From Cecile Oreste at danceDC
After 15 years of working in the magazine industry in Detroit, Linda Bachrack had a ‘mid-life crisis’ that led her to her current role as owner of b.fit studio on 14th Street NW. Realizing that there is no better time than now, Bachrack turned her passion for the Lotte Berk method of fitness into a successful business in the District.
But, with the fragile economic climate, Bachrack understood the importance of being cautious when starting a business. Shortly after moving to DC, she got in touch with a studio owner in Detroit who was interested in licensing the barre method of fitness in other markets.
Bachrack rented space from a yoga studio on U Street where she introduced residents of the District to this new, transformational exercise. After building a base of loyal students, Bachrack eventually broke off from her licensing partner and opened b.fit at its current location at 1339 14th Street NW, just south of Rhode Island Avenue.
The b.fit Exercise Method
Although based on the Lotte Berk method that started the barre fitness movement, b.fit has its own system of training for its teachers or ‘barre-tenders.’
Most recently, Bachrack trained instructors for Red Bow Studio in Capitol Hill, which offers b.fit barre classes in addition to fuse pilates. She sees potential to expand the b.fit brand by training teachers in other nearby areas, including northern Virginia and Bethesda.
Every class at b.fit studio is different, but each follows the same sequence of exercising specific muscle groups. Class starts with a 10-minute warm-up focusing on the upper body. The center warm-up involves some light weight training, as well as push-ups, planks and pilates. The warm-up is followed by exercises at the barre targeting the quads. Each exercise isolates the muscle, working it to the point of exhaustion. Glutes and hamstrings are also worked at the barre, and then the class moves to the center for an intense ab workout.
First timers to b.fit studio may be surprised at the high-energy, upbeat music played during class. They may also be surprised at how difficult small, repetitive exercises can be. “It works every major muscle group in a completely different way,” Bachrack said. “It’s a hard, challenging class, but it builds endurance, flexibility and lean muscles quickly.”
Building a Community
When asked about expanding her current location, Bachrack said there were no plans to add to the space. She wants to keep it a manageable size in order to continue building a community.
“I learned from starting out small that it’s important to create a community,” she said. “It’s more than just offering fitness classes.”
Small class sizes also benefit students as the exercises often require hands-on instruction from the barre-tenders.
If you are interested in taking a b.fit barre class, you can try barre basics with Bachrack on Friday nights. She also has a handful of instructors who teach throughout the week, including Rachel Bell of modern dance company DancEthos and Dance/USA.