Tag Archives: Barre9

So, what *is* barre n9ne?

**Update: I wrote this today, before tonight’s class…and updated some areas that I totally forgot about until – ouch – tonight’s sweatastic class! Updates in bold ;-)*

Some of you have asked me what exactly the barre n9ne workouts consist of and what our routine (my sis and me) has been to accomplish the results so far from the barre n9ne challenge. Tanya laid it out so well here, but I thought you might want to know more about the actual workouts too (my sis blogged about some of the specifics but I realize not everyone that reads my blog reads hers and vice versa).

So, what are they?

Besides beyond absolutely awesome, they are like no other workouts I have ever done. Sure, there are similarities to Core Fusion but not in every way, and not that I want to compare them at all, but for those of you that have done those workouts before, you might understand a little more about what these are.

From the website:

The method:

The barre n9ne™ fitness method is a focused and proven program of isometric exercises and orthopedic stretches. Combining elements of Pilates, dance elements, and resistance training. Tanya Croteau, a four year NFL & NHL cheerleader has created a simple yet effective method using the ballet barre, light weights, and your own body weight as resistance.

The workouts:

barre n9ne™ classes will tone your seat, abdominals, thighs and arms; strengthen your legs and back; and improves posture to produce an overall, more fit and lean body. Your muscles are targeted and overloaded to the point of fatigue, then stretched for relief which in turn creates long lean muscles. It is truly a body sculpting, fat burning workout all in 57 minutes!

The barre-style workouts (my FAVORITE, hands down) start out with a warm up, some plie squats with light 1 lb weights held at the sides (typically), lifting each heel to the toe on each side and then both heels at once (these are killer!! But I LOVE them and what they are doing for my dreaded inner thigh – this is where I have lost the most inches already, and I am stoked!!). Usually then goes into the upper body workout which is done with 2-4 lb. hand weights and the ‘evil’ silver 1 lb. balls (believe me, start with the 2-3 lb weights!! I did 4 lb weights just ONCE for biceps and my arms were screaming, trust me). My favorite of this series is the shoulder workout, which uses these ‘evil’ balls for lateral arm raises (oh, I don’t know, a bagillion of them?!) and then you do some overhead presses into lat pulldowns and finally into the grand finale…drop those balls and start using just your arms for a series of lateral raises and moves that ‘wrap’ the muscle. Holy WOW, you will not be able to lift your arms after (my goal is to get through the set without stopping and I am almost there) (um, I amend my shoulder statement…triceps are RIGHT up there, mostly because I hate triceps dips. Abhor them. And there are a shitton in this class!)

Next up? Step up to the barre. This goes into a series of forward and plie squats at the bar, heeled lifted and the evil blue ball enters. (usually) You work the thighs, inner thighs, glutes, quads and calves. LIKE WHOA. (I am simplifying this part so this post isn’t overly detailed and long, and well, I think you really need to come to class to truly understand what the barre work is. It’s simply awesome). (holy wow…the newest barre leg plies are INTENSE!! I was wobbling at the first set!)

Next up? Glutes!! We move into glutes (at the barre) or seated with the blue ball for inner thigh squeezes, the SIDE LEG SERIES which is intense and kills the ‘swoop’ at the side of your thigh that you get from too many squats and lunges (I was honestly worried that not doing these exercises would make my legs wimpy. Not true, not true at all. They look leaner and more toned than they ever did with any heavy leg workout), or leg lefts squeezing the silver ball in the crook of your knee.

Gimme some abs (or ‘smabs’ as Jess and I refer to them in our own sister-slang!). The class usually ends with a 6-10 min core workout and this section is ALWAYS different. A huge reason I love it, since I tend to get really bored with too much repetition in my core workout (and it keeps me challenged, focused and at this point, I am a sweaty mess!).

For the non-barre classes (Fusion, Legs, etc), the toning and conditioning floor work is typically longer and there is no barre work in these workouts. I would have to say that the long and lean legs class on Thursday is not only the best legs class I have ever done, it is one of a kind (check out this post too for deets on a recent amazing class we had!). You HAVE to try it to believe it 😉

I just can’t say it enough – these classes are awesome and really make me feel like I am getting a well-rounded workout every day, each class, 4-6 times a week. And as I have said before, this combined with running (for the half marathon) has really made a huge difference for me and it most certainly has become my ‘new normal’ for workouts. As Tanya also said in a previous blog entry, never again will I go to a gym…this is IT for me. Truly.

So there you have it – our barre n9ne challenge in a nutshell. If you have barre-style classes near you, TRY them!! Honestly, you will love them. Or, try one of Tanya’s new skype workouts (6:15 am on Weds for starters, though as they take off – and I really think they will – my guess is that there will be even more of these to open it up to those of you that live elsewhere).

Hopefully this wasn’t too much of a rambly post and to Tanya, hopefully I did justice – in a nutshell – to these workouts. Just know that my recap of classes are not ‘official’ but my take on them and how I perceive them (Tanya’s the expert!).  And on that note, I am off to my favorite barre class…barre n9ne method! Bring it!

*There’s something about a room full of energetic, excited people taking a class…tonight’s class was just that (thanks Julianna!), everyone was uber focused, sweating, and the comraderie was off the charts. It was awesome. Have I said awesome enough yet?!*

Cloud 9.

Honestly, since Thursday‘s measure-in, I’ve been on cloud 9.

It’s carried through this weekend, an absolutely fabulous one filled with…

a 6 mile run. my longest since I started really focusing on the half marathon training and getting past my breathing issues (that are still there, but with each run, I focus on it and work to control it more and more).

an impromptu strawberry picking excursion at a local orchard. It was their annual strawberry festival and with sister and bro in law in tow, we enjoyed fresh strawberries we picked, some local honey and apple butter (and resisted the cider donuts, ice cream and even the wine tasting!).

date night out. M and I have spent many a weekend home having ‘date night in’ versus going out lately, in part because I know I can control what I am eating much easier when I am home than going out. But he asked me ‘out’ on a date on Friday, and who was I to resist a handsome man asking me to go on a date? 😉 We went to Legal Seafood in downtown Boston, re-enacted our first date outfits – which was really cute and a fun ‘recreation’ of that day (and I even put on a pair of jeans that used to feel pretty snug, and they felt awesome!) and enjoyed the night together (starting with champagne with my sis and bro in law…celebrating our ‘inches!’). This was complete with M totally spoiling me with a pair of much-coveted run shorts and even cuter tank top from Lululemon on the way home (seriously, this man knows the way to my heart!)

the beach. We squeezed in a bit of the beach today before celebrating Father’s Day with his family for the afternoon. It was perfect, low-humidity, sunny, light breeze and quiet.

a day off tomorrow. I spoke to my boss on Friday as she’s coming back tomorrow from maternity leave (triple YAY on that one!) and I had mentioned (when we were planning to be IN cali) that I wanted to take part of Monday off to spend with M before he left from Vegas. She told me to take the day anyway. So, ladies and gents, I *finally* have a day off (haven’t had any, really since she left, when I went to Jamaica) off tomorrow and it’s going to be pool weather (M’s complex has a pool). Bliss.

Cloud 9. It feels good. It feels like I’ve worked so hard to actually feel good, inside and out. And it’s been worth it. But it’s not over yet. Back at it tomorrow. Winning Barre N9ne and running combination for the week ahead. Cannot wait to keep it going and see what the next 30 days brings.

Cheers friends, enjoy your weekend and find a cloud 9 moment to melt into, ok?



How I felt Saturday night…at the first wedding I’ve gone to with M since we met.

I felt beautiful, for the very first time in a long time.

I felt confident, for the very first time in a long time.

I felt progress, tangible progress, in my 60 day challenge journey, for the very first time…in pictures (I have felt progress since day one, of course, but this is the first time I really could see it and that felt, well, indescribable (as did all of your comments on the picture I posted to Facebook, almost hesitantly, because I typically don’t post pictures of um, just me).

And I felt love. So much love for M. The way he looked at me, the way he told me how beautiful I looked and how he is the luckiest guy in the world…for once, I believed him.

The night felt magical (despite the wedding itself, which, not gonna lie, was so, um, not my style…not that weddings usually are, but more on that later hehe) because I was with the man I love, slow dancing for the first time since my divorce (yeah, it’s been that long) and smiling from ear to ear.

To know that dedication, hard work, focus and manymanymany Barre n9ne workouts and runs are actually paying off is an indescribable feeling.

To know that I have built such a strong relationship with M that continues to progress and move forward, is indescribable.

To know that I am capable of accepting myself and not hating my body is indescribable.


I am not gonna lie…I feel indulgent writing about this, because I don’t want to come across now as uber-confident or cocky, and I sincerely hope that I do not. I am writing about this because it just feels incredible to see the changes all around and within me simply by setting my focus and really going for it, not going halfway and stopping. It’s something I simply have not done before. I’ve committed, but not fully, and then gotten frustrated. But, no more. This is me, committing. To me, my body, my mind and my life. Why go through life half-assing it? When you put in that extra commitment, it truly does make all the difference between progress and stagnation.


Of frustration, jealousy, small rocks and motivation.

It’s been a week since I started my food log and just a few days ‘officially’ into the 60 day challenge, but I figured it would be good to use Sundays to share my thoughts on the journey so far, small (and big!) rocks, and motivation for the week ahead.


Running.  ‘Nuf said.

I’ve run twice in the past 5 days and the first was outside, by myself. I knew running alone would be a challenge since it’s even harder to try to control my breathing and keep going when I’m struggling. And it was a struggle. I won’t lie. I was frustrated as hell. I was more run/walking than running straight and I hate that. I just want to run, say, a few miles, without having to stop. That should not be so much to ask as I have done far more than that without stopping before (hello, half marathon), but now, even a mile straight feels insanely hard. I can’t breathe properly. I start to panic and my breathing gets out of control. So I stop and it takes me a few minutes to actually catch my breath. Not. Cool. Even with the inhaler (though I think I didn’t quite take two full puffs which may not have helped matters). Ended up with 4.5 miles, but again, some run/walking, which was very frustrating.

The second run was today. I opted for the damn dreadmill since we’re expecting the next 6-7 days of STRAIGHT RAIN. And if I’ve learned anything with my running struggles is that rain, cold air, and wetness in the air generally makes it even harder for me to breathe. I did okay with my breathing in terms of control, for the most part, but my stamina was again part of my struggle. Once my breathing got to a point where it was borderline tough to control, I slowed down to a fast walk/jog and my chest felt tight and heavy. Again, not. cool. I managed 3.5 miles, slightly better than the first run, but not by much.

I just want improvement. I just want the inhaler to do its job. I just want to run without hating it, without fearing it, and without anxiety. I know part of this is mental, but a huge part of it is very real. It scares me to think I may not be able to fix this. Failure isn’t an option. It’s just simply not.



Anyone that can run like a gazelle (I say this to M all the time when he trots along unfazed!). That can run for miles without pain or wheezing or feeling like one more step is not possible. Anyone that is improving.

I get jealous. I see the tweets, I read the blog posts,  and I get jealous.

I see my sister improving her running, getting her mojo back, and I get jealous.

And I HATE it. I hate being jealous. I hate comparing. I hate that I do compare myself. I am me, nobody else, so why do I still do it?

This goes hand in hand with my self-image and body issues. I bought this book today (thanks Sunshine, for suggesting it) and I am hopeful that it helps because I am sick of comparing and knocking myself down. I need to see myself the way you all see me (and thank you all that commented or addresses this with me in real life…including Tanya, from Barre N9ne. Thank you.)


Small rocks.

Food log.

Kicks ass.

No, really, it does.

I am thinking before eating. I am planning ahead on weekends so I can have that extra glass of wine and still be within my calorie limits (yes, I have some priorities on weekends! I don’t want to give up wine, so I’ll smartly plan for it). I feel healthier. I feel perhaps lighter (perhaps mentally more than physically, who knows really), more energetic and hopeful.

Hopeful that this challenge is going to do so much for me in so many ways. But I have to put the work in. I have to be focused. I have to be motivated.

And I am.  I really really am. I thought the food part would be a much harder struggle. But so far, it’s not (and they say the first week is the hardest, and it really hasn’t been too bad. Just adjustments). I actually really recommend it to anyone that wants to reign in on their eating, or just see how many calories they tend to eat and reality-check that against what they maybe should be eating.



We had our first 1:1 with Tanya on Saturday and holy wow, it was tough. In part because well, frankly, it’s a lot harder when it’s just the two of us with her in the studio. Less temptation to stop early or take a mini break. Even more focused on form and endurance.

I felt motivated. I felt like I was carrying myself differently. More purposefully. With more intent and awareness.

This is what I love about barre-based workouts. I already feel like I can see some slight improvements. That feels like another small rock and is so motivating.

So, despite my frustrations and jealousy? I am actually feeling pretty good about where this is going and how I am feeling. I am hopeful for change – mentally and physically. I am focused and feeling strong. I am motivated.

This week we have four classes and a fifth (hopefully) on Saturday outside at a park (SO fun). It’s going to be tough. But I can’t wait to get started (and hopefully have a few more chances at some runs that don’t suck quite as bad as the other two).

Happy Sunday all…enjoy the rest of it, mmk? I sure plan to.

(Re-reading this, I feel like one big ramble. I won’t be offended if you bypass this or are already sick of me waxing on about this stuff. But on the other hand, I hope some of what I say resonates with you, if you did read…)

A work in progress.

News flash: I’m a work in progress.

Okay, so maybe it isn’t quite so much of a news flash, as I truly believe we are always (or should be striving for) a work in progress. We should avoid becoming stagnant, or complacent. But what I mean by feeling my work-in-progress status so much right now is in part the Barre N9ne Challenge, of course, but also mentally.

My need for balance and to an extent, control, and struggles with change. I think I am getting the latter two under control, and most likely because I am adjusting to my job more and more and the change doesn’t feel quite so jarring as it has felt the last few months. As for needing control and balance…well, I think those areas will always be areas where I need to work on allowing. Allowing my own feelings, allowing others feelings and needs, and allowing the premise of imperfection.

Imperfection in myself, namely.

This goes back to my self-image issues, something that I am faced with as my sister and I embark on this 60-day challenge, something that I wish I could run and hide from, but I can’t. I need to face them, realize that a large part of my body issues are extremely mental, and the other part are well, extremely real. I do struggle with balance in terms of my diet. I am much stricter with myself during the week and let myself slide back a little too much on weekends. For the most part, that’s normal, but for me, it’s obviously starting to affect my body.

I realized this yesterday when we were measured for our before/after stats. I kidded myself that seeing my sisters numbers compared to mine wouldn’t bother me. Probably because I thought they’d be the exact same, since we wear the same size in pants, shirts, dresses and even shoes. (makes for a great double wardrobe, though, I must say!) But her numbers were a little better than mine. And as much as I tried to shove down the body failure/fat talk, it was too late. It was written all over my face. Jess could sense it. I hated that I could see it in the mirror in my eyes. It shouldn’t matter that we’re slightly different measurement-wise. What matters is that I immediately slid into comparison/body hatred mode. And it’s unhealthy. It makes me want to cry and scream and yell at myself for feeling the way I do.

…but I’m a work in progress.

And I’m trying. SO hard. I know this next 60 days will be not only physically altering, it will be almost moreso mentally. I hope to come out the other side much more healthy mentally (in addition to physically, of course!) because feeling this way, the way I feel now, isn’t the way I want to feel. I don’t want to fixate. I don’t want it to drag me down. Because in the grand scheme of things? Life is pretty damn good. It could be so much worse. SO much worse. I’m blessed with so much, the way I perceive how I look should not drag me down. Absolutely should not be as much a priority in my brain as it is right now.

…I need to tell myself to ‘bear with me’ as I battle myself through this and come out stronger on the other side. It’s going to be worth it.