Barre and Brew: Barre Forte Yoga Classes at First Magnitude Brewing Company

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Come for the stretch, stay for the pint with Barre Forte and First Magnitude Brewing Company.

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Some of us unwind by leaving it all on the mat and practicing yoga. Some of us unwind with a cold beer, surrounded by good company. As for those of us with an appreciation for the two, we unwind by pairing them.

Barre Forte has hosted yoga classes on Sundays for two years in the rustic and serene industrial space of First Magnitude Brewing Company.

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A $5 donation is encouraged but not required, which benefits different causes every quarter. Currently, classes are benefiting We are Neutral, a local company dedicated to offsetting the brewery’s, and other local businesses carbon footprints.

With a turnout never dipping below 30 people and often exceeding 70, Body Flow at the brewery has become a local favorite way to destress.

Megan Massimillo, 27, has been practicing yoga since her days as a professional dancer. She started attending classes at Barre Forte back in 2015, just a month after the studio opened its doors.

Since hearing an announcement about First Magnitude hosting classes in July of 2015, Megan tries to attend a class at least once a month.

“The Barre Forte studio is unlike other studios because the day you step inside the studio, you are now part of a family,” said Megan. “They care about your goals.”

 

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“Sometimes large facilities have a lot going on and don't recognize all their members,” she said. “At Barre Forte, they know everyone by name, which was so impressive to me.”

“You’re out of your typical element and it's good to switch up your workout environment,” said Megan of classes at the brewery. “Plus, you really work up a great sweat in there and can enjoy a great local brew after.”

Ali Tovar, 27, found Barre Forte after struggling to find the right workout for her. While Ali is not an experienced yogi, she has been a member of Barre Forte for a year and a half. Since joining, she has attended brewery yoga a handful of times.

“It’s a no-judgement zone and you can go at your own pace,” said Ali, who had never joined a studio before.

“It’s one of my favorite things to do. You get to be outside and it’s a great workout,” she said. “After you’re done, you can grab a beer. What’s not to like about that?”

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Heather Nations, 45, has been instructing at Barre Forte since June of 2015 and is one of the instructors at Barre Forte’s First Magnitude classes.

Yoga has played an important part in her life and recovery after battling cancer 11 years ago.

Previously a fitness instructor in Orlando, Heather struggled to find a good fit as she looked for a studio to teach at in Gainesville.

After attending Barre classes in St. Petersburg and Orlando, Heather saw a sign for Barre Forte’s grand opening.

“One free class and I was hooked on the format and the energy the studio brought to the workout,” said Heather.

“Group fitness is all about motivation and accountability,” she said. “Barre Forte is the most welcoming group fitness environment I have ever witnessed.”

“It really meets women and men right where they are in their fitness journey, doesn't let them stay there, but gently encourages them to grow,” she said.

Christine Denny, owner of First Magnitude Brewing Company, helped cultivate the idea when one of her bartenders was looking for somewhere to teach as she received her certification.

Denny has also attended classes at the studio as well as at the brewery.

“I think it’s a unique location to hold the classes,” Christine said. “Barre Forte is one of our most frequent and most popular instructors.”

“What impresses me a lot is not only the quality of instruction but the professionalism of the whole Barre Forte team,” she said. “They’re excellent in terms of communicat

ing; I’m always impressed by their marketing and outreach.”

“Their classes are really fun… and hard,” she laughed.

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Classes are held most Sundays at 1 p.m. at First Magnitude Brewing Company.