When I took my first barre3 class with Jessica, not only was I hooked on the format of the workout but thought to myself how amazing of an instructor she was. From the second I walked into the studio, she made me feel extremely welcome and at home in a studio I had never even set foot into before. I was so excited when this bombshell agreed to sit down with me (over hummus, pita and veggies, mind you) and let me pick her brain on all things health, fitness, food and more.
Yes Girl: So tell me a little bit more about your role at barre3 and what you love about working there!
Jessica Walton: My official title is Client Relations Manager, so with that role I basically handle anything client-related –from welcoming people who are new to the studio to making sure our members are always happy. It’s important that I’m supportive and act as a friend to our members. I’m also in charge of managing any outside partnerships – with another business, a charity, etc. – so I plan any community classes, private bridal classes, outside events or anything across that spectrum. It’s super fun – I love getting to organize and plan our events! I also run our Instagram so that helps to incorporate my love of photography in with my job as well.
YG: I feel like fitness studios have to be active on social media these days. How have you seen that evolve and what has been the role of social media in continuing to develop the business?
JW: We’ll have people come in to the studio just because they saw something on Instagram or Facebook. Without those platforms, we wouldn’t have those people walking through our doors so it’s really interesting. We’re always trying to find ways to make our social handles entertaining for our clients for potential clients, too.
YG: What is so different about the barre3 method?
JW: The good thing with barre3 is that it’s celebrated to take care of your body and to modify where you need. It’s low impact, but it is so incredibly effective! Even if I’m feeling depleted and fatigued, I’m comfortable with modifying in any barre3 class, and we have some amazing instructors who offer personal attention to everyone in class. Barre3 has online workouts where they post a new workout every week that you can do right at home. They really take the time to make the workouts totally fresh and interactive, and the instructor that teaches the class will do live chats about the class if you have any questions or anything like that. Barre3 is constantly doing research to find out what’s going to work best for our clients. Sadie Lincoln (founder) has always said if she finds out one day barres are not best for our clients, then she’ll rip out all the barres in the studios! Also, company-wide we really focus on off-the-scale victories like “I had to have my clothes tailored down a size.” We celebrate those accomplishments, whether they take a week or a year.
We don’t support counting calories or obsessing over the scale.
YG: You look amazing! What is your workout schedule like?
JW: I try to take three barre3 classes each week. I’ve learned that that works really well for my body. I also really love yoga so I try to get a class in once per week. My favorite studio is Tough Love Yoga! I also love spin classes, specifically Cyc Fitness who we’ve done a few events with (spin and barre are such good complements to each other!)
YG: How do you maintain motivation in your workouts?
JW: I’ve tried everything from belly dancing to bootcamp. I think you have to find something you love and that you’ll keep gravitating toward. I see so many people fall out of love with a workout, and then they just can’t get themselves to make it happen. I think consistency is also key. If you can get yourself to move for ten minutes a day, it makes such a difference verses doing nothing.
YG: What does a usual day of eating look like in your world?
JW: I have never had to fuel my body like I do now with teaching – As soon as I started training, I was ravenous! I eat an hour before any class I teach, and I usually like to start the day with something substantial, so I’ll do a protein with a healthy fat. I love sprouted grain bread with almond butter and banana slices or avocado toast. If I skip breakfast, my whole day is shot so I’m pretty consistent with my breakfast routine. I snack a ton, so I always have bananas, almonds, nut butters, and Kind Bars or Perfect Bars on hand. I’m on the move a lot, so bringing a lunch isn’t that feasible for me. I’d rather take a break during my day and get a salad at Zoe’s or an Unwich at Jimmy John’s, or one of my other go-tos. I definitely eat really intuitively and just try to get what I’m craving that day. Dinner is kind of the same thing!
YG: What’s your food philosophy and how did you get there?
JW: When I’m craving a sandwich, I just eat a sandwich. I’ve finally figured out that my body craves certain things for a reason, so I give my body what it needs. With time and becoming more mature and learning more about nutrition, it just kind of happened naturally. A lot of that came once I started with barre3 because they really help to guide you nutrition-wise. Learning from binge-eating mistakes combined with gaining the right knowledge helped me to figure out what works for me. I love dessert, I have a huge sweet tooth! And I love wine, too. If you don’t overdo anything, I think you can enjoy the things you love. Your body just kind of adjusts once you start to listen to it.
I don’t punish myself for eating things that aren’t necessarily the most nutritious, but I’m also careful about making healthy decisions most of the time so that I never have to feel guilty.
YG: How do you deal with society’s version of ‘perfection’?
JW: I could make a list of things about my body that I want to fix, and it’s just kind of crazy that we still think that way. I will say though, there was a time I would carry that list with me and now I’ve learned to ignore it. I’m so impressed by the rise of the body positivity movement and I think we’re really headed in the right direction. There are so many amazing women out there being brave and putting themselves out there to create something positive.
YG: What are some actionable items you do to combat negative self-talk or body image issues?
JW: I honestly think the best thing to get me out of a slump is moving. It’s not moving to look better, but to feel better. I measure how much activity I need by how I feel, not by how many calories I need to burn or pounds I need to lose. I think the fact that I don’t punish myself keeps me from having those down days all together. It’s more like down moments and, to combat those moments, I’ll usually get up and do a 10-minute online workout, take my dog for a walk, etc. I try not to let myself stay stuck in that slump.
With all the tragedy and unpredictability in the world, I would much rather just choose to be happy every day. I would much rather connect with people that I love and not really be worried about what my ass looks like in my jeans.