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


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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!

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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! 

~Tanya

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.

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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: amp.it.up.

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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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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Instructor Spotlight: Jolene!

Today we bring to you Jolene! She started her journey with barre n9ne® as one of the Inaugural 60 Day Challengers along with her sister Jessica. Post 60 day challenge, Jolene and Jessica began actively helping to launch the first studio-wide challenge in August 2011. After I saw how receptive the barre n9ne® community was to Jolene and Jessica, their caring, kind, and compassionate connection they had with our clients, it was a no brainer to have them train to be instructors! Still to this day we have clients who can’t tell them apart, which is always really fun! barre n9ne® would not be what it is now without Jolene (and Jessica)!
Enjoy reading all about Jolene!
~Tanya
1 – What are your favorite songs to work out to? 
In addition to all things barre n9ne®, I love to run, but when I do, I don’t normally listen to music, except sometimes on the treadmill, because let’s face it, how on earth does one get through a ‘dreadmill’ workout without some tunes of some kind? I know I will probably get some laughs for this, but to this day, I still love me some Britney Spears, with a dash of NSync, for good measure. And I always always ALWAYS need to have some Pitbull, Black Eyed Peas, Swedish House Mafia, Bodyrockers and anything Taio Cruz in there!
Favorite songs generally (okay, I am adding this one in, wasn’t part of the question!) come from Ray Lamontagne (yes, I am also admitting I LOVE his rendition of ‘Jolene’ even though I feel weird listening to it, for obvious reason, hehe), Alicia Keys, and Matchbox Twenty, my all-time favorite.
2 – What’s your favorite food/guilty pleasure?
This one is far too easy. Wine. I absolutely adore wine, and like my sister said in her instructor spotlight post, we have been going to Healdsburg, in Sonoma County, for the past four years, and that place just never.gets.old. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful place, with sprawling vineyards left and right, and some of the best wines you will ever taste, and the sense of serenity and slower pace of life in that region is just the most calming feeling ever. As for the wine itself, I love that I can enjoy a glass – just one – as ‘dessert’ and it feels utterly satisfying, or I can plan ahead and have a few glasses and enjoy every last sip knowing that a) it really does have some lasting health benefits and b) I know what’s in it, from calories to ingredients, and it isn’t an unknown as say, a baked good might be, or a cookie from a box (gasp, not homemade!?).
It’s funny…I used to say baked cheetos were my favorite food or guilty pleasure, but after going through the 60 day challenge as the inaugural challengers more than a year and a half ago, but now? I haven’t touched them since the first day I walked into barre n9ne®. There’s nothing satisfying about filler foods that become my trigger. But wine? 100% satisfying. *end long response to a short question*

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3 – Favorite move to teach? Favorite move to do? 
This is a toughie. I truly do love teaching them all, but I think I will have to say any and all barre-based move is my absolute favorite. I love seeing clients’ determined faces, pushing through, holding longer, going lower, pulsing longer…and then pushing them to do one.more.pulse. Seeing the shake activate in their legs and faces full of focus is so rewarding and inspiring and it truly makes ME work harder at the barre the next time I am in class. And it reminds me how much focus really plays into each and every barre n9ne move we do!
As for me, my FAVORITE move to do has to be side leg. Yep, I’ll admit it. I LOVE doing side leg because it never.ever.ever.ever.EVER.gets.easier. EVER. And it hurts so good! 
4 – What’s one thing about you that clients may be surprised to know? 
before after
Some may know this, some may not, but a huge catalyst towards my own fitness journey and stepping foot into barre n9ne in the first place, is my divorce. Though I am just about four years past that time now, it was that time in my life that propelled me to step out of my comfort zone and finally do for me what I never did before. Put myself first. Shape who I want to be. And I have never looked back.
From starting to run, to testing my instructor chops teaching a group kickboxing class (suuuuch a departure from barre n9ne, as my sister notes, our ‘getups’ used to be loose and baggy, bandanas and hand wraps – hard core, much?!) and finally, coming to barre n9ne and feeling like I was finally home. Reshaping my body, continuing to build my confidence and finally, 100% stepping out of my former shell of myself, to the person that I am today.
5 – What do you love the most about teaching at barre n9ne?
I love this community of clients at barre n9ne and how it continues to grow by the day. I love seeing clients motivate each other, become friends, plan walk and run dates, compare grocery stores for the latest in Chobani, oatmeal or PB2 finds, and I love helping ‘behind the scenes’ on all things marketing and PR. barre n9ne runs through my veins, I am pretty convinced, and there is no workout or lifestyle that has ever felt this natural (and believe me, I have tried a LOT of different workouts!), or – FUN.
barre n9ne has made my life so good in so many ways, in being such a part of it, both as a ‘student,’ and an instructor, that teaching classes, tweaking, changing, and switching things up, is my way of feeling like I am ‘paying it forward’ to someone that may need that extra little boost, that motivation, and that ‘switch’ to flip, and if I can be a small part of that? Well, that’s just a beautiful thing.


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On mindfulness.

We have such an awesome group of instructors at barre n9ne®, which I am forever grateful for. Although I love writing blog posts, I know that you don’t just want to hear from me all the time 🙂  I am delighted that Jolene decided to write a post on mindful eating today. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!
– Tanya
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As we approach the eating holiday season, there are naturally treats galore to tempt, tempt, tempt. And rather than feel like you are heading into the holidays either feeling deprived, ‘battling the food log’ or feel the urge to throw caution to the wind, I thought I would share some food for thought (pun semi-intended!) to help you get into a good mindset as you dive into Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and every party or gathering you attend this holiday season.

Use the food log as a tool and a guide. For those that use a food log, and count calories (and even for those that don’t!), this sounds simple, but it is easy to see the log as ‘the enemy’ or something you are a slave to, but ultimately, it is your secret weapon to get you through the holidays without feeling deprived, with the ability to enjoy that glass or two of wine, or that special pie your Gram always makes on Christmas Eve.  “Back load’ your log on days that you have a holiday party. Eat a lighter breakfast and lunch, but choose fueling options, like cottage cheese with strawberries, or Greek yogurt with fresh pineapple, both super high in protein, fiber and calcium, that will keep you fuller longer. Using your best judgement, plan your evening’s food options. Focus on vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats, and use sauces and cheeses more sparingly. Or, if you are like me, you’d rather forgo the bread or the mashed potatoes in favor of a glass or two of wine. You’ll be surprised how little you miss the ‘usual’ staple items, like mashed potatoes when you are fueled up on lean proteins and vegetables that will keep you feeling satisfied.

Listen to your internal cues. Eat slowly, savor the food you are enjoying but more importantly, focus on the conversations, the family and friends you rarely get to see, and the food becomes a natural backdrop, vs. the center of attention. For me, I naturally eat more freely at my own family’s homes, and when it is at an acquaintance’s home, tend to eat less, being more reserved. My trick when at a family’s home for dinner is to pretend that I AM at an acquaintance’s home for a party, and that intuitively makes me eat less, and focus much more on the people around me. And I stop, gauge whether I am truly still hungry or if that bowl of chips is tricking me into feeling hungry (when I know that bowl of chips won’t actually satisfy me at all!).

Enjoy the food you are eating and be at peace with your choices. When you are at peace with what you are eating, and are focused primarily on foods that fuel and sustain you, with a ‘dash’ of those things you MOST want (again, for me, that would be a glass or two of wine!), you will become more mindful, naturally of your eats. And feel less struggle and internal battles against food.  It takes time, it takes a lot of practice, and a boatload of patience, but when you really step back and think about the food choices you are making and if they’ll successfully fill you up and energize you, you’ll naturally veer towards those foods again and again.

Lastly, be ‘normal.’ This one may sound weird, but the advice I always give myself when I am making food choices is to simply eat normally. What would I eat on a normal day that doesn’t include a meal out or a dinner party. Would I eat an appetizer at home on a normal evening, plus a roll, plus dessert and a half bottle of wine? Probably not. So why do that at a dinner party or dining out? Choose the one thing that you would NOT eat normally (say, that delicious piece of bread at Not Your Average Joe’s that clocks in at 200 calories) but really enjoy, and plan for it. But if you wouldn’t go all out at home on a regular basis, why do that when out of your ‘food routine?’

We hope these tips help you as you focus on the holidays ahead, while also balancing the enjoyment and magic of the holidays, and staying focused on your 60 day challenge journey, or your lifestyle change that you’ve embarked on, to live a healthy, happy, fit life.

Cheers,

Jolene


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5 Questions with…Rebecca McCabe!

Our  5 Questions’ series continues! Meet Rebecca McCabe. She is a 60-day challenger in our Andover location and we chose to feature her for a few reasons!

First, she has seen AMAZING results in such a brief amount of time doing the barre n9ne® 60 Day Challenge. She began on June 1, 2012 and has lost 12.4 pounds and 13.75 inches! She has a completely new mindset and outlook on her healthy, fit, and happy lifestyle! She, like some of our new challengers when they first start out, was wary of actually eating *more* calories than she previously had been. She worried about gaining weight.  It sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s truly the opposite! Fuel your body with real, wholesome foods, stay active (10,000+ steps a day!) and work up a sweat in any of our fabulous barre n9ne® studio classes, and the inches and pounds will literally come off.

Rebecca is a gleaming example of this! We are so proud of her, for trusting us, the approach, and going full-force into the challenge, seeing amazing results and realizing she can have things like PEANUT BUTTER again! Congratulations Rebecca!

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

I started the 60 Day Challenge in June, about a month after I started to take classes in Andover and I never imagining the impact it would have on my life.  After my first class in Andover, I knew I was in love with barre.  I’ve danced all my life, and these classes were right up my alley. I’ve tried countless times to lose weight, sometimes with success and sometimes not.  I would definitely categorize myself as a yo-yo dieter: always being on a diet, or “starting my diet tomorrow.”  As I learned about the challenge, it just seemed so different from anything I’d ever tried, a life changing experience, not just a 60-day experience.  Seeing as my previous attempts at losing weight had failed, I had no doubt that I wanted to give this a try.

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

My main form of fitness prior to the challenge was dance; dancing once a week for about an hour and a half (my favorite hour and half of the week)!  An hour and a half of dance is great, but exercising once a week, I know just doesn’t cut it!

I was also an on again, off again runner.  I would start to run for 2-3 weeks everyday, then I’d get bored and stop for a long time.  My expectation was that running would help me lose weight, and when I didn’t see results, I would just stop.  I didn’t really have any real goals with running; I was just running without a purpose.

I had a mentality of “all or nothing.” I would work out really hard (everyday), and track calories (1,000/day).  However, the minute I stopped doing one thing, I would give up entirely, in large part to the fact that my exercise and calorie regime was completely unrealistic and unsustainable.

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

I remember being in the meeting for the first challenge as Tanya was going over the program.  I believe she said: I’ll start with the easiest step of the challenge and lead to the hardest.  The first three steps seemed like they were going to be challenging, but I wouldn’t say I was skeptical.  I recognize that they were all very essential parts of a successful lifestyle, and would help me attain the changes I was looking to make.  The 4th step however gave me many reservations:

  • STEP 1: 64 oz of water….PLAIN WATER! I am someone who NEVER EVER consumed PLAIN water.  I have endless packages of various Crystal Light packs stocked in my pantry because I used them all the time, even carrying them in my purse to restaurants.  The very thought of having to drink 64 oz. of this bland substance, seemed like an impossible mission….and this was supposed to be the easiest part?  I had some reservations about my ability to complete this task, but I completely understood the rationale.  With determination I knew it could be done!
  • STEP 2: Take 10,000 steps/day! I actually thought that this part of the challenge would be easy for me.  I’m a physical therapist at a hospital, so I figured I’m moving around for a good portion of the day, so that’s not too bad…..but after putting my fitbit (pedometer) on for a day, I quickly learned that 10,000 steps/day is a lot more than I had anticipated. I realized how much of the day I spent sitting down for one reason or another.  This too was going to be a challenge that I knew would just require me becoming more aware of how much I was moving, and making an effort to get up and about more.
  • STEP 3: No artificial sweeteners. Well, aside from the 4 packs a day of Crystal Light that I was consuming, I knew that this part of the challenge would NOT be a problem for me.  I’m not a coffee or tea drinker, so the only thing that I had to really get rid of the the crystal light, and if I have to drink 64 oz. of plain water, then there would be no need for artificial sweeteners.
  • STEP 4: STICK TO YOUR NUMBER!!!!  And this is where I had all my skepticism.  When I first started this challenge I was eating 1,000-1,100 calories/day.  I had “dieted” before (in college) eating 1,000 calories/day and lost a lot of weight, which I later gained back.  Leading up to the challenge I was back to “dieting.”  I had lost 6 pounds in 1 month, eating at this number!  So, in the back of mind I contemplated not changing my number, not even addressing how much I was eating, just sticking to STEPS 1 – 3, while eating 1,000 calories/day, figuring I’d definitely have success. It’s such a hard concept to grasp: eat more, and lose more.  I just thought I was the exception…. “yes, everyone else can eat their number, but I’ve done this for so long now (eating low calories) that my body’s just used to it, and that if I try to eat more, my body will want to store it!” I was convinced that this would never work for me. I did in the end decide to discuss my number with the staff, who gave me a number, a number that was a complete compromise, because my reservations about eating high calories was so big.  About a week into the challenge, as I started becoming more active on the facebook page it became clear to me that I really needed to take the full plunge, and give this challenge my all.  Why put all the effort into most of the challenge, if I wasn’t going give it 100%!

What have your results been – both physical and mental?

Physically:

During my first challenge I lost 10 pounds, and 11.75 inches, fitting into clothes I’d never thought I’d get back into.  Less then a year ago I was digging through my closet trying to find something to wear for a job interview, and none of my nice clothes fit.  Today, I put those same clothes on, and not only can I get them over my hips, but they are now falling off!

Mentally:

I wouldn’t say that I’m a new person, I’m just a better me.  Somewhere on these journey, I’ve become more confident, happy, and developed the mentality that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!  This challenge has quite literally changed my life: the way I feel, how I eat and look at food.  I went from being a “dieter” to being a healthy person! I started as someone who didn’t enjoy going out because of how I looked, and now I’m someone who enjoys being out and about and can hold my head high, and with confidence in who I’ve become.

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

I’ve had a couple of a-ha moments!  First, was probably when I saw my family for the first time since starting the challenge (about 5 weeks into it).  Their first comments being “where did all of you go!”  It was that moment, combined with my half-way point weigh-in (2 days later), that provided me with the “a-ha”…eating more really can make you lose more.  I was beaming inside, and couldn’t get over that feeling of success; that feeling that make these positive life changes were all worth it.

My second a-ha moment was going out to lunch at Cheesecake Factory.  Going out to eat was something that I’d dreaded, thinking I was going to watch my family eat pasta, or a burger, with fries, while I would be munching on a bowl of lettuce with dressing on the side.  So, when I opened my menu, I was pleasantly surprised to find a section that offered lighter options…..that didn’t just include salads.  I scanned the page, and found “Margherita Flatbread Pizza.”  I absolutely could not believe that this was even an option for me.  I had my doubts about how big this would actually be, or if would taste good……but let me tell you it was absolutely PERFECT! For 330 calories (330 calories I never would allow myself when eating 1,000 calories/day), it was by far the BEST pizza I have ever had.  This is the moment when I realized that eating out isn’t something to dread, but something to enjoy and share with great company.

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

Without a doubt, the biggest change I’ve experienced throughout this challenge has been my eating habits.  Prior to this challenge my meals consisted of having cereal for breakfast, a sandwich, granola bar and 100- calorie pack for lunch, and pasta or a lean cuisine for dinner, and lots of after dinner sugar free/fat free snacks.  I was consuming foods because they were low in calories, never looking at what was in these foods to make them so “low-calorie”.  The only vegetables that I ate were onions, and sometimes bell peppers (because I decided I didn’t like them) and I had never EVER had fish!

Since this challenge began, the foods I have tried and meals I have made are endless.  There wouldn’t be enough time or space for me to tell you everything I’ve tried, but I’ll give a few (unlikely) foods that I think you should definitely try, if you haven’t already: tilapia, eggplant, quinoa, and my favorite – SPAGHETTI SQUASH

Now I LOVE grocery shopping! I love piling up my shopping cart with fresh produce and exploring the aisles for new healthy options.  I’ve been amazed to learn how much processing goes into so many foods.  One of the most eye-opening experiences I had was when I encountered peanut butter with NO CALORIES! With everything I’ve learned thus far, all I could do was laugh.  I thought to myself, there is absolutely NO WAY for this to be good for me…..and quickly realized that the old me would have jumped on the opportunity to have a no calorie peanut butter, not thinking twice about what was being put into it.  One of my favorite parts of this challenge (other than experimenting with lots of new foods), has been the addition of REAL PEANUT BUTTER into my diet! Because I was eating so few calories before, real peanut butter was never an option (high calories, but lots of nutrients)…..now I think everything tastes better with a little P.B.

I also try to use my weekend to plan my meals for the week, usually making a different dinner each night.  It gives me something to look forward to every night, instead of coming home to a small little TV dinner.  It’s also more enjoyable to eat, because I know how much time and effort I spent putting everything together.

Lastly, dessert is something that I absolutely love, and would never go without. Thanks to the barre n9ne® banana peanut butter ice cream, dessert is both delicious and nutritious.

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

What motivates me to keep going…..WHAT DOESN’T?!  I love the classes, I feel better about myself, I love that nothing gets easier, but I’m still getting stronger, I love the people that I’ve met, and I love how much my life has changed for the better.  What motivates me is that I still have “a-ha” moments, that I’m still growing as a person, and I continue to be challenged each day through class, making the right food choices, getting all those steps in, and drinking that water.

Since embarking on this challenge, I decided I wanted to complete a half-marathon.  It’s always been something I put on the back burner, but never really gone for it. So, TODAY, while I was running around the lake, going on my longest run (ever), I just thought to myself, anything is possible.  It’s not that running is a part of the challenge, but I feel that since starting this challenge, I’ve gained this mentality that literally anything is possible, if you put in the effort.  When I started this challenge, I thought it would be impossible to drink the water, walk 10,000 everyday, eat “real” food, but I’ve done it.  I LOVE that this challenge has made me feel that nothing is impossible, and that’s what keeps me going back for more!

Advice:

My best advice would be to embrace this challenge with open arms.  If you’re skeptical (as I was at first), I’m telling you, just give it a try!  These instructors are all great, and knowledgable….utilize their knowledge and TRUST them.  If something’s not working for you, let them help you. To me, this challenge is a community of wonderful people all striving to make changes in our lives for the better! This challenge is the best gift that you could give to yourself: believe in yourself!

Some helpful tips that have worked for me: planning makes all the difference in the world! If you are able to determine ahead of time what your schedule will be like the next day(s) you’ll know when you need to fit in some extra time for walking, so you’re not walking in circles around your house at 11:45pm (unless that’s what you like to do), or making sure you have snacks on hand. Planning can get you excited about what your next day/week has to offer.

NO ONE SAID IT WOULD BE EASY, THEY SAID IT WOULD BE WORTH IT!

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

I have a love – hate relationship with the side-lying leg lifts (for the side swoop) – they are SO painful, but I LOVE the challenge, and they always leave me SORE (in a good way)!

I just want to finish by saying THANK YOU to this amazing barre n9ne® staff!  This challenge has without a doubt changed by life for the better.  I’ve learned so much about a true healthy lifestyle and feel like I’ve grown so much as a person.  The wonderful B9 staff has been incredible; they are so helpful, encouraging and motivating.  There aren’t enough positive words to describe the impact this challenge has had on me.  Anyone who talks to me for more than 5 minutes, knows about barre n9ne®…….it has become such an integral part of who I am.  I look forward to completing this challenge, and many more to come!

Rebecca’s amazing results!!

Rebecca ‘barren9ne’ing’ it on her way to work – bring on CHAIR!