The Bar Method’s Next Chapter

You may have noticed something different today on The Bar Method’s website.  Today we are redefining our future.

When we think of The Bar Method, two words come to mind: strength and grace. It is the juxtaposition between these two qualities that defines who we are. We are strong and powerful, and at the same time poised and graceful.  These words perfectly summarize the essence of our brand and our community of clients, teachers and owners.  They speak to both the graceful outer strength of the long, lean sculpted muscles and the graceful inner strength of someone who is centered, composed and empowered.

We believe all women possess the drive to never give up. That women are fearless — constantly pushing boundaries and defying expectations.  Working for progress, not perfection.  Our workout is intense and challenging and as a result; it transforms your body to give you toned, sculpted muscles and makes you strong like never before.  At the same time you are left with a feeling of elegance and poise that makes you feel beautiful on the inside and out.

Today we reveal the true colors of our brand while reinforcing our authentic DNA and heritage as one of the pioneers in barre fitness.  The core of who we are is rooted in our relentless focus on the quality and consistency of The Bar Method technique and delivering a workout that is safe and effective for anyone and every unique body.  Our mission extends beyond the ballet barre, inspiring women (and men) to become the best versions of themselves.

Today we share our new website with you that brings to life our new brand and improved functionality, including a 14-day free trial for Bar Online.  We’ll continue to roll out the new look and feel across local studios and more in the coming months.

Here’s to the next chapter and celebrating the true meaning of graceful strength.


A Birthday Wish from our Founder, Burr Leonard


Hi Bar Method family,

I know you are celebrating The Bar Method’s 16th birthday this week. In honor of the occasion, I’d like to tell you a story about why I appreciate the workout more than ever. First of all, now that I’m purely a student, I’ve gained a new respect for how efficiently and safely it gives me the level of fitness I want (If I don’t say so myself.)

My second reason is more idiosyncratic. Among the wide variety of workouts I’ve taken, The Bar Method is the only one that can help me dance. Since the 80s, dance classes have been an off and on hobby of mine, and right now I have the good fortune to be taking an extraordinary ballet class. Our amazing teacher, Joan Lazarus Dobkowski, choreographs beautiful modern ballet dances to music by composers like Bach, Prokofiev and the rock band Traffic, and I really want to be able dance them like I’m not 70! (which I am)

What makes the difference between dancing like I’m flying or dancing and falling on my face is The Bar Method. Every Bar Method exercise puts me into a position that gives me a burn while at the same time allows me to work on my posture and alignment. Meanwhile, my teachers remind me to “lift your chest” or “pull in your abs” just at the right moment. The exercises themselves strengthen my quads, hip-flexors, calves and glutes, which translate directly into better extensions, relevés and arabesques (which Joan notices). And I get to work on my flexibility!

In short, The Bar Method gives me the one quality that I most need in a ballet class, graceful strength. Hey, that might be a good idea for a tagline.

Happy Birthday, Bar Method!



Fireworks Festive Smoothie Recipe

IMG_3141It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on the blog. I seemed a bit out of balance with work and life and took a decisive step back to breath. Kimberly always inspires me to forgive myself for self imposed failures and just start moving forward. It’s fitting to jump start my blog with her new smoothie recipe.

If you too have struggled staying on track with kids being out of school, summer vacations, and those amazing late summer nights that can be oh so distracting, join me, and treat yourself to this summer fun smoothie.

Source: Fireworks Festive Smoothie Recipe

Create Your Own Guilt-Free Fiesta: Recipes for Cinco de Mayo « Kimberly Snyder

As most of you may know, Kimberly Snyder is my go-to nutritionist. Much as Bar Method is fueled by science and research, so to is Kimberly’s nutritional and dietary advice (not to metion her incredible world view on healthy living). My mission is to curate information from the experts and share it with you, and Kimberly does not disappoint here! Enjoy! And Happy Cinco De Mayo!IMG_2436Source: Create Your Own Guilt-Free Fiesta: Recipes for Cinco de Mayo « Kimberly Snyder

A Guide to Farmer’s Market Day Tripping in Atl

In case you haven’t noticed, the weather’s taken a turn for the gorgeous lately. And there’s almost no way I’d rather spend a sunny Saturday morning in Atlanta than perusing the fresh, local-grown goods at our city’s many amazing farmers markets.

As a self-proclaimed farmers market fan-girl, I feel like I’ve seen the best and worst of the market scene. I’ve made mistakes and learned tricks to get in and out with three kids in tow and a bounty of the finest living foods nature has to offer. Here’s what I’ve learned about doing Atlanta’s farmers market scene like a champ.


My Favorite Metro Atlanta Farmers Markets

 Brookhaven Farmers Market: 1375 Fernwood Cir NE, Brookhaven, GA 30319,

*The Bar Method Atlanta will be a sponsor at the Brookhaven Farmers Market starting Saturday, April 22nd! Stop by for fun Bar Method events, pop-up classes, and other fun ways to learn about what we do.


Alpharetta Farmers Market: 1 South Main, Alpharetta, GA 30009,

What’s to love: This might be my favorite market in North Atl. They have a gorgeous floral selection and one of the largest varieties of produce I’ve found.

Hidden Gems: Look for Capra Gia Goat Cheese- super fresh and bursting with flavor. Also, there’s a lemonade girl, not sure of her company name, but she’s always there with a juicer and her lemonade is the real deal.


Roswell Farmers Market: 38 Hill St, Roswell, GA 30075,

What’s to love: This used to the Riverside Farmer’s market down by the Chattahoochee and has re-located behind city hall every Saturday. The organizers have committed to keeping this market about supporting hyper-local farmers.

Hidden Gems: Hanalei Bath is usually there with wonderfully natural handcrafted soaps. I have their scent “Dirty Hippy” in my bathroom, it’s anything but dirty- smells super clean and perfectly earthy.


Morningside Farmers Market: 1393 North Highland Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30306,

What’s to love: It’s the only market in town that requires all vendors to be certified organic.

Hidden Gems: My daughter is a Lacrosse player and the Moon Organics Foot Kit has revived her poor feet after the worst beating time and time again. Red Earth Organics makes a crazy-good blueberry jam that my daughter asks for every time we go. Also, treat yourself to the 26th & Popped Tasted White Cheddar, Simply Butter & Sea Salt or Classic Caramel fresh-popped corn.



Grant Park Farmers Market: 600 Cherokee Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30308,

What’s to love: It’s one of the largest and longest running farmers markets in the city and was voted “Best Farmers Market” by Creative Loafing and Atlanta Magazine.

Hidden Gems: Because of its in-town location and popularity, this market pulls some big-name chefs- like Hugh Acheson, Kevin Gillespie and Virginia Willis- who do free cooking demonstrations and workshops every weekend.

 Getting the Most Nutritional Bang for your Buck

So you’re committed to buying the freshest, local-grown veggies around but don’t have Gwyneth Paltrow dollars to drop. I mean, who does?

Or maybe you’re just pressed for time. Here’s a quick guide to the most nutritionally dense southern-grown produce available during three farmers market seasons. *Note that since farmers markets typically only carry produce from local farmers, this list is not the same in all areas. This list is specific to Georgia and some food’s harvest seasons carry over into other seasons (i.e. bell peppers are available in summer and early fall).

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Tart Cherries Anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, meltonin (great before bedtime)
Cantaloupe Vitamin A and C, beta-carotene, fiber
Kale Vitamin K, B2, B3, E and A, calcium, protein, omega-3 fats, phosphorous, manganese and copper
Spinach Vitamin K, B1, C and A, zinc, protein, choline, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, fiber and phosphorous
Beets Vitamin C and B6, iron, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, fiber


Cucumber potassium, magnesium, vitamin c, silica
Eggplant Vitamins K, B6 and B1, niacin, potassium, manganese, copper, phytonutrients, fiber
Shallots Anti-inflamatory, anti-bacterial, potassium, vitamin B6, manganese, folic acid
Zucchini Copper, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, b vitamins, magnesium, fiber, protein
Blueberries Vitamin K and C, manganese, fiber, copper
Strawberries Vitamin C, potassium, folate, fiber, antioxidants, biotin, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, vitamin B6, and omega-3 fats
Garlic Potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and selenium
Vidalia Onions Vitamin C and B6, fiber, folate, potassium, manganese
Bell Peppers Vitamin A, E, C, B2 and B6, folate, molybdenum, dietary fiber, vitamin pantothenic acid, niacin, potassium


Apples Vitamin A, C, E, K, fiber
Brussels sprouts Vitamin C, folate, manganese, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, choline, copper, vitamin B1, potassium, phosphorus and omega-3 fatty acids
Garlic Potassium, iron, calclum, magnesium, manganese, zinc, selenium
Pomegranates Vitamin C, K and B vitamins, antioxidants, potassium, folates, fiber
Sweet Potatoes Vitamin A, B6 and C, iron, fiber, potassium
Rutabagas Vitamin C and B6, fiber, zinc, thiamine, manganese, calcium


The Dirty Dozen- Where Organic Matters Most

Most of us would love to buy everything organic, all the time but that’s not always possible for a number of reasons. In these situations, it’s important to know which foods matter most when it comes to buying organic.

The Environmental Working Group continually updates its “Dirty Dozen” list. These are the fruits and veggies that are most susceptible to toxic chemicals for a number of reasons. As the agriculture laws change and as we learn more about the impact of pesticides on our health, this list changes, so it’s important to check back regularly. As of this month, April, 2017, the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list of foods especially important to buy organic includes:

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes

Tips for getting the most out of your trip to the farmers market.

  • Bring plenty of reusable bags, it’s eco-friendly and vendors run out of bags later in the day. I keep a bunch of reusable grocery bags inside a larger reusable bag in the truck of my car and return them there the moment after I put our groceries away (otherwise it doesn’t happen). The Bar Method will soon have some re-usable bags to offer you when you come in and shop with us at the studio, Be sure to save them for your upcoming farmer’s market trips!
  • Bring a rolling cooler. It warms up quickly on a sunny day and a cooler means you can take your time without worrying about meats or cheeses going bad.
  • Leave the dog at home. I know, it seems like the perfect doggie day out, and almost all outdoor markets allow dogs, but I’ve always regretted bringing our pup to the farmers market. Most markets get crowded, then our arms are crowded with bags and it ends up being not very fun for anyone, including the dog! Make it easy, and let Fido sit this one out.

Bonus Tip: If you’re ever out of town and looking to meet people or find things to do, hit up the local farmers market! Last week, my family did spring break in Seaside, FL. Look at these colorful gems we found, and the locals were just as sweet! We may make the farmers market our first stop every time we’re on vacation!


Do you have any favorite markets or hidden gems to share? Please do in the comments and happy farmers market tripping to each of you!

The Bar Method Atlanta’s Bar Star, Jennifer Jones

At The Bar Method, it’s part of our job as instructors to motivate and guide students to reach beyond their perceived limitations but the truth is, that process is often reciprocal. As we watch clients shake and sweat to stronger, more powerful versions of themselves, we are inspired to reach for the greatest version of our authentic selves in the process.

One of those people is Jennifer Jones, a student at the Bar Method East Cobb location, who we originally featured as Bar Star in the studio in July. Through setbacks and triumphs, through babies and rainy days, this relentless girl shows up at the crack of dawn to put in work at the barre. And in return, she’s discovered the limitations that she once saw for herself were only imagined boundaries standing between her current self and the strongest, healthiest version that she could be, the version she is today!

Bar Star, Jennifer Jones, and family.


We hope that by sharing a snippet of her barre story with our Barre Life Atl friends, her story will inspire more people the way it has inspired us.

TBM Atl: What’s your favorite love-to-hate exercise and why?

Jennifer: I. Love. Chair. Really, I love every thigh exercise, but especially chair. Why?  Because it’s hard and it takes every muscle working together to do it right.

TBM Atl: What are some of your successes inside and outside the studio as they relate to barre?

Jennifer:  On New Year’s Day of 2016, I had a baby. It was a grueling delivery, twenty-one hours of labor, plus 3 hours of pushing. I lost a lot of blood and my blood pressure dropped very low. They had to inject my thighs with something to help a blood clot and, for a while, even that wasn’t working. There was talk of a blood transfusion and the doctors had worried looks. I was scared. I wasn’t allowed to get up or walk. I couldn’t move over to our new little girl. I hated that feeling- weak, dependent and incapable. I thought I would never feel strong again, let alone get through the ordeal.

But I did get through and six weeks after the delivery, I was cleared for workouts. I jumped back in that day at The Bar Method. Starting over was hard, really hard. I hadn’t been able to workout in months and I felt that same weakness that I felt in the hospital bed months before. But the wonderful teachers pushed me and my fellow students believed in me.

I realized that I have a much higher physical limit than I ever realized; everyone does actually. If you can get passed the mental aspect of it, which Bar Method helps you to do through great instruction and encouragement, then you can do just about anything! I’m very thankful for this hour where I can focus on me and my limits so that I can be a stronger mom and wife.


Thanks for being a shining example of the strength that can come out of struggle, or out of our determination to become stronger from struggle, rather. Keep putting in the great work and we’ll see you at the barre, Jennifer!


If you’d like to challenge yourself and your perceived mental and physical limitations, book a class at The Bar Method East Cobb or The Bar Method Lenox today!

Barre and your Fascinating Fascia

Before I go on and on about how amazing this little-talked-about system actually is, let’s start at square one… what the heck is fascia?

If you’re reading the word “fascia” and a flower (or “fascist”… be honest), comes to mind you’re not alone. A lot of other people reading this are thinking the same. Until I dove headfirst into exercise science years ago, I only vaguely remembered hearing the word in high school anatomy.

Even those of us who vigilantly seek out the latest health and fitness news may have only recently come across the subject of fascia and how closely it’s connected to virtually every area of our health.

And here’s the kicker- fascia is literally the biological fabric that holds us together. Imagine a densely woven, slippery web of fibrous proteins that wrap around and in between every muscle, bone, organ, vein and nerve in our bodies. It simultaneously connects everything and keeps our parts separate so they can slide smoothly as we move. Fascia is the difference between the finely tuned, complexly engineered machine that our bodies are, and a blob of mixed-up, blubbery flesh. Yuck.



Fascial Connective Tissue 


To understand how important fascial health is in our daily lives, keep in mind that there are 10 times more sensory receptors in our connective tissue than in our muscles. Additionally, most injuries occur in these tissues, not in our muscles.


So why don’t we hear about it more often?


It wasn’t until a decade ago that the mainstream medical community really started paying attention to fascia. Up until that point, it was largely believed that fascia’s primary function was to- very simply put- keep our parts in place. But in 2007, at the first international fascia research conference at Harvard University, the concept of fascial elasticity and how closely fascia works with our muscles was revealed more clearly. Doctors learned that fascia is not only more elastic than we once believed but that it provides us the stressors and counter-stressors that are necessary for mobility, stability and strength.

In a healthy state, our fascia is relaxed and soft; it stretches and moves without restriction. However, many environmental and lifestyle factors tighten our fascia, making us more susceptible to injury and illness.

Factors that can damage the fascia are:

  • Inflammation, which makes fascia more susceptible to damage.
  • Repetitive movements, like typing or factory work pull fascia into ingrained patterns, making it less pliable.
  • Emotional stress, which causes fascial tissue to thicken in an attempt to protect the muscle.
  • An accident- this can tear or twist fascial tissue.
  • Sitting for long periods of time or a sedentary lifestyle.


Many people who are suffering from pain, soreness and lack of motion may really be experiencing undiagnosed damage to their fascial system.


So how do you know if your fascia is in need of repair? Most commonly, you may find yourself continually tight and achy, with muscle soreness that you can’t attribute to any particular activity. You may feel uncomfortable in your body but not really be able to pinpoint the source of your pain. Since fascia is so lengthy and interconnected, damage to one area, may cause a discomfort in an entirely different one.

Common symptoms of damaged or tight fascia:

  • Headaches
  • Limited mobility or flexibility
  • Numbness or a feeling of “pins and needles”
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chronic back and neck pain
  • Muscle pain and/ or spams
  • Poor posture
  • Recurring injuries

How barre protects and repairs the fascia

One of the most effective ways to heal and protect our facial system is through exercises that incorporate stretching and a large range of motion like those we do in barre (think of the large ranges your bar method teacher will incorporate into parallel thigh or foldover). Whole-body movements engage a long stretch of fascial tissue, which strengthens the system more effectively than when we isolate one area of muscles and move repetitively, like on an elliptical or bike. Note that these types of exercise have other immense benefits; but we’re talking about strengthening the fascia specifically here.

Since fascial tissue stretches slower than muscle, the deep stretches and fluid movements we do in class, work on a deeper level than workouts that incorporate quick, jerky movements. These dynamic stretches work to increase circulation and lubricate our joints, tissues and- you guessed it- fascia.


Ways to protect our fascia health, in addition to barre:

  • Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. These foods that reduce internal inflammation are gaining attention as we discover a growing list of diseases and conditions that are linked to inflammation, including many types of cancer, arthritis, asthma and high blood pressure.
  • Stretch or do a little yoga right when you get out of bed. As we sleep, our fascia, like our muscles, can become stiff and “gooey”. Start the day right, by doing some spinal twists, flex your hands and feet; these will lubricate and loosen your fascia so it’s ready to withstand anything the day may throw at you.
  • Myofascial Release Therapy. There are several fascial release techniques that range from gentle, sustained pressure to extremely deep massage in areas where fascia is restricted. This damage often occurs during some sort of physical trauma, like in an accident or surgery. In these treatments, a therapist manually manipulates or unwinds fascial fibers that may have become twisted during trauma, chronic stress or a condition, like Fibromyalgia. While the deep-tissue massage can border on excruciating, many people report lasting repair from physical and even emotional trauma. Our very own Stacey Henke is incredible at this type of massage!
  • Work it out with a foam roller. If you’ve been to class at The Bar Method, you’ve likely heard us discuss using foam rollers and this is why: fascia goes deep beneath the skin’s surface and rigid foam rollers work wonders softening our fascia and tight muscles. It’s actually a way to perform the fascial release therapy mentioned above on ourselves. Rolling around in controlled movements on a tennis ball is also effective for a smaller area.
  • Water, water, water. You may have noticed that we’re a little crazy for water around The Bar Method. (“Water Wednesdays”, hello!), but it’s for good reason. Drinking plenty of water, from the minute you wake up in the morning and throughout the day, helps every single system in your body function better, including your fascia, as a dehydrated body means more rigid fascia. So, drink up!

Want to give your fascinating fascia a little love at The Bar Method? Book a class at our Lenox (Buckhead) or East Cobb (Marietta) location. Your fascia and the rest of you will thank you!



“I love barre, need something else for cardio?” Clearing up the misconception.

When it comes to weight loss, there’s a lot of information out there. And when you start comparing the sources that rely on the most timely, unbiased exercise science out there, to those that rely on outdated information; one quickly realizes there’s just as much misinformation to sort through.

One of the most common misconceptions that I hear from students goes like this- “I love my barre workout but need to add something else for cardio in order to lose weight.”


 I want to educate people that in fact they can get everything their body needs in a one-hour class at The Bar Method, three to five times a week. But to make that assertion, let’s first back up to where this way of thinking originated. For a long time, there were two primary schools of thought regarding exercise and weight loss.

  1. The first belief system said that the only way to lose weight was to melt fat off through strenuous cardio, like a spin class or running. If you’ve ever taken a killer aerobics class- in that moment where your face is beet-red, your clothes are drenched and you’re flirting with unconsciousness- it’s hard to imagine anything else being more effective at shedding pounds. Sure, you’re incinerating mega calories in that moment, but when we’re trying to achieve lasting weight loss, it’s important to look the other 23 hours in the day. *Note that this belief exploded in the 80s when step-classes and aerobic exercise videos were all the rage.
  2. The other says that by building lean muscle mass, you’ll burn more fat overall because you’re burning fat while you’re resting; it raises our resting metabolic rate (RMR). Muscle mass is built through strength-training, which can include lifting weights, resistance training or using our own body weight and good old-fashioned gravity, like we do so often in barre.

The correct answer? Well, it incorporates a bit of both- cardio does burn more calories in the moment, but it’s most effective when you’re also building lean muscle through strength training. Recent studies show that you can get better results, both aerobic and strength gains, from three strength training sessions a week than you can from an hour of cardio, five days a week. This means that, in terms of fat loss, strength training is the best way to add lean muscle and burn calories on an ongoing basis. It also ensures that we don’t lose your muscle mass while we exercise and eat for fat-loss.


Ever heard the term skinny-fat? The number on the scale is dropping and you may be able to zip those skinny jeans but without adding lean muscle, it also means a saggy butt, flabby tummy and loose-feeling skin. Probably not the outcome you were working so hard for, right? You’re losing weight, not necessarily fat. 


How Barre hits the Weight Loss Spot

In a one-hour class at The Bar Method, our heart rate is elevated to that sweet spot just under our anaerobic threshold. Here, we’re burning fat but cortisol levels are lower than they are after an aerobic class, allowing the body to more effectively release fat stores, especially those around our waist. We’re enjoying the cardio benefits of an anaerobic workout in class, but energy continues to burn for several more hours as our bodies work to repair and build the muscles we exhausted in class.


Did you know that women lose an average of 5% of our muscle-mass every 10 years after age 35. Since the presence of lean muscle increases our resting metabolic rate, this is one reason it’s easier to pack on extra weight and can be more difficult to shed it as we age (it’s not just in your head). This only means that strength-training becomes increasingly important as we outsmart the aging process and keep our metabolisms revved through the decades- not to mention the benefits of strength training on bone density, posture and mental health as we age… but that’s for another post.


I say all of this to tell you that, you can get everything your body needs in a one-hour class at The Bar Method, three-five times a week (consistency is key). However, there are so many benefits to moving in general that, if you find any form of exercise you love- dive in headfirst! If your body and mind are craving the “high” that comes after a long run- then, run, Forest, run! Paddleboard, climb, spin, lift, down-dog and, of course, barre- with wild abandon. Movement is life and, aside from the cardio or fat-loss benefits of an active lifestyle, it just makes the journey a lighter, brighter, happier one.

But for me, personally? I’ll see you at the barre.

Want to experience the unique blend of cardio and strength training that come from a one-hour class at The Bar Method? Book a class at The Bar Method Atlanta, either at our Lenox (Buckhead) or East Cobb (Marietta) locations.