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Woah, Baby! An Interview With Elissa


If you've been coming to Elissa's classes lately you may have noticed her beautiful expanding belly! We can confirm she is definitely pregnant and expecting a baby with her husband in May! We chatted with Elissa about how she's been feeling, what it's like to teach while carrying a human, how to exercise safely at the barre while pregnant and more.

How far along are you now?

28 weeks, just starting my third trimester. Baby is due May 23rd.

How have you been feeling?

I have been feeling pretty good throughout the entire pregnancy. Just tired! But I don’t think that is going to change for the next 18 years.

What were your 1st and 2nd trimesters like? How is your 3rd trimester going so far?

I must admit, I have been pretty lucky so far with my pregnancy. I had very little-to-no nausea my first trimester. I was just constantly hungry! The hunger has not changed much throughout the pregnancy! I just find myself being able to eat less at each meal, which has me snacking a lot throughout the day.  I did experience the increased urination and did have to get up every night during my first trimester to use the bathroom, but that has settled down during my second trimester. Now that I am entering my third trimester I assume I will be up nightly using the bathroom again. I also didn't experience the emotional mood swings that can happen during pregnancy. I don’t hate my hubby (yet lol) and I didn’t have any emotional crying experiences. Which means I also didn’t put too much stock behind “baby brain”. But entering my third trimester, baby brain has hit full force! It’s a real thing, I swear! I am sure a few of our members and staff will experience my baby brain moments.

Any cravings or aversions to certain foods?

I had no severe food aversions during my first trimester. Since I didn’t have any food aversions I also didn’t really experience any weird cravings. No pickles and ice cream for me. I might have a little more of a sweet tooth, but I don’t keep a lot of sweets in the house so when the “cravings” hit, I am way too lazy to go out and buy something most times. I did find an angel food cake in my cupboard one night and decided to bake that at 9 PM when I was feeling something sweet. I had to put it outside in the winter so it would cool quickly so I could eat it before midnight.

Do you know if you’re having a boy or a girl?

Nope, we are keeping it a surprise. Team Green!

Do you have any names picked out?

Since we don’t know the gender we have too many names picked out. We have a big list of names that we keep adding to, but don’t seem to be able to narrow down. We are getting closer to a girl's name but every time we revisit the boys list we scratch them all out and start again. Hopefully we can pick a name soon!


What do you love about being pregnant? What do you dislike?

I must admit that even though I have had a very positive experience during this pregnancy I can’t say that I have “loved” being pregnant. I am extremely grateful and blessed for being able to experience a healthy pregnancy! But it is hard to experience all the changes your body has to go through. Whether you are experiencing the pregnancy symptoms that are constantly changing week to week or the physical changes happening to your body. Sometimes it’s the silly changes that can be annoying like growing hair in places you never grew hair before. My hubby found a 1 inch hair growing on my back….. haha. Bring on the tweezers! The hardest thing I find about being pregnant is learning about your physical limitations, which keep changing as you get farther along. I took for granted that I could run up a flight of stairs or carry 10 heavy shopping bags in from the car, because I didn’t want to do a second trip. Now walking across a room causes me to be out of breath and I have to be conscious of things I maybe shouldn’t be doing as much or pushing as hard. I have to continually learn what my body can handle and not to overdo it. Each week is a new learning curve. Oh, and I miss having margaritas!

How long do you plan on teaching until, before your baby is born?

Fingers crossed, I hope to teach for a long as I can until my due date. I still feel good while teaching my classes, so hopefully I can keep it up. I plan to start cutting back on my schedule a bit towards the end of March and April so I am not teaching as many classes.

Do you have a birth plan?

My plan is to go in open minded. I don’t want to make a set plan and then be disappointed if my birth experience doesn’t go according to my plan. I will be as prepared as possible, but hope to just go with the flow.

Is Barre safe to do during pregnancy?

With the consent from your doctor I think barre class is a great type of exercise while pregnant! With only some slight modifications you can continue barre through most of your pregnancy. Since we have been getting so many questions lately and since we have so many pregnant mamas-to-be in our classes we are hosting a Pre-Natal Workshop on Saturday March 17 at 11 AM at our Whitemud Crossing location. Come chat about exercise modifications you can do in class and get a sweat on at the same time, as we run you through a class!

Any advice to moms-to-be or new moms re: exercising at the barre?

The biggest thing is: listen to your body. What may feel okay before you got pregnant will not feel the same while pregnant or after baby. Sometimes even day-to-day might not feel the same depending on how baby is positioned. It is important to stay active while pregnant and post pregnancy but it is unrealistic to be at the same level you were before you got pregnant. Growing or recovering from baby takes a lot of energy and we need to respect our bodies. Doing modifications and taking breaks when needed are good for us! We don’t need to be doing high impact to work our cardiovascular system and we don’t need to be doing ab exercises that burn to keep us toned. Core exercises are extremely important during and after baby (notice how I said core and not ab exercises) but it's more about maintaining a strong core for function vs. looking good. It is important to work the entire core, focusing on the deeper transverse abdominals, pelvic floor, obliques, back muscles and even the glutes. These help keep our core stable and can reduce pregnancy pains. We need to do core exercises that promote stability and strength but we don’t need to be aggressive with the exercises we choose or do them until they “burn”.  There are many great core exercises that can be done while pregnant that may not feel extremely difficult but are very good exercises for function and support. Don’t be scared to ask the instructor for modifications. Or don’t feel self-conscious if the exercise does not feel right for you and you choose to do a different exercise. Do what feels best for you! 


What has it been like teaching while pregnant? Have you had to slow down in class?

I have enjoyed teaching while pregnant. It’s a great excuse to keep me active! I find I may be doing a little more hands-on correcting them and demonstrating but I have always been “handsy” in class so I don’t think it has changed too much. I keep checking with clients to make sure they are getting a good workout in, and some have told me that I have gotten even meaner with my classes during my pregnancy, haha. I guess since I maybe can’t work as hard, I make sure they do! The hardest part of teaching is doing the cardio sections, I get out of breath so quickly. But luckily I just demonstrate the low impact options and continue to make the rest of the class work harder.

Are you planning on taking a bit of a break before and after the baby?

My plan is to take a small break after baby arrives. Since I am due in May I plan to take the summer off and just enjoy my baby. After that, I will see how I feel. I may start teaching a class or two a week or maybe I will just be a participant for a while. We'll see!


Proper Stretching Techique Series #3: Inner Thigh (Butterfly) Stretch


Today we're continuing our Proper Stretching Technique Series with the Butterfly Stretch. This exercise targets the inner thighs.







This version gets into the glutes.



A deeper stretch and different variation.

If you need to modify, sit up straighter and don't fold as far forward.

Stretching properly in (and out) of class is extremely important so if you have any questions about this exercise or any others please ask a Barre Instructor!


BBS Hall of Fame: Sonja


Meet Sonja -  a barre superstar who has over 500 classes under her belt, and not stopping any day soon. Sonja started with us at BBS YEG in October of 2014, and can mostly be found over at our Holland Plaza Studio in the evenings hanging out with us behind the desk or chatting to her tribe. Sonja's energy is so contagious and we love seeing her in the studio every time she comes! Check out her feature below!

Why do you barre so hard?

I love how barre constantly challenges me to get better, whether that’s with increased weights, flexibility or doing advanced positions. Each class and instructor brings their own unique and diverse exercises and I love not knowing or expecting what is next.

That being said, ultimately the community, the tribe, the people and the fun is what keeps me coming back and working hard. It takes the word “work” out of workout (even though I do excessively sweat and work my ass off) and is something I WANT and look forward to doing.

How has barre impacted you?

Three words – booty booty booty! But honestly, this tush has always struggled to get that extra oomph we all crave; even with at minimum two leg days at the gym a week. I started noticing results in that department after the 30 day challenge that got me started at BBS and I am pretty sure my butt has perked up at least two inches. In addition it has also immensely improved my very horrible posture, plus my flexibility (still working on those splits).

Apart from the obvious physical impacts, I have also gained so many incredible life long friendships through the community. People I now talk to on a daily basis, barre or not, who I can’t imagine not having in my life!

How did you get introduced to barre?

A friend who was going to the studio asked me to go. I was hesitant at first as I typically focus on heavy lifting at the gym and therefore thought a “dance” class would not be down my alley (funny stereotype I originally had). Boy was I wrong, because I got my ass whooped and have been addicted ever since.

What keeps you motivated and coming back to barre?

The positive changes I see in my body as well as the inspiring motivating instructors (and now friends). I also pretend I work there, so need to show up for my “shifts” ;) 

Other than barre, what other activities do you do?

I am all about the activities. I go to the gym at lunch every day for weights/cardio, spin, slo-pitch, curl, bowl, rollerblade, wakesurf, run or bike with the love of my life Norman (my fur-child) and wine…..wine counts right?

Tell us something we don’t know about you?

I did not become a Canadian citizen until I was 24 (born in Germany)…. I also have an addiction to almonds, and anyone that knows me knows that is not a joke… I cannot stop eating them.

What is your favourite way to treat yourself?

Traveling the world, listening to music and socializing with my amazing circle of friends (add wine to all of those things of course).

What is your favourite book, movie, or TV show of all time?

This is actually the most difficult question of all. 

Book = Gone Girl (I love twisty dark reads)

Movie = Marley & Me OR anything Brad Pitt (aka. Future hubs)

TV Show = This is Us (I never thought ducks would make me cry so much)


Love Yourself: The Art of Practising Self-Care by Kendra


   “Self-care” has become a trending topic as of late, especially in how it relates to mental health. But do we really understand what self-care is, and what exactly does it look like?

   The term self-care describes actions one can take to achieve their ideal mental and physical health. Methods of self-care are as unique as the person who practices them. It could be a massage, a meal at a favourite restaurant, or a killer barre class (this is one of the ways I achieve my re-centering). But most importantly, practicing self-care essentially means being attuned to your inner needs, listening to them, and acting on them. Blocking out all of the world’s noise and listening to what your self has to say can be challenging—but the rewards are resplendent.

   Understanding the concept and importance of self-care has been a hard fought lesson for me. My role in my relationships is often to be the ‘listener’; I care very deeply about the people in my life, and want to be the best friend/sister/daughter/partner I can be for them. When we discuss the adventures that life has taken us on (for better or for worse), I listen intently and offer my thoughts on how best the other person could take care of their situation, and encourage them to be kind to themselves. However, it wasn’t until recently that I recognized I always forgot to turn my listening ear inwards. While always wanting to do the best I could for others, I consistently forgot the person I should always be the kindest to first: myself.

   Once I started listening to my inner voice, I realized she had a lot to say about guiding me towards a happier sense of self. I also learned that I was able to become a much more positive influence for others around me, because I had taken the time necessary to take care of myself. And this lesson alone clarifies that self-care is not selfish. Taking the steps necessary to center, listen, and be kind to yourself actually enables you to show up and be even more present for the people in your life, in a real and impactful way. Use the practice of self-care to create the space and time for you to become more generous and kind to yourself, and others.

   The practice of self-care will look and feel different for everyone. And it can be a big, or small action. For example, one of my favourite ‘small-ways’ to practice self-care is to accept a compliment I am happy to receive: instead of deflecting or brushing it off, choose instead to pause, absorb the words, feel them, and know your worth in that moment.

   And so, I hope this collection of thoughts has inspired you to want to learn/start/continue to practice the art of self-care. At the end of every barre class that I teach, I ask you to pause and thank yourself for your hard work and your sweat—for honouring your body and mind, for taking time for the important person that is you, because you are so deserving of it. I want for you to take on that same practice in your daily life: to pause, to listen, and to thank yourself for all that you do. Your voice is worth listening to: turn up the volume, and listen to what you have to say—you might be surprised by what you hear.

    I want you to start this practice by taking this moment to stop and give yourself a hug—mentally or physically. Give yourself a loving squeeze, because darling: you are so deserving of so much kindness, love, and magic. You are enough. Love your pals, and love yourself.