When I was last in Washington, DC, I was introduced to Barre3, an amazing barre workout. I fell in love with it. I got a chance to chat with Alicia Sokol owner of Barre3 studio located at 1832 14th St NW, Washington, DC, to learn about the Barre3 approach and to secret behind her studio’s success.
I heard Barre3 for the first time a few weeks ago. Could you tell people what is Barre3?
AS: Barre 3 is a full-body workout combining strength training, cardio and mindfulness. What I love best about Barre 3 is that it is fully adaptable. We meet you where you are at, whether you are coming back from an injury, or just getting into working out, or just came to breathe and find respite from your busy life. Barre3 is about finding out what your body needs and strengthening that connection between the mind and body. The stronger the mind/body connection, the better we are at making choices that serve us in the right way. This is both in class and is also true for life.
Think about a time when you have been asked to do something and you don’t want to you’re your mind may be saying no, but you hear “yes” coming out of your mouth. The body responds to let us know that is not the right answer – maybe your stomach tightens or your jaw clenches. That is the body saying there is a better path and if we listen, maybe we can find that path.
Name one object that you always take with you to your Barre3 class?
AS: I always bring water to stay hydrated. The class has a cardio component and you get sweaty!
I always try to bring an open mind and fresh approach to whatever my body needs on that particular day. Some days I think I just need to sweat and lose myself in motion. Other days I just need to breathe and focus.
Always openness, always water!
-Name one feeling that you take away from Barre3 class each day. Why?
AS: My goal as an instructor is for each person to leave feeling happier than when they came in, empowered, stronger in their bodies. I want them to leave feeling ready to go and face whatever challenges life may throw at them. When I leave a class I always feel lighter and more grounded, no matter what is going on. I feel like, “Yeah I got this, I am going to get through this day, too.”
-What do you think inspires people in Barre3 classes?
AS: I think people come back for that feeling you have when you leave the class. The hardest thing we do is getting ourselves there; the mental game of – do I have time for this? should I be doing something else? Every hour someone is taking a studio class, that is an hour they are not at work, with their family or friends, or doing something else. The value they get out of the hour and knowing they will leave feeling cared for and more able to care for other people is what brings people back.
-What motivates you to come here every day?
AS: Every time I am at a low point -feeling exhausted, acknowledging how difficult it is to run a business, feeling tired and sore in my body – I think, why? Why do I do this? It is always then that someone comes out of the clear blue recounting how their lives have been changed by barre3. Sometimes it’s someone sharing that they finally feel comfortable in their own skin after years of hating their body. They feel healthy and strong and grateful for their body. Sometimes it is more dramatic. I had a client share with me that she had struggled a long time to realize she is gay. Being honest with herself in class helped her gain the courage to come out to her friends and family. That meant everything to me. We aren’t just strengthening muscles, we are truly fortifying hearts and minds as well. That is what gets me out of bed every single day. Barre3 gets you in tune with your inner voice and listen to what is true so you will be able to share this with those around you. These are things that make my heart explode.
-How do these classes change people’s days and lives ?
AS: We are a fitness class, but we are so much more than that. In building the skills to face the difficult moments in class – the times when your muscles are shaking and burning and you’re thinking “I can’t stay here much longer!” – you build the skills to go outside the room and do the same thing. You can use the strength and confidence built in those moments and say “this is who I am” or stand up to your boss or colleague or friends, and say “this is what I need, this is what I deserve.” We all want to feel seen and heard. We are all worthy of love.
That is the joy in this work and keeps me going.
–What is the fitness level of people who come to the class, what can a new coming expect?
AS: I want every single person who comes in to feel that they have landed in the right place. The classes are for a range of people and goals, some people are training for a marathon, others are new to exercise.
Most of my studio’s clients are young professional women, a reflection of the neighborhood, but people of more ages, shapes and sizes and coming everyday. We are seeing more men. I work with my staff to be able to see the studio and the experience as new person and consider all of the questions that someone coming in for the first the experience would have. Am I wearing the right thing? Will I like the workout? Will able to do the workout? Will I embarrass myself if I can’t keep up? We’ve all had the feeling of thinking “Everyone else here knows what is going on and I don’t!” This is a common experience. No one wants to feel that way.
We try to make Barre 3 a welcoming place – from the person who greets you when you walk in, to your instructor – you should feel welcomed and that you have landed in the right place. I want to surround people with love and kindness, so that feel they are just right where they need to be, and they are wanted and and are enough just for today. Feeling that we are enough is a struggle for so many. We get caught up in thinking we’ll be better when…we lose 10 pounds, we get that promotion, we find a partner, etc. No. We are enough TODAY. Right now. We celebrate the perfectly imperfect state.
There is something for everyone here. We want to help each client to figure out what he/she needs and wants. I like to ask “how you want to feel when you leave?”
-Do you have a gift card? X-mas is coming, would Barre3 class be a good gift for a friend?
AS: Absolutely. We have gift cards in flat denominations and in amounts corresponding to class packages. Our semi annual class package sale starts on November 20. This is nationwide – all Barre3 studios will be selling 10 class packs for 20% off the regular price. This allows people a chance to try out the workout at a lower price. After 10 classes, you really get a sense for how the workout feels in body and mind. The sale packs are also great for gifting!
We also kick off the new year with a January challenge designed to keep you moving, focused and happy in your body – wherever you are. Stay tuned for more details coming soon to barre3.com!
AS: Going to a new class can be intimidating. Barre 3 has a robust online library of classes that enables newcomers to get a sense of what the classes are like and build some confidence before going into the studio.
The on-line features are also great for when you are traveling, can’t get into a studio or have limited time. There is a new 30-minute video every week and the library has videos for 10 to 60 minutes. I am leading the 30 minute workout that will be release on Monday, November 26. If you are new to barre3 online, try it out for 15 days free by using this code: