Six Weeks of Bar Method

I’m that girl who loves recommendations. Whether I’m shopping on Sephora or looking up a restaurant, I always read the reviews and ask people for recommendations. When Kristine couldn’t stop raving about Bar Method, I knew that I needed to give it a second chance, especially since there is a location just a few blocks from our apartment. Six weeks and 14 classes later, I couldn’t be happier that I took her recommendation. The Bar Method Brooklyn has helped me stand taller, lose inches, gain strength, and most importantly, feel part of a community.

Based off the workout created by Lotte Berk, a German dancer, in the 1930’s Bar Method combines ballet bar and dance conditioning into one class. In 1959, she opened her first studio in London, sharing the Lotte Berk Method with students. In 1971, one of her students, Lydia Bach, bought the rights and brought it to the United States. Bar Method, as we know it today, was started by Burr Leonard, one of Lydia’s students. The Bar Method is based on the Lotte Berk method but has been improved and optimized based on input from physical therapists, ensuring that each exercise is not only effective but also safe. I had the chance to take a class at the flagship location in San Francisco, last week with Kristine! Since this first studio opened in 2001, they have grown to over 80 studio locations, including my local Brooklyn studio.

bar method brooklyn fall
While there are many studios in New York City that I enjoy, the Bar Method Brooklyn is very different than most NYC studios. As soon as you walk through the doors, you are greeted by a spacious, bright, airy space as well as very friendly staff. The staff makes it their goal to know each student on a personal basis, whether it’s by asking about their family or latest travels. I think part of this community is because the owner, Katie Muehlenkamp, was born and raised in Brooklyn. She knows how important community is in Brooklyn and wants to build that same community at her studio. On my first visit, the staff asked me about my current fitness routine so they could better explain how Bar Method can supplement the routine and which moves would be most beneficial.


This Bar Method location has two studios, a full locker room and shower area, as well as child care facility. Child care is offered for an average of two classes per day, a very welcome benefit for local parents. The studio is far more spacious than most, featuring wall-to-wall carpeting as well as a wall of windows which allow light to stream into the classroom. The carpet still looks brand new since every student is required to wear socks during the class. The studio can easily accommodate up to 30 students, providing plenty of space for stretching and moves at the bar.
The class itself is 60 minutes in length, including a warm-up and cool-down section. You will use two sets of hand weights, a lighter and heavier set, as well as other props such as balls, straps and mats. During the class, the teacher and assistants make things simple by providing you with the props you need for each move. Another Bar Method signature is the personal adjustments and attention they provide to each student. During class, expect to be adjusted or provided verbal cues no less than two times even if you are a Century Student, who has attended over 100 classes. The teachers want to ensure that every student gets the most out of the 60-minute class by having perfect, precise form.

Most people wear tanks, leggings and grippy socks for class though you can wear regular socks as well. The class begins with a dynamic warm-up that gets your joints lubricated and blood flowing. After the warm-up, you will move directly into upper-body that changes each day. Most days it includes moves that work the biceps, lats and triceps including arm curls, tricep extensions and tricep dips. Each class also includes 60 push-ups, which are spread between each section of class. As of this morning’s class, I am finally able to do all three sets of 20 pushups on my hands and toes, a huge improvement from where I started six weeks ago. Following the upper-body sequence, the class moves to the barre where you’ll spend around 20 minutes doing moves that will humble you and make your thighs, calves, glutes and abs quiver. In between each set, there is time for a deep stretch that helps lengthen and release the shaking muscles. The stretching sections are 30-seconds to one minute, providing ample time to lengthen and relax the muscles. Finally, the class moves to the center of the room for 10 minutes of ab work and glute work on the mat. This section often includes curls that engage the deepest ab muscles, helping to smooth and strengthen the core. Once the core work is is complete, students are rewarded with a final stretch and cool down session that leverages a strap to help students get deeper into each move.

bar method stretch

After the 60-minute class, I may not always be sweating but I always walk out feeling taller, stronger and leaner. Over the past six weeks, I have averaged two classes per week in addition to running three times per week. The Bar Method has started to change my body, most noticeably my posture and legs. I lost an inch from my waist during the six weeks and a half inch from each thigh. While this was a nice side effect, I was more excited by the way Bar Method improved my running. The perfect complement to running, many of Bar Method’s exercises strengthen the knees by strengthening the surrounding muscles in a low impact way. My new found core and leg strength has allowed me to feel stronger during hills and speed work as well as run three half marathons and Reach the Beach within a five week period without injury.

bar method lockers

Want to try Bar Method Brooklyn for yourself? Book a class via ClassPass or, sign up for their new client special. The special is $99 for a month of unlimited classes!

*Thank you to Bar Method Brooklyn for you support and partnership. I was not compensated for this review though I was provided a discounted media partner rate. 


5 Tips For An Easier Party


Last night we hosted the first of many parties in our new home.

Due to work and travel, the weeks leading up to the party were quite busy and suddenly, earlier this week, we realized that the housewarming party was quickly approaching. While we wanted to throw a wonderful party that would provide a great opportunity to catch up with friends and show them our new home, we didn’t want to break the bank or make our life difficult trying to design a “Pinterest worthy” party.  This girl does not have time for anything crafty, regardless how hard I try. But, give me a pumpkin and good friends and I can cheese it up for the camera for hours.


Since we are hosting three more parties in the coming months, I thought it would be great to capture some of the things we did really well, for both my future benefit and yours.

  1. Wrapping paper can make a great, inexpensive table runner. The lovely team at PaperSource suggested that I use two sheets of their high end wrapping paper to bring a pop of color and fun to our large center island.
  2. Save on beer and wine by ordering in advance. Many online grocery stores such as Fresh Direct or even your local wine, beer or liquor stores have a discount if you buy in bulk.  We ordered a 1/2 case of white, 1/2 case of red and an assortment of pumpkin beers which were on sale last week.
  3. Use your grill! When planning our menu, we decided that the main course would be something we could easily grill without requiring a lot of attention. The pork shoulder smoked on the grill for eight hours, requiring nothing more than an hourly check and baste. Using a large cut of meat saved money and made our life a lot easier!
  4. Use disposable plates, cups and utensils. This was the first party that we’ve not used our everyday china, wine glasses and silverware. At first, we both worried how it would look and how guests would react to the plastic glasses of wine or drinking beer straight from the bottle. By the end of the night, when guests saw that I could go to bed with a spotless kitchen, they all agreed it was well worth it. You can save by ordering the party ware ahead of time online and if you are Earth conscious there are bio-degradable and recycled plates available online or at Whole Foods.
  5. Choose a theme that lends itself to easy party preparation. Last night’s Fall themed housewarming party allowed us to create a menu from seasonal foods. Our dessert was a tower of apple cider donuts, which we bought at the local farmer’s market yesterday morning and our soup was a delicious pumpkin thyme soup from Serious Eats. This theme was easier to work with then say, a 20’s theme flapper party or other random theme.

pork shoulder

pumpkin soup



Fall Is for Runners

fall runningHappy Saturday!

I feel like a new woman after eight hours of sleep and a relaxing evening at home. I don’t think I realized how exhausted I was from the week until I sat down last night. Needless to say, by 10 pm I could barely keep my eyes open to finish this week’s Scandal.

Instead of waking up super early to finish our run, Bo and I worked around the house this morning while prepping the food for tonight’s party and sipping coffee. Since we are in between half marathons, we decided to keep things a bit relaxed with the distance but push the pace and ensure we included hills in the route.  Little did I know when we decided to run through Prospect Park, that I’d spend the entire run smiling.

This morning’s run made me realize that Fall truly is for runners. 

-Cooler temperatures allow mean you can sleep in as late as you want since you aren’t beating the heat! We didn’t start our run until 9:55 and it was still only 50 degrees!

-The fall leaves provide a colorful background to any path. Just two weeks after the Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon, Prospect Park took on a whole new look today, as all the leaves have quickly turned gold and red.


-The cooler temperatures also allow me to swap out the tank tops and shorts for crops and long sleeve shirts. After five months of wearing them, I’m tired fo the same few running outfits so opening a drawer of cooler weather running gear is almost as good as going shopping for new workout gear.  My crops are so much easier to run in with their hidden pockets, handy zippers and flattering lines.

-Farewell to pit stains, sweat and red faces. Even after running a hilly 6-mile route, Bo nor I were drenched in sweat. In fact, we easily ran errands in our clothing before coming home for showers. In the Summer nothing can happen after a run until we’ve showered as we are basically walking puddles of stinky sweat.

-Faster paces require far less effort. Our pace during this morning’s run was far faster than any of our previous training runs. I feel like 50 degrees is my running “sweet spot” where my body isn’t having to exert effort to keep me warm and the temperature allows me to push harder without feeling the effort in my legs or heart.

This weather makes me wish I’d signed up for even more Fall races, if that’s even possible. It looks like my friends running NYC Marathon next Sunday will have perfect weather!

How about you? What is your favorite running season?