Two girls walked into a barre…well, maybe not literally, but two girls definitely got their sweat on at the barre, thanks to the incredible team at Barreworks! WTD Co-Founders Eme and Erin recently had the chance to squat, lunge, lift and tone their way through an incredible hour-long class taught by Barreworks instructor extraordinaire Jane-Alison. The class flew by, with constantly changing movements and amazing music pairings. The full-body workout was fun, challenging and brought a unique twist to what we’ve otherwise come to expect from traditional barre classes. So, we couldn’t have been more thrilled to catch-up with Joanna Eisen, barre instructor, Assistant Manager and the Certification Coordinator at Barreworks, to talk all things barre, Barreworks and more!
Well TO Do: Please introduce yourself and Barreworks to the Well TO Do readers.
Joanna Eisen: My name is Joanna and I am a barre instructor, Assistant Manager and the Certification Coordinator at Barreworks! Barreworks, a locally owned studio, has two locations in Toronto and has been a leader in the barre fitness scene since opening in 2012. We were the first studio to specialize in ballet-barre based fitness classes, and have since been voted Toronto’s Best Workout Studio for 4 years running! We are known for our unique and challenging workouts, knowledgable instructors, beautiful studios and welcoming front desk staff.
Photo of Joanna thanks to Barreworks
WTD: Who would a barre workout class most appeal to?
JE: Everyone is welcome! Our syllabus is accessible to all fitness levels and ages 14+! Your instructor will provide you with modifications to keep your workouts safe, but also allow you to get out of your comfort zone and challenge your body! Our classes are great options for pre- and post-natal women, due to the low impact and range of modifications available per exercise sequence. We offer personal training sessions if you have specific injuries, goals or are looking for more one-on-one attention. We are here to support you and your goals in whatever way we can!
WTD: Barre classes have been popular for a while now! We loved our Barreworks class for so many reasons, including how much variety there was over the course of the hour. As a company, how do you differentiate your class offerings from other barre studios?
JE: It is so nice to hear you enjoy the variety, that is my favourite part of our classes too! Within one hour we pack in elements of muscular endurance, strength, posture and alignment, core conditioning, stretching and so much more! We also offer a great variety of class types. We have Barreworks classes that focus on anything from muscle sculpting to high intensity cardio to relaxation and recovery. We want our clients to be able to create a well-balanced exercise schedule within Barreworks alone!
WTD: For Erin, the class brought back some memories of childhood ballet classes. How much inspiration do you draw from traditional ballet classes?
JE: Amazing – there is no better feeling then being back at the barre. We developed our classes with a team of local dance and fitness professionals, working hard to seamlessly combine functional movement with a sense of flow and choreography. Because safety is at the top of our priorities, you’ll notice that some dance elements have been altered to ensure accessibility for all experience levels.
WTD: We also loved the class playlist! How important is music to the Barreworks experience?
JE: Very! Each instructor has different musical tastes and they bring their own personal flare to their classes. I am a sucker for Top 40, but Mateo, our instructor from Columbia, loves to draw inspiration from South American and Caribbean beats.
WTD: What are the fitness benefits that Barreworks students see most from your classes?
JE: In just two weeks, most clients will start seeing a leaner physique and muscle tone, improved posture, strength, and endurance – based on attending class three times a week. I also always hear how accomplished clients feel at Barreworks. The act of getting your butt to class is an accomplishment in itself, but once you start to notice improvements both physically and mentally, you will be grateful for your body’s ability to be rise to the challenge. Learning to love and respect your body, no matter what it looks like, is an important step along your fitness journey and will play a big role in helping you in reaching your goals.
WTD: If you could offer Well TO Do readers one tip on how to get the most out of their Barreworks experience, what would it be?
JE: Arrive early! Coming to the studio 10-15 minutes before class will allow you to check-in with your instructor, chat about how your body is feeling and what you’re looking to get out of your class, and grab your favourite spot at the barre. I also encourage you to enjoy the sense of community that Barreworks has to offer. Our instructors, desk staff and beloved clients have helped us create a welcoming, inclusive and inspiring culture and we want you to share in this love! Be open to interactions fellow classmates, instructors and staff as the relationships you create will only encourage and inspire you to work harder.
WTD: By the way, was that a spinning room we spotted in the Barreworks studio? Tell us about the spin classes you offer.
JE: Yay, spin!! I am so glad you asked, it’s definitely a hidden gem! We have a group of talented and motivating spin instructors, who each bring their own flare and skill sets to their classes. No matter whose class you take, you will leave feeling accomplished, strong and – of course – super sweaty! You can check out each instructor’s class description online to learn more.
WTD: What’s next for Barreworks?
JE: At the moment, we are focused on expanding the educational element of Barreworks. In 2015, we launched our Barre Certified by Barreworks program and ever since have been certifying fitness, dance and movement professionals in our methodology, allowing them to bring barre to their city! Our program is the most comprehensive in Canada and teaches participants how to create and teach their own barre class that is safe and effective, allowing them to advance in their professional careers. You can learn more atbarreworks.ca/certification
WTD: What’s exciting you most about the Toronto wellness scene right now?
JE: Food, food and food! Toronto has so much to offer when it comes to nutrition, with both education, services and restaurants. The variety is endless and caters to all styles of eating, allergies and intolerance. One of my favourites for healthy, nutritious and tasty meals is Kupfert & Kim. Plus, they are a partner with Barreworks for our #BarrePerk program and studio members who show their Barreworks key tag get 10% off!!