This is part of a series of interviews I am conducting with practitioners of holistic medicine with he aim of answering the question: "How can we increase our quality of life?" I also find folks drawn to help others in these less-conventional fields to be ignited with a deep passion and purpose. These interviews were created to delve into that drive and to discover their tips and insight into living life to its fullest.
Becca Bagge is the owner of Barre3 Main Line in Berwyn, PA and was kind enough to answer my questions about her passions and the benefits of barre3.
Enjoy the interview!
p.s. Becca was generous enough to offer the Village Wellness community a very special discount to try out barre3 at her studio! read below for the details!
Q: What is barre3?
BECCA: Barre3 is a whole-body health approach that includes our workout, our nutrition philosophy and our strong, supportive community. The 60-minute total-body working is designed to help you break plateaus and is inspired by yoga, Pilates, and ballet. We take you through postures that tone and lengthen all major muscle groups, rev your heart rate, strengthen your body, and help you shed weight.
A primary focus of the barre3 workout is alignment and a healthy, tall spine. Each workout is unique, with upbeat music and innovative postures that keep you challenged. But what I love most about barre3 is that, while being challenging, it is totally accessible. In any given class we might have a major athlete working alongside someone with an injury, or a grandmother-mother-daughter trio working out together. All of them will get the workout they need in that moment, in the same class. barre3 is not just a workout – it’s a community. A lifestyle.
Exercise is just one part of the equation. Exercise, nourish, connect: these are the 3 pillars of the barre3 approach. It’s not just about how hard you work out or the numbers on the scale. It’s about nourishing your body and making connections in order to lead a balanced and happier life. By focusing on whole-body health, we empower you to feel your best from the inside out.
Q: How did you get interested in barre3?
BECCA: It was about 7 years ago. I had always been very involved in fitness classes, but I had just heard about barre workouts. I heard they worked to make your muscles long and lean. I had always put on bulky muscle fast, so this was appealing to me. I started to ask my local gyms if they could start some barre classes, but at the time, no one really knew what these were! There were very few barre studios on the east coast except for those in New York City. One day I was reading Shape Magazine, and saw a little blurb about Sadie Lincoln and barre3. I ordered their DVD, and was hooked. I ordered every barre DVD I could get my hands on. Ultimately I was the most inspired by everything about barre3. Not only did I feel refreshed, energized, and taller after the workout, but even from that one DVD, I got a glimpse of the warmth and encouragement all of our studios have today. I decided I had to get the real live classes to our community someway, somehow!
Q: What is the difference between barre and barre3?
BECCA: Great question. I haven't been to another barre studio in quite a while, but the feedback we often receive from clients tells us that they have discovered the following things set us apart: barre3 fuses the traditional barre workout with principles from yoga and Pilates. It incorporates a specific 3-step sequence that delivers results, including holds, small movement, and large functional movement. We teach and encourage modifications, so clients can make each class their own. The mind-body connection is emphasized so that the practice never gets easier and always stays challenging. We offer childcare, and we are all about community rather than competition. It is a place many of our clients call their "Happy Place." To really understand the difference, we say, just try it!
Q: Why did you end up starting a business with it?
BECCA: After finding barre3 I knew I needed it in my life. I also wanted to share it with everyone around me! My initial thought was, “I hope they open one near me!” But soon that thought became, “Wait, why don’t I open one?!” I was a school teacher at the time, and while I enjoyed it, I had always loved helping people find ways to be healthier and happier, and I thought that opening a barre3 studio would be a great combination of my background in education and desire to work in wellness. I was sure my husband, Rich, would think I was out of my mind when I called him at work one day to propose my idea. But he was completely on board, and has been by my side in this business from that moment on.
Opening our Berwyn studio was certainly a labor of love! We flew to the barre3 Headquarters in Portland, Oregon to meet with the company, but we initially didn’t have the capital to invest in a business like this. Even though most of the pieces fit, we had to put everything on hold for a couple of years. In that time, I became a certified Pilates and barre instructor, and worked at studios and gyms around the Main Line. But I couldn’t get barre3 out of my mind. I knew barre3 was right for our community. So Rich and I worked tirelessly to make it happen. Two years after our initial meeting with the founders, we flew back out to Portland to reconnect, and this time, all the pieces fit. It was a long journey, and we still had over a year of work ahead of us to get everything up and running, but that’s what makes me love it even more. I am so incredibly proud of our studio and of all of the instructors, staff, and clients who make it what it is.
Q: What kind of folks would benefit from barre3?
BECCA: Everyone! barre3 works to balance the body and the mind. The instructors are trained to differentiate each class to meet the needs of the clients. It’s a place to go whether you want an intense, heart pumping, leg shaking workout, or if you want to just get up, move, breath, and de-stress. When I go in, I pick the kind of workout my mind and body needs that day, and I make it my own with the tools given to me by the instructors. Men and women, old and young, new to fitness and pro athletes, barre3 is seriously for everyone.
Q: What are the benefits of barre3?
- Builds strength and flexibility for optimal body balance
- Finding balance in your body leads to improved posture, healthier digestion, and a physique that helps you move through life with ease.
- Improves posture (we have clients and instructors who have actually measured taller at their doctor visits!)
- Increased metabolism
- We have had clients tell us they no longer experience joint or back pain after a regular barre3 practice.
- Clients continuously give us feedback about shedding weight, losing inches, and building long, lean muscle from a regular barre3 practice.
- Low-impact moves
- Mind benefits: barre3 classes energize and de-stress. They empower you to make healthier choices all day long.
Q: Where did you grow up?
BECCA: Rich and I both grew up in Berwyn! We went to Conestoga High School together.
Q: what is your mission with the work you offer?
BECCA: I love being a part of something that has the mission to make the world a better place. To me there is nothing better than having a career where I can help people find their “Happy Place.” I know that giving to yourself is so important, and has a halo effect on all those around you. You will take better care of everyone in your life if you first take care of yourself. My goal is to help people realize this and make progress with it. It is not easy, or we would all do it all the time! So celebrating small victories is important. Those small victories will continue to layer on with time.
Q: What is your goal when you are working with your clients?
To empower each and every client to tune in to their personal needs, and to give them the tools to meet these needs. Does the client have a weight loss goal? Does she/he want to de-stress? Are they building strength in their joints to prevent injury? Are they coming back from an injury? Do they just need to get out of the house and breath? It takes practice to tune in and recognize what you need, and to truly honor that. My goal for all clients is to help them learn to listen to their body and to choose what it needs in that moment. And to be OK with whatever that is, whether it’s deciding to take class turbo that day, or just taking a moment in child’s pose during seatwork.
Q: What are your top 4 healthy habits or lifestyle recommendations?
BECCA: These are all current goals of mine as well. It is always a work in progress!
- Give to yourself! This has many sides to it, but a couple options that I love are: A) Schedule a piece of unstructured time for yourself every week to choose what you want to do. Maybe you sit quietly, read a book, take a walk, or even tackle a chore that kept getting bumped on your to-do list. The point is, your mind needs this moment of time that isn’t filled with absolute “to dos” like the rest of your hours likely are. Decide in the moment what it is you need, and do that. B) Take care of yourself with exercise, sleep, nourishment, and healthy connections. You can only give to others fully when you yourself feel good.
- Move throughout the day, every day. We are a society that sits. This takes a toll on our body and everything else we do in life. If you sit at a computer much of the day, for example, set reminders at 30 minute intervals to take a minute to stand up, stretch, and move your spine in all directions. These little bursts of movement can have a great impact.
- Sleep! Get enough sleep each night. Try to get off of your electronics well before bedtime to allow you to transition into sleep more easily.
- Nourish yourself: With delish whole foods, and with healthy relationships.
Q: Do you have a spiritual practice? if so what is it?
BECCA: I don’t have a regular spiritual practice at the moment. I do belong to a church, which I attend when I can (although, since the birth of my son, I have found it harder and harder to get there!). I used to set aside time each morning to sit quietly and meditate, if for even 10 minutes at a time. But with the busy day-to-day packed schedules, I have fallen out of doing this. It is currently something I am working on committing to again.
Q: What does your morning routine look like?
BECCA: (Not too exciting!! Hahaha)
- Goal: Wake up before the baby, take a moment of quiet time to sit. Write/Journal at least 1 page. And just maybe, sneak in a 10-minute barre3 online video.
- Actual: Wake up with the baby. Anytime between 5-6:30 am.
- I get our 11-month old, Liam, ready for the day while Rich takes the dogs (Warren and Dundee) for a walk.
- Get ourselves dressed and ready for the day
- Feed Liam, Dogs, and ourselves. We often make a barre3 smoothie recipe for breakfast. These are all so tasty and fuel our mornings.
- Rich heads to work, and we bring Liam to childcare.
- Each day’s schedule is different for me, but from here, I either head to a coffee shop or back home to do work for the business, or I go to the studio to teach or take a class.
Q: What are your current favorite books?
BECCA: Gosh, this is a tough one! I have been reading a lot of business and time-management books lately. Two that I highly recommend are The Myth of Multitasking: How Doing It All Gets Nothing Done, by Dave Crenshaw (such a quick read with seriously work-altering insights), and Manage your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind by 99U. These were game changers for me. Unfortunately we live in a society that is always “on,” and connected, and everything is an “emergency.” These books rearranged this perspective, and I’m currently working on business and personal goals from both of them. Also, one of my other favorite books is "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me," By Mindy Kaling. For a good laugh.
Q: What are you currently most passionate about?
BECCA: Trying to live in the moment. To be present and to give myself fully to whoever I’m with or whatever I am doing.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time? what do you like to do for fun?
BECCA: My number one: Spend quality time with Rich, our son, and our dogs! This is my ultimate best time ever. I also love to just get outside, read, and watch movies!
Q: Who is your hero?
BECCA: I’ve always said my Grandmother was my hero. She was like a second mother to me growing up. She is Feisty yet nurturing, and she taught me so much about life.