When was the last time you did something for the first time?
You’ve probably noticed some big changes on the class schedule lately: new class times, new instructors, and even brand new classes. What’s going on around here?!
We talk a lot about comfort zones at B Present Studio. To put it mildly…we’re not a fan of them! “I’m always watching clients’ bodies and results and even mindsets,” says B Present founder and co-owner Tammy Weisweaver. “We have such a loyal following and people who have been with us for years now. We also have brand new clients coming in all the time, but I didn’t want those longtime clients to fall into a comfort zone. Even though the classes are challenging, and we are always changing our staples of Barre Bootcamp and Barre Beautiful–those aren’t going away by any means!–I though it would be good for our minds AND our muscles to mix it up and have some novelty.”
It was something Tammy had been thinking about for awhile before taking the plunge. “I had the idea, but putting it into practice was a different story. I kept having a mental block–‘Oh, I’ll do that later, I’m not ready yet.’ When I finally decided that I was going to start working on implementing this, I was so excited and had so much energy to put toward it that I knew for sure at that point that it was a good thing and time to bring out something new.”
The kickboxing class format got its start at B Present as a specialty workshop that was offered once or twice a month. “Workshops are kind of my testing ground,” says Tammy. “That’s where I put things out there and see how people respond to it. I always watch where the feet go: Is this a total flop? Is it something that’s good for every once in awhile? Or is this something that people are really biting on and want more of?” Barre Boxing was definitely a highly attended workshop, and Tammy knew that they were on to something.
But even then, it wasn’t a change that could be made overnight. “Because we are a small company, we can make changes rather quickly, at least compared to some big corporation where it would take a lot longer and there would be a lot more red tape to go through,” says Tammy. “But I didn’t immediately go ‘Okay, here’s a barre boxing class!’ because I had to think through what our method was going to be, consider what additional training I might need, then train our other teachers…”
Developing the B Present boxing method has been an exercise in creativity and experimentation. “I used to teach circuit kickboxing back in the day before B Present, so I’m drawing a lot on that experience,” says Tammy. She recently completed a specialty fitness certification in boxing and plans to do another one in January (adding to her collection, which already includes a general group fitness certification in addition to Spinning, Pilates, and barre certifications), but is mostly enjoying the freedom to create something brand new. “For right now, I’m really in experimentation mode,” Tammy says. “I’m playing around with movements, trying out different combinations, testing out a few different boxing styles.”
So far Tammy and her team have been developing a method of “endurance boxing” that builds on the same principles that are taught in the B Present barre method: muscular fatigue through repetition, a total body workout, and plenty of heart-pumping cardio thrown in for good measure. “It’s sort of something I’ve made up,” Tammy says with a laugh. “I don’t know of anywhere else doing this exact method–and I’ve looked!–but I feel like it’s challenging and a great workout, so we’ll have to just see how this goes and how our bodies respond. It’s nice to have that flexibility to try it out, and it’ll be fun to see where it goes from there.”
Something else Tammy has noticed about bringing the boxing format into the fold is the impact it has on mindset–something she’s always watching carefully, both in herself and in her clients. “It’s awakening more of the empowerment side in me and in our messaging, which is always about positive encouragement,” she says. “It’s always about affirmation and kindness and love–we aren’t ditching those things by any means–but with boxing, it’s also a little bit about ‘What’s making you mad today? C’mon, get mad, get tough!’ It allows people to feel and explore a wider range of emotions while they’re here.”
B Centered Yoga
Just like Barre Boxing, yoga had been on the lineup for awhile already as a specialty workshop called “Barre Flow,” a barre-yoga hybrid class. Like boxing, it was highly attended–and highly requested. “Our last two rounds of client surveys overwhelmingly said the same thing: boxing, yoga, boxing, yoga. We heard loud and clear that people wanted more of these types of classes,” Tammy says.
It actually won’t be the first time yoga has made an appearance on the schedule here. “We had experimented with yoga here before, toward the beginning of our opening,” Tammy explains. “But when we only had the one studio, we could only put yoga in the time slots that weren’t prime times because we had all prime times taken up by barre classes. So we were only able to offer it about twice a week, at less popular times, and really didn’t give it a chance to be successful.” This time, she’s confident it will be different. “We don’t have a ton of classes on the schedule yet, but we put them at a few different days and times so hopefully everyone can find an opportunity to try it.”
Yoga comes in lots of styles and methods, and B Present’s classes will be of the vinyasa flow variety (meaning students will flow from one pose to the next while focusing on alignment and breath) and will end with shavasana (lying on your back and fully relaxing your mind and body). Adding yoga to your weekly exercise routine can improve your strength and balance, your energy levels, and your mental focus–and yes, you’ll even work up a bit of a sweat. “It’s such a good counterbalance to the strength and cardio that we offer,” says Tammy.
As for the instructors, Tammy acknowledges that it’s a big change as it’ll be the first time she is bringing in instructors that she’s not training herself. “Yoga is obviously not something I’m making up myself or training people to teach–they all have their own yoga certifications and training,” she says. Still, clients will recognize at least one of the names on the new yoga schedule: Kara B., who has already been a barre tender at B Present for a few years, is now pulling double duty as a yoga instructor here as well. “I’m hopeful that that will help bridge the gap–people will say, ‘Well I love her barre classes, so sure, I’ll try yoga!'” The other two new yoga instructors, Megan and Kate, are also both B Present clients. “They know our philosophy, they know who we are and what we represent, and they are both such gentle spirits. I think they’ll be a good fit for our clientele.”
If you could conceive of something that’s the exact opposite of shavasana…it might look something like Barre Blast! This cardio-heavy class format is the newest incarnation of Barre Tender’s Choice, and carries the same “surprise me” delight: it could be Barre-dio, Barre Bata, Barre Bootcamp, Barre Boxing, or some other zany creation of the instructor’s choice–but it’ll always be an intense hour of heart-pumping cardio.
Like boxing and yoga, Barre Blast was created largely in response to client feedback. “We heard on a few surveys that clients came to Barre Tender’s Choice expecting a really challenging workout; they said ‘I don’t have to know THE format, but I want to know it’s going to be intense,'” Tammy explains. Conversely, it wasn’t unusual for brand new clients to show up to a Barre Tender’s Choice class blissfully unaware of what they just signed up for…which is one way to both welcome a new face to the studio and potentially scare them away for good! “It says it right in the name now,” Tammy says. “I feel better about people knowing what they are choosing.”
Challenge Equals Change
Change can be uncomfortable for everyone, but it’s in that discomfort that we improve ourselves and grow. Even for Tammy, rolling out these new classes comes with some jitters: “I’m having fun writing the workouts and being creative, but it’s also a little nerve-wracking to take it live, take it to a class. It feels a little like presenting an apple pie to guests: you feel like I like it; will they like it?!”
Of course, it’s hard to please everyone all the time. “Anytime the schedule changes majorly like this–with multiple changes to class times and formats–you hope that everyone will be excited, but also realize that change is hard for a lot of people,” Tammy says. “You can only hope that generally speaking this is going to be a good fit, that people are open to trying new things and giving something different a whirl.” And just as these changes were made with client feedback in mind, she and the B Team will continue listening and watching closely for how the B Present community responds. “This is all changeable,” Tammy says. “We’re going to try it out, and if the consensus ends up being ‘We actually don’t really like boxing,’ I’m not going to say ‘Well too bad, you have to go to boxing!’ I can do boxing on my own at home; we don’t have to have it!” (If the early response to Barre Boxing is any indication, Tammy won’t be relegated to boxing by herself in her basement anytime soon!)
She hopes that the shake-up will not only jolt longtime clients out of their comfort zones, but also draw in even more people who have wanted to try B Present but have hesitated for one reason or another. “I still hear about people who feel that B Present is not for them because they think I’m not a dancer, I can’t do that. Even though we have worked and will continue to work to show that you don’t have to be a dancer to do any of this, I hope that offering some other types of classes could help get those people through the doors when they might otherwise be too afraid or feel that it’s not for them. So maybe they come for yoga, but then once they have seen the barre, and have heard people talking about it, we’ll be able to warm them up to trying another new thing.”
“We want to encourage people to live their best lives. We know that is not done by keeping to yourself and resisting change.”
“I want to encourage people to be willing to try new things. Maybe that’s something that they wouldn’t have ever thought they would like, but they won’t know if they don’t try,” Tammy reflects. “Ultimately, we really are wanting to encourage people to live their best lives. We know that is not done by keeping to yourself, and resisting change. That’s not how life works. So if we can be an example of changing and trying new things, and that encourages others get out of their comfort zones, then I love that. No comfort zones.”