Bar Method Soho Review: Pain with a Smile

Tonight I had the great opportunity to check out the newest Lotte Berk kid on the block in NYC thanks to Jes free class she set up for her readers. I’ve enjoyed classes inspired by the Lotte Berk method previously at Core Fusion and Physique 57.
In preparation for class, I reviewed the basics of The Bar Method.
The Bar Method™workout creates a uniquely lean, firm, sculpted body by combining the muscle-shaping principles of isometrics, the body-elongating practice of dance conditioning, the science of physical therapy and the intense pace of interval training into a powerful exercise format that quickly and safely reshapes and elongates muscles.

I’ve found from previous experience that taking a bar class 2x per week results in definite body changes. When I was taking Physique 57 classes last year 2x per week I noticed arm definition and my thighs were more slender. It has similar results as swimming.
The Bar Method Soho location is located on the second floor of 155 Spring Street right in the heart of Soho. Upon entering the space this evening I immediately noticed the warm, bright lighting and clean lines. This environment is definitely refreshing after walking through the Subway station grime.

The reception was warm and attentive as each reader entered. Everyone was smiling and more than happy to give us a tour of the space so we could make it our own. First up, the necessary water and treats in their kitchen area. I’ve never seen this before in a studio!

They offer filtered water to refill your water bottle or sell bottled water for $1.25. In addition they offer herbal teas for post class refreshment.

As you can see above, the lobby area features a plethora of lockers and benches which students may use to store their belongings. The lockers have key locks which remove and hang in the rooms during class which makes it easy to know your things are safe and sound.
Next stop on our tour was the ladies locker room. Once again there are plenty of lockers in the locker room along with changing space, bathroom stalls, towels, and a small shower area featuring a few stalls.

This locker room was definitely easier to navigate than both Physique 57 and Core Fusion. There was plenty of space even when 10 of us were in there changing. In addition, the new space has been kept up very well and is still spotless!
After meeting some of the other attendees, many of whom I’d met previously at other events, we were ready for a great class.

The class itself was very, very similar to both Core Fusion and Physique 57. The class is an hour long and best practiced while wearing socks or special grip socks which are sold at the front desk. I wore my Core Fusion socks and they worked perfectly.

I would really like to enjoy more Bar Method Soho classes but right now it doesn’t fit into my monthly gym budget since I already enjoy an Equinox membership. However, I think this is a great class to enjoy with friends every now and then. It forces me to focus on the difficult, small movements. If you are interested in learning more, their website is very thorough! In addition, a few other ladies have reviewed the classes: Jes, Dori, and Missy. Thank you Jes and Bar Method Soho for an amazing evening and workout! Hopefully I’ll be back soon to receive more pain with a smile.
Here are some of my favorite aspects of tonight’s class:

                                         Amy, one of the founders, led our class and had an amazing knack for learning names. She complimented and critiqued each of us throughout the class while addressing us by our names. This made me focus more since I knew I wasn’t “invisible”

    • Everything was done with a smile. The instructors and all staff must have been extensively trained on service and it shows!
    • The music was awesome! I’ve found in other classes that the music is dull at times and rarely actual music, especially during my experiences at Core Fusion. Tonight’s music was a great mix and really helped me stay with the beat.
    • I enjoyed tonight’s thigh sequence at the bar. It wasn’t necessarily as long as Physique or Core Fusion’s but I felt it very effective.

Fit and Flow: The Missing Component to my NYC Workout Schedule

Before moving to NYC, I lived in the suburbs of Philadelphia for three glorious years. I made some amazing friends while there, enjoying exploring Philadelphia, and also kicked my ass into the best shape of my life! This was due to many factors including but not limited to the following:

Main Line Bootcamp For Women

-I didn’t live with Bo. This meant that there was never any food in the house that I didn’t buy nor were there the common “boy foods” which would lead me to temptation. I also had more freedom in the kitchen since I was cooking for my taste buds alone.

I worked from home. This meant that I could go to the gym, a class, or run whenever the urge struck since I owned my schedule for the most part and had very flexible hours. In addition, I was able to fix my breakfast and lunch at home which meant tasty egg white omelets and veggies, huge salads, and anything else my stomach craved.

I participated in multiple outdoor workout groups such as the Bryn Mawr Women running club and boot camp multiple times a week.

This last point is one that I am able to influence in my current life stage. I love my new job even though it is office based and that isn’t going to change. I love Bo even though he comes with random takeout or delivery dinner cravings and doesn’t love some of my healthy, odd creations. Since I’m married to him our living situation isn’t going to change either. :) Therefore, over the past few weeks I’ve made it a goal to focus on the third point as I strive to return to my previous fitness level and shed a few of the “married bliss”/stressful job pounds. Thanks to Lululemon, I’ve built Wednesday night Run Club into my weekly routine which has helped me kick my running plateau to the curb. 

This week, Daily Candy helped me with the other part of the third point- outdoor bootcamp. As soon as I saw the subject line of Tuesday’s Daily Candy I was ecstatic.  As I read the snippet regarding Leanne and her blossoming fitness business I knew I’d found my missing component. The email described her as a trainer who is passionate about helping others find their optimal state through personalizing workouts, keeping things fun, and doing all of this with a smile. The Daily Candy email was primarily advertising her outdoor workout class  Fit & Flow. For $25, This class combines the rigors of a bootcamp with the restoring qualities of a yoga class. Participants complete 45 minutes of heart pumping and sweat inducing moves in the beautiful surroundings of Central Park before engaging in 45 minutes of stress releasing and muscle lengthening yoga taught by her fitness partner Jill.

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At 6:50pm last night I met the group outside Central Park at 59th and 6th Avenue right near the statues. I was greeted by the energetic and bubbly Leanne who quickly introduced me to Jill and the other ladies. By 7pm there were around 25 women of all shapes and sizes chatting while also discussing their fears in hopes of finding confidence from others.

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“I hope this doesn’t include running because I’m more into yoga. “ “What if I die of exhaustion?” “I’ve never done a boot camp before, have you?” “Umm, the other girls look like they’re in great shape but this is my first time.”

These were just a few of the many comments uttered before Leanne and Jill put everyone to rest. The class would be heart pumping but fun as she promised to keep everything fresh by changing it up and would also provide modifications if anyone needed it. In addition, it was clear that this was not a boot camp intended r o intimidate, fear, or upset anyone. In fact, we all made fun of the hard core, screaming boot camp leader nearby who thought it more fun to scream his heart out at his poor participants rather than participating and encourage them as Leanne and Kim did. Oh well, to each their own but I was glad to be a part of the supportive group!

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Class started on a grassy knoll about a quarter of a mile from the park entrance. We lined up and started with some warm-ups including two minutes of jumping jacks and then a minute of high knees. During the warmups Leanne informed us that throughout the class she wanted us to take a note from yoga’s book and do everything with intention. This meant that whether you were doing a jumping jack or a lunch, every muscle should be engaged- no flailing arms or listless squats.

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After the warm up we quickly began the real workout. This consisted of lunges, burpees, pushups, more lunges, abs, and a quick jog down to the waterfall area for dips and incline pushups. The abs section was one of my favorites as we were able to partner with another participant for the exercise. Working with others always makes the time pass quicker!

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We ended the “fit” session with a relay race between two teams. Everyone was very supportive, team oriented, and focused on winning so they didn’t have to do more pushups. Unfortunately, one of the participants fell and hurt her ankle. Everyone immediately stopped and focused on her health. No one was upset that her injury forced the one team to come in last. Instead everyone was concerned about how she was feeling and also ensuring that she felt like she was still part of the team and loved. This was amazing. I’ve been part of many bootcamps before and normally there is a lack of team spirit and support. I believe this all comes from the leader. In the end we all did the pushups because we’re all one team!

After a short break, Jill moved the group into the “flow” section of the class. I honestly can’t remember all of it but can tell you that it was very similar to a flow vinyasa class. The movements were not held very long but flowed from one into another. We went through the warrior poses but also focused on many traditional “yoga for runners” movements to stretch us out after the great workout.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this workout and would highly recommend it for almost any person. Here are a few pointers:

-Be open to hard work. The more you put in the more you get out. Some of the strongest women there were older than me and they were all smiles!

Bring your own yoga mat, towel, and water. Many people, including myself, forgot yoga mats. While the Central Park lawn is nice it isn’t exactly soft or comfortable for planks or yoga. –

Give yourself plenty of time to arrive. I really enjoyed getting to know the other participants before the class as it made partner sections less awkward. In addition, since the class doesn’t take place at the meeting point it’d stink to get there late and then be lost.

If you’re interested in joining the next Fit and Flow class in Central Park contact Leanne Shear at

or follow her on Twitter (leanne_shear)


Fit & Flow: Supportive Bootcamp in the Beauty of Central Park

Thanks to Daily Candy, I had the great opportunity to experience Fit & Flow tonight from 7-8:30 in Central Park. The fit and fabulous duo of Leanne Shear and Jill led the class filled with approximately 24 women of various age, shapes, and sizes.

I’m exhausted right now and have therefore decided that I will do the entire review tomorrow while I’m enjoying my seat on the Bolt Bus down to Washington, DC.

But, until then, here are some great pictures from tonight’s Fit & Flow workout! Enjoy :)

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