It was spring of 2016. The previous fall, I had beaten my half marathon PR and was determined to do it again. As a runner, I was always determined to get better, faster and stronger. I was always in competition with myself. Of course, I was following a plan and getting in all my miles but I was also doing my favorite group fitness classes on top of that – spinning, rowing, HIIT and strength training. I’m sure you can see where this is headed or maybe you can even relate?
At first, all my training was going really well. Even amongst all the things … my crazy 9-5, planning a destination wedding, blogging, charity work, buying a house and moving, etc. It seemed all my goals were being met and I was pacing to PR. Then I got strep throat. Trained through my strep throat. And regardless of feeling totally run down, I went to Wanderlust 108 the following weekend (ran the 5k and then did 2hrs of yoga) and then that night flew to Chicago, woke up the next morning and ran my half marathon. (WHAT WAS I THINKING?)
During those 13.1 miles, my chronic stress said ENOUGH. My body slowed down on me but I persisted until I crossed the finish line. After that, it appeared things may never be the same health wise for me. My body was giving up on me. I was constantly tired during the day, I couldn’t train like I used to, I couldn’t run fast, my immunity was down and I seemed to always be catching a cold. And then my period went haywire. Even though I was living my best life (from a surface perspective) I was a mess in terms of overall wellness. I was a big giant ball of stress.
When we moved to Portland, I knew I had to make some serious changes. The stress I had put myself under had taken a major toll on my health. A big part of that lifestyle change was looking at the way I was training. What I had previously known as “fitness” was causing too much additional stress on my body and I needed to scale back. To do this I had to be more mindful and practice exercise intuitively.
Barre3 is based out of Portland so once we moved there I knew I wanted to check out the studios and give the workout a try. Based on my research and what I had seen on Instagram Barre3 was exactly what my body needed for a change. To be completely honest, I was never a real barre lover. I actually used to knock on it quite a bit because traditional barre movements were really hard for me. However, I instantly fell in love with Barre3 because it’s not based on the Lotte Berk method, which is more ballet focused. Instead, Barre3 mixes athleticism, grace, and the latest innovations designed to balance the body and mind.
I personally find it to be a little more cardio driven than other barre classes but also very low impact. They even sneak in a little yoga action + savasana/meditation. The workout is truly for everyone as they encourage modifications and want you to make it your own. The beat-driven playlists make it so.much.fun too!
Exercise, nourish, connect: are the 3 pillars of the barre3 approach. It’s not just about how hard you work out or the numbers on the scale. It’s about nourishing your body and making connections in order to lead a balanced and happier life. They also preach that feeling better in your body means more than a smaller waist or stronger arms (which I agree — and love!). Barre3 energizes you while allowing you to feel encouraged and less stressed. Their workouts create a halo effect; meaning you’ll leave class empowered to make healthier choices throughout the day. All around, it’s really just a very positive experience. Something my tired but wired body needed! The best part is they have locations all over so I was able to continue Barre3 during my travels and time in Kansas City.
Fast forward and today I’ve been doing Barre3 for over two years. Besides all my other lifestyle changes to manage my stress, Barre3 has been an important part of my health and wellness routine. I was able to lower my stress levels, boost my immunity, regain my strength and even get pregnant. I especially love that I’ve been able to continue to do Barre3 throughout pregnancy. It’s been easy to modify and adapt as my body changes.
It’s been a long journey but one I’ll never regret. Have you tried Barre3? I’d love to know. Comment below and tell me what you think!