You guys… I did it! This past weekend was a fun one because I attended and completed Barre3 instructor training and I couldn’t be more thrilled to take the next step in working towards my certification. I wanted to recap it while everything is fresh, plus share all of the delicious food spots I was able to hit in case you’ll be visiting Portland any time soon.
What makes Barre3 unique?
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what Barre3 is and what sets is apart from other barre classes because there are so many studios to choose from these days. I’ve taken several different styles and there are definitely differences so we’ll start there.
Barre3 is a total-body balanced workout combining cardio, strength-training, and mindfulness. You’ll be guided through sustained holds, muscle-burning micro-movements, and heart-pumping cardio bursts that will leave you feeling balanced in body and empowered from within.barre3.com
I love B3 because the first time I ever dropped into a class, the experience was, in a word, flawless. I remember getting lost in the music. The instructor was motivating and polished. And the class just flew by (which I now know means the transitions were spot on). Everything about it flowed perfectly and while it was challenging, I felt energized and flexible afterwards instead of depleted like I did after the high-impact workouts I was accustomed to. Who knew that exercise could actually be fun and feel good on my body? [See also: you don’t have to earn your favorite foods with exercise] After years of having a sort of “no pain, no gain” mentality about movement, this was a huge turning point for me.
Besides the actual movements, the Barre3 philosophy fits well with my nutrition coaching style. Instead of putting clients in a box, the instructors are focused on encouraging each person to make the workout their own (which can change from one day to the next!). This means modifying exercises so injuries are accommodated, while the proper muscles are activated to still get a really effective workout. All bodies are welcomed and there’s never any of that, “bikini season” language that I’ve grown increasingly annoyed with.
Barre3 Instructor Training Recap
The training was scheduled for a Thursday-Saturday so I got to Portland on Wednesday morning to check in to my hotel and get settled beforehand. I stayed at The Society Hotel and loved it! They ended up having a great cafe in the lobby too, so I set up shop and worked in there for the day in front of a fireplace. Perfect for that rainy, dreary weather the PNW is known for.
Thursday morning we got started right at 8am by taking the class we had all learned prior to training, except it was led by our master trainers, Caitie and Holly. It felt great to move and these are two of the best when it comes to instructors so the class was friggin’ ah-maz-ing.
Once we stretched, we circled up for introductions. So many states were represented including New York, Florida, Texas, Minnesota, and some more “local” west coast folks from Oregon, Washington and California. It was powerful to think that such a diverse group came together in one spot to accomplish the same thing. Everyone was fired up and excited to be there so it was easy to make instant connections. There were also two other ladies from the Denver area so I was thrilled to meet them!
The rest of Thursday, we alternated between learning, then doing. This worked so well because I never felt like I was sitting for too long (or getting tired) but we also had time for rest and snacks inserted in at just the right time. We each got on the mic the to teach a few postures so we could practice cueing correctly. Other topics covered: musicality, modifications, and moving around the room (all of which are key for a great class).
We wrapped up and most of us headed over to lululemon to do some browsing, then split off into smaller groups for various dinner plans (see my review of Pok Pok NW below – Thursday night’s dinner was a favorite). To say I slept well that night would be an understatement!
On Day 2, we spent a lot more time on anatomy including the main muscle groups that are targeted during class. It was cool to learn “the why” behind a lot of the exercises and how everything has a specific purpose. Basically nothing is just added for fluff.
We also discussed the importance of vocal tone and music volume. We practiced more (a lot more!) which I loved, because every time I got in front of the group I had something new to incorporate and everyone was so encouraging. Towards the end of the day, another member of the Barre3 corporate team stopped in to say hello and tell her story. She noted how well the benefits of class translate to our everyday lives, something I don’t consider nearly enough.
The final day of training was our chance to really put it all together. We each chose a block of class to teach (I went with leg work) and we split into groups to rotate between leading, taking class, and observing. It was so exhilarating to teach on the last day because everyone was fired up to have almost completed the training at this point. I was one of the first few to go so I felt good to get it over with and then support the others.
Overall I feel so incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to attend this training. I always come back feeling refreshed and motivated after a few days of learning and connection and this was no exception. The group and master trainers couldn’t have been more wonderful to work with! What a blessing Barre3 has been for me in so many ways.
Favorite Food Spots in Portland
Now on to the food! If you follow me on Instagram, you know I asked for restaurant recommendations before I left because Portland is well-known for having an epic food scene. I got some great tips and while I wasn’t able to visit all of the spots, I had some super delicious meals and snacks.
Here are the standouts:
This bakery/cafe was extra convenient because it was right across the street from our training center. Between breakfast, lunch, or a quick coffee break I probably stopped in 4-5 times throughout the weekend and everything I tried was great (especially the avocado toast).
This Thai favorite was recommended by multiple people and I’m so glad I was able to make it in. The menu is small-ish and authentic and the service was wonderful. We went a bit early and sat right down (before 6pm on a weeknight), but it got very busy by the time we were leaving so it might be smart to make a reservation.
Laughing Planet is an Oregon staple when it comes to fast-casual and basically I wish I could eat lunch here everyday. They have a solid menu of grain bowls that feature fresh, vibrant vegetables. The best part is the sauces, which totally take the flavor over the top. If bowls aren’t your thing, they also have soups, salads, quesadillas and burritos. There’s plenty of local beers on tap if you’re in vacation mode!
I actually visited this spot the last time I came to Portland and loved it so much that I had no problem going back a second time. My best friend joined me for the last two nights of my trip so we decided to go here for a fun and casual option (it’s order-at-the-counter).
I had tacos: the Hongos y Papas and the Barbacoa (highly recommend both), and we split some of their chips and guac. The margaritas are also really solid!
If there’s one spot you must visit while in Portland, make it this ice cream spot. They have the most interesting flavors and the service really sets it apart. Think long lines, but calm conversation when you get to the counter. It’s not rushed and they encourage you to try several. I’m notorious for getting the weirdest flavor on the menu and this time was no different. I got the split scoop option so I could pair the Strawberry Honey Balsamic Black Pepper with the Arbequina Olive Oil (both sound odd but were so, so good).
Here are some of the other places I really liked:
- Pine Street Market (a food hall with several options)
- The Society Cafe (small and quaint, tasty lunch menu)
- Sisters Coffee (great little café in the Pearl district)
- Kure Juice Bar (known for their acai bowls and smoothies)
- Backwoods Brewing Co. (bright and airy, elevated bar food)
- Pizza Doughnais (Sicilian style pizza by the slice)
Portland is such a fun and unique city. If you have other favorite spots, let me know in the comments!
Want more nutrition tips & recipes?
Subscribe to my bi-weekly emails. I'll recap what's new on the blog, plus share exclusive healthy living tips and resources!