For the first 18 years of my life, I spent my free time at Lelia Haller ballet school. I was never the best dancer in my class, but I worked hard and I loved it. I was tall and thin and graceful, the perfect fit for a small black leotard.
It was not until I went to college and stopped dancing that I realized I had been in incredible shape. You see, I didn’t consider the three classes a week I attended exercise. It was art and emotion and expression, but exercise? The 20 pounds I gained my first semester of college would indicate that it absolutely was.
But exercise is supposed to be something you dread; it is something that you drag yourself to so you can fit in your skinny jeans, right? Why had it never felt that way when I was dancing? And how could I find something that replicates what I used to feel about ballet?
Finding the Right Exercise Routine After Children
I have spent my entire adult life asking that question. When we lived in Beaufort, SC, I found the answer. I attended twice weekly pilates reformer classes with a personal instructor and two additional mat classes with her as well. It was the first time since my last ballet class (amid a million different regimens and exercise fads I tried) that made me excited to work out. I seriously could have spent every day in her studio. After a month or two with her, my body began to get leaner and feel stronger. It was what I had been searching for.
When we moved back to New Orleans, I priced a few options and confirmed that we could not afford for me to spend two days a week with a personal instructor. I felt lost again. I joined a gym in my office building and found myself getting into a decent routine of elliptical use and Body Pump. It wasn’t what I loved doing, but it was easily accessible and reasonably priced. And, I had no excuses to keep me from going.
Enter baby Jane. I have mentioned that while I loved motherhood from the very first moment I held her, I found adjusting to my new life difficult. That challenge did not get easier when I went back to work. All of a sudden, with so much to balance, the last thing I prioritized was myself. My health and my fitness took a backseat to pick ups and drop offs and making Jane’s food and spending mornings and evenings soaking in every minute of Jane time I could.
That pattern hit a breaking point last June when I came home from work one day almost a year ago and realized I had to do something about the way I looked and felt. I wanted to find myself again. I wanted to find me in all of these efforts to strike a balance in my new mom life. So I began taking reformer classes again on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The catch: they were beginner classes. So, while I was certainly finding my center, I wasn’t getting the intensity I needed in a workout to help my center shrink, if you know what I mean.
I needed something that combined my passion for ballet with my love for the pilates method and the peace I find in the practice of yoga. And then I saw it, a sign in the window of a shop on Magazine Street and Bellecastle annoucing the arrival of Barre 3. I could not wait to get home to learn more about this new New Orleans business.
Barre 3: A Great Addition to Uptown New Orleans (With Childcare!)
While this is a sponsored post, we are always on the lookout for new businesses like this that will enhance moms’ lives in New Orleans.
Barre 3 describes itself as a workout that combines “the grace of the ballet barre with the wisdom of yoga and the strength of Pilates. Barre3 classes are set to an upbeat soundtrack and follow a vigorous pace moving through a sequence of postures designed to shape and lift the entire body.” Seriously, it was everything I was looking for!
But, that was not what impressed me the most about what I learned about Barre 3. It was that its local owner, Kendall Carriere, was making this practice available to moms in a way most places aren’t. How? By provding childcare during classes for the low cost of $5!! I seriously think I teared up when I saw this. It felt empowering knowing that I have no more excuses. If Mark is on call or at drill or in surgery, I can still go and do something meaningful and healthy. And my little buddy, Jane, can tag along. I immediately contacted Kendall and asked if she would like to spread the word about Barre3 via our blog because I KNOW that this is a struggle for moms.
I had the opportunity to attend a class on Thursday morning at 6:00 am. While I struggled to pull myself out of bed, I am so glad I did. When I arrived at the studio, I was surprised by how large the space is. It makes you feel welcome in its open and warm environment. So does the endless offering of water and hot tea!
The class itself was invigorating, as was the view from the barre of the sun rising over Uptown. Kendall is a wonderful teacher who encouraged each of us as we made our way through this new routine. The class was intense. We moved from the floor to the barre and worked every muscle in our bodies. And just before the class ended, we took a moment of quiet to breathe in deeply to prepare for the day. I felt centered: finally!!! And when I got home moments after class let out, I found that life in the Allen residence was just getting started. I had not missed anything. I had nothing to feel guilty about. I had never felt better.
Saturday, even with every muscle in my body aching from Thursday’s workout, Jane and I made our way to Barre 3 for the 8:30 class. Jane was enthralled by the studio’s playroom. It has an adorable pint-sized table surrounded by brightly colored stools (I’m hoping after a few more workouts, I can fit my seat on one!). She slid out of my arms and into the chair as she repeated “I, seat. I, seat.” Not long after she took her seat, she popped up to explore the yellow and orange tunnel that made its way through the room. I could hear her laughing as she crawled on through it. When she came out on the other side, she looked up at me and said, “Bye Bye.” I guess she needs her alone time, too…
Saturday’s class was as intense as Thursday’s, but with a different teacher (Laura) came a few variations in the program. I like that since it keeps the classes feeling fresh and new. I was struck by the various types of people attending the class. There were those whose marathon tees indicated they were in incredibly better shape than I, those who appeared like workout regulars, those who, like me, seemed to be just getting back to it, and those who were expecting new bundles of joy. And everyone of us had a place there at Barre 3. With every change of position and every change of routine, Laura would introduce a challenge to those who wanted to increase the positions intensity, and she would also introduce a modification for anyone needing to slow things down. There was no pressure to perform at a level where you felt uncomfortable. In fact, Laura would praise you when you accepted the modification as you recognized that you were “listening to your body.”
For months, I have been hearing my body scream at me to do something active. I am so glad I finally listened to it. My experience at Barre 3 was incredible. As a mom whose body hasn’t exactly gotten back to where it was, I often find it intimidating to walk into a studio filled with the supermoms in their perfect Lululemon and well groomed workout hair. Add to that a crop of twenty somethings, and I want to run into the corner and hide (and cry! or eat ice cream!). At Barre 3, I felt confident and at home. I attribute that to Kendall and her efforts to make Barre 3 accessible to everyone.
I really believe that I have found myself again, and with that, and Barre 3, I will find my center. While this is a paid review, I only approached Barre 3 because it seemed to be everything I was personally looking for in a workout, and I am ecstatic to share that that turned out to be the case.
If you would like to learn more about Barre 3, you can visit their website. I highly recommend the founders special which runs through June 14th and is a monthly unlimited package. This means you can take as many classes as your heart desires! It is $125.00 and you lock that price in for life! It will auto-renew each month and there is not a contract so you can discontinue if you ever need to. I did a little math, and if you do three classes a week, that’s around $10 per class!!
For those of you who are more inclinded to workout from home, Barre 3 also offers an online fitness program. I think I’m going to use that program on the days I don’t go into the studio. The classes are offered in 10, 30, 40, and 60 minute intervals to accomodate any and all schedules.
How have you stayed fit as a mom? Have you tried a class like Barre 3? If you purchase a ticket to the upcoming Moms Night Out on June 4, you’ll get a free class pass to Barre 3!
PS: The classes I attended last week were provided at no cost to all participants as a promotion for the studio’s opening week!!!