THE UGLY-CRY LETTER WE JUST HAD TO SHARE
Mail from clients is our absolute favorite kind of mail to receive (truly; email us anytime at email@example.com). And while we love every letter, every once in a while we get one that simply stops us in our tracks. That’s what happened when we read the letter below from Jenni, an Atlanta-based online client.
Read on to discover Jenni’s story in her own words, including the turning point that kickstarted her barre3 practice, how learning to breathe changed her life, and why, despite losing 100 pounds, it’s the off-the-scale victories that matter most to her.
Hello Barre3 Family!
I have been doing barre3 online for two years. This past June I traveled with my husband to Portland, and while he worked, I got to do barre3—LIVE! It was an amazing experience, and I enjoyed every sweaty, burning moment of it. During that visit, I had the opportunity to take my first class with Shannon. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. Until that moment, I had only done barre3 in the privacy of my living room, occasionally with my husband, but mostly alone. Was I doing it right? No clue! Could I make it through a live one-hour class? I wasn’t quite sure.
Fortunately Shannon took some time before and after class to get to know me. She put me at ease, and I made it through class. (And guess what? Turns out I was doing it right!) After class, I shared a small part of my story with Shannon, and she encouraged me to write it down and send it to you. When I returned home, in my mailbox was a note from Shannon—thanking me. WHAT?!? I felt so loved and so valued. In fact, the entire time I was in Portland I felt that way. Every single person I encountered in the studio made me feel loved, accepted, and valued. I felt at home. I made a commitment to myself to share my story with you as soon as I hit a particular goal. Well, this morning I reached that goal! As of this morning, I have lost 100 pounds—yes, you read that right, 100 pounds—and I couldn’t have done it without barre3.
My journey began in May 2017. My youngest son had just graduated from high school, and my family and I were celebrating and taking loads of pictures. There was one picture in particular that just hit me. The person in that picture was me—but it was not who I wanted to be. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and hopeless. My husband and I had always said that when the kids were out of the house, we’d travel and enjoy life to the fullest—but suddenly I realized I wasn’t in a position to do that. Something had to be done.
About three weeks later I made some major changes in my diet. I began walking and running consistently. I was not interested in a gym—it’s just not my thing—so I kept looking for some kind of at-home weight training. I found a few things online and gave them a try, but I didn’t love any of them.
In September 2017, my Dad passed away. I spent a month with my mom and lost weight for all the wrong reasons. During that time my sister introduced me to this “new” workout she had found called barre3. I had to try it, she said. “I think of you every time I do it. You will love it.” My sister is tiny and in very good shape, so to say I was skeptical was an understatement. But once I returned home, I decided to give it a go.
You know what? She was right! I loved barre3 from day one. I loved not jumping or jarring my body. I loved the modifications—because Lord knows I needed them. There was so much I couldn’t do at first. So many times I shed tears because I didn’t understand yet that it was OK to modify. But I enjoyed the workout and found myself wanting more. It didn’t take long before Dino’s “Yes you can!” was ingrained in my mind and heart. Wasn’t long before Lisa’s “Do you want to stop, or do you need to stop?” became my mantra. Wasn’t long before my husband joked that it would be more productive to tell him when my glutes weren’t sore.
I spent the next 15 months doing barre3 pretty consistently, but the eating plans I was following weren’t sustainable. I struggled with the restrictiveness of diets, feeling like I couldn’t go out with friends and enjoy my life. When I would get discouraged, barre3 would drop off. In February of this year, I found an eating program that worked for me. It changed my perspective and brought barre3 into the forefront of this journey. I set my goal at five workouts a week, and I haven’t missed it many times. In fact, last March I did a workout every single day! I still hike and walk daily, but no more running and jarring for these joints. I simply don’t need it. By combining barre3 with my healthy-eating program, I’ve lost 70 pounds since February and 100 pounds total!
Oh and did I mention I travel with my husband, sometimes three weeks a month? It’s so easy to make excuses for why we can’t do something (I travel too much, I don’t have time), but I’m here to say that it really can be done. I’ve learned that for me, it was never about motivation—there are plenty of days when I don’t feel motivated—but about consistency. That consistency fostered persistence, which for me equals success.
And speaking of my husband, my journey could not have taken place without him. He has stood by me at every weight and done barre3 with me frequently, especially on days when I was lacking motivation. He has been my constant cheerleader and encourager, and his support has been invaluable.
I have learned so much through barre3. I learned how to breathe in class—and how to breathe through life. I realized how very much I used to hold my breath in stressful situations. I learned how to listen to my body and to be OK with what it can and can’t do. I learned to push myself further than I ever believed I could. I learned that some days I need a lot of cardio, and some days I just need to stretch. I learned that perfection is not the goal. I learned to embrace the wobbles in class—and in life. I learned that my size and what my body can do on any given day don’t define me. I learned about my value and my need to be quiet sometimes. In all truth, I learned about me, and I learned to love me.
Over the past two years, I have grown so much (even though I am shrinking). I am stronger. I am more balanced. I can do things I never imagined. I still modify when necessary, but I can go turbo now, too. Shannon, Christa Joy, and Catie became my people who push me and pull the best out of me, all while making me laugh and smile. Dino, Meredith, Jordan, and Andrew are who I seek out on days I need a challenge. Lisa taught me to breathe. And Sadie, well she brought it all to life—and then into my home.
I didn’t know any of you personally when I embarked on this journey, but every day you came into my home and helped me change my life. There are no words to adequately thank you for that. When you respond to messages, you encourage people. When you utter encouraging words during your workouts you inspire people to believe in themselves. When you step in front of that camera, you ARE changing lives. What you do matters. It matters so much, and I just thought you should know that! (And I am pretty much ugly crying now).
So from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU! Thank you for giving of yourselves, thank you for caring, thank you for being you!
To the entire barre3 family—the online support, the front desk staff, the child-care workers, the people behind the camera, the sound crew, they production team, and all of the people I don’t even know about—to EVERY LAST PERSON at barre3, thank you!
This January, we’re shifting the focus of exercise from how you look to how you feel. When you sign up for The barre3 January Challenge, you’ll get access to unlimited barre3 classes, either online or in-studio, a workbook packed with intention-setting exercises, and more! Join us today.