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BBS Hall of Fame: Simone

If you have not already - meet Simone! She is a dedicated member of our tribe, who shares her passion with the entire community. Simone fell in love with barre instantly and completed 550 classes in just over 1.5 years! Not only will she testify to growing her own strength over the past year and a half, but she is also constantly sharing that strength with the people around her. Her words of encouragement among the BBS tribe and positive attitude in class is exactly what landed her a spot in out BBS Hall of Fame. (Oh yeah, and she makes the best peanut butter cookies ;) ) Check out her feature below! 

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Why do you barre so hard? 

I ‘barre so hard’ because it’s fun and continues to be a challenging workout even after 19 months, with each class often harder than the last! Barre combines my preferred ways to exercise with its integration of Ballet, Yoga, Pilates, and free weights. I really appreciate the class structure that encourages a mind-body connection and the use of all muscular-skeletal (and mental) groups. For me, class time just flies by with the quick succession and smooth flow of the diverse exercises that demand my total concentration. All the instructors are truly dedicated professionals who work hard to create a comfortable and inclusive exercise community, continually motivate the students, and integrate good teaching and coaching strategies. I am impressed by all the instructors’ creativity and smooth choreographic transitions while keeping to 126bpm, as well as their ability in providing helpful cueing while sweating along with the class.  

What does being part of the BBS Tribe mean to you?

I love being surrounded by strong, intelligent and compassionate women (and a few men!) who continually support each other on physical and emotional levels. Small and big accomplishments in the studio are celebrated by both “barretenders” and “barrestars”, and this is really evident in the barre challenges.  It really is a pleasure to be able to attend any class and not have a preference; actually, my favourite instructor is the one who is currently teaching the class I’m attending, and my favourite barre buddies are the ones sweating and working hard beside me!  I cherish the many friendships I have made within the BBS community and hope to continue seeing everyone at the barre for a long time.

How has barre impacted you? 

Wow – so many ways! I would say the first major impact was the realization that although I thought I was fit, barre classes continually pushed me way beyond my usual exercise comfort zone with cardio bursts and attention to proper form. I no longer have a love-hate relationship (which honestly started as a hate-hate thing) with the cardio sections of class; I actually look forward to them and try to regularly attend the Barre, Sweat and Tone classes. The second major impact was to stop ‘cheating’ by using my natural flexibility to not work as hard in the barre moves. I now focus on better form and strength and have eliminated the danger of over-extension and repetitive strain on muscles and joints. I’ve learned to improve my flexibility with dynamic stretching rather than passively staying in poses. Another impact has been a return to the integration of musicality and rhythm to accentuate a fitness regimen, along with a new musical repertoire of appropriate songs to match the specific exercises. And I’m also hungry all the time (in a very positive way) from intensive daily workouts!

What other exercise do you love (in addition to barre) to keep your routine well rounded? 

I was trained in competitive gymnastics, acrobatics, dance and yoga as a teenager and have continued doing daily exercises (morning and night) to maintain flexibility and core strength. I also currently attend adult classical and contemporary ballet classes and have recently added Syntonics: a practice which strives for the elimination of unconscious and dysfunctional muscular and movement habits and the harmonious balancing in the skeletal musculature. Syntonics’ purpose is the recovery of the dynamic ability of the organism to continually respond, adapt and re-create itself in a healthy and functional way.

Tell us something that we don’t know about you! 

I am a Franco-Albertan Anthropologist and I have concentrated my research and interest in the specialized areas of symbolic interaction, performance, communication, pop culture, ritual activities, aesthetics, and ethnomusicology. I taught for almost 30 years at the University of Alberta (mainly the francophone campus) striving to improve teaching and learning experiences, with an interest in student engagement and student empowerment through active learning. 

Other activities include involvement in the francophone community and volunteer stage technical work and stage managing (and musician/performer wrangler) for the Edmonton Folk Music Festival since its origin in 1980, the Uptown Folk Club, Winterfest and Interstellar Rodeo. Along with my family, I am an active supporter, promoter, and patron of local visual arts, music, theatre and contemporary dance.

I am a long-time resident of Edmonton; I have been married for 35 years to local artist Blair Brennan and we have three strong intelligent talented and beautiful daughters – Sophie, Siona and Céline.

What is your favorite post workout snack?

My post workout snack/meal usually includes eggs or dairy or nuts, and vegetables or fruit. As mentioned in the ‘impact’ question, I am always hungry and post workout eating is really important. Because of health reasons (celiac and allergies), I need to follow a strict gluten-free grain-free lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. I find it essential to incorporate protein into every snack and meal, and I try to make vegetables tempting and delicious.

Luckily, I enjoy baking and cooking and have a big garden that provides lots of fresh vegetables. I have adapted favourite recipes and have created a lot of grain-free goodies that I love to share with anyone who also likes cocoa and coconut, dried fruit, nuts and peanuts, yogurt, and especially dark chocolate!


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