Super busy week. I have an awesome post – but it’s not quite ready yet.
In the meantime, let’s chat about the new class I took today that nearly killed me shall we? Member I said I needed to challenge myself more? Well today I did that by taking Long, Lean Legs with Miss Tanya Croteau herself. Now, the class itself was bound to be killer – it’s all legs and glutes! But, imagine for a second that you’re driving to class – almost there and the phone rings. Everyone canceled. Yup, all SEVEN PEOPLE registered canceled! What do you do? Well if you’re as insane as I am – you take the offer of a 1 on 1 with Tanya! So, we do plies – OK I can do these (I used to hate them, now I sorta like them). Then we do a crazy side-leg series of doom, followed by another side leg series of dooms, then glutes, then more leg lifts, then legs with the band….OMFG I want to DIE. No word of a lie. I am 42 shades of red, I am sweating buckets and my legs are SHAKING. I check my phone – surely it’s almost time to go right? WRONG. It’s been 32 mins. 28 left. TWENTY EIGHT? I can’t do that much longer, I will pass out.
I consider faking a seizure. I decide against it – my acting is terrible and with my luck Tanya knows some crazy CPR for seizures. I plug on.
More glutes – with the gray ball of doom. Pain is radiating through my lower body. My abs are laughing. I want to cry. More legs – this time sitting down and lifting the legs (Amanda I heard you love these). LOL. Terrible! Finally after what seems like 900 more reps….we’re done. We stretch. I think “I did it!! I survived a SOLO legs class!!”.
Then I stand. Immediately I want to fall on the floor, curl into a ball and cry. OMG SO SORE!
I manage to walk down the stairs (though I cannot lie – I seriously considered sitting on my butt and scooting down like I did as a child). I walk to my car and somehow by the grace of God I manage to climb in without dying.
I’m in agony. I can’t wait until I wake up tomorrow and can barely open my eyes without crying. LOL.
I won’t die (though it does feel like it) – and I managed to make it through the class with only a few, brief stops. Impressive! I’m so proud of how far I’ve come. This week I rocked jeans I couldn’t get past by thighs on May 1st, that’s huge!! I feel so strong and so accomplished. I am so glad I found barre n9ne (insert gushy smiley face) – it really changed the way I look at exercise!
I’m looking forward to move leg shaking classes, more butt-kicking and more progress!
As for the rest of the weekend, I am doing Dad’s day brunch w/ Derek, Mom and Dad tomorrow at Masa Grill. Super excited, their menu looks amazing. I’m also taking 1 class Sunday, heading to the new Farmer’s Market in Wilmington and taking Dad out for Indian as a treat. Looking forward to quality family time + some rest!
Are you guys venturing outside your comfort zone? Challenging yourself? I hope so!
Enjoy your weekend!!
PS – some ecards card of the day is:
You all have heard me wax poetic about my love affair with barre n9ne for months now. I figured it was time to introduce you to the ladies behind the brand! Meet Tanya Croteau (owner and founder) and Julianna Osburn (Tanya’s right-hand woman and the instructor for 80% of the classes I take). They are two of the sweetest, most supportive women I’ve met and I’m so glad I met them – and found such an amazing fitness routine!
Tanya grew up dancing since the age of 3. She has had extensive dance training for over 28 years in hip-hop, jazz, tap and ballet. At age 18 Tanya began teaching dance and fitness classes for studios across the North Shore.
While studying at Suffolk University for her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, Tanya was a member of Phunk Phenomenon Urban Dance Theater for 5 years doing numerous performances all over the New England area to include Kiss 108FM Summer Concert, Boston Celtics Games halftime and timeout performances, Jordan’s Furniture Camp Miracles and many charities.
Upon graduation in 2003, Tanya began working full time at Wealth Management Group, LLC in Danvers, MA & continued her passion for performing. She spent the ’05, ’06, and ’07 seasons cheering for New England’s favorite Professional Football Team. During her years with the team she was selected to travel overseas with the Air Force Reserves to entertain troops from all branches of the military. Tanya and five other women from her squad visited Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Germany, and Qatar. She was also selected as one of 8 women to travel to China in 2007 to promote American Football. In addition Tanya was a Boston Bruins Ice Girl for the the 2008-2009 season.
Tanya’s passion for fitness and love of dance has always encouraged her to experiment and study various methods across the US. After 12 years of teaching numerous dance and fitness classes in March 2010 she has created her own workout method, the barre n9ne® method. In addition to her love of dance and fitness, Tanya is enjoying being a new mom! Her son Jalen was born in January 2011 and has been participating in the baby barre™ mommy & me class since he was 6 weeks old!
How did barre n9ne start? By being in the dance and fitness industry for as long as I have, my goal was to create a method that combined all the exercises I loved and felt were the most effective. barre n9ne® includes elements from Pilates, ballet, yoga, and certain “typical” aerobic classes. I wanted to create a method that was low impact and that would lean out the overused muscles in the body- i.e biceps, thighs/quads and focused on toning and stretching the underused/tight muscles i.e triceps, lower abs, hip flexors. Since I am originally from Danvers, I had been primarily looking there to open a studio. In 2010 I found the perfect space in to start barre n9ne® and I’m so happy I did!
What makes it so special? I think we are special for a few reasons- one being our motivating and non judgmental environment. We have clients of all ages and fitness levels and we are sure to make each person feel “at home” when they walk into the studio. Also all the barre n9ne® instructors legitimately care about our clients; we are interested in getting to know them. We don’t just teach and class and say we’ll see you next week. We feel that knowing our clients allows us to make their workouts more effective. Some of these women spend, 5, 6, 7 hours with us a week. Why wouldn’t you want to get to know them? Lastly, many clients say that they are so happy to be part of the barre n9ne® family- and that is just it- it IS like a little family here. So many friendships have developed in the past 2 years and I can’t wait to see what the next two years brings.
(Editor’s note: This is 100% true. I am a social person, but I feel like I’m amongst friends at every barre n9ne class – even if I don’t know a soul. Am I twice as big as most girls taking classes? Yup. Does it faze me? Nope!).
When did the Danvers studio open? March 2010 What prompted a second studio opening? Julianna and I have been talking about expanding for a while actually. Not in any sort of rush, just actively looking. We have many clients who drive from all over to come to the Danvers studio- some girls come all the way from NH actually! Many of these ladies have friends who want to try barre n9ne® but don’t want to or can’t make the drive to Danvers. There were a few towns on our list that we really wanted to open a barre n9ne studio in and Andover was one of them. We came across a studio that was closing and the location was awesome so I just took a deep breath and went for it! We just love what we do so much and want to share barre n9ne® with the world
How are you going to find time to (wo)man 2 studios?! I ask myself that question too kidding. When you love what you do it doesn’t feel like work. I plan to split my time between both studios teaching and working on all the “business stuff” and I have an awesome staff of instructors who are so eager and willing to help all the time which I am so thankful for. Also I recently left my full time job at Wealth Management Group so that I can devote 100% of my time to barre n9ne®.
Being a professional cheerleader I bet you always had pressure to keep your weight in a certain range. Do you think this impacted your relationship with your body? Food? Many people think that if you are a professional cheerleader you have to starve yourself. This is so far from the truth. We did get weighed in during our practices however girls that were underweight were spoken to just as often as girls who legitimately needed to tone up. Being in that role you just have to be very aware of your appearance- naturally; since you are wearing a two piece uniform and there are 500 other girls vying for your spot you really do want to look your best. We didn’t necessarily need to keep our weight in a certain range; we just needed to look FIT. If there were areas that needed to tone up that is what we had to do. I would say that the requests were very reasonable. We were definitely not all supposed to weigh the same and if our coach every got wind of anyone starving themselves or doing anything drastic to lose weight i.e throwing up, diet pills, etc you would be removed from the team. For me, I always enjoyed working out, and I danced my whole life so I was always on a stage in some sort of tight/revealing outfit, therefore I guess I just always wanted to make sure I looked my best.
As far as this impacting my relationship with food; I don’t feel like it has impacted it at all really. I enjoy and indulge when I want to but I don’t make this the norm. My opinion is that you just feel better when you eat well. The example I give in my nutrition seminars is this: chocolate cake on your birthday is awesome, surrounded by your friends and family celebrating you and your life; chocolate cake every day is a means to disliking who you are.
What foods do you crave? How do you still enjoy these and stay within your number? I LOVE ice cream. I LOVE warm freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. I LOVE pizza from Upper Crust. I LOVE wine and I LOVE the chocolate martini at Max Brenner in Boston. The key to staying within my number is by planning. If I know I have ice cream at home and I know I am going to want it after dinner I make sure I plan for it during the day. Maybe I don’t get a 200 calorie drink at Starbucks that day or I don’t order out for lunch with the rest of my co-workers. Same thing on the weekends; if we are planning to go into the city I have a light breakfast- maybe a banana with peanut butter or a chobani yogurt with some strawberries or banana- something that will fill me up and is nutritious. Then I enjoy those things I am looking forward to. Also here’s a tip I tell my challengers- Eat when you are hungry not by habit. What this means is that if you are on a schedule of Monday through Friday eating at 7am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm 6pm and then on the weekends you wake up and have breakfast then you get invited to a late afternoon lunch and finally 6pm hits and although your habit would tell you it’s time for dinner, only eat if you are hungry.
When you were pregnant with Jalen did you gain any weight? I gained over 65lbs during my pregnancy- and I am only 5 feet tall.
Note to new mommies- Tanya offers a special mom-package and “baby barre” classes at the studio!
Leading the insanely busy life you do (full time mom, girlfriend, career, business owner AND teacher) how do you balance it all? I get this question a lot and I never know how to answer it. I guess I just do. It’s normal for me. I don’t even think about it. Even before barre n9ne and Jalen I have always been going a mile a minute in 10 different directions
During high school I went to school, danced, did gymnastics, baby sat and worked at the mall. After high school I went to college, taught at a dance studio, danced for Phunk Phenomenon, performed all over New England, and worked as a dancer at bar/bat mitzvahs. After college, I began working at Wealth Management Group (WMG) and continued to teach dance. I also bartended and still did mitvahs. From 2005-2008 I cheered for the New England Patriots while still working at WMG and teaching dance and fitness classes around New England.
Upon completing my 3rd year with the Pats I started working for a fitness studio in Boston, continued working at WMG and I cheered for a season for the Bruins Ice Girls. At the end of 2009 I began looking for space to open a barre studio on the north shore- still working at WMG. I guess you can see a trend here huh I always have enjoyed being busy. I fill my days from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep. I really do enjoy being busy and I can’t sit still
What’s your favorite move in class? Does it change? I love the side leg series we use in long and lean legs, it’s killer, I love thigh dancing and I love using the blue ball at the barre, there is no way you cannot shake!
What’s your favorite song in your current playlist? I have so many favorite songs at the moment; some are “Tonight” by Outasight, “Hit The Lights” by Jay Sean, “Starships” by Nicki Minaj, and “Sun Is Up” by Inna
What’s your favorite class to take? I really love taking barre classes and I have tried different ones all over- near and far and I try not to be bias to barre n9ne® but our classes really are awesome- not to say others aren’t but our instructors are just so attentive, clear, concise and motivating so when I want to take class I come to barre n9ne®. I usually go to Julianna’s classes however now that we have so many awesome new instructors I have so many to choose from
Favorite class to teach? That’s a tough one! I love teaching all my classes. Let me run down the list:
Long and Lean Legs is one of my top favorites because there is literally nothing like it. It is not a barre class although people think it is when they sign up. It is awesome, intense and you can literally feel your legs leaning out during it.
Another one of my favorites is toned, firm, fit and ready! I created this class because most of our classes follow a certain structure and I wanted to be able to have a class where I could use anything and everything and not (per say) in an specific order. TFFR as we call is a barre style class with a fun name! It actually was inspired by the California Girls song. That was a hit at the studio in 2010. Julianna, her mom and sister were all doing the Big White Dress Challenge to prepare for her sisters wedding and we all loved that song because her wedding was in July and we said that everyone would be “toned, tan, fit and ready” thanks to barre n9ne. The phrase became addictive and we turned it into a class name! The rest is history
barre n9ne® cardio is also top on my list because I love that we have combined 30 minutes of cardio with our signature method class. It’s an awesome class, everyone gets super sweaty and I just love it.
Lastly our signature barre n9ne® method class is of course top of my list. The warm up always the same and for upper body we always begin with shoulders, move on to biceps and triceps. From there we conquer thigh work and seat work, ending with abs and our standard stretch. I love that it is so structured and clients know what to expect next even though we have a variety of different exercises for each body part. Also I feel as though there is a sense of accomplishment once they complete each section. I love the flow of this class and the energy throughout the room.
How did “Skinny Jeans” and “60-Day” Challenge start? What kind of success have the girls had thus far? For a long time I had wanted to create a program that was achievable, manageable and that clients would see results in a short amount of time. Therefore in May of 2011 I selected two women, sisters actually, Jessica and Jolene to participate in a free 60 day challenge. The program included classes, nutritional guidance, and walking. We documented their results over 60 days and they lost over 22 inches combined- which they have kept off almost one year later! I then launched the 60 day challenge studio wide. Since August I have seen more than 200 inches lost and over 200lbs lost!
The 60 day challenge includes 4 classes per week. We were approached by many women who wanted to do the challenge but could not attend 4 classes per week. Therefore we decided to launch the Skinny Jean Challenge which is identical to the 60 day challenge however it is includes 2 classes per week instead of 4. I am so happy to be able to teach these women how to take control of their life, their eating habits and cycles of good days and bad days and to show them how to have the body they want while enjoying the foods they love.
(Editor’s Note: I was signed up for the April/May Skinny Jeans Challenge….but I’m SO ADDICTED to classes I’m coming 4-5 times a week now!!)
What would you tell someone who thought they weren’t “fit” enough to come to a barre n9ne class? The environment at barre n9ne® is completely non-judgemental. I have yet to meet anyone who felt like they were being judged when they walked through our doors. Everyone is so supportive of each other- not just our instructors but our clients too. Sometimes I just step back and listen to the conversations in the waiting room and it makes me so happy and proud. These women really care about each other and are always motivating one another. (I’m actually getting teary eyed writing this!) Seriously though, the only thing I can say is to come and try a class and I promise you will not feel judged at all. It just does not happen, I would never tolerate it.
I grew up in Danvers, and was pretty active in the community from a young age. In high school I ran cross country and cheered for the hockey team. (hockey cheering was perfect for me because I have lots of pep, but not too much rhythm and a serious fear of heights!) I continued to run competetively in college at Endicott College in Beverly, where I studied Hospitality Management. College was also where I discovered my love for group fitness! After college I bounced around a bit, trying different work out styles, and found barre n9ne in March of 2010. End of story there! I am the youngest of three girls, I love being a sister and I am lucky to be an auntie. I am engaged and getting married in September (wheeee!) at my favorite place in the world, Lake Shore Park, Gilford, NH. Other than that, I am a Leo, I think that explains my personality pretty well, so I will leave it at that (:
(Editor’s note: Julianna is also a 13-year old girl at heart. She has “Bieber Fever” and has tried unsuccessfully to convert me into a Bieber fan in class! Ha!).
How did you find barre n9ne? I discovered barre n9ne through my mom actually! When the studio first opened I still lived at home with my mom. She had started going pretty much right when it opened. She kept coming home and raving about this new work out, how much her legs hurt, and how CUTE the owner of the studio was. She nagged me to join her for at least two weeks, but I was pretty set in my work out routine; my day job is in the same parking lot as a Boston Sports Club, so right after work I would go to the gym and run on the treadmil, do crunches and lift 12 pound weights…a couple days a week I would take a spinning or step class. Well finally one night she convinced me to join her, even though I had JUST gotten home from the gym. The class was amazing, I couldn’t believe how hard it was (especially since I felit like I was in really good shape). After the class Tanya talked with my mom and I for a while about the method, and that was the first of many late night talks with the three of us, the beginning of my friendship with Tanya, and the beginning of my love affair with barre n9ne! I was hooked. I loved it, I loved Tanya and I loved being with my mom! It was a win, win, win!
What makes barre n9ne different and special from other exercise classes? So much! I know that I am biased, but even before I was a big part of barre n9ne these differences were apparent to me, and what made me love it so much!!!
There is no judgement: If you are a fitness rockstar, or if it is your first attempt at fitness, you are welcomed and treated nicely! Our instructors want to know what your goals are, and we want to help you reach them, period. As an instructor it is important to remember a couple of things: not every body is the same, not every person has the same fitness goals, and fitness can be really intimidating for some people. Simply by keeping these things in mind you can create a comfortable environment for everyone and STILL provide an amazingly challenging work out.
It is more than a fitness studio: Probably my favorite thing about the studio…the waiting room is more like a living room, where all of our clients, from all different walks of life chat with eachother! Most times they are discussing things about the studio; what’s been a challenge for them, what they are proud of accomplishing, motivating one another to try a different class, welcoming a new client by warning them that their legs will shake and they will be instantly addicted…but other times there is talk about babies, and men, and shopping! No matter what the conversation, everyone is involved and it really sets a positive tone, now these “friends” are walking in to work out together for an hour, and it is comfortable and fun! I forgot to mention the ridiculous amount of compliments that I over hear! I will never get tired of hearing our clients tell eachother how great their legs, bums and arms look!!!
The method puts a twist on more traditional exercises seen in gyms, which leads to really big changes: I could get into so much detail about this…but to keep it simple, it really goes back to the idea that not every body is the same….the biggest difference is the difference between the bodies of men and women. In most cases the two genders are going for completely different looks…so it doesn’t really make sense to do the same excercises as our male counterparts, right? The barre n9ne method is specifically designed to achieve long, lean muscles, a beautifully toned feminine physique. And it works! I promise!
The method is a constant challenge: Truly a constant challenge with constant change! Just when you think you have mastered it, you can dig deeper and find a way to get that shake we love! At barre n9ne the shake means change, and we see a LOT of it! We really care about the clients and we absolutely love what we do.
Were you always an active person growing up? What other activities do you enjoy besides barre?I have always been very active! I grew up playing soccer and running cross country and track. Until discovering the barre n9ne method, my main exercise was running! I ran competetively for years, and after I stopped that it remained my go to exercise!
What foods do you crave? How do you stay within your number? Let’s be honest here. I crave french fries, pizza and ice cream! I tell my guy all the time that there is no one on earth who loves fried foods more than I do! But with that said, I also have a crazy love for healthy foods! I can’t imagine a day without fruits and vegetables! (I also tell my guy all the time that fruit makes me feel alive, he rolls his eyes at me frequently). So before I learned about “my number” I always maintained a comfortable weight because my love for junk and my love for health food provided a good enough balance. When I learned about my number it all fell into place! Finally a lifestyle choice that I could embrace and respect: do not eliminate your favorite foods, but take responsibility for what you eat, and plan ahead! Staying within my number requires planning and mindfullness!
My favorite thing to tell people is that every Friday night I eat pizza and frozen yogurt with my guy. I never feel bad about it!! It is my favorite night of the week, and I enjoy every bite!!!
What’s your favorite healthy food? JUICE! I love to juice! My sister gave me a juicer about 3 years ago and I just love making healthy yummy juices! My favorite is a green juice: Lettuce, Lemon, Green Apples and Parsley. It is a fabulous way to start your day!
What is your favorite barre move? Does it change? OMG. How do I choose?! I guess I would have to say the wide pliets! So close to a squat, yet so different and so effective!!! Just a really great move for our female bodies!
What has been your most gratifying moment as a barre n9ne instructor? I don’t think I could pick just one…but the moments when I see someone finally “get” something, and make that mind/body connection are really gratifying! Hearing people talk about how much their bodies have changed, how they have achieved something they never thought they could and how much they love the studio and my classes….these things will never get old! It makes me so happy!
How does the focus change when you teach a group class versus a barre luxe session versus a virtual session? Group classes have the most energy for sure, which is fun! I try my best to make sure that all 17 people are getting the best work out they can! A barre luxe session is great because the client can tell me exactly the areas in which they are hoping to improve, so the focus is a lot more personal! A virtual session requires the most verbal instruction and correction, because I can’t physically fix anything! All three have their differences, but they are all fun!
What is the mot exciting part of teacher training for you? It was really fun and exciting to be a part of training the new instructors! It actually made me remember how excited I was when Tanya offered me the opportunity, and I was able to share all of my crazy stories about counting and running through a whole class in the car! Perhaps the most exciting thing though, was just seeing the actual need for so many teachers! It wasn’t that long ago when Tanya and I were the only instructors…barre n9ne is really growing quickly and I am proud to be a part of it!
What would you tell someone who thought they weren’t “fit” enough to come to a barre n9ne class? I would not accept this for an answer! If you are feeling “un-fit” we want you to come to the studio so we can help you to feel fit! Whatever your struggles are, we will do our best to help you. That is for sure! Fitness classes should build confidence, that is what we try to do!
I hope seeing a glimpse at the ladies behind the barre has made you want to come try a class – I am literally here 4-5 times a week so ping me and we will rock it at the barre together!