Over the years, since moving into our Brooklyn Heights location, we’ve had the privilege of meeting many incredible people and businesses right in our neighborhood. Xtend Barre is one of those places, in fact; they’re our neighbors! Every one of their instructors is a shining beacon of light. Filled with love and compassion, they’ve truly created a safe space for anyone to join in, from first-timers to newly pregnant and everyone in between. It was a joy to be able to catch up with owner & instructor, Kristine Storie, to hear her … story!
Cara Burian: Our first question is about Chinese medicine: what is your exposure to it and what are your thoughts on it?
Kristine Storie: I’ve been doing acupuncture pretty regularly since 2012. It really helped me through a rough patch when I was struggling to get the studio off the ground. I don’t have much experience with herbal remedies or other aspects of Chinese medicine, but as a general rule, I’m a big believer in holistic approaches to medicine and healing.
What practices do you incorporate into your daily routine to help maintain balance?
To be honest, I’m pretty terrible at the whole balance thing. I’m a total work-a-holic. Outside of trying to eat healthy most of the time and exercising most days of the week, there are a handful of things I do somewhat regularly to bring a little balance to my life. Stretching (for a few minutes at a time) is pretty much an everyday thing. I have a foam roller at home that I jump on a couple of times a day, usually after long stretches of sitting at my desk. Yoga is not something I do regularly, but I dabble heavily. I have a hard time with meditation, but I’ll do yin yoga from time to time. And I love to listen to podcasts.
What’s one piece of advice you think anyone could benefit from?
I don’t know if you could call it advice, but I love this quote that has been attributed to Winston Churchill:
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
What led you to Barre?
I’m a client turned instructor turned studio owner. It all started with Pilates. I really wanted to be good at it (it’s soooo hard), so I completed a teacher training program back in 2009 as a way to expand my knowledge. I became fascinated with anatomy, and studying movement became a hobby and an escape from my boring corporate job. One thing led to another, and I started taking, and eventually teaching, both Pilates and Barre classes at a small studio in Washington, DC. In 2011, I was visiting friends in Brooklyn Heights, and I had to take a train into SoHo to find the nearest barre class. That was the spark that turned barre from a hobby into a business idea.
What advice do you have for beginners who might feel scared about starting Barre?
Arrive (or in the case of a virtual class, login) a few minutes early to have a quick chat with your instructor. You’ll get some great tips in that brief pre-class interaction on how to tackle the class ahead. Another great way to remedy first class jitters is to work out with a friend. Even in an online environment, taking a class with a friend is a great way to feel supported in class. Not to mention it majorly increases accountability.
We noticed you offer virtual classes as well, do people need special equipment?
All you need is a mat. Since we’re almost 6 months into COVID, many of our clients are using props. This includes light (2-3 lb) hand weights, a small resistance band, and a small Inflatable ball. The instructor will give options to incorporate these light props, but they are not required.
Is Barre safe to do while pregnant?
Barre is an ideal workout program for both prenatal and postnatal bodies. (Remember to get medical clearance from your doctor first.) Most of the movements are prenatal friendly, so you can take class without making too many adjustments. Most of the modifications are during the floor-based segment at the end of class. The instructor will provide guidance and alternatives whenever it’s appropriate. Pre & postnatal clients are advised to steer clear of Pilates Mat and Pilates Fusion classes. These classes include lots of movements not suitable for pre/postnatal bodies, such as twisting, “crunching” and lying on your back.
What projects are you currently working on and excited about?
The COVID-19 shutdown has been rough, but it’s an opportunity to re-tool. During the shutdown, we launched a new virtual studio, certified 2 new instructors, completed numerous continuing education workshops as a team, re-vamped our HIIT class, went paperless and formed partnerships with many local businesses (including Yinova!) I’m excited to see how these initiatives play out in the “real” world.
Incredible, you are such an inspiration to us! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us!
All Yinova patients are invited to try 10 days of virtual classes for free. To redeem your 10-day pass, email Xtend Barre at BK@Xtendbarre.com and mention Yinova.
Kristine is a Brooklyn native and former Finance geek turned fitness buff. She fell in love with Barre in 2009, when it quickly became a catalyst and an inspiration for a major career change. On a 2011 visit to Brooklyn Heights to visit friends, she noticed the complete lack of boutique fitness options in the neighborhood, and the rest is history. Kristine has been teaching Pilates and Barre for over 10 years but spends most of her time on the business side. She holds a B.S. in Business from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from Stanford University. She lives on Clinton Street with her husband Bryce and whatever dog their friends ask them to babysit.