Raising the Bar

Ballet-inspired workouts work
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Photos by Andria Lindquist

After Bev Currier experienced a unique workout, she came home and told her husband, Luke, “I just took a class that’s going to change my life.”

It did — and it also sparked a new workout craze in the Pacific Northwest.

The Bar Method Seattle-Eastside is a workout that is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay area. It’s upbeat, involving a dynamic mix of ballet (complete with a ballet barre), yoga and Pilates. The non-stop pace — while gentle and low-impact — gets your heart rate up, makes you sweat and gets results. Fans include ABC TV’s “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” stars Lindzi Cox and Desiree Hartsock, both who work out there.

“Every single class follows the same structure, but every single class is different, which keeps you mentally engaged,” Luke says.

The Curriers, along with business partner Maika Manring, brought The Bar Method franchise to the Pacific Northwest when they opened their first studio in Seattle’s South Lake Union. They also have a studio in Redmond.

Before discovering The Bar Method, the Curriers were into “all the traditional stuff” when it came to working out, like weight-lifting and cardio. Manring was a recreational marathon runner who was no stranger to running injuries. She says her body has changed since The Bar Method and that it’s been transformative. “I want to do this for the rest of my life,” Manring said.

They decided to take their love for The Bar Method and turn it into careers.

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What makes The Bar Method a uniquely effective workout is the use of the largest muscles to rev up your metabolism through carefully controlled, precise movements. This means you’re building lean, dense muscle without the bulk. The Bar Method workout is a strategically formatted, fluid, active and powerful workout that sculpts and tones every body shape.

The studio atmospheres are highly personal, and teachers make a point to know everyone’s name in their classes and to challenge clients on an individual level as well as a group level.

“We want to know our clients. That’s why we’re all at the studios every day, to teach and to see our clients,” Luke said.

The personal touch extends throughout the studios, which are purposefully crafted to create calm, with sleek and clean details. “Our studios spare no expense, and we want it to feel more like a spa than a gym,” Luke explains.

­On an average day, about 350 women (and a couple brave men) come through the studio doors to workout. A workout with a ballet barre in the room can be an obstacle for some men — but it shouldn’t be, explains Bev. “This kind of workout should interest men more because men aren’t usually as flexible, and they need to have balance (in their workout routines).” To get the most out of The Bar Method, they recommend attending class five times a week.

All the instructors at the two studios go through a six-month training process and they only teach The Bar Method. This ensures that The Bar Method’s teachers are true experts, the owners said.

The community aspect of The Bar Method is important to its success. “It’s not competitive; it’s community-building. The people next to me make me work harder,” Bev said. All three say their goal for the studios was to create “a place where women could support women.”

For many, The Bar Method has always been about more than just exercise. “People often experience something that is beyond physically transformative: people conquer eating disorders, depression, they see weight loss,” Luke says.

Dedicated “Bar Methodists,” as they jokingly call themselves, “know that if you can get through the challenging workout you can get through anything in your day; and that’s why it’s always been about more than just looking good,” Luke said.

The workout and the community women experience at The Bar Method studios make them “stronger outside of class, and they know they can overcome their struggles with the mental strength they learn here,” Maika says. “It makes you a better mom, friend, sweetheart — because you’re empowered by this challenge.”

From left to right: Lindzi Cox, Bev Currier, Desiree Hartsock, Maika Manring and Luke Currier

From left to right: Lindzi Cox, Bev Currier, Desiree Hartsock, Maika Manring and Luke Currier

The Bar Method Seattle-Eastside
124 Westlake Ave. N., Seattle and at Redmond Town Center
New clients: $99 for 30 days of unlimited classes; $175 a month for unlimited recurring clients; $24 per class. Check in studio for other specials, including bridal and new-mom packages and student and corporate discounts and more.

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