Definition of barre-chat

barre·chat (noun) [ bahr·chat ] – informal conversation characterized by anecdotal facts about life which may completely ignore research or hard evidence: “my thighs were the main subject of barrechat today.”

barre·chat (verb) [ bahr·chat ] – talking in an informal way at the bar, the barre, or while wearing fitness clothing: “they barrechatted as soon as they left class”

This Baby Boomer Not Converting to Crossfit

 

So, Martina walks into Crossfit as a fit pilates teacher and shares her horror, surprise and ultimate intrigue in her latest blog post. I am aghast!  How can my barrechat.com partner and the coolest person I know turn to religion?  Honestly, I am not the first to note that extreme fitness is the new religion.

“Ms. Huberlie described the CrossFit experience as an intimate, supportive one, in which cheering for one another to meet fitness goals was expected. It is a culture that can produce effects more often associated with church.

“There is something raw and vulnerable that happens to you when you go into the CrossFit gym,” Ms. Huberlie said. “A workout can bring you to your knees, so to speak.”   NYTIMES;2015 When Some Turn to Church, Others Go to Crossfit.

“At CrossFit—a worldwide workout phenomenon with 4 million users—the members exhibit a close-knit community of people trying to better themselves and those around them through physical fitness. Members have organized fundraisers and other drives to aid friends and other CrossFitters who are going through sickness and other extraordinary circumstances.”    Harvard Divinity School   Crossfit As Church

Fellow baby boomers; remember when you had to go to religious services?  Dressed in uncomfortable clothes, hours of Latin or Hebrew (never understanding a single word), forced to swallow a dry wafer, or enter a dark room to confess sins to a stranger when you were just 7 years old?

DAH!  I realize  I can  never be a Crossfit person, or a mudder.  I would never join Crossfit where the “BOX” is the church that demands a cultish following to complete the “WOD.”

Where fire breathers are the new saints. Where “paniacs” endure grueling workouts, and compare their suffering as “nothing compared to Jesus Christ”.

There is another reason.  I practice pilates and won’t convert to crossfit where exercise quality is confused with the amount of pain it produces ala “no pain, no gain.”

My practice informs that pain is a symptom of more than a hard workout; it often results from an injury.  Knowledge of anatomy and body mechanics, and respect for a typical injured boomer body leads me to avoid painful workouts and choose smart workouts. I am not looking to recreate an era of blissful ignorance.  It’s why I prefer an IPhone 7 over a rotary dial phone, high speed internet over AOL dial up service, and pilates over Crossfit.

Yesterday in advanced pilates we did an entire series of standing leg splits on the reformer.  My thighs started to burn and I felt the discomfort of lactic acid moving out of my muscles.  When we moved on to kneeling arm work the discomfort ceased.

My reaction to Crossfit type workouts is not as extreme as Nappercize, the newest fitness craze.

It’s a class that is based on a little stretching followed by a long nap in a group setting.  No kettleballs or heavy ropes required… just sleep masks. Is nappercize the new religious experience for over scheduled sleep-deprived people?  Are you listening Martina?   At least it can’t hurt you!

What happens when a Pilates instructor walks into a Crossfit?

 

I’m not going to lie- I’ve been hating on Crossfit for quite some time. Here’s the thing…I had never actually been inside a “box” or completed a WOD with AMRAP. Translation: Crossfit calls their gym a “box”, a “WOD” is the workout of the day, and “AMRAP” stands for as many reps as possible.

So it all began when Kevin (my husband)  joined Crossfit RedZone a few months back. He loves it and talks about how great it is. I was annoyed by his love for Crossfit, but after months of seeing Kevin clock 500-700 calories during every workout (yes, we share our workouts with each other via our apple watches, and yes, I know we are annoying), I finally decided to join him. I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss is about. I mean, you can’t exactly judge something unless you’ve tried it, right?

Let me set the scene- it’s a rainy morning and we pull into the parking lot and up to a loading dock. Yes, the “box” is basically in a warehouse and you walk through a loading dock to get there. Once we go in, Kevin introduces me to the owners, Kurt and Kris; brothers and Newtown natives. Oh, and did I mention they are both gingers? They use the hashtag “#gingertrained”. What’s there not to love?

The workout:  So I tell Kurt that I’m slightly apprehensive about losing my crossfit virginity, he assures me that I’m in good hands. We started with some rowing, followed by a warm up strength training portion. Then we did some bench presses, “hollows” (similar to the teaser in Pilates), and pull ups. After three rounds, we moved onto the WOD. Once Kurt started playing ACDC, I knew I was about to get my ass whooped. The WOD consisted of jumping pull ups, box jumps, and kettlebell swings AMRAP for 12 minutes. I have to say that Kurt was paying close attention to form, went over every exercise prior to starting, and gave me modifications as needed. The crossfit veterans in class were encouraging during the workout and showed me the ropes as we went along.

I definitely applied all five of the Pilates principles during the Crossfit workout; breathing, pelvic placement, rib cage placement, scapular stabilization, and cervical placement. I’ll avoid getting technical here, but I will say there is a strong overlap between Crossfit and Pilates. Many of the exercises in the Stott Pilates repertoire focus on strengthening the core, maintaining the natural curvature of the spine, and improving balance. I can see where Pilates would definitely help Crossfitters over the long run.

Overall, my experience at Crossfit was a positive one. I learned that not all Crossfits are created equal, so I can really only talk about my experience at RedZone in Newtown, CT. Kurt, Kris, and Jacqui (Kris’ wife) were incredibly nice and welcoming. These guys definitely know what they are doing and I’ll probably give it another go….just as soon as my body recovers.

 

Beyond Autism Awareness

 

It’s April. With the month of April comes “Autism Awareness” month. For those of you who are just catching up, we have a 5 year old daughter who is incredibly smart, beautiful, kind, and spunky. She also happens to have Autism Spectrum Disorder. We got her official medical diagnosis almost a year ago, and we’ve begun this bumpy, terrifying, yet incredible journey.

The purpose of this post is not to educate you about Autism, or explain the signs, causes, and treatments. What I really want is for everyone to think about this month as “Autism Acceptance”. And not just for Autism, but for everything and everyone who might be a bit different. It is easy to be aware of C’s differences, but to accept them? That’s a whole other beast.

I’ve accepted that we will never be a “normal” family. Outings, vacations, even trips to the grocery require extreme planning. I often have a babysitter or my mom in tow because during a melt down things turn tragic quickly and evacuating with two child often requires two adults. I’ve learned to accept we will have good days and awful days. I celebrate the tiny victories on the good days, and use the bad days as a learning experience. I’ve accepted that I will never be the perfect mom and will continue to make mistakes along the way.

I’ve accepted that people are assholes. No matter how much I educate someone about autism, they still may not accept that autism is a “real thing”. People are ALWAYS going to judge. People are ALWAYS going to say things that piss me off. I’ve learned to move on. Their loss, not mine.

Lastly, I’ve accepted that C is different, but not less of person. She is smart and capable of learning so much. She’s the kind of kid that is more interested in the inchworm on the sidewalk rather than greeting her classmates at school. She loves to touch, smell, and sometimes lick, everything in sight. She has memorized almost every Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks movie, line by line. She can’t always verbally articulate how she’s feeling, but she comes up with the most interesting ways to convey her emotions and feelings. So yes, she’s “different”, but she’s amazing. If you can take a few minutes to see past someone’s “differences”, maybe you’ll find that they are a pretty incredible too.

Shout out to Nancy Hodari and Equilibrium in Michigan from my family in Connecticut: Thanks for supporting the Michigan Shines for Autism Gala, April 29th, 2017. To my peeps in Detroit get your tickets here: Autism Awareness Gala

Martina Sprague
Certified Stott Pilates Instructor
Owner: Balanced Pilates

Martina is back!

Introduction 2.0

For the 7 people who have actually followed this blog over the past few years, I’m baaaack!!! My life has changed a bit since my last post. My original bio reads as follows:

“30ish, married, one daughter, one husband, one dog, certifying in pilates, helps nancy run equilibrium by doing all the stuff nancy doesn’t like doing. sassy and genetically opinionated. more about her mother later.”

Well, I’m closer to 40 than 30. I have TWO kids, one of which is almost a “threenager”. The other is almost six and has autism spectrum disorder. We moved to the east coast, which means I no longer work for Nancy. I certified in Pilates and have been happily teaching. We built a house. Still have the same husband. Still have the same dog. Still genetically opinionated, but I’ve learned to drop my judgements. Oh, and did I mention my mom almost died? The key word being “almost”. Fortunately, she’s still feisty as ever and an even bigger pain in my ass. Let’s just say our journey has been tiresome, lonely, educational, and amazing all at once. (And my neighbors wonder why I get wine delivered to my house?! ) I’m still the same Martina, just a little older and a tiny bit wiser with a few more wrinkles. Looking forward to sharing our not-so-normal adventures with you!

Martina Sprague
Certified Stott Pilates Instructor
Owner: Balanced Pilates

What Wedding Boot Camp at Equilibrium Means To Me

JessieI am not much of a words person. I have always expressed myself through other forms of art. But being that I am the bride to be and the spotlight is undeniably on me I have decided to write down a few words for the barrechatblog!

Over the past two years Equilibrium has become a big part of my life, or as many would say, has become my life. I work hard at trying to promote the studio and bring in new clients and keep current clients happy. In addition to the studio marketing I have been running the STOTT PILATES training program. On the side I teach about an average of 8 Xtend Barre classes a week.

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I Hate Lists!

  • I hate lists10 ways to improve your sex life.
  • 15 steps to better skin.
  • 9 ways to improve the manners of your children.
  • 10 ways to travel like a pro.
  • 12 products that will give you perfect hair.
  • 10 decorating tips to update your home.

You get it, right?  Everyone wants to be better, look better, travel better, but why is it so complicated?  Worse, it is a recipe for failure.  So I want to eat healthier and I nail five out of 10 tips so that’s only 50% or a failing grade in school.   Who is writing these lists?  I think they are product or lifestyle salespeople who want us to fail so that they are not out of job.  Have you noticed that these lists appear over and over again in the same places?  If Vogue magazine had the secret to perfect hair, we would all buy the magazine and have perfect hair and never feel the need to read another hair product list. But alas, no one can complete the checklist so they are free to repeat and tweak the list for a future publication.

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Religion of Motivation

inspirational quotesNot proud to confess that I read People magazine on airplanes during every takeoff.  I am forced to read a magazine because the FAA doesn’t allow me to read my Kindle during the only stressful time of the flight. You know the drill from the flight attendants; if it has an on/off switch, turn it off.

Please don’t remind me that I could be reading the Economist or Atlantic Monthly.  I simply don’t find those mindless enough for takeoffs or landings.

I love reading People Magazines Mail Bag, or commonly called “letters to the editor.”

This post is dedicated to Michelle Altenhoof Carlsblod, CA.

Michelle wrote a letter to People in response to her favorite issue, the yearly Half Size issue. She credits the Half Size issue of People with helping her   “maintain her size 2 figure year after year.”

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Ode to Charlene

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith today being Mother’s Day, I thought it was time to give barrechat readers an introduction to Charlene…For those of you who haven’t figured out who Charlene is, she is my mother. She is somewhat of a character. She is loud, opinionated, swears like a truck driver, over reacts in almost every situation, and worst of all, she is a republican (although she claims to be independent).

You see, Charlene and I have an interesting relationship. Even though we live 600 miles apart, we are very close. I talk to my mom EVERY day. I check in with her at least once a day and if I don’t, she is pretty much convinced I’m dead in a gutter. People ask me, “What do you guys talk about if you talk every day?!?” Well… the answer is we chat about everything and anything. Everything is up for “discussion” with Charlene. Here is a typical conversation between us:
Charlene: “When are you having another baby?”
Me: “Mom!”
Charlene: “Well are you guys at least trying yet?”
Me: “Mom! Will you stop.”
Charlene: “You better get to it…let me talk to my son-in-law”
Kevin: “Hi Charlene”
Charlene: “You better give her a couple glasses of wine tonight so you two can work on making babies.”

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Facebook Etiquette

Barrechat’s most recent blog posts fB photoinspired me to write about the use of Facebook and the etiquette involved. You see, I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. It is one of those guilty pleasures I indulge in late at night or when I feel like some good old procrastination.

There are some people who annoy me to no end, but I can’t defriend them for the following reasons:

  • I secretly enjoying reading that they are more miserable than me
  • I have a close relationship with the person, co-worker or close friend and I don’t want to hurt their feelings
  • It is my mother and I simply can’t defriend her because what kind of daughter would I be?

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Mark Zuckerberg We Need a Dislike-Thumbs Down Button

facebook-dislikeWhen will Facebook have a “Dislike-thumb down” button?

“Like-thumb-up “ is overused and often inappropriate on Facebook.

The new “Dislike-thumbs down” button would be the perfect response to the endless banal updates about being at Starbucks, eating licorice at home, changing your baby’s diaper, getting ready for bed.  Thumbs down would be gentler than the snotty comments that usually begin with, “ I wish a certain someone would stop remarking on blah blah blah.”

Maybe the annoying people would get the message and stop with their endless updates and then the mean people could stop writing snotty comments.

And when people post updates that fall way beneath the threshold for sympathy, such as “I had a tooth pulled, I have a headache, I had a bad day, “ we can show solidarity by clicking on “Dislike-Thumbs Down.”

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