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


Why the barre n9ne challenge changed my perspective. By Jolene Bonina

It might sound dramatic, but honestly, the barre n9ne challenge has changed my life in many ways, and most certainly, my perspective. You may be wondering how a workout could have that affect on me, but it has, and here’s why.

  • I view food as fuel, not happiness. I never thought I had an emotional tie to food, but going into this challenge, I most certainly did. I thought sticking with my ‘number’ would be insanely difficult in the summer, especially, where there are cookouts abounding, drinks aflowing and goodies everywhere you look. But with Tanya’s guidance, I was able to navigate many cookouts and weddings too, sticking within my number (or as close as possible) without feeling deprived. This was one of my biggest a-ha moments and is why I plan to stick with this way of eating forever. It doesn’t end with the challenge. This is a lifestyle change (and yes, I was still able to fit in my beloved wine on weekends and not starve myself. It is possible!!)
  • I’ll never go to a gym again. (except the dreadmill in the throes of winter). I’ve already canceled my gym membership, and will only open a new one (when I move next month) soley for the dreadmill in the winter. This is a huge departure for me. I have had a gym membership for as long as I can remember. I remember moving to Beverly almost 5 years ago and trying to ‘time’ when one membership would end and when the next would start, so I wouldn’t have a gap in memberships. I went to my boyfriend’s gym at his apartment today just to stay active while he did a weight workout. Damn, I was bored. There were no machines that interested me, nothing. I just wanted to do plies and maybe even some dreaded love to hate planks. barre n9ne is where I wanted to be. It is where I plan to be, 4-5 days a week, sticking with the best and hardest workouts I have ever done.
  • I am starting to love, not hate, my body. Prior to the barre n9ne challenge, I was heading for a dark place, mentally, when it came to my body image. I tore myself apart. I hated how I looked and didn’t know if it was because I was comparing myself to others, or if I had actually gained weight. I didn’t want to admit that maybe I had, but looking back at pictures prior to the challenge and now, it is clear. I most certainly did gain a few, but beyond that, I was like a hamster spinning on a wheel. My workouts were not effective. I was not seeing results. Week one of barre n9ne? Results. Need I say more?
  • I don’t miss spinning, lunges or squats. At all! When Tanya laid out our plan when we started the challenge, she requested that we do not do any other classes except hers (a very fair and valid request, given the goal was to do HER classes to see results) and do not do lunges or squats. She swore by her Legs class and as much as I was thrilled to start that class, I clung to lunges and squats at first. I panicked a little in my head, thinking that my legs wouldn’t see results without those two exercises (the ‘gym staple’). Damn, was I wrong. My legs have never looked better and I am amazed that I can even say that and believe it when I say it!

I could honestly go on and on, but I will leave you one piece of advice for those of you considering the challenge.

Immerse yourself.

Surrender to the challenge and live it, breathe it and commit to it. You won’t be dissapointed.

And, if there is any reason you are wavering against doing it, please, GO FOR IT, it will be worth every penny, every  bead of sweat, every minute of pain. (pain in a good way!). Trust me.

Tanya, thank you for giving my sister and me the challenge of a lifetime. I firmly believe you meet everyone for a reason and we met you at exactly the right time in our lives. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of the barre n9ne community, to have met you and Julianna and the other fabulous instructors, and to be what I believe is just the beginning of something huge.




That is how many inches Jessica and Jolene (the winners of barre n9ne’s™ 60 day total body transformation challenge…AND spokesmodels) have LOST in 30 days….and the best part is they still have another 30 to go!!!!!

Oh and yes that’s right let’s not forget the spokesmodel part.

When I launched this challenge I was looking for a barre n9ne™ spokesmodel; someone who would go through a 60 day challenge with my staff and I and as a result see significant changes in their body and lifestyle. In turn they would share their story with other clients which would motivate individuals to commit to barre n9ne™ and my method for 60 days to totally transform their body.

AND how lucky am I to have gained not one but TWO AMAZING spokesmodels/role models for my new and existing clients??? I am grateful!

Grateful and PROUD…but surprised…NOPE. Ok well a little. You see I have first hand experience with this method transforming my own body. I didn’t just read about it in a magazine and think “Ok I’ll teach that” or hear stories from friends who loved it and think “If it worked for them it must work for others”.

In October of 2008 I made a lifestyle change…and haven’t looked back. I canceled my gym membership = No more squats and lunges, no more dreadmill, and no more elliptical or stairmaster.

Also no more good days/bad days (re: food).  I focused on sticking to my ‘number’.

I began taking barre and pilates classes and focused on resistance training, light weights, and isometric movements.

For cardio, since I am a dancer, I took dance classes. I did what I enjoyed doing instead of what people told me I should do.

My body began quickly changing. My thighs got leaner, my arms got more toned, my seat lifted, my inner thighs stopped jiggling and my calves were finally defined. I was in awe of how I weighed relatively the same(about 3lbs less) but looked COMPLETELY different!

As I said in a previous post, I have always been lucky genetically. I have never been overweight; I had a teeny tiny waist, a pretty serious booty (lol) and thick muscular legs.  Not a good look in my eyes. I was never unhappy with the way I looked I just wanted to look better, leaner, longer…especially being 5′ tall, LONGER AND TALLER would be nice.

It is because of this transformation of my own body that I want so much to help other women stop hating their bodies and start loving it.

So am I surprised that Jess and Jo have already lost 14.25 combined? Not at all. They are committed, dedicated and determined. I am surprised that it happened SO FAST! AND they still have 30 more days! That’s the awesome part.

What is also awesome, for me, is that this is a tool that will help my staff and I prove to others that the barre n9ne™ method does work. I know there are skeptics out there who think, “Oh this won’t work for me. The only thing that works for me is spinning (or cardio kickboxing or the treadmill).”

Being a small business in a small town it is hard to compete with these big gyms and large franchise studios. What sets us apart, I think, is the personal touch. I care about my clients. I watch their form. I ask them about their goals because I sincerely want to know….and I want them to achieve them.  When I see an article I think they might enjoy, I email it to them. I know bits and pieces of their lives like a wedding they are in soon or their child’s birthday party that they are planning. My clients will never feel like’ just another person’ at my studio.

So congrats Jess and Jo. You have earned this ‘loss’ of 14.25 inches. I am so happy to have had a hand in helping you achieve this awesome result.

Here’s to 30 more days 🙂


“How Was It?”

I have been asked this question all day…IT being the 1st ever barre n9ne™ virtual class! Well let me tell you, it was AWESOME!  I seriously want to do this every day! This virtual class hit a spot for me, I’ll explain why…

In college I used to work out every morning with my step mom Maria at our local gym…she is a long time early morning gym enthusiast and she is in AMAZING SHAPE!  I literally went every morning with her. It was actually fun once I rolled myself out of bed….I am SO not a morning person. BUT I knew I would be letting her down if I didn’t go. I will admit some mornings I bailed being a typical college student who stayed out late and definitely didn’t want to wake up early, but I would say 95% of the time I went.

After I graduated and got a grown up job our morning gym dates fizzled out. I was teaching more at the dance studio and working out more at night than in the morning. I can say that other than in very rare circumstances I have not worked out in the morning since 2004. Crazy right?!

My clients at barre n9ne™ have been asking me for morning classes for a long time and I couldn’t accommodate,  whether it be for lack of interest (one or two people) or lack of instructors (great ones!) who want to teach a 6am class.

Being honest, when my alarm went off at 5:55am this morning I had to drag myself out of bed, especially since Jalen (my almost 5 month old son) decided to wake up at 4:55am HUNGRY… I had just gotten back to sleep right before my alarm went off.  I brushed my teeth, put my workout clothes on, connected with everyone on Skype and off we went! 5 minutes into it I felt amazing. The best part is this feeling has lasted all day!

You know,’they’ say working out in the morning is one of the best things for you.  A few benefits I have read are:

  • By completing your workout in the morning you are guaranteeing that you will actually do it. After a long day at work it is easier to make excuses or other plans in order to skip a workout.
  • In the morning your body and mind are fresh and ready to rock ‘n’roll. Exercise increases mental acuity.
  • Training in the morning helps force you to start watching what you eat from the first meal of the day. It will help regulate your appetite and set a “healthy mindset.”
  • Training in the morning will help “jump-start” your metabolism and keep it elevated for up to 24 hours, thus burning more calories throughout the day.
  • A good morning workout provides that rush of adrenaline and that sense of accomplishment that will stick with you throughout the day.

That last two bullet points are the most important ones in my opinion. Who doesn’t want to start off their day with a rush of adrenaline, feeling super accomplished, and jumpstarting their metobolism? I DO!

Needles to say I am hooked! After reevaluating my existing crazy schedule I am going to commit to one early morning vitual class a week. I would love to do two though, however I believe in setting reasonable and attainable goals for yourself. When you set an unattainable goal you feel discouraged and disappointed in yourself, what a crappy feeling! Therefore, until Jalen gets on a more regular sleeping schedule and I can do two a week, Wednesday virtual classes are my new thing!

Who wants to join me? 🙂