🌟Spotlight on February #BarreStar Paula A.🌟
Paula has taken over 175 classes at Barre Forte since starting with us in July 2015. The BF staff was especially impressed with how she #crushed the #50in60 challenge--taking multiple classes a day and always coming in with a smile!
Meet February Barre Star: Paula Alfonso
1) Where are you from, and how long have you been in Gainesville?
I am really proud to be from South Florida; I am from Pembroke Pines, Florida. I went to Flanagan High School, and in the Colorguard Community that's kind of a big deal. My Alma Mater is a World Champion, and I was one of their first captains!
Gainesville has officially become my home, I have been here since 2002. I originally moved up here to attend the University of Florida and never left. My favorite part of Gainesville and the surrounding area is the Eco-tourism: rivers, springs, the prairie, sink holes, the bat conservatory. I love it all.
2) What's your favorite Barre-themed shirt?
My favorite Barre-themed shirt is: Will Plank for Pizza. Honestly, my core is the weakest part of my body and sometimes this becomes my mantra while planking. No, I don't treat myself to pizza every time I plank, but it does help.
3) Tell us something fun about yourself/what you do when you're not at Barre?
My passion is teaching kids. I coach two competitive High School Colorguard teams: Gainesville High School and Santa Fe High School. Mentoring young women and seeing them do something they once thought was impossible brings me so much joy. Colorguard and Winterguard are a full-time hobby for me.
4) Was your first Barre class what you expected? Why or why not?
I have been around dance my entire life, and Barre was not what I expected. I thought there would be some dancing. However, the dance-inspired workout does so much more for me than some choreographed aerobics class would ever do.
5) Why did you decide to continue with Barre Forte after your free week by investing in a 12-month membership?
I got to a point in my life where I was living for everyone else and not for myself. I feel like as women we are givers, and I needed to invest time in myself. I found the studio at the moment I needed it. It was the first place in a while where I felt welcome. I have had a gym membership since I moved here, and I know more people at the studio than the gym. The sense of culture and community are felt so strongly at Barre Forte. The Barretenders all have different personalities that push me and motivate me in different ways. I invested in a 12-month membership because I fell in love with the culture of women positively pushing other women.
6) What makes this workout different from other exercises you have experienced?
The thing that makes Barre different for me is the motivation to: “Meet Your Best.” We live in a day-in-age where we are fiercely aware of how competitive women are with each other. During a Barre workout—you're constantly being reminded to push yourself, but that you know your body. There are modifications to make things easier or more difficult. Women encourage each other along the way, and celebrate successes. It really is a Barre Tribe.
7) What is your favorite Barre move so far?
My favorite Barre move is pretzel on the ground. The reason why is because, "My Hips don't lie". I can feel the shakes EVERY time we do it. Sometimes, I can hold my hands in prayer position, and I know that I am getting better. My thighs are thick, but they are strong. Pretzel always makes me feel that way.
8) What results have you noticed so far?
The biggest results I have seen, are on my backside. I can see where my lower back has gotten smaller, and where my hamstrings are hugging the back of my legs lifting my "barre shelf."
9) Have you experienced any benefits from Barre that have affected you not just physically, but mentally, too?
A lot of my gains are mental: I am much happier now. There's something about going to your edge, and meeting your best that brings on a sense of clarity. Barre has increased my confidence, and brought me back to a place of gratitude. I am grateful for Barre Forte, the staff, and the members for that.
10) What keeps you motivated to continue coming to Barre so consistently?
There are so many things compounded on top of the "runner's high" from working out. First, I love supporting local businesses. Second, I am very introverted so meeting new people in an environment where I can focus on myself, is a plus. Second, the barre merchandise—literally, leggings all day every day. Lastly, I never get cold because the Keurig is always ready to brew something warm for me when I get done working out. Seriously, it's like a home away from home to work out at. It's a sanctuary for 55 minutes a day. (Sometimes longerJ).
11) Is there anything you would like to share with potential new clients about your experience at Barre Forte?
Try everything that the studio has to offer. The first class is always weird because you're trying to get use to the terminology or you're trying to turn your brain off from telling you, you can't. I told someone just the other night: It doesn't get easier, you just get better. You get stronger, and if it doesn't challenge you then it isn't changing you. There is no team of cheerleaders I would rather have in my corner than the Barre Forte tribe.
I am sure that's something every New Client needs to hear: Hey, class was hard for me too... I feel you but, we are stronger because of it.
12) Is there anything else you'd like to share??
Yes! Standing leg work is hard on everyone. HAH. I had a revelation about that recently—working my active leg and standing leg is still a challenge for me. GUESS WHAT? I found out during the #50in60 challenge, that many people feel the same way I do. It was nice to not feel alone in that. Thank you to the women who had that conversation with me.
Also, thank you to Brinn and the Barre Forte team for thinking of me as the February Barre Star. I think that the monthly Star is just such a neat concept. I read it in the monthly email, and celebrate the Stars successes. I am humbled to have joined the ranks!