After dedicating her career to the digital advertising world, Becky Parker knew that it was time for a change. Barre gave Becky the freedom to focus on what is most important to her home, family, and sanity.
How did you get to experience barre for the first time? How has your practice evolved since then?
While I was pregnant with my first baby; Emerson; I gained 65+ lbs. After she was born, all of my regular workouts - just weren't working anymore. Around this time I also saw another new mom post on FB about this new workout she was starting and LOVING. Guess what it was? It was barre. I signed up for my first class that same day.
I have always been an active person but I was more of a cardio junkie think kickboxing and elliptical for hours on end. It’s funny how we trick our minds into thinking that to get results we must EXHAUST our body without really understanding WHAT we’re doing and WHY we’re doing it.
One class and I was HOOKED. I had never experienced such a killer workout WITHOUT the high impact aspect. I remember looking around the room and thinking “I can’t keep up! BUT the weights are only 2lbs?!”
It was then and there I decided not only would I continue with this practice but I would also eventually teach.
I have to admit, this decision was NOT taken lightly. I think sometimes people hear barre and immediately think of prima ballerinas and are a little scared or turned off by this level of anticipated perfection. Let’s clear something up right away - I am the farthest thing from a dancer. Truthfully I am more like Elaine from Seinfeld - did I just date myself with a Seinfeld reference? Maybe - but for real; ask my husband, I have NO RHYTHM and don’t even ASK me to give you an 8 count.
That was 6 years ago and I have only deepened my love for barre and pilates with countless hours in the studio. I have also become sort of a certification junkie - Barre, Pilates, Piloxing, Piyo and a few others... I just always want to bring intentional and challenging sequencing to my classes!
I think the biggest evolution in my barre history is when I entered the studio for the first time I was a brand new mom carrying a lot of extra pounds with absolutely NO self confidence. Every time I’ve stepped into a class since then I have found a confident, stronger me. That is the sentiment I hope to replicate for every lady who takes my classes. I am passionate about empowering other women and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to do it on the daily.
Do you recommend barre? What are the benefits?
I couldn’t recommend barre more. Barre, to me, is a fusion of pilates, yoga and strength training that helps to build better body alignment and posture offsetting the damage we do all day (hunched over a computer, carrying children, nursing children, carrying our purses etc.). The sequencing in barre classes is intended to increase muscle endurance and overall balance - helping us in our everyday life by not only giving us the energy and stamina to do our daily activities but to do so safely - it’s the multi-joint movements that require full ranges of motion!
I know in my classes, I aim for you to leave class feeling longer, leaner and more defined. I also emphasize the fundamental connection that these movements create between the mind and the body - helping to reduce stress, creating awareness in the body and improving mental clarity!
What is your favourite barre exercise or exercises?
AH - How do I choose just one? I would say Pretzel. It is SUCH a love/hate. It is THE ultimate multi tasking move by lifting your tush and leaning out your thighs & your waistline.
I also LOVE doing arms without weights - I mean your body weight is challenging enough right? Throw a fun song on, high reps and stretching across your chest does WONDERS for your posture (and that muscle tone!)
Do you have a favourite barre accessory?
Hands down - Pilates ring. By incorporating the ring you’re constantly in a state of light resistance. A huge aspect of barre/pilates is isometrics - where your body is acting against itself (or against a surface) - and the ring can be used to take traditional moves to the next level (upper body, lower body or core) BUT my all-time favorite move is to kick it old school - thigh master action!
Beyond the barre, what is something you get from your practice that benefits other aspects of your life?
I like to practice what I preach - by taking how I approach a class or an extra hard series into my real life. Especially with breathing and mindset. Life is hard and hectic and it is OH SO EASY to get overwhelmed.
Instead of allowing that stress to take over and I take a few big deep breaths and remind myself WHY I’m doing this - it usually helps me regroup and tackle the day.
Most importantly I think I take the mindset of barre into my “real life.” That feeling you have when heading TO class; you’re excited, nervous, jittery and ready to be challenged AND the feeling AFTER class - invincible, strong, powerful and proud! I try to approach each and every day with that same attitude.
I’ll end with my favorite quote from Conan O’Brien - Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.
Thank you for sharing your “why” with us Becky! We’re certain your story will inspire other women to find theirs. Becky has built the B You Fit community in the Boston area offering barre, wellness, and nutrition. On May 20th 2018 Becky is holding a Pilates and Pinot class at Miller River Vineyard in Rowley, MA. How fun! Follow this lovely human on Instagram at @mrsbeckyparker and if you get a chance to meet her don’t forget to tell her you’re our barre bestie.