icon-facebookicon-twitter copyicon-instagram

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!


#WomanCrushWednesday - Instructor Spotlight: Carla


Why do you barre so hard?
It’s an alternative to the gym that’s structured but is varied enough that it never feels routine. It’s a full body workout that really targets and tones the smaller areas of your body you don’t usually exercise.

What keeps you inspired and motivated? 
The combination of energized instructors and clients, the bumpin’ music, and a supportive atmosphere/community that keeps you wanting more.

What other exercise do you love (in addition to barre) to keep your routine well rounded?
Running, river valley stairs, HIIT, spin, yoga, row; you can find me just about anywhere!

What advice do you have for your fellow barrestars?
Breathe through it and draw on the strength from those around you, oh and have fun!

What is your favorite post workout snack?
Always down for a smoothie loaded with lots of fruit and greens or dates with almond butter and coconut


Whats your favourite work out track right now?
Party Favor - Give It To Me Twice (feat. Sean Kingston and Rich The Kid)

What is your guilty pleasure/ pleasures?
Re-watching old teen TV shows the really kitschy ones like The Hills, Gossip Girl, The OC… so bad yet so good.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Peru and Bolivia, it’s been on my list forever.


#WomanCrushWednesday - Instructor Spotlight: Sarah


Why do you barre so hard?

I love barre simply because it is SO much fun! I started ballet at 2 ½ and
being at the barre takes me back to the fun days of dancing at the studio! The
energy at the studio is always addicting and I love how each class is different
and challenging. ​

What keeps you inspired and motivated?

Feeling the changes!! ​Having more energy, feeling stronger, and gaining more confidence.

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

I like to take spin classes (LOVE YEG cycle!) and hitting the treadmill!

What advice do you have for your fellow barrestars?

Continue to challenge yourself each class! Always try to dig deeper, get lower,
or add more weight.

What is your guilty pleasure/ pleasures?​

Really anything CHOCOLATE! OMG’s, skor and Nanaimo squares are my favs!
I’m also guilty of treating myself to the occasional shopping spree 

Whats your favourite work out track right now?​

Starboy ft. Daft Punk and the Weeknd!

Enjoy the little things – what little things make you smile? ​

My morning coffee! Also being able to spend time with friends and family!​

If you had to choose 3 words to describe yourself, what would they be?​

Compassionate, Attentive, & Fiery (I’m a ginger!)​


#WomanCrushWednesday - Instructor Spotlight: Emily


Why do you barre so hard? 

I barre so hard, because no matter how many classes I come to, I can
never predict what the instructor is going to bring, and I can always find
something in my form, or my effort that needs improvement. I also love
barre because of the community. The clients, and the staff are second to
none, and the studio has definitely become a place of comfort and solace
in my crazy life.

What keeps you inspired and motivated?

I stay motivated by keeping my days super scheduled, so I always know
what I need to get done (like I seriously have a plan for the next five
minutes of my life). I stay inspired by surrounding myself with things that
I know will always give me energy, which is primarily like minded hard
working individuals, but also scented candles, coffee, and my dog.

How did you get introduced to barre?

I got introduced to barre because I followed the studio on Instagram and
saw that they were hiring desk staff which was a fitting employment
option during school. Once I became engaged in the community I knew
that it was a place I couldn’t leave.

What is the best “side effect” you have noticed from barre?

My attitude. I definitely fall victim to being a “glass half empty” kind of
person at times. Barre keeps me positive, happy, and motivated.

Favourite way to treat yourself?

Lush bath bombs with a bottle sized glass of wine

Enjoy the little things – what little things make you smile?

When you see new mom’s look into their babies eyes and see such selfless
love or how couples look at each other when they walk down the aisle on
their wedding days

If you had to choose 3 words to describe yourself, what would they be?

Motivated, sarcastic, witty


#WomanCrushWednesday - Instructor Spotlight: Lauren


Why do you barre so hard?

For the beats, the motivation, and the connection to one’s body. There
is nothing like hearing that beat drop when you go into that combo
movement and you whisper to yourself, “You got this…” (or is that just
me?) The barre community here is so welcoming, inspiring, and
empowering. Barre has pushed me further in my physical and mental
state. If I push myself to hold that squeeze just a little longer at the
barre, I can push myself to do a lot more!

What keeps you inspired and motivated?

Being held accountable to show up, new music to work to, and to
prevent my injuries from sneaking up on me is what keeps me coming
back time and time again. Barre helps me stay strong in every aspect
of life, and whenever I start to feel weak, I know where to go to get
that burn. Every instructor is different which is what I love about
barre! It is a different and challenging workout every time!

How did you get introduced to barre?

My lovely sister Kendra took me to classes when she started working
at BBS! I struggled in my first class, but something told me to go back
and I did my 2-weeks unlimited! And then when I started working the
desk at Holland, I became even more addicted to the physical activity
and the community.

What advice do you have for your fellow barrestars?

Stay focused, stay strong, challenge yourself, and live a little. This
community is so wonderful to help keep you motivated and focused
on those fitness goals. It’s important to remember why you chose to
come to barre to help you stick to those goals, and challenge yourself
to take your workout to the next level. Lastly, it’s also just as important
to have fun with it and let yourself go!

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

I’m a tap dancer! I’ve grown up tap dancing unofficially since I was 2
(thanks to my sis) and officially when I was 4! That’s why I love music
that has a good beat to it. It’s instinctual for me groove out to that kind
of music.

What is your favorite quote?

“If not me, who? If not now, when? – Emma Watson.
This quote is what pushed me to be a barre-tender, because if not now,
when would I do it?

If you could choose any job what would it be?

Professional DJ! My entire life would be one big dance party. I may
even have a name picked out if I ever got into that profession…


#WomanCrushWednesday: Instructor Spotlight - Jill


Describe the BBS Tribe?
Four words: The best thing ever! I love going into the studio and seeing both the clients and instructors because everyone is so welcoming and inspiring – seriously! Walking into the studio is like an instant good mood booster. I'll take a cup o' it all day, every day!  

What keeps you inspired and motivated in your own personal fitness?
Going through traumatic injuries made me extremely grateful for a body that is fully functioning. There are always days when I don't feel like working out, but I always reflect on the moments when I couldn't even walk and I would have loved to go for a run but couldn't. To keep me motivated I keep a goal of committing to at least 30 minutes of exercise a day and I always try to be grateful for those minutes of movement! 

How has barre impacted you? 
I was a competitive soccer player growing up and after tearing my ACL twice and suffering from a stress fracture in both my tibia and femur when I tore my knee I was told that I wasn't able to play soccer anymore. Long story short, I was looking for a workout that was low impact that would still give me that "athletes high" that I had when I played soccer. After trying a few workouts nothing seemed to stick and make me as happy as soccer did until my BFF introduced me to barre! That was almost two years ago and I have been hooked ever since. It helped me gain back the lean muscle in my legs and provided me with the confidence to realize that even though I may not be able to do the things I used to do (athletically) I'm thankful that Barre has kept me both physically and mentally healthy!

What is the best “side effect” you have noticed from barre?
My arms! They've gotten so lean and muscular! When given the chance I'm always flexing my biceps – especially to the guys that think they're strong than me ;) 

Where could we most likely find you after the barre? 
Either watching trashy reality TV with a glass of cheap champagne (or red wine) in my hand or hanging out with my husband and our sweet Maltese rescue dog, Baxter! In the summer I'm out at my cabin whenever I have a free weekend and during the winter I'm at the hockey rink cheering on the Oilers! 


What is your guilty pleasures? 
Miss Vickie's Sweet Chili and Sour Cream chips, Hawkins cheezies and Reese's peanut butter cups. In an ideal world I'd eat the chips for breakfast, cheezies for lunch and peanut butter cups for dinner. Somedays, it's an ideal world. 

Share one of your favourite mantras! 
Starve the ego, feed the soul.


#WomanCrushWednesday - Instructor Spotlight: Kristin

Describe the BBS Tribe? 

The people who teach and people who take barre are just genuinely lovely people! I love seeing everyones smiling faces when I come take a class or teach. It always puts a positive spin on my day.

What keeps you inspired and motivated in your own personal fitness?
I want to stay strong as I get older and make sure I am staying in a good place physically so my body can carry me through till I am 80! I am completely envious of the old ladies you see in YouTube videos, doing gymnastics or dancing up a storm, I want to be that strong when I am that age and I think barre will get me there.

What is your favorite series to work into your class?

Anyone who has been to my class knows that I love Clamshell. It is a series that always works and gets those booties burning. It doesn’t matter now long you have been doing barre, clamshell always fires the glutes up and sculpts beautiful bums!

Share a tip with your barrestars to help them get the most out of each class.

There is a reason we all talk about small movements. The smaller and more concentrated the movements are, the more effective they are going to be. If you focus on those small, controlled movements, you are really going to get deep into the muscles and be able to focus on where you should be squeezing.

Tell us something that has happened since your last blog spotlight!

Since my last blog post, I have been focusing on my business as a graphic designer. I work for myself and I am now in year two of being on my own and it has been fantastic! The Edmonton community is so supportive of small businesses and working with local people and it has helped me to flourish and stay very busy. At the barre, I am making sure I have fun new playlist for my classes to enjoy and I recently split a pair of jeans from my growing barre bum! Growing glutes won’t be contained by constrictive denim.

What is your favourite spot/favourite thing to do in YEG?

My family has the Naturally Edmonton pass, which gives us unlimited access to the John Janzen Nature Centre, the Muttart Conservatory and the Valley Zoo, so we spend a lot of time between those 3 facilities. The play area at the John Janzen is a hidden treasure!

Tell us about one of your quirks.

I am really, REALLY organized. I have a hard time working in chaos so I always have to make sure my house is clean so that I can focus and get my work done. It’s a good thing the studios are so clean, no distractions!


#WomanCrushWednesday - Instructor Spotlight: Lindsey

Describe the BBS Tribe?

It’s so great being around positive, funny, supportive people; and the
BBS Tribe is exactly that!

What keeps you inspired and motivated in your own personal fitness?
Well, up until July 1st my biggest motivation was to look killer in my wedding
dress ;) but I believe life is all about balance, and if you eat a whole pizza to
yourself, you need to balance it out with some good calorie burning! I really
love taking spin classes for that reason. Working on my cardio and endurance
has helped me reach my goal of Darth-Vadering the mic a lot less.

What keeps your motivated as an instructor/ fitness leader?

There are many proud moments that come with being an instructor, but the main one is
seeing positive changes in each participant week after week. A lot of
satisfaction comes from attaining personal goals, but when you’re the one
helping others attain their goals – there’s no better feeling.

What is your favorite series to work into your class?

Any series that can be done with weights. I also love the classic glute bridge (with weights of

Tell us something that has happened since your last blog spotlight!

I got married!!!

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

French was my first language. Bein oui!

Tell us about one of your quirks.

Pretty sure I have slight OCD… I like when things are neat, even, and square. I find myself adjusting other people’s papers or straightening their belongings. I apologize in advance.


#WomanCrushWednesday - Instructor Spotlight: Erika


Describe the BBS Tribe? 

Our BBS Tribe is an amazing group of motivated, strong and
enthusiastic individuals that enjoy getting together to sweat and pulse
it out and achieve that endorphin high from every BBS class. I love my

What keeps you inspired and motivated in your own personal fitness? 

What inspires me most to keep moving forward in my own personal
fitness journey is the feeling I get during and after class. It’s a mix of
strength, calm and energy, and stress reduction. Its what’s keeping me
coming back for more each and every time.

How has barre impacted you?

Barre has impacted me most with respect to my life outside the studio –
I am sleeping better, feeling stronger and motivated to tackle the hard
things life throws at you. This is in addition to the physical changes in
my strength and muscle tone – I have a booty finally after ++ years. 

What is your favorite series to work into your class?

My favorite series to work into class would have to be a cardio choreo
mash up - mixing up a bunch of our classic BBS moves to get that heart
rate up and the sweat flowing.

Tell us something that has happened since your last blog spotlight!

I had the ability to witness excellence in youth sport with my experience
with Team Canada at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games in
Lillehammer Norway. Those kids were amazing and so inspiring – do
your best every day and reach for the stars.

Tell us about one of your quirks.

One of my quirks would have to be that I’m a bit (ok maybe a bit more)
OCD and love to have things in order and organized. I also have a
phobia of open stairs.

Describe your own studio style?

My studio style is functional – tights, form fitting tank, grip socks and a
cover up for warm up. I think workouts should be more about the work
and less about the fashion – but that being said – you work out better
when your outfit is on point!


#WomanCrushWednesday - Instructor Spotlight: Michelle


Why do you barre so hard? 

I barre so hard for the burn, the booty, the beats and the babes! I love feeling my body working hard, so the fact that barre can get my muscles burning & shaking in minutes is addicting. The results are incredible; it definitely keeps my body in shape and always feeling strong. I love the music and energy in each class and I always look forward to being around the inspiring instructors & clients.

Any advice for the barre stars in your class?

Remember what brought you to the barre each time you walk into class and use it as motivation to push yourself – especially if you feel like giving up. It won’t get easier, but you will get stronger so look forward to challenging yourself and showing yourself what you are made of!

What is your favorite move @ the barre?

Second position chair. Burn baby burn!

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

Anything that makes me sweat! Outside of barre I’m not super attached to any specific exercises or activities, but I really enjoy trying new things (thank goodness or I wouldn’t have found barre!), so you could find me in a yoga class, a zumba class, playing tennis, kickboxing, boot camp classes, or even just at the gym. My goal is to stay active and sweat, so if I’m not at barre – anything goes!

Tell us something we don’t know about you!

I was a figure skater for most of my life up until my second year of University – I did singles skating as well as synchronized skating.

What is your favorite quote?

“Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Darren Hardy, The Compound Effect

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would you bring with you?

I would bring my husband. We are both very ambitious and determined individuals, so between the two of us I bet we could figure out a way to get home! But just in case we didn’t, obviously I would need eye candy ;)