on demand, and you’ll knock off a few thousand steps while you’re at it. There are also tons of cardio dance style workouts on there as well!
  3. Walk the halls. If you live in an apartment and don’t have stairs or longer hallways? Try the hallways outside of your apartment. Genius, right?
  4. Put laundry away…one piece at a time. No, seriously. You tidy up and get those legs moving all at once! Many of our challengers do this all the time!
  5. Have a step-off with a friend. Many of our challengers are doing this all the time! But even if you aren’t currently doing one of our 60 day challenges, you don’t have to! Challenge a friend, a family member or your significant other to a step off. A little healthy competition always helps you go the extra mile (pun intended!)
  6. Have a treadmill? Walk and watch TV. Or, if you are a runner, run a few miles and you’ll knock off some steps that way too, of course.
  7. Say it out loud and you’ll reach your goal. Accountability is huge. Commit to a total step amount, say it out loud, to a friend, on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll feel motivated to reach that goal even more, and may even surprise yourself with how many steps you end up getting in!
  8. Be a kid! Who said adults can’t play in the snow?! If you have children, bundle up, get outside and chase them around. If you don’t have children it is totally acceptable to run/play around in the snow too :) You are bound to work up a sweat and get your steps in at the same time- not to mention a killer thigh workout!
  9. Random acts of kindness. Clear off some neighbors cars, help someone shovel their driveway or walkway. Start shoveling at the opposite end of the driveway/walkway and walk the snow (on the shovel of course!) all the way to the pile you start, then walk back to where you began. Obviously bundle up :) and be careful of slippery ice!

In addition to avoiding the temptation of laying around all day (we do want you to relax, though, so please DO rest up and rejuvinate, too!), it’s also easy to slide into old habits…junk food, extra snacks, drinks etc. The one tip we have here is to treat this day as any other day – be normal, stay on track, and just plan for that treat you know you’ll want, and you won’t feel deprived- you also won’t feel the ‘regret hangover’ the next day after overindulging!

We hope you stay warm and safe as the storm winds down, and we applaud each and every one of you for staying active, focused and determined to live a happy, healthy and fit lifestyle! See you {soon} at the barre!


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