Well Being

Gym Classy Lady: I Got The Inside Scoop On Barre Classes From A Bar Method Instructor

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Bar Method DC barre class

As a follow up to last week's Bar Method review, I interviewed a friend, Stephanie, who fell so in love with the popular class she got a part time job teaching it. Stephanie's been a student of Bar Method for a little over a year now and teaches several classes a week at the Washington, DC Bar Method Studio. I talked to her about what drew her to barre workouts, what the instructor training was like and what those trying barre class for the first time should know.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself. What’s your background, day job, etc? 

A: Native Washingtonian, independent film publicist, wife, food enthusiast, hairless cat owner.

Q: And your fitness background? Have you ever done a split?

A: Fitness background? …. As a kid, I preferred to be left inside with my books while everyone else ran around in the yard. I was on the lacrosse team in high school and only ever got to play because there almost weren’t enough people to even have a team. Shockingly, I was not a slender child … or preteen … or teen.

In college, exercise became something I had to do solely to avoid becoming worthy of a TLC special. Post-college, I got this crazy idea that I wanted to be a runner, so I ran. I completed a handful of races, which were worthwhile and rewarding, but I never actually enjoyed it. I just thought running is what healthy people did. (Ed. note: don't we all?) I’m glad you asked about that split – thanks to Bar Method I can do one now! On one side.

Q: When did you first try barre classes and what made you do so?Bar Method DC barre class

A: I took my first Bar Method class right after the DC studio opened in the summer of 2011, after months of anxiously awaiting its grand opening. I had read great things on a friend’s blog about how barre classes helped her prepare for her upcoming wedding. I had never heard of them and couldn’t really imagine what went on in them, but I couldn’t argue with her arms so I was interested to learn more.

Q: Why barre? Was Zumba not hiring?

A: I got married at the tail end of 2010 and in the following months my waistline expanded accordingly. My old failsafes for dropping weight (eating leaves and air, running 8,000 miles/week) for whatever reason were just not effective anymore. I was honestly not feeling good about the shape I was(n’t) in, and I wanted to try something drastically different as a jumpstart. The promise of a long, lean dancer’s body was all I needed to hear.

Q: How did you find out about the instructor opportunity?

A: I knew within weeks of starting that I absolutely loved Bar Method. People were sick to death of me talking about it. So I sucked it up and asked the studio owner outright how one would go about becoming a teacher, fully prepared to be told that it required years of experience. I was also fully prepared to be laughed out of the place. Thankfully, neither of those things happened.

Q: How long had you been doing barre workouts and how often before you went to training?

A: I had been taking class for about four months when I first asked about teaching – at that time, the studio wasn’t looking to add to its staff but because the owner knew I was interested she sought me out when she was ready to train a new batch of teachers. That was a couple of months later. Throughout my time there as a client, I took class 3 to 5 times a week (which is what we recommend to see best results).

Q: Can you do water ski and pretzel for an unlimited amount of time???

A: Ha. Hahahahaha. Hahaha. The blessing and curse of Bar Method is that literally every part of class has gotten harder over time; I know what perfect form looks like, and I know whether I’m anywhere close to it. So does the instructor on the mic … and with every other student in there aware that you are a teacher you can bet I feel added motivation to be an example. I would never, ever want the people I push so hard to see me phoning it in or being lazy when it’s my turn to take a class.

Q: Tell us about your training process to be an instructor.

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