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 – 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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Tips for staying within your number, out of your routine

This time of year brings upon travel, lack of routine, and stress. Jolene can relate, which is why we decided to have her guest post today on our blog on this topic. Her full time job requires travel- and not just to CT or NY where the time zone is the same, but to LA, Texas and the like. So not only does traveling in general throw a curve ball to someone who is trying to eat healthy and plan ahead, but the time change doesn’t help much either. Read below for some tips on how to stay turn to your health and fitness goals, even on the road.

Tanya

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As my job requires a fair amount of travel, and I also love to travel in my spare time (and feel so grateful to have the opportunity TO travel quite a bit!), I wanted to share some tips I’ve mentally collected as I travel, for business, and for pleasure. As I was going through the inaugural 60 day challenge, one of my biggest fears was how on earth I was going to stay in my number, fitting in workouts and steps, and focused on continuing the lifestyle I was cultivating for myself. (I started my job about 6 months before the challenge began) But as I’ve continued in this lifestyle for the past year and a half, I’m always amazed at how much easier and more ingrained it becomes, especially when I travel.  Because let’s face it, when you have all of the tools (hello barre n9ne® classes!), the access to the right foods and control over your schedule and meals, it’s relatively easy to stay on track…especially when you then compare that to traveling, where all of that routine is stripped away bare.

So here are my tips for staying in your number when you’re traveling,  or otherwise out of your (controllable!) routine (a lot of these tips also apply to when you’re out to dinner with coworkers etc, where you have less ability to control your food).

Restaurants should be a luxury, not an ‘everyday’ thing. But when restaurants become an everyday thing because you are traveling and have zero access to homecooked meals…look at restaurants and dining out as a ‘necessary evil’ and as I’ve said in a prior post, ‘be normal.’ It may be tempting to look at the menu, and going into it, having every intention of bypassing the bread, the appetizers and the sauce-laden entrees, but then, once amid the social atmosphere of your coworkers, you decide to choose a heavier than planned for entree.  Instead, switch your focus and think of this meal as a necessity. You aren’t going out to dinner because of your choice to do so (where, when I go out to dinner, I go rarely, and take that occasion to pick one of my favorite restaurants, and really enjoy it, for the experience and atmosphere, combined with a good, real-food meal), you are doing it because you have to. So, if you were at home and making dinner for yourself, would you make the sauce-laden curried rice and beef dish or would you go for the piece of grilled chicken or steak with light vegetables and a salad, maybe a baked potato? You’d probably go for the latter, or at least I would, so switch your focus and choose smartly. And save that perhaps heavier meal for a time when you truly want to, and plan ahead for it.

Be prepared. When flying (or driving or any sort of travel where you’re hours away from your destination, with at least one meal to contend with), be prepared. It sounds ‘no-duh’ but it truly goes hand in hand with the above tip, if you plan ahead and ‘be normal’ – would you really go somewhere where you know you’ll be away from your own food options without packing something sensible? Probably not. So do the same here. Pack fruit (apples, bananas, pears are good options with lots of fiber), 90 calorie peanut butter packets, 100 calorie nuts, even packets of oatmeal that you can make easily with hot water. Pack Healthy Bites (if you’re me!) for a quick 50-calorie pick me up that will surprise you with how long it sticks with you. You’ll more easily bypass the snack tray on your flight, filled with empty calories – Fritos, chips and cookies – and be more satisfied, longer, with your own options. This is one of the only times I also suggest an energy bar as a meal replacement, if you’re traveling through a meal. Choose one that has real ingredients listed first (or the only things listed!), that has anywhere from 170-230 cals and 10-15 grams of protein for the most staying power. Kind, Simply Bar, Larabar (these have less protein, however, more fiber!), and some of the Zone Perfect bars (natural varieties) are some of the options I go for most. When you get to the airport, scope out a snack stand that has yogurt, and choose an all natural, organic, or Greek yogurt style. These pack protein, fiber and calcium that will also sustain you longer. And soon enough you’ll realize you just endured a long flight without a) blowing your calories on empty snacks or b) being forced to choose higher calorie breakfast or lunch options at the airport or drive through because you have no other option (other than starve…and who wants to do that?!).

Get on a (revised) schedule. For me, when I travel, it’s typically cross-country and across three time zones. Where suddenly, I’m thrown into a limbo of hunger at the ‘wrong’ times – immediately when I wake up (because my body things it is breakfast, which I typically eat around 9 am), yet it is only 6 am, to lunchtime cravings at all of 9 am Pacific time (when it feels like noon!). And suddenly, you’re faced with figuring out how to quell your hunger cues, while balancing the fact that you have three extra hours in your day to contend with, and your meals are all thrown off. The best advice I can give is to try and ‘get on schedule’ with whatever time zone you are in, as fast as possible. For me, that means spacing our my breakfast as slowly as possible so I am not starving by the time lunchtime rolls around (feeling like 3 pm in my brain!), while also balancing out my calories so I’m not ‘out’ of calories by mid-afternoon. Instead of one ‘bigger’ breakfast of my go-to oatmeal that I enjoy at home, I’ll instead eat a two-step smaller breakfast, essentially half my calories for breakfast at around 7 am Pacific time, and the other half around 9 am Pacific time, so I quell my hunger but also ‘get on schedule’ with the time zone I am in. This usually means a yogurt or nuts or a banana and peanut butter around 7, and an energy bar or packet of 100 calorie unsweetened oatmeal with peanut butter (about half the calories of my typical oatmeal goodness made at home).

When traveling or out of your routine, and out of your control, don’t let that become your excuse for not eating ‘normally’empower yourself by being prepared and choosing wisely, and staying within your number when traveling or out to dinner with coworkers etc., won’t be nearly as difficult as you may think.


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Instructor Spotlight – Stefanie!

Many of you may know Stefanie because she is one of the best Zumba® instructors in Boston! She of course is just as amazing at teaching her barre and non barre fitness classes. Her smile and energy light up the room while she is teaching and you can’t help but have a good time, even when you are shaking, burning and pouring sweat! The best compliment you can give her is to ask if she is Latin 😉 {inside joke!} But for real, if you haven’t gotten to one of Stef’s classes you are definitely missing out!  
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1 – What are your favorite songs to workout to? 

-This is a very tough response, because as anyone could tell you, I take my music very seriously! I’d say my absolute top three would be “World Hold On” by Bob Sinclair, “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga, and anything – literally, anything – by Pitbull. 😀

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

Favorite food, hands down, is watermelon.

Favorite guilty pleasure — an everything bagel from Bagel World with lite scallion cream cheese. Or ice cream, any flavor. Ha, I have many guilty pleasures!
3 – Favorite move to teach? Favorite move to do? 

This is also tough!! I have a lot of moves that I love. I think my favorite move to teach would be an entire leg series (inner and outer thighs) on the mat, because it’s so great to see legs shaking all around the room – it shows me that the clients are really feeling it! My favorite move to do personally would be a plank series (I know, who loves planks?) – as hard as they may be, nothing works those abs (and whole body, really) quite like a plank does.

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

I am trilingual! My family is from Italy originally and my first language was Italian. When I was in middle school, I started taking Spanish classes, and stuck with it through college. I am now fluent in Spanish as well, and love getting mistaken for a local when I travel to Spanish-speaking countries. (It also helps when I belt out all of the songs while teaching Zumba® classes!) 😀

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

Well, there are many things that I love about barre n9ne®, so whatever I say may sound a bit cheesy and cliche, but I can’t help it – it’s all very true. I love the sense of community that has grown in this studio among both clients and instructors. When I came onboard here at barre n9ne®, the studio was a much different place – there were only a few of us instructors, and not nearly as many classes, as it was pre-expansion. The first 60-day challenge with Jess and Jolene was just about to begin. So for me, it has been just wonderful to witness the studio blossom from a mere fitness studio into a place that many women turn to for support, camaraderie, and a sense of belonging (while still getting their booties whipped into shape at the same time!). I have been teaching fitness for more than six years, and not every studio has the same sense of welcoming like barre n9ne® does. I have become close to both instructors and clients in the time that I have been there. Many of them watched me go through my pregnancy, cheered me on and sent me gifts when my baby was born, and supported me in my quest to bounce back to my pre-baby shape. barre n9ne has some truly wonderful women – strong, healthy, and positive. When you are surrounded with people like that, you can’t really go wrong.

Here is a pic of Stef with her beautiful little boy James aka JJ who just turned 1 years old in November 2012.

mommy and jj