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Anybody who knows me will you tell you I am a fitness fanatic. In fact, before COVID-19 hit and shut down all the gyms where I live, I was partying on a bike at my favorite indoor cycling studio up to seven days a week. To help keep the momentum going in my fitness journey, I immediately looked on Amazon to purchase workout equipment to outfit my tiny apartment. Unfortunately, I was greeted with several “sold outs” on every search I made.
What was I supposed to do now? Refusing to succumb to the temptation of endless Netflix binge sessions and inevitably gaining the “COVID 15,” I knew I needed to get creative with my at-home workouts. That’s when I remembered I tried a dance-inspired barre workout a few years ago that required little-to-no equipment to get a good sculpt in. All I really needed was yoga pants and a countertop to act as my stationary handrail.
Ready to trade in my typical cardio-focused routine for an intense, strength-training workout, I grabbed my phone and pulled up my app to search for online barre classes. I live in Phoenix, and to say the barre scene here is popping would be an understatement. With the city at my fingertips, I decided to try streaming workouts from one of the local hotspots around here—barre3 Scottsdale.
Upon booking (just $10 for my first class!), I received a confirmation email letting me know I’d receive the link to my class 15-30 minutes before it started—they even suggested hopping on 10 minutes before class started to introduce yourself to the instructor (hey, Ashley!) and chat with the other students. The morning of my class, I slapped on those yoga pants, propped my laptop on my kitchen counter, and got ready to plie my little heart out.
Pro tip: If you're interested in taking your virtual barre experience to the next level by trying out multiple studios all over the country, you should look into trying out Mindbody Flex. Mindbody Flex gives you the power to try all the best livestream fitness classes from the comfort of your own home at a super affordable rate. There are thousands of livestream classes to choose from, at hundreds of great studios—and more and more studios are opting in to Flex each week. Check out this blog post to get all the deets on a Mindbody Flex membership.
When I logged into class, I was greeted by my instructor, Ashley, and a handful of other barre students.
Then I learned, I was the only newbie in the class. On top of that, my back was to my wall of windows, so I literally looked like a creepy shadow trying to pawn myself off as an elegant dancer. Not even five minutes into class, my entire body became a wobbly mess. To put this into perspective for you, I’m a part-time yoga instructor so I’m used to holding poses that make your muscles want to scream for an ungodly length of time—but movements involved in barre are no joke. Seriously.
I felt every inch of every single plie I did—almost landing on my butt half of the time. By the end of the class, my fingertips were clinging onto my countertop like I was a rock climber dangling off a 50-foot cliff—completely out of breath and wondering if I even had legs anymore.
All in all, it was a great, full-body workout and one that I (and my muscles) would not forget for several days. No—really. When I woke up the next morning, I could barely release my heels to the ground, requiring me to not only wear high heels to walk my dogs (it’s a great look with sweatpants by the way) but also around my apartment. Come to think of it, I should probably write my downstairs neighbor a letter of apology for causing so much ruckus.
Stretch before and after class. This one is a little embarrassing because I should have known better. While I did prep my muscles before the workout with some light stretching, I was so gassed after class that I completely forgot to cater to my limbs post-workout. Even just a few yoga stretches probably would have helped with the recovery process.
Invite a workout buddy. Hey—the more the merrier, right? I’m not going to lie—being the only newbie in this class, my ego took a huge hit. As someone who not only works out every day but also teaches fitness for a living, I was surprised at how humbling this experience was. I’m used to working out with others, and I think inviting some other beginners to partake in this class would make it even more entertaining. Who knows? Maybe if my boyfriend took the class with me, he would take back all those chuckles he had whenever I wore my heels to grab a glass of water during my recovery phase.
Find better lighting. Next time, I would probably set my laptop up at a different angle, so I didn’t look like a backlit, dancing ghoul. I’m sure it would have been easier for Ashley to offer me feedback on any of the movements I was doing if she was actually able to see me.
Stock up on Epsom salt. Or magnesium supplements of any kind. When I say you will be sore from a live-streamed barre workout, I mean it. Get yourself a big bag of Epsom salt and run yourself a bath to help your muscles recover—you’ll thank me later.
Even though I felt like a baby deer taking its first steps throughout the entire class, one session was all it took for me to want to add virtual barre classes into my COVID-19 workout routine. Did this class make me feel sore for days? Yep. Did it make me realize I had muscles in places I never even knew existed? You bet. But those are the types of workouts I crave because you start seeing results immediately and the recovery process gets shorter the more you go. Needless to say, I’m excited to take my next virtual barre class knowing what I know now.
To say the last year and a half was tough would be an understatement. In fact, it will probably go down as one of the most difficult times for our modern generation. In one of the many social polls we conducted during the pandemic, some of you described this time as a sheer “dumpster fire” or “like stepping on a Lego.” And to be honest, I couldn’t agree more.
Luckily, we’ve been able to get back to some form of normalcy in our lives and wellness routines over the last several months. As vaccines became available to the public, wellness businesses welcomed fitness fanatics, haircut seekers, and massage lovers back to in-person wellness experiences. And thank goodness for that—my roots and horrible posture from working from my bed were both getting wildly out of control. This girl needed a good massage and cupping session stat.
If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that our wellness routines are as personal as they are important. During shelter-at-home, those routines looked a bit different. For many, it meant taking a new approach to the “typical” wellness services we count on—I’m looking at you DIY haircuts, at-home waxing sessions (ouch!), and virtual swerking classes.
Now that we can leave our humble abodes to take advantage of in-person experiences again, the word “wellness” has seemingly taken on a new meaning.
Recently, we conducted another one of our famous social polls to see what wellness means to you, our Mindbody community, now that we're slowly but surely getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. We also tapped some of our most influential Mindbody business owners about the ever-evolving wellness landscape.
Here’s what you all had to say.
According to our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, 60% of Americans say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since COVID. Consumers are now realizing they need to take greater care of themselves to optimize and preserve their health. When we asked you on Instagram how important wellness is, a whopping 98% said it was more important than ever. When it comes to how you’re practicing wellness, though, the answers were all over the board. Many of you pointed to journaling, practicing breathwork, and daily workout routines (cycling and yoga topped the list) as being the activities that help you keep your chill throughout the week.
I’m also happy to report that over 50% said you tend to feel more blessed than stressed on a daily basis—which is more than likely a big improvement. Let’s be honest, a year ago I would’ve bet a billion dollars that 99.9% of us knew no other feeling than anxiety—am I right? But even with the stress in our lives dwindling, many of you are still experiencing burnout at the end of a long work week (guilty!). But instead of succumbing to a bottle of wine for relief (please, that was so 2020), you’re unwinding by going to your favorite workout classes—with hot yoga, barre, and Pilates as your faves.
Let’s be honest, we should credit the business owners in this space for helping us reignite our spark when it comes to our wellness routines, right? Thanks to them, we’ve been inspired to prioritize the activities that help us feel our best. In turn, we thought it’d be interesting to learn what wellness means to them—and how that definition has changed over the past eighteen months.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Wellness is living in balance—mind, body, spirit. Highs and lows. It all ebbs and flows and we can navigate it a bit better when we take time to move, breath and remember who we are, and how we are connected to this big, beautiful world.” - Jess Pierno, Founder, Owner, and Chief Inspiration Officer of Yoga Heights
“Wellness is a true balancing of the mental, physical, and spiritual. It has definitely evolved over the years for me—from something that I just thought was about exercising and eating a healthy diet—to also incorporating balancing and healing internally and spiritually.” - Stefanie Patterson, Owner, Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center
“My sense of wellness has evolved from staying healthy and motivated, mind/body/spirit... to being more gentle with myself, less demanding. Accepting my limitations, taking time for resting, and gaining real clarity about what's important. I care less about what people think of me—difficult as a performer and as a business owner with so many demands on me—and more about getting quiet and tapping into the divine source inside of me that helps me discern my next move. In this way, I know my motives are as pure as possible and I'm not getting distracted—not that I don't make mistakes! Those are necessary, that's how we learn!” - Johanna Krynytzky, Owner, Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio
“My studio name reminds us that we are constantly evolving. The past 18 months have certainly shown us that! Wellness to me means doing your best on any given day to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. It leads to resilience. Diet, exercise, sleep, a sense of community, and some form of faith. It all matters. Setbacks happen all the time, and every day is a chance to start again. We strive to be 'cheerleaders' for our clients when we sense that things are coming out of balance in their lives. So many have been with us for 18 years and are friends—they are our community and we all watch out for each other.” - Mo Wolfe, Owner and Founder, Evolution Pilates
I think we can all agree that there isn’t one true definition of wellness anymore. To some of us, it means getting that hot yoga sesh in daily, and to others, it means carving out time to treat ourselves to a massage or manicure. As long as you’re actively pursuing wellness—whatever that means to you—you're on the right track.
Our MO has always been about connecting the world to wellness—a term that's seen a lot of change lately. Whether you’re fully embracing the in-person experience or still delighted by the convenience of practicing at-home wellness, the Mindbody app makes it easy for you to book experiences that help you feel like YOU again.