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


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Instructor Spotlight – Erica G!

Today, we bring you Erica! She is a long time client turned instructor who has a love for fitness and teaching. By day, Erica is an accountant and by night, of course, a barre n9ne® instructor! Enjoy reading more about her!

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1 – What are your favorite songs to work out to?

Don’t Stop the Party by Pitbull (how can you not dance to that one?? And speaking of dancing, how can you not thigh dance to that one?)

Mercy by Duffy (that song was made for outer thigh work!)

Rum and Raybans by Sean Kingston featuring Cher Lloyd (I just love that song and think Cher Lloyd is adorable)

2 – What’s your favorite food/guilty pleasure?

I love food so this isn’t easy but I would have to say Trader Joe’s dark chocolate covered almonds. I eat a few EVERY day. Definitely more than a few on some days. This is a shameless plug for the barre n9ne® nutrition plan because whatever your guilty pleasure is, you can have it if you plan for it!erica

3 – Favorite move to teach? Favorite move to do? (This could be very different answers!)

I love teaching chair…is that evil of me? Mostly because I know how hard it is to support your body weight in that position, which makes it amazingly effective at strengthening legs. I feel complete admiration for the way the women in class tough it out despite their legs shaking like crazy. It takes such determination to keep going when you think you can’t or to get right back into it after taking a break.

My favorite move to do is shoulders with the balls. I love the different combinations that the other instructors come up with! It’s never boring and getting through a long series feels so satisfying! I’m also falling in love with doing push ups now. I NEVER thought I’d say that!

4 – What’s one thing about you that clients may be surprised to know?

erica2My mother’s side of the family is Swedish and I grew up with a lot of those customs. When I was little, I was Saint Lucia for a Swedish Christmas fair and a very sweet elderly artist painted a ridiculously large watercolor painting of me in the costume that hangs over my grandmother’s couch to this day…I couldn’t make this stuff up!

5 – What do you love the most about teaching at barre n9ne®?

Finally getting to know the women that I have been taking classes with for so long! It’s been really nice to talk to some of the clients who started before me and the newer clients. Knowing how far they have come in terms of fitness or what their personal goals are makes it so nice to lead a class for them. I am so grateful for the chance to be a part of this amazing and inspiring group!

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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!


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motivation.determination.commitment

Yesterday I went about my normal 9-5 day.  I left work at 4:45pm, picked up my son Jalen and headed to barre n9ne™.  All day I was super excited to teach my favorite class long & lean legs. I look forward to this class all week. For purpose of this blog I will refer to this class as L3.

L3 was almost sold out…as well as fusion which followed which WAS sold out.  I arrived @ the studio, changed and began greeting clients. Everyone loves seeing Jalen before class. He is typically always smiling…until I start teaching 😉

At 5:15pm a client said to me “He is so well behaved.” I looked at the clock and responded, “He is…but he will have his meltdown very soon.” Then the unthinkable happened…….the power went out in the whole building! I thought “NOOOOOOOOO, my favorite class is about to get canceled!!” Ironically enough my dad was getting his hair cut in the salon attached to us. He came in and informed us it was the whole street that lost power, not just our building. Of course my response was, “When will the power come back on?” (as if he would know lol….aren’t dad’s supposed to know EVERYTHING?)

I got out my flashlight, which didn’t really help (note to self, buy a new, brighter, flashlight) and essentially began pacing around. Clients were running up the driveway and busting through the door like Kramer on Seinfield (no offense) to get out of the rain….then realizing there wasn’t any light!  I will admit, my head was spinning even though I remained cool, calm and collected. I was thinking “Should I try to run class? What is Julianna going to do for fusion & express? AND “WHEN/WILL the lights come back on”? ….Craziness.

It was at that moment, I just smiled…One of the ladies asked if we could try moving the curtains aside to let in the light from outside and see if we could still have class. I had been thinking of trying class in the dark all the while but I figured my clients would think I was absolutely crazy!

We moved on into the fitness room. I pulled up the L3 playlist on my iPhone and we went to work! We began with standing plies, followed by thigh dancing, moving on to glutes & inner thigh work, then focusing on the back of the legs with plies in the air (or so I call them)…..and THEN poof! The lights came back. We didn’t even skip a beat. I put on the AC & iPod and kept counting everyone through intense leg work.  I was over the fact that the lights went out, I kept thinking “what time did we get started? 535? 540? later? I need to make up that time, and QUICK so I don’t throw the rest of the classes that night off schedule & we still get an awesome workout. I stacked our standing “swoop” exercise with the side leg series. BOY OH BOY…….that was KILLER.

I will easily say last night was one of the best L3 classes in barre n9ne™ history. Who would have thought? More importantly, the motivation, determination & commitment by these ladies far exceeded my expectation last night.

Not only do I have good clients, I have AMAZING clients. They are die hard.

Not only are my clients determined, they are strong willed.

Not only are they committed, they are devoted and invested in their fitness and health.

Not only are they motivated, they are inspirational and enthusiastic.

These women had a goal last night and they were not going to let a little power outage get in the way. I LOVE this mentality.

To all my ladies in L3 last night, thank you for staying. For plowing through. For being committed to your workouts. Thank you for allowing me to be able to continue to do what I love.


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the first of many…

I must admit this is long, long overdue! I have been meaning to start a blog for barre n9ne™ (and me!) since March 2010. It is more than a year later and I am just getting around to it. With a little (a lot of) help from my 60 day challenge ladies it is finally getting done (Thank you J&J)!

Some days I may post interesting fit tips. Others a healthy recipe may debut. In between you may see a new hair product I love. There are no limits here.

Outside of barre n9ne™ I am a 9 to5-er by day, a proud new mom,  & girlfriend/almost fiance  to an amazing guy. I love what I do even though sometimes there feels as though there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything.

I welcome you to my life, my thoughts, my ideas, my soapbox rants (possibly) & most of all my love for fitness and helping others meet their personal goals. I can’t tell you in words how much I enjoy seeing someone look in the mirror and FINALLY loving how they look. It is an amazing feeling-for both of us!

And now I am officially a “blogger”. Yayy!

Enjoy this beautiful Friday. Embrace change. Hug the people you love….and smile.

Until tomorrow…