Tucking For Two: Barre With Baby

Who better to to ask for mommy and mommy-to-be tips than NB Nashville’s Kelly Phillips? See her thoughts on tucking for two below..

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“Barre is one of the best methods of exercise during pregnancy. You can exercise safely right up until delivery (seriously)! It is low-impact and easy on the joints and the class can still be taken ‘in-full’ with a few minor modifications to ensure both you and your baby’s comfort and safety. Plus you’re using your own body weight primarily to create resistance so you can control the intensity of each exercise.

Listen to your body and remind yourself to slow down and take the modifications in class. Always talk to your instructor pre/post class about exercise modifications. Most any exercise that is done at the barre can be done on the mat and vice-versa. Try it both ways and see where you’re most comfortable as your body grows.

Eat a small snack before exercising, such as a banana or chia bar so you’re not exercising on an empty stomach, this will also aid in reducing light-headedness and potential nausea. And make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated!

Barre exercise will keep you toned, healthy and fit pre-and-post pregnancy, as well as benefit labor and delivery. You’re strengthening not only your core and pelvic floor, but also increasing endurance, flexibility and even breath control in class.

We offer complimentary child care when you are cleared to return to exercise post-baby! Exercising releases necessary endorphins and provides that much needed energy boost when you’re exhausted and overwhelmed with a newborn. You need to take a little time for yourself daily and barre class is a perfect way to get some ‘me’ time in while also rebuilding your strength and toning your body post-baby. Plus there’s plenty of mama’s who have been there in class and it’s nice to have reassurance and advice from other clients and instructors who become fast friends at the barre!”

-Kelly Phillips

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Questions on tucking for two? Post below or email to info@neighborhoodbarre.com

Don’t forget that we offer specials on packages for new moms and those who are expecting. We also provide pregnancy modifications in our DVD workouts!

Long & Strong: Stretching Makes A Difference

Instructor: “… finish strong! last, 3, 2, and 1… great job, face the barre, let’s get a stretch…” You: “uhhh. owwww…. omg hurry up… whew oh thank God, I think I got a snap chat…” {immediately grabs phone}. If this … Continue reading

Take A Peek Inside Madison’s Closet….

Our resident fashionista, Madison Ford, always looks so put together! From her oversized sweaters to street sneaks, we love her look at Neighborhood Barre. Below she has put together 3 looks – including accessories – to help keep us studio to street chic whether heading to brunch, errands, or happy hour, after class.

If I could choose one word to describe my closet (besides color coordinated) it would be practical. Since I spend the majority of my day in ‘barre attire’ I have really tried to fill my closet with staple pieces that can easily be dressed up or down depending on my plans post-barre. The key in adding versatility to your workout wear is accessorizing.  By grabbing a pair of sunnies, throwing on a cute sneaker, stacking bracelets or wrapping up in a scarf, you gain the ability to tailor your assemble to channel your personal style and, better yet, transition from class to post-class plans. I’ve put together a few outfits (from the studio) as well as my own closet below:

Brunch: This outfit is perfect for a weekend class when you plan on treating yourself to a mimosa after. Navy is such a strong color for Spring and these pieces from Beyond Yoga are far too chic and comfortable to only be seen in the studio. I grabbed a lightweight scarf, my favorite Tkees flops, and Ray Bans to complete the look.blog1  blog4

 Ray Ban aviators, Tkees flip-flops, Beyond Yoga top and leggings – available at Nb (duh).

Shopping: We all know shopping and errands equal walking (and lots of it) so I chose a neutral outfit that I could make pop with some cute sneakers.  NB plug: I am obsessed with the mesh detail of this pocket tank and a bright sports bra would add some edge to the look.

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Nike Air sneakers, Beyond Yoga top and leggings, BKR water bottle

Happy Hour: My mantra when choosing an outfit to take from barre to the bar is to stick to neutrals, and by neutrals I mean black.  I chose these specific items because of the detailing. The quilted texture in these Beyond Yoga leggings and the strappy Alo bra add an element of edge to the pairing. I left off a top because while keeping on your workout tank is totally fine (and recommended), I would bring my favorite cashmere to throw on after class.

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Sublte Luxury cashmere, Alo sports bra, Beyond Yoga leggings, BKR water bottle

What’s your must-have studio to street piece? Comment below!

Follow us on Instagram for more #ootd @neighborhoodbarreknox

Barre Skinny ™

So you’ve started barre and now your body is changing… for the better? Often times the changes you will see in your body after starting a highly regimented barre program aren’t what you would expect. It isn’t uncommon for your jeans to feel tighter and the number on the scale to rise… Why? Because you are changing from the inside out. 

An athletic barre program will result in the gain of muscle – not bulking of the legs and seat – but long lean muscle mass, which is still adding muscle. Since muscle weighs more than fat, it is not uncommon for the number on the scale to rise or stay relatively the same once you begin your barre program. Don’t judge yourself by the number, let your eyes and those of others be the judge. Our NEIGHBORHOOD barre program refers to this phenomenon as Barre Skinny ™.  Why would you want to be skinny, when you could be Barre Skinny ™? Our barre-bies have muscles, not the bulky body-building muscles, but lean beautiful muscles that define the shape of the arms, back, abs, hips, glutes, thighs, calfs… did I miss anything? Just check out these changes: Image 

So why do your clothes feel tighter than before? Think of a marshmallow vs. an almond.  When your thighs consist of more fat (marshmallow) than muscle (almond) they are going to stuff nicely into your tightest jeans, thus molding themselves to the shape of the pants. Once you have replaced that fat with muscle (almond), the pants have to form to your shape instead. The answer? Give it time. Although we see results quickly in a classical or athletic barre studio, there are layers of change that need to happen in order to reach your ultimate goal. Keep working! The muscles often start to form before the fat has melted away, which is why you think you are ‘bulking’ or getting bigger. You will get smaller. We promise. Keep pulsing, drink LOTS of water, and don’t stop just because it burns 🙂

If you have any other questions about weight gain/loss in barre, post them below. Questions about burning calories? Visit our Facebook page and see the burn.

What The Tuck?

While perusing the social media world last week I saw someone answer the question “What is barre?” like this… “Barre is combination of yoga and pilates with a ballet barre that you use for balance…”. Ummmm, what?

Because barre fitness is still a relatively new phenomenon in the Southeast, we often hear the above-mentioned question “what is barre”? While many see it as a combination of workouts – pilates, yoga, dance – in a classical barre studio, this is not the case. Barre is its own workout, its own moves, its own identity.

So what is it? Barre is a full body workout that incorporate ELEMENTS of dance, pilates, and yoga with isometric movements to carve and shape key muscle groups in the arms, legs, abs, and glutes. It is not a fusion workout. At least not at our studio. Classical barre is based off of its own method – the Lotte Berk Method – which was created by a woman named Lydia Bach. It has been around for MANY years and is just now gaining popularity nationwide. The techniques differ from studio to studio and brand to brand, but a true barre workout (the classical style) is based from Lotte Berk and not a fusion or combination of anything. No warriors or balancing trees here, only tucking, lifting, pulsing, and holding.

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Another key component to a classical studio is the hip tuck. I said ‘tuck’, not ‘thrust’. Tucking of the hips is a classic dance posture that aligns the spine and engages the core. While some might say that the hip tuck is unsafe and outdated, we are confident from our research with local chiropractors, physicians, and physical therapists, that the hip tuck is safe and effective. Think of pressing your tail bone towards the floor. It keeps your body stacked in a position that is safer for the lower back and allows more muscle groups to be engaged during the workout, thus burning more calories and providing an overall strength benefit. 

What’s more comfortable to you? Standing like this..

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Or like this…

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While no studio is really right or wrong, it is up to you to find the workout that is right for your body and strength level and delivers the results you want and need. If a fusion studio that calls itself a ‘combination of yoga and pilates’ is your thing, then go for it; but if you want barre, then make sure you find  a classical studio that uses only elements of other methods, rather than fusing different workouts together. Barre fitness can provide amazing results if done consistently and correctly. At NEIGHBORHOOD barre we make it our goal to ensure that our clients get the best experience possible, with proper coaching to ensure safety and effectiveness during class. If you ever have any questions about a move or a posture, then ask! As we all know, barre can often get harder before it gets easier because we learn the technique over time. Stick to it and keep tucking! Don’t forget, your first class at NEIGHBORHOOD barre is FREE! Come see the difference.

5 Ways To Wear Your Leggings

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If you are barre or yoga obsessed, chances are you find yourself  spending all of your money on crazy expensive leggings only to realize later that you do not actually own any ‘real’ pants. Well, we’re here to help you turn those Wunder Unders and Beyond Yoga Leggings into street chic apparel. Here are 5 ways to wear your leggings in public without being embarrassed (a shirt long enough to cover your rear helps too).

1. Flats.

How about we jazz it up with a print?

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Or more specifically a smoking slipper with print…

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Leopard pairs great with color – especially those jewel tones that we are loving this season. Throw on a chambray shirt over your tank or your favorite slouchy sweater, and voila! You are casually chic and ready to hit the town.

2 & 3. Boots and booties. We might as well combine these into one even though they can give you two totally different looks.

Tall boots, short boots, low boots – they all look great with a legging. Add interest with a leg warmer or tall sock. Think layers for your legs.

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Toms makes a great affordable lace-up bootie. Also check Urban Outfitters.

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You don’t have to have a sock to be cute. Laces and buckles add enough to this look making layers unnecessary.

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Yessssssssss. We love a tall boot with a tall boot sock and leggings. This look can take you many places.

Great boots usually come at a steep price. You can keep it middle of the road with Frye. They make boots of all shapes and heights and with a varying price range. Most are a more casual look, which pair well with leggings.

4. Moccasins.

I’m a sucker for a good moccasin. Just don’t get too crazy. Keep the fringe to a minimum and buy a boot that is suitable for your height. This short boot looks great on most people. It still has the fringe and some detail without taking all of the attention.

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Where to find these and other great moccs? MINNETONKA. The mother of all things moccasin.

5. Platforms.

My personal favorite. Platforms can take your legging look from day to night especially if you keep it simple with black. Pair with a tunic or long sweater and you are ready, set, go.

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Above is a very affordable Steve Madden platform. The black on black keeps it simple and chic.

For Those Who Love The Chase Of The Shake & Change…

This blog is for you.

I was first introduced to barre-based fitness in 2009 where I had the “this is it” moment and have since pursued my love for the technique by studying and training in a variety of methods, and eventually opening my own studio. Neighborhood Barre is a ‘classical’ barre studio based on the Lotte Berk Method, but of course, with our own twist. Workouts are high energy and high intensity, but we encourage everyone to take it at their own pace, starting slow, and working up to the intensity level over time. With all of the barre studios, franchises, videos, etc. it can be hard to know which workout is right for you. Techniques can differ as there are both classic and contemporary approaches to barre. While we believe there is no right or wrong way to approach a barre-based workout there can be BIG differences among studios.

Here’s the skinny on the differing techniques:

What we refer to as ‘classic’ barre is simple. It’s the original, based on the Lotte Berk, tuck, pulse, and hold. The Lotte Berk Method is the root of barre fitness. Several major franchises practice this technique, and though the workouts are very different, the body positioning is the same – belly in, hips tucked. Why do we tuck? It’s simple. Although technically a neutral spine is a better position for the body to hold (think everyday life, sitting, standing, you want your back to be straight) most people are not strong enough to hold a neutral spine, resulting in a sway of the lower back, thereby putting pressure on the sensitive lumbar area. Let’s get it straight, the tuck is not a thrust. It’s a small movement that engages all 3 core groups – glutes, back, abs – and provides a more stable position for the body during our barre sessions. Think classical Pilates c-curve, not hips pressed forward.

Contemporary studios are quite different from classical in the removal of the hip tuck. Contemporary preaches a neutral spine and as a result, much of the intensity is often removed from the workout. Trying to do fast-paced classical barre class with a neutral spine can cause untrained bodies to easily lose the proper form, shifting the focus of the position to the lower back, and out of the core. While most studios and franchises are based off of the hip tuck, Lotte Berk style of barre, there is a major franchise that is on the opposite end of the spectrum and focuses on more of a fusion style class – incorporating barre, yoga, and Pilates with much longer stretching series resulting in a slower paced ‘barre-based’ workout. There is another neutral spine barre program that can be licensed and taught in a variety of health clubs and fitness studios. Although the founder was trained in the Lotte Berk Method, she has found that a neutral spine works best for her technique, as she also practices contemporary Pilates. While this particular technique does follow a more traditional barre regime, no fusion of yoga here, it seems to be a bit watered down due to the fact that most classes are taught in health clubs vs. boutique studios.

While there is no right or wrong technique, at Neighborhood Barre, we feel the classical approach is the safest and most effective approach to barre. Providing stability in the core, engaging the core throughout the entire class, and allowing us to move quickly through our workout gets us to the bottom line much faster. What is that bottom line? RESULTS. After all, isn’t that what barre is all about?

The left shows a proper hip tuck, while the right shows a neutral spine approach. Notice how engaged the body appears on the left vs. the right.