During barre3’s grand opening week in 2011, a now familiar face took her first class. Elizabeth Gardiner stepped into the Grand Ridge Plaza studio and instantly connected with barre3’s workout ethic. It’s a connection that inspired her to take daily classes, and to become the studio manager in 2013. Today, you’ll find Elizabeth teaching classes—something she never thought she had the courage to do.
Founded in Portland, barre3 is a one-hour workout inspired by ballet barre, yoga, and Pilates. It’s a flexible combination that immediately appealed to Gardiner. “What separates barre3 from other workouts is its multi-level aspect; a student who is new to classes will enjoy the same benefits as someone who takes three classes a week,” she explained. “Routines are adapted to individuals, it’s safe for all ages, and you can see and feel the results. barre3 tones and lengthens major muscle groups, revs your heart rate, and strengthens your body.”
While Gardiner was eager to take classes, she shied away from becoming a certified barre3 instructor. It took five years for her to overcome her initial shyness and consider the possibility of teaching.
“I loved classes so much and was invited to audition to become an instructor, but I was anxious about leading a group,” said Gardiner. “Then, my daughter asked me why I was afraid and it made me question my own confidence—maybe because I’m a perfectionist. After some soul searching, I took a chance and auditioned.”
Gardiner’s certified barre3 instructor training began with three days in Portland. Then, she progressed to teaching classes for friends and family, plus a series of free community classes.
To complete the process, she filmed a class for review by the corporate office. She was soon on her way to teaching up to eight classes per week. “Being a barre3 instructor is an awesome, fulfilling job and I’m so happy I make the decision to pursue teaching,” said Gardiner.
barre3 encourages newcomers to try a class, emphasizing that it’s not intimidating. In fact, the studio’s strong sense of community is a reason why people become regulars. Routines are constantly evolving, which keeps instructors like Gardiner on her toes. Classes change to keep the body and mind engaged with the same intensity.
“For anyone who’s hesitating about trying barre3, I encourage them to take a chance—like I did,” concluded Gardiner. “You may fall in love with a whole new fitness routine, and you’ll certainly love the results.”
About barre3 Grand Ridge Plaza
barre3 is located at 1091 NE High Street, next to Sip at the wine bar & restaurant. Visit barre3.com to learn more or call 425-391-1192. The studio offers a new student package including three one-hour classes for $40. Each barre3 studio is independently operated by local owners, employing a team of instructors and offering up to 50 classes per week. Grand Ridge Plaza studio owners Heather Kass and Anna McEvers also teach classes.
Photo credit: Shubha Tirumale Photography LLC