The first thing I noticed about BARRE Cleveland was the stark difference between the red brick office building’s exterior and its warm, inviting inside.
A brightly colored chalkboard reading, “BARRE Cleveland: Lift it. Tone it. Sculpt it. Shape it.” is the only hint of color outside its glass doors.
But step inside and it feels more like your stylish friend’s living room.
“As women we want to have a certain amount of balance in our lives, and in the workouts that we have,” said owner Yana Salwan, who opened the doors in May. “And I think that BARRE Cleveland embraces that type of style.”
Plants and mirrors greet me just inside. Further inside, an antiqued-looking teal wooden reception desk is situated next to two small walls of lockers surrounding a plush green carpet. And patrons make their way through a homey living room — complete with bananas on the coffee table — on their way to the studio.
“I think the design is refreshing. It’s accessible. It’s comfortable,” Salwan, who's managed and worked as a fitness instructor at Life Time Fitness, Bally Total Fitness and the Mandel Jewish Community Center, said. “I think it’s as comfortable as one’s own living space.”
And the combination yoga-Pilates-ballet workout? Coming from my background (a high school powerlifter, I struggle to embrace workouts that don’t require 45-pound plates, lifting belts and a fair amount of grunting), I found it challenging, but not frustrating.
“Yana pushes us,” said Kim Malmad, an Orange Village school teacher. “We use the full hour and when you feel like you’re ready to be done, you keep going. I’ve noticed the results from that.”
Endurance was key, whether it be while “pulsing” a three-pound (yes, three — trust me, this was hard enough) weight in each hand, arms extended straight out in front, or lifting your shoulders and feet off the ground for an ab workout.
“The hour goes by really fast. It has a little bit of yoga into it, but it feels like an all-over body toning exercise,” said one participant, Alicia Fanning.
The short yoga stretch break in the middle of the workout felt amazing, and the ballet-like stretches really made me feel long and lean.
Courtney Bern said she’s noticed a change in her body, too. “I fit into my clothes better, and I have ab muscles I didn’t know I had,” she said. “And it’s the best workout — the most enjoyable workout — I’ve ever had.”
Other women remarked that their posture had improved, and one even swore that she stands taller than she did before she started barre.
BARRE Cleveland is located at 3737 Park East Drive #209 in Beachwood.
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