I Hate Working Out—But This Cool-Girl Fitness Class Changed Me
Today in unpopular opinion, I'm not a workout person. In New York City, that's like saying you hate dogs (or Oprah). It's simply unacceptable. It's not that I don't enjoy the physical act of working out (most of the time, at least). It's more that I can't seem to find the time to get to a class that fits with my schedule (and isn't fully booked weeks ahead), I get bored with workouts easily, and don't even get me started on the gym—I loathe it. I tried many of the popular boutique classes in New York City to keep me motivated or in shape but had little success. The truth is, most of the time, I simply would prefer to be doing literally anything else. So sue me.
Last summer, I had pretty much resorted to a diet of quick morning jogs and eating whatever I wanted. It did the trick, at least in the warmer months. But all this changed last summer, while I was attending an Alise Collective x Surf Lodge wellness retreat in Montauk. Our daily schedule included a one-hour Bari class at 9 a.m. I'd be lying if I said I didn't drag my feet the first couple of days, but by the last workout, I was hooked. Something about the mix of music, dance, strength-training, and Pilates movements kept my short-attention-span brain motivated and my body active. I also started seeing (and feeling) results almost immediately. I'm not alone—every day, the small TriBeCa studio is crawling with women and men from all over the city looking to feel and look great.
We chatted with The Bari Studio founder, Alexandra Bonetti, on the ins and outs of what makes Bari a successful (and addictive) workout. After graduating from the prestigious Wharton University of the University of Pennsylvania and leaving a promising consulting career in oil and gas, she founded The Bari Studio with the goal of bringing her favorite workout method to people who are short on time everywhere. Today, The Bari Studio is launching its annual Bari Peel—a six-week challenge to entirely transform your body—which you can access entirely online from anywhere. Combining workout recipes with clean-eating principles and mindfulness exercises, Bari Peel is the perfect method to get you back on track for the New Year. Find out more about the new cool workout that's taking New York by storm.
What is Bari, Exactly?
I get the same puzzled look every time I try to explain Bari to someone: Is it a barre class? (It isn't.) Is it like Barry's Bootcamp. (It's not that, either.) Not being able to adequately explain it, I went straight to the source, The Bari Studio's founder, Alexandra Bonetti.
"In simplest terms, it's a hybrid method combining dance, trampoline, and sculpting work for a full-body workout," she explained. "Those three elements are mixed and matched in such a way that you can take different classes each day for the best formula to achieve whatever you're after. The way we move, I think, is the most addicting—it's really unexpected but also very intuitive, so you feel like you're doing a fun, innovative workout but that always feels really good to the body."
Addictive is right. The music—ranging from the latest Rihanna hit to house music or even vintage Spice Girls—is perfectly timed to each strengthening movement, making it feel less like a chore and more mindless and fun.
How Did the Bari Method Come About?
As a young professional in New York, Bonetti experienced what many young women do when trying to balance multiple aspects of their lives: "While working in consulting, I found myself struggling to balance a million different workouts in order to look and feel the way I wanted," she said. "I would go for a run one day, do a weights class another day, do Pilates the next day, try to hit the elliptical when I could—the list goes on. But no matter how many classes I squeezed in, or personal training sessions I splurged on, I still didn't look or feel the way I wanted because I wasn't getting the right recipe of cardio and muscle sculpting to actually change my body. I decided to take my fitness plan and body into my own hands and little by little started creating what Bari's method would become—something that really worked."
I knew that if I wanted a more efficient, fun workout, other people were craving the same thing.
How Can You Get Started?
For Bonetti, getting into a regular workout schedule was dependent on finding something that kept her motivated: "As I started putting the pieces of the puzzle together to create a workout routine that my body responded to, I also felt a shift mentally," she explained. "I went from stressing about and dreading my workouts to feeling effortless motivation and excitement. As soon as I figured out this formula, it felt like I'd hacked the system. I fell in love with the feel-good power of a consistent workout practice (and the results that follow), and I felt so proud of my body and the hard work I was putting in. I knew I was onto something, and I couldn't shake the opportunity to see it through. I was good at consulting, but I was invigorated by Bari. So I left my job in consulting and followed a hunch. I knew that if I wanted a more efficient, fun workout, other people were craving the same thing."
Sweat in Style
What Makes Bari Different?
"In terms of the workout, the moves are really innovative, and it's really effective but not hard on your body," explained Bonetti. "In terms of the vibe, the workout is no joke, but it's really fun and doesn't take itself too seriously. We bounce on trampolines, dance, and, even when we're toning, we move to the beat of the music. And what sets the studio apart is its community: We've been a tribe long before it became a buzzword—and for good reason. Our people—both the Bari team and our clients—are at the core of who we are as a brand. We believe in vibes, tribes, and attracting like-minded people, and we think our stellar community is proof of energetics in action."
How Do You Stay Motivated?
Like every other busy professional, Bonetti realizes the challenges that come with working out regularly. Her secret is to treat it like an important meeting: "Finding a workout you actually enjoy is big plus, but mostly, you need to treat it like the most important meeting of the day and set yourself up for a realistic schedule you really will stick to—even if that means starting with a few workouts a week. I don't know too many people who aren't short on time, so the ideal workout schedule should speak to your goals and expectations. If you want to maintain, three Bari classes a week should work great. If you're looking for change, pushing yourself to four or five classes a week will really get you there."
What Is a Good Workout Mantra?
When she needs a little extra push, Bonetti reminds herself of her goals and why she works out in the first place: "I try to connect to why I should work out that day. Is it to balance out my weekend diet, to release stress, clear my mind, feel stronger and more confident? Once I can really connect with that feeling, it convinces me to get my sneakers on and get to the studio. Once I'm at Bari, it's easy to jump in because the energy is so contagious."
While I'm still no fitness convert, The Bari Studio is the one workout I make a point to get to regularly, and six months in, I can say I still haven't gotten bored with it. If anything, I like it more and more with each workout.
Have you tried a Bari class? Let us know your thoughts.