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Newly Opened Bari Studio In NYC Says It Will Pick Its Own Members

Fitness - Entertainment

 

A fitness studio called Bari opened up not too long ago in the Tribeca neighborhood of NYC and its quickly setting itself apart from the competition (of which there's a lot lately) by selecting it's own members by invitation only. I'm not sure what to think about this. I mean, I get the concept which is admittedly intriguing, and of course, Manhattan folk love their exclusive venues. But, will a members only barre studio really fly? Will female fitness fanatics go for this? I don't have the answer yet, and I'm wondering what all of you think. My immediate reaction can be summed up in the 2 stories below.

 

2 Sad Stories

  1. When I was in grade school I had a few girlfriends that I considered my best friends in the universe. They planned a sleepover party one weekend that I wasn't invited to. I'll never forget, I cried myself to sleep that Saturday night while they probably stayed up late playing Ouija Board.
  2. In college I had a group of best girlfriends/housemates. We did everything together and they are my fondest memories from school. A few years after graduation I saw pictures on Facebook from some of their bachelorette parties that I had not been invited to. We had drifted since our college days but those pictures still made me feel like an unwanted outsider.

 

My point? Being intentionally left out OR not selected SUCKS.

In their announcement to go "invitation only", Bari Studio says it's not about cliques. Bari states 2 reasons: 1. Quality over quantity and 2. A results driven model. Hmmm, I guess I'd buy this approach if owner Alexandra Perez's professional training exceeded a Pilates Mat certification. But it doesn't. She's got a cool looking studio on her hands, complete with artist painted walls, lemon water and macha shots but at the end of the day the only club I want to be a part of is the one that I get to choose to be a part of. Alexandra is a sweet/beautiful girl and I wish her lots of success, all I'm saying is that I turn to fitness for acceptance. I turn to fitness to make stress go away and drama disappear. I turn to fitness to link up with all kinds of women; stronger, weaker, wiser, older, younger, thinner, fitter and different or even the same! I turn to fitness to empower me, not to diss me.

 

Are Fitness Sororities ahead? 

I can't help it but I'm reminded of RUSH from college. There's a reason I deactiviated from my sorority. I loved my KKG girls but I couldn't wrap my head around the way things had to work. "Being in the club" in many ways meant you couldn't be outside of it. And selecting new girls to join our club made me feel like the bitchiest girl ever because it wasn't based on real friendship, it was based on the image me wanted our sorority to project. I guess I thought my scary sorority days were over but now I'm a little nervous they're not. All I can say is this: It's fitness for God's sake!! It's not a sleepover party for the cool girls. It's a world we ALL fit into. Just ask Ariane Hundt, founder of the Brooklyn Bridge Bootcamp in NYC. Her muscle-toning empire is the anti-fitness-sorority and in my opinion, that's why she's changing bodies and minds. She's also a certified personal trainer with a masters in nutrition. For me, expert training beats out a sorority pin any day.

 

What Do You Think?

Are fitness sororities for you? Blast me if you think I'm wrong. I can take it! And if you're looking for a cool fitness club to join (that anyone can be a member of), I love The Clymb. It's an entirely different way to shop for outdoor fitness & sport gear. Just like Gilt City, they have the best flash sales on premium brands. Get active outdoors this summer and take a peek at The Clymb.

written by Bianca Jade a.k.a Mizzfit

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Say what's on your mind!

24 comments
Nik June 1st, 2011 1:52AM

Love this post! I am a huge fan of barre workouts and I had read about this new studio with some skepticism - like you, I am not overly impressed with the owner's fitness credentials. I really doubt they have created the kind of interest where they have to turn away members and this new "invitation only" strategy sounds like a way to create buzz through rarity (a typical marketing strategy the owner should be familiar with since she has a business degree from Wharton...) I will take a solid class like Exhale Core Fusion or Physique 57 anyday over this Mean Girls Studio.

MizzFIT June 1st, 2011 12:39PM

LOL's Nik!
But I have to admit, Alexandra is not a mean girl at all. She's a total sweetheart and I'm really only critiquing her approach of exclusivity. I don't agree with it but I do think she deserves a fighting chance in the world of competitive fitness studios and methods. I think Alexandra just needs to listen to what her FITNESS CONSUMERS WANT. And that's the advice I'd like to impart to her and others. MizzFIT.com is a place for us all to share our thoughts on this and I hope she will check-in to see what we're all saying about it. But really, the last thing I want to be is a mean girl to her. Just because her ways don't match mine doesn't mean people shouldn't give her fitness method a chance. I'm just here to share my opinion and I really want to thank you for sharing yours, Nik.

MizzFIT

Nicola Yvette June 2nd, 2011 12:58PM

Bianca,
You are just keeping it REAL! I have to say, especially since I have had the privilege of meeting you, you are one of the most genuine people. Thank you for sharing your experience of being on the outside - something we can all related to even but it is always painful to be a misfit. I will check out the Brooklyn Bridge Bootcamp because I love different groups of people and new classes.

We shouldn't ostracize one another. As an instructor, I have to teach all types of people and I enjoy it. It makes it fun and challenging for me and my students. I never know what to expect from one day to the next. I never want it all to be the same. My students have to allow me my quirks and I allow theirs. It is the nature of the business. If you want to exercise then I am here to guide you and help you achieve a new body. But I am here for my students without exclusivity or favoritism.

Great article. This is exactly why I read your site. It is so empowering how you open up and give us your perspective.

Truly,
Nicola

MizzFIT June 2nd, 2011 1:57PM

Nicola,

Thanks for the kind words. It's nice to know you appreciate what I'm doing as well as my opinion. I think we all have different views on fitness and I don't think mine is the only "right" one. I think Alexandra is probably going to create a strong movement in Tribeca, especially with hip moms. As far as your classes, I can't wait to take your group classes. Your Pilates Bootcamp is killer so I know the indoor classes have got to rock!

Thanks Nicola!

MizzFIT

MizzFIT June 2nd, 2011 1:58PM

Nicole,

Post a link to your write-ups and class info here so that people can find you in the meantime until your feature.

Thanks!

MizzFIT

Nicola Yvette June 2nd, 2011 3:25PM

I will do that right now! Thanks for the props! You're a great student so it was fun to teach you. You are probably the most fit person I know!

Renita June 3rd, 2011 10:32AM

"Thank you for sharing your experience of being on the outside - something we can all related to even but it is always painful to be a misfit." Ditto for me!

I think the exclusivity would bother me more if it were a club I actually wanted to join. :-) $300/month for a choice of six or seven classes at only one location is not that compelling to me. That alone will guarantee a certain exclusivity even without the invitation only.

The problem with mentioning "invitation only" in the same breath as "quality over quantity" implies they're evaluating the quality of their members, rather than quality of experience. I'll be curious to see how it works out...

LS June 5th, 2011 5:33AM

I think her decision to go "invitation only" has a lot to do with the fact that she copied her "method" from the Lithe Method in Philadelphia (coming soon to NYC) and likely thinks that this will somehow make it okay that she claims to have invented this body changing workout when she really stole it from Lithe and took all of the credit, when the founder of Lithe actually spent years developing the perfect workout for women based upon scientific principles of what will work. If she selects those who are special enough to take her class, she can ensure that Lithers don't come in and then publicize the similarity between the methods.

That aside, I think a workout studio should strive to have a "tribe-like" following, but that should be developed organically from clients loving, becoming adicted to, and encouraging others to try a fantastic workout. Making the workout invitation only sounds sort of off-putting to me.

MizzFIT June 6th, 2011 11:06PM

Hi Renita,

I felt the same way re: the implication that they’re evaluating the quality of their members, rather than quality of experience. But who knows. Maybe it just came out wrong because when I read it, it just sounded like silly talk to me. Then again, some people like silly things.

Thanks for your comment!

MizzFIT

MizzFIT June 6th, 2011 11:10PM

Hi Lauren,

I couldn't agree more with this comment that you made:

"That aside, I think a workout studio should strive to have a “tribe-like” following, but that should be developed organically from clients loving, becoming adicted to, and encouraging others to try a fantastic workout. Making the workout invitation only sounds sort of off-putting to me."

I don't know much about the Lithe Method, although I'm beginning to hear bits and pieces about it. I'm looking forward to the "cheerleading-inspired" workout coming to NYC. I was a cheerleader myself in highschool. Not the best on the squad but I definitely enjoyed the experience and can imagine the workout is dynamic. Will you be taking the class once it's here or are you based in Philly? What can we expect from the Lithe workout that's different from Bari?

Thanks!

MizzFIT

LS June 8th, 2011 6:44AM

I am based in Philly, so I've been "lithing" as we call it for about 6 months here. When Lithe comes up to NY, I'll definitely be popping in now and again when I'm up visiting friends.

I haven't taken Bari so I can't speak to specific differences, but from what I've read about it, I'd say that one of the biggest differences will be the variety in classes. The founder of Lithe has developed at least 20 different classes that use the "cardio-cheer-sculpting" technique. They all have fun names that indicate the body part (if any) being focused on. That being said, the focused classes still provide a whole body workout but with an emphasis on arms, shoulders, back, legs, abs, etc. Some of the classes incorporate the band system that Bari uses, lots of classes use the barre. And a bunch of classes use other props, like a non-traditional step aerobics workout, trampoline based routines, etc. I think NYC is really going to be in for a treat!

MizzFIT June 8th, 2011 7:36AM

Lauren,

Thank you so much for filling in all the blanks on Lithe. OMG, I'm so excited for trampoline routines! Are you serious? I'm a trampoline-aholic! It's one thing I love about summer, lol. So glad you've taken the time to comment here.

Thanks!

MizzFIT

Deb June 8th, 2011 4:12PM

I was there last week and can tell you why they probably went to invitation only... They had a handful of celebrities in there working out with a trainer and I'm sure those sort of people demand privacy. They also just announced some other big name trainers who joined their team. But overall, I agree, I feel more comfortable working out at a place anyone is welcome.

MizzFIT June 8th, 2011 7:39PM

Hi Deb,

Did you like the class? And spill the beans, what celebs were there? Alexandra recently announced that trainer Brice Andrew Hall is joining Bari as a partner. I'm curious to see how things evolve there, especially with Brice on board. Thanks for sharing!

MizzFIT

Molly R June 9th, 2011 9:50AM

I think you are really full of yourself thinking other methods decide their marketing techniques based on you, "LS". I've seen your posts on other websites and honestly, I question YOUR ethics... putting other methods down to make yourself feel better. Now I find it even MORE appalling that you admit to never taking their classes. What do you base your claims on?... On what you've read?? I had heard about Lithe and was excited to try out something new, before I started reading all your negativity everywhere. Such a turn off... Seriously, concentrate on making your brand better instead of wasting your energy putting others down. You will be much more productive Lauren.

MizzFIT June 9th, 2011 3:00PM

Ok girls...

Let's simmer down here. Molly and Lauren, we're just expressing our feelings and impressions here. No one is putting down anyone. Molly, I think maybe you took what Lauren said too seriously. Also, I think Lithe and Bari are actually way more different than people think. I think Lithe is more cardio-cheerleading based (which I'm stoked about) and I think Bari is a hodge podge of methods that Alexandra has fused together to deliver a nice cardio-happy workout. I think neither is threatening the other because the leaders of these methods are VERY DIFFERENT. No sense in fighting over that, right? Plus, I think Alexandra is getting a lot of great press right now just because she's doing things "differently". And in a way, that's cool. I like that she's challenging the fitness world by breaking the rules. Does that mean I'm in love with her workout? Not particularly. But it doesn't mean that other people won't fall in love with it. And from what I'm hearing...she's got a nice following. I commend her for doing her thing in her own way.

MizzFIT

LS June 10th, 2011 4:08AM

Exactly, I was just expressing my opinion, which is that I'm sure Bari is a great workout and provides great results, I don't know that I'd enjoy an invitation only workout (but that's just me!), and that lovers of the Bari Method might enjoy trying Lithe once Lithe is in NYC.

Primarily, I'd like to clarify that while I share the same first name as the owner and creator of Lithe method, I absolutely am not her (MizzFIT has my email address for this post and can verify that it contains my last name, which is not Boggi). I'm simply a client who enjoys the classes that she creates. And my opinions about press I've read about a workout that looks strikingly similar to Lithe's should not be associated with Lithe's marketing or business ethics.

HR June 10th, 2011 8:18AM

MizzFit:
While it seems most of the commenters have reached a similar, positive conclusion about Lithe and Bari, their differences and Alexandra's creativity, critiquing something that emphasizes the "quality" of exercise over "quantity" of customers seems antithetical to this site's supposed manifesto, the idea that "women who work out, feel sexy and radiate confidence... are determined, consistent and open-minded...crave new challenges and know how to have fun, who love their bodies in and out of their workout clothes...who push hard, cheer loud and never give up on a dream."
From my experience that seems to describe Alexandra, as well as other fitness professionals who actually aspire to improve the quality of other lives; the Bari approach may draw from techniques that, like a smattering of other offerings such as Lithe, are derived from hundreds of years of movement-based work such as Yoga and Ballet, to name just two.
It's wonderful to have strong opinions & that you are confident to express them, it just seems that the true open-mindedness and worth you apparently champion should apply to others.
Good luck!

Brooklyn June 11th, 2011 12:22PM

Dear Mizzfit...
When you stated your opinion about Bari, how many class did you take? Did you talk with the clients that are currently there and how they feel about Bari and their experience? Did you seek to understand the reason behind members only and not just your childhood flash backs. Did you jump on the band wagon with the only negative comments that have been posted (from Lithe). Because if we are talking about "mean girls", see the negative comments Lithe has made vs. Bari. I can do the research for you on that one, 20+ vs. 0. So, YES.....Lets be hones... is your "opinion", rather statement truly accurate? For someone who credits herself as a professional, I would dot your "i's" and cross your "t's". FYI, on a professional note comparing a invitation only to a childhood sleepover is a little childish don't you think....but then again you can take it right?

anonymous June 11th, 2011 12:47PM

Ladies,
Everyone is allowed to have an opinion. Moreover, MizzFIT was being very objective about her feelings towards the Bari workout, which in fact proves she is professional. She is reporting facts and personal input which has been working for fitness professionals for 2 years. I have yet to read such negativity on such a positive and uplifting site.

I rely on this site for health information, motivation, & fashion tips so that I can enjoy reading something uplifting.

Enjoy the weekend ladies! Maybe Bari will invite the Lithe people and all will be forgiven. I would like to end this blog post on that high note. Oh and please invite me to Bari and Lithe so I can review it for my fitness blog.

Thanks

Liz June 19th, 2011 4:26AM

I just want to comment and say that I have taken both Bari and Lithe Method. They are definitely not the same workout. Bari Studio incorporates many, many moves that are much more dance oriented in their aerobic workout and exercises that differ totally from Lithe. If anything, the bands originally were derived from Tracy Anderson herself not Lithe Method (so who is copying who???). And the big large step in Lithe looks a lot like with "The Firm" used, so I think LS needs to back down just a bit from critizing Bari Studio?

MizzFIT June 23rd, 2011 8:09AM

Lauren,

Thanks for stating your intentions and I can confirm from your email and full name submitted to my website with your posted comment that you are not Lauren Boggi. So just don't worry about Molly's accusations here because I know that you're a fan/supporter of Lithe who's just keeping it real and not trying to be dramatic. Your heart is in the right place and I hope you'll continue to comment on MizzFIT.com Thanks so much!

MizzFIT

MizzFIT June 23rd, 2011 8:16AM

I think everyone has a right to their own opinion. I never slammed Alexandra. I stated my feelings about her "members only" approach. And I think Alexandra should be quite happy about the write up because it's PRESS! And as we all know, when you put yourself out there, you've got to be ready to get all kinds of feedback. So to answer your question, I think my MANIFESTO does, in fact, define Alexandra's mission. Just because Alexandra and I disagree about her approach doesn't mean we can't be a part of the same movement. And just because I write about fitness doesn't mean I have to agree with every form of it. The beauty of it is that we can all offer our 2 cents and hear different perspectives and then choose the ones that jive with us the most. Thanks for telling me what you think!

MizzFIT

MizzFIT June 23rd, 2011 8:31AM

Hello Brooklyn,

I took 1 class at Bari...the amount I usually take when sampling a new workout. Unless I become a die hard fan, why on earth should I go back for more? $35/session is a lot to fork over for a workout I wasn't absolutely crazy about.


To answer your other question, I did talk with the clients have taken the class and experienced Bari fully? I also read all the other fitness reviews on Bari that live online.

Alexandra actually informed me herself about the "members only" new policy the day that I showed up for class. She gave me the tour and showed me around. It was a lovely little tour. For some reason you're not taking kindly to my memories about being excluded from things, but that's OK. I wasn't asking for your sympathy. I was merely telling a story and I don't always expect everyone to relate to the things I write about.

LOL, I did not jump on ANY bandwagon!!! Is it inconceivable to think that I'm capable of forming my opinions? My article on Bari is actually based on different points than what Lithe fans have complained about. I don't think negative comments from Lithe fans ever mention the "members only" policy. I believe I'm the first to write about that.

Lastly, opinions are opinions...and that's it! That's why I love reading what you have to say as well. I just wish it wasn't so aggressive but if that's your way, then I totally accept it. And sweetie, if you feel my writing is childish, you don't have to read it! Read something you LOVE!

Thanks for sharing your views,

MizzFIT

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