Sunday, February 9, 2014

Barre-gains: Fitness on the Cheap!

Over the past nine days I have taken three live barre classes. And I paid absolutely nothing. That's right--nothing. I think I've shared with you how cheap I am... cheap. And that my barre habit can be... expensive. So I've made it my mission to troll around and find the best deals on classes and video workouts, and now I'm bringing this veritable treasure trove of information to you. FREE!

You're welcome.

Of course, I should mention that I live in a pretty happy place for barre accessibility. The Boston area has lots (and I mean LOTS) of barre classes available. I've only begun to scratch the surface. And lots of choice means lots of competition which means DEALS.

Here are a few ways to get your lalalas for less:

New Client Deals

Everyone knows the hardest part is getting people in the door, so most studios offer deals for new clients. Physique 57 has a buy-one-get-one for newbies, Pure Barre in my area offers new clients one month unlimited for $100, but some studios give you your first class FREE. Last Saturday I took a BarFusiontm   (yes, it's trademarked) class which is offered at a local pilates studio. FREE!

New Studios

Scout out new gyms and studios--they usually offer enticements to get the word out. I have a week at a new Equinox gym near me. FREE! Tonight I'm off to a pre-opening special at a new Pure Barre studio. FREE! Last weekend I took a Bar Method class taught by a trainee instructor. FREE!

Did I mention these were FREE?!

How do you find out about these sweet deals? Research--scour the studio's website. Sign up for email alerts, 'like' their page on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and Instagram (follow me while you're at it--@stephaniehsiang on Twitter and @momsatthebarre on Instagram.)

Ask -- nicely

I've mentioned before the value of ask-and-you-just-might-receive. Last fall I asked the nice lady at Core Fusion if she'd please-oh-please revive a long expired sweet deal... and she said YES! So it's always worth it to ask. Politely. I've gotten all kinds of perks in life from asking nicely. The worst they can say is 'no.' And they just might say 'yes!' And that is money in your pocket.


This is a viable means of supporting your habit. I posted about entering contests back in December. I had won second place in a Physique 57 Instagram contest. They were going to give me a portable ballet barre, but I wrote and asked if I could have some free classes instead, since I already have a barre. They said YES! So those classes I mentioned over Christmas? FREE.

Oh yeah, I also won the Ballet Physique contest I mentioned in December--no classes since they're out in Colorado, but they gave me their awesome video downloads and a bag of treats!
Look! Cute t-shirt, headband, yummy barre bar and... grippy socks!!

On Superbowl Sunday I entered a couple more photo contests with my darling children.
I had to pay DS1 a quarter to cooperate, but it was well worth it, because I won one of them. Now I have a week unlimited pass to a local Pure Barre studio. FREE! (Oh yeah, and since I won, I gave him a $1 bonus. So I guess it wasn't exactly free, but still... Having cute children in photo contests really helps, so it's important to keep the talent happy.)

FREE is awesome, but at some point, you have to pay something. This is when you turn to Groupon, Gilt City, Rue Lala, Amazon Local, Classivity and the like. I'm kind of new to these types of promotions, but a woman was just telling me she tried a class at a local studio for peanuts, so this is a great way to get in door. I just bought a Groupon for Barfusiontm classes--a steal at $5.50 per class.

I should mention that many of these deals require you to be a new client. There's only so much milk you can get for free before you have to buy the cow. But while I have my favorites, really, I've never met a barre class I didn't like, so I can go for a while on newbie deals.

But what if you're not in such a plush environment for live classes? The same rules apply to online classes. I'm not a huge fan of streaming classes, simply because I find my internet connection sometimes freezes, and if the small people are around, they like to push buttons and that's just not helpful. But if you have decent internet and don't need to wrestle your device from hot little hands, streaming classes are a great option.

The same rules usually apply--there are free trials on a number of sites for new clients. has live Core Fusion classes and they offer the first two weeks for free!

Youtube has tons of free classes. Not all of it is on the up-and-up so I'm not going to post any links, but some are entirely legit. Like Jessica Smith. Try her out.

Suzanne Bowen is another barre instructor with a huge library of workouts with a free trial offer. If you like it, the monthly fee is very reasonable. I found them a wee bit dry, but Suzanne is lovely. The workouts are solid, and Suzanne is big on stretching. What's not to love about that?

Another great site I found is Booya offers a new workout each day from different boutique studios in New York City. You can sign up for access to the daily workout for free, or for a small fee, you can tap into the entire video library.

Really, the options online are practically endless. May your thighs burn... and not your wallet!


  1. Very good tips, Stephanie!
    I live in a barre desert, or so I think. If my dream of becoming a fitness instructor ever materializes, I think I'll become a barre instructor and put an end to such an injustice. Don't hold your breath, though. I said "if".

    Have you tried anything by Sleek Technique? If you sign up, they offer you a free streaming workout and a spot for one of their interactive streaming workouts. They are based in the UK, so I don't know how interesting the free live workout would be for you. Here's their website:
    Here's a full length ballet bootcamp class:

    1. Super! Thanks for the tip! And it would be great if you could share the barre love in your corner of the world. ;)

  2. For anyone in Colorado, Ballet Physique offers a 10-day unlimited pass for $20. You can really maximize the number of classes you take and can even get in two weekends! Best deal in Colorado!

    1. Oh my, that is a sweet deal! I love the Ballet Physique DVDs. We just flew through Denver, and I found myself secretly hoping we'd be delayed overnight so I could sneak over to BP.

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