I was reminded today (with this lovely email) it’s my 1 year anniversary going to Barre Co. Bay View. I have taken 169 classes in the past 365 days, I have lost 22.3 lbs and I have gained best friends for life #BarreBestie. WOW – never thought I would be that girl who loved to wake up and go workout everyday, but something about Christina, Nikki and the rest of those kitties that just do it for me. THANK YOU for changing my life for the better…and thank you for making your studio my second home. Literally.
I had to reach out to congratulate her and let her know I was noticing the difference.
I wanted to have her on the blog today because I knew she could inspire people to START living a healthier lifestyle.
Ames: Introduce yourself + tell us what you do for work.
Brittany: Hello! My name is Brittany Mallas and I am an administrative assistant for Quarles & Brady LLP, a national law firm in Milwaukee. I am also a huge sports fanatic and avid TV watcher. A: Yes! We share a true love of football.
A little background on me… I grew up playing team sports, so I have always had someone “motivating” me to get my workouts done. I am not the type to just jump on a treadmill and run for miles. I don’t run for fun, never have and probably never will (yes, I have tried the couch to 5k app).
Ames: Let’s get right to it, what inspired you to start this journey at Barre Co. Bay View?
Brittany: I had been telling myself that I was going to join a health club since August 2014. A couple months passed and I had toured a few gyms to see which one would be the best fit. I was looking for something convenient enough, so I wouldn’t make a lot of excuses not to go and ideally a place where some of my friends worked out. Nothing seemed appealing to me. Please note: there is a great fitness club within the building I work in. I was trying to avoid it at all costs, because it was TOO close for me…which makes no sense.
One day in January, I was getting dressed to go to a hockey game with my girlfriends and I realized not one of my jeans fit me. Not one. I was devastated. At that point, I realized leggings were not an acceptable form of pants (yes I was wearing them all the time, even though I wasn’t working out). I needed to do something. I needed to change because that feeling made me so unhappy.
I have always been an avid online shopper, so I check Groupon and Living Social daily. I happened to stumble upon 5 classes for $40 at Barre Co. in Bayview. It was a new and locally owned studio. I recalled seeing a “barre method” shop while I was in L.A./Santa Monica back in August. I figured if the pretty people do it, it must be good. A: haha. Within minutes I bought the package. It took every ounce in my body to call the studio to book the first class, because I was just scared. But I did and I was one of the two people total in class that night! Now you have to book out classes almost a month in advance there!
Ames: What does your weekly workout routine look like now?
Brittany: My weekly workout routine is always changing. If it didn’t, I would probably get bored. Luckily, Barre Co. really works with its clientele and brought different classes to the table so I wasn’t always doing the same routine!
Sunday morning I start with BarreFight, a 55 minute class that is comparable to body combat. BarreFight is a Barre and boxing conditioning inspired tabata workout.
I try not to take a day off after fight because the stretches the next day really help me, so Monday after work I am back at it with a regular Barre class.
I tend to take Tuesday off.
Wednesdays are the busiest day at Barre Co., you literally have to book out the 5:30pm a month out. It is so popular. Luckily, I learned real quick to book out in advance! Remember, they just opened January 2015! A: That’s amazing! They must be doing something right 🙂
Some weeks I will workout on Thursday and some weeks I won’t. It really just depends if Shondaland is back in my life, if that is the case I like to take it easy on Thursday and drink red wine (I read somewhere you can drink red wine instead of working out for night, I chose to believe this is accurate). A: I love how honest your answers are.
Friday is always a toss up, sometimes I will do BarreBase if I get off work early. BarreBase is a 30 minute lower body sculpting workout is designed to reduce your hips, slim your thighs, and lift your booty without the bulk. If I do get to Base on Fridays I most likely will stay for the regular class at 5:30pm. I am not a fan of going out on Fridays (maybe because I am getting old, not sure) but this is a great excuse to say “I’m busy.”
I finish the week off on Saturday with a 9am Barre class.
If I can’t make it to class, I will at least do the 15-20 warm up/abs workout. Something that little makes a huge difference in the long run.
Ames: If you absolutely don’t feel like going to Barre Co., what gets your butt out the door?
Brittany: This answer is going to be so random, but it is the truth. I can recall an interview that Gwyneth Paltrow did a while back, where a reporter on E! News was gushing to her about how perfect her body was and how lucky she was to look like that and that a normal woman could ever look the way she did. Her response:
“I work my a** off to look like this, do you think I just wake up and viola I’m just this thin and lean? Are you f*cking kidding me?”
She shook her head in disgust and then just walked away. That moment is so prevalent in my mind. She was so offended because she worked so hard to look the way she did only for a reporter to simply say it was because of her gene pool.
I also like to remind myself that I am not getting any younger and that it’s just going to keep getting harder if I don’t go. A: AHHH! I love this. SO many people I know are waiting for the right time as months and years pass. I have hit a point in my life where I can no longer sleep past 7 AM, so why trick my body into sleeping when I could be making it better?! My motivation is always different because there are so many motivators out there.
After you surpass the age of 27 your mind changes, at least mine did. Some days all I will have to do is listen to a nostalgic song to get me going, some days I need people on my social media outlets to push me, and some days all I have to think about is what my younger self would have wanted (it really works). Overall, the biggest motivator me for is confidence. I have always had it, but once I started to put on the weight I could feel it slipping away. It is back now. A girl with confidence, is a girl not to be messed with!
Ames: Hardest part about starting on this journey? Best suggestions for someone that is just starting?
Brittany: The hardest part of this journey was starting it. Once I got a routine down it just became a part of my everyday life. I cannot tell you how difficult the first months of classes were because I was so out of shape. I never want to feel that physically behind again. Once you start feeling those endorphins flowing on a daily basis, a day off almost feels like a day wasted (but please remember your body NEEDS rest). The way working out makes me feel is second to none. A: Same!
My suggestion to someone who is just starting this type of journey is go all in. I know that term is used a lot, but you cannot half-ass a journey like this. You either want it or you don’t, simple as that. The list of excuses will continuously get longer as you think about it. Stop thinking, Just Do It. The journey starts and ends with you, and ONLY you. A: That’s some powerful stuff right there friends, from a lady that went through it!
Ames: I’ve noticed your Facebook and Instagram get more positive over the past few months (which I love). Tell us about this part of your transformation.
Brittany: This entire journey of working out and eating better has also helped me transition my way of thinking about life. My spirituality has flourished. I like to think I have always been a positive and friendly person, but never has it been so pure. I try to live by quotes of positivity and enlightenment and I share them because I truly believe the messages they are conveying. I am too old for drama and I am sick of people putting other people down. I don’t get it anymore (as opposed to when it made sense to hate someone just because when I was younger). A: Love this answer. Examples of Brit’s posts:
I have spent days, weeks, months reading publications of happiness, positivity, and emotion. Ted Talks have become my favorite thing ever. A: YES! Everyday I try to learn something new or open my mind to something I come across, that way of thinking has made me a better person. People notice the change in my persona and I am finally attracting the people I want to be around, as opposed to the people who were just around me because I was a “yes” person.
I am currently checking out different meditation studios, just because it interests me! So let me know if you have a good recommendation for the East Side of Milwaukee!
Ames: Has your eating improved? What are the biggest changes you’ve made in this area?
Brittany: My eating has changed drastically. I did not cook, so everything has always been frozen or fast-food. The first thing I did was subscribed to a ridiculous amount of health blogs and websites because I didn’t even know where to start. I was going in totally blind and if we are being honest, I used to make fun of the people who meal prepped and counted their calories. I was a little embarrassed that I was going to start doing it too! MyFitnessPal was my favorite app to use during this journey, and it’s FREE. Without this application I do not think I would be down 22.3lbs today. A: I’ve heard many people have great success with this app!
It gave me the idea of roughly how many calories my body was taking in daily. It let me enter every workout and glass of water I had. Best of all, it allowed me to state my health goals and then gave me advice/ideas on how to reach those goals. I am so thankful for this app and I highly recommend it to everyone, even those who are not trying to lose weight. I think it’s really important to have an understanding of how much crap we are putting into our bodies, because I never did before!
My favorite website is Eat This, Not That! is what helped me the most (besides my instructors and #fitfam social media friends) because it gave me options of things to eat. It suggested if I ate one thing, to slowly switch it out with another healthier option. I knew this would be a hard process, because I am a picky eater. Here is an example of my approach: I used to love eating Sprinkles Yogurt as a child, so I found a Greek yogurt that tastes exactly like it, but much healthier.
I also made a huge life change by giving up soda. I used to drink at least 3 a day. I never drank coffee or energy drinks, so that was my only source of caffeine and I LOVED it. I did this was by taking the “Gallon Challenge” where you try to drink at least a gallon of water a day. I didn’t do too well with it, but for a month all I did was drink water. Eventually my cravings for soda subsided. I still have one every now and then (I love root beer) but it’s not excessive anymore. Everything I was doing when it came to food before was excessive, so I just needed to scale back.
Finally, since I did not cook…fast-food was a lifeline of mine. I cut at least 7 trips out a week and instead forced myself to go to the grocery store weekly. I make a list and stick to it rather than throwing anything I see in the cart. Cutting down my fast-food intake has stopped my cravings for some other junk as well. When I look at it now, it has been a total win-win situation for me, more money and getting healthier!
Ames: Favorite workout gear?
Brittany: My favorite workout gear is made by 90 Degree by Reflex. You can find it at TJMAXX or Nordstrom. It’s affordable, dependable and has so much variety! I tend to buy more workout clothes than normal causal clothes these days! I love the leggings from Lululemon, but I had to figure out where I want to break the bank…and workout clothes are not the place for me. I have a ton of Barre Co. apparel as well, because I figure if they helped sculpt my body, the least I can do is some guerrilla marketing for them! A: 🙂
Ames: Favorite workout music?
Brittany: I am a huge EDM fan, I like to match up my workout pulses to songs beats. So that genre is always the way to go with me! Our instructors pick out the workout playlists, but they are my friends, so they know what songs I am obsessed with at the moment.
Anything that is trending at the time works and you can count on seeing me singing along with the lyrics. It’s a way for me to get out of my own head and not think about how much pain I may or may not be in working out. I am not running, I am in pulsing for almost an hour, so if I want to listen to Ellie Goulding it’s not going to screw up my routine. My favorite workout music is Justin Bieber, old songs and new (I turn into a kid in a candy shop when “Baby” feat. Ludacris starts to play). I have done an entire workout to his LP Purpose. I also love Lupe Fisaco and I start my drive to workout the same every time, by listening to “The Show Goes On.” I love the words to that song!
Ames: I know you went through a really hard time in your personal life. What did you learn from that experience?
Brittany: Two years ago I went through something that I never thought would happen to me, I got divorced. It was messy, public, friends came and went. Everything that I thought I knew for the past 27 years, went out the window.
Ever get the chance to press the restart button? Because I did, completely. This gave me the opportunity to really dig deep into my soul and mind, it made me into a better woman. You can do one of two things with a broken heart: you can sit and feel sorry for yourself, or you can make a change for the better. I went with the latter.
Ames: Mantra/best inspirational quotes for fitness + life:
Brittany: These 5 mantras below have been with me for a long time and I always revert back to them. I think it is very important to have at least one mantra that sticks with you, so in a time of emotional need you can stop and take a second to breath.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss
“As we drive along this road called life, occasionally a gal will find herself a little lost. And when that happens, I guess she has to let go of the coulda, shoulda, woulda, buckle up and just keep going.” – Sarah Jessica Parker
“The best things in life are free. The second best things are very, very expensive.” – Coco Chanel
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
“Be who you needed when you were younger.”
Huge shout out to Christina Zarnowski – my first barre instructor, new lifelong friend and beach body lifestyle coach/motivator. You truly are not going to find anyone as awesome as this chick to kick your booty! And to Nikki Meeusen for bringing a locally owned (non-franchised) barre studio to the Milwaukee area!
A huge thanks to Brit for being on the blog.
I was just telling my running partner Carrie how I’m always looking to celebrate people that are creating a healthier life for themselves, and Brit is a great example of this. I hope you picked up a tip or two from her…or a ton of tips if you are just starting your fitness journey.
Have a healthy Tuesday. Love, Ames