Exploring the fitness scene in SF & beyond. Today’s SF Sweat Spotlight, my favorite local barre studio, Avant-Barre.
One of the first things I looked for when I arrived in SF was a solid barre studio. I moved to SF about 5 months prior to my wedding and knew that barre would be a main bridal-prep workout. After some Yelping, I found Avant-Barre, located in SoMa and about a 15 minute walk from my apartment. I hoped that all the amazing reviews were accurate, and after one class, I knew they were.
The first thing I noticed about Avant-Barre was the welcoming and warm studio feel. The studio is intimate with an entryway/waiting area, small locker area/changing room and one bright and airy studio. After the first class the instructors and front desk girls knew my name and welcomed me back. It felt like I was instantly part of the community.
Avant-Barre Class Overview
I’ve attended my fair share of barre classes and Avant-Barre is unique. The 55-minute classes are small, maxing out at about 17 students. You get the group feel and are motivated by those around you, but also get personal attention and helpful corrections each class. I’ve been to almost every instructor and while they bring their own personality to the room, they are all super sweet and encouraging. You can see the similarities from class to class, but it feels much less repetitive than other studios I’ve been to. Even going 3 times a week, I never got bored.
Oh and one thing I must mention, they rarely, if ever, mention tucking your hips. Hallelujah! I’ve been to so many barre classes where they mention tucking your hips every other sentence and some of us just don’t know what the heck you are talking about. At Avant-Barre I never felt like I didn’t know what the instructor was talking about. While there are micro-movements, as you’ll experience in any barre class, it’s more obvious what the correct form is. Avant-Barre doesn’t use any weights, just body weight, but trust me, when done right–it’s enough! There’s typically a good amount of core work (planks for days!) and arm work (if your push ups need some work, you’ll get it here).
The music is kept at a relatively low volume and allows you to focus in on your form. The playlists are all are perfectly selected and I love the music style.
Each class at Avant-Barre feels like a combo of barre, cardio and yoga. The majority of the class is barre-based, has a splash of cardio and ends with a few moments of zen so you leave the room feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day.
Avant-Barre Pricing & Packages
I have to give Avant-Barre a special shout out for having very reasonable package prices. For new students you can try 1-month unlimited for $129 and then there are two membership options: 10 classes a month+10% off apparel for $149 or $199+1 private session+20% off apparel for $199. A la carte options are a single class for $30 or 10 classes for $250. I highly recommend subscribing (scroll down to sign up) to their emails as Avant-Barre often offers discounts and special deals to subscribers. Avant-Barre is also on ClassPass.
The Beginning of Avant-Barre
Let’s back up a moment, how did Avant-Barre get started? I sat down for coffee with the creator/owner and cool #GirlBoss Nini Gueco. With a background in dance, Nini was teaching at another barre studio while balancing her day job as a mortgage consultant. Eventually she was ready to take a leap and created her own style of barre and began teaching to friends for free. After interest grew, she was able to build Avant-Barre into a real business and opened the SoMa studio in 2014.
As someone who comes from a similar background of balancing a desk job and fitness, I was so inspired by Nini’s story. I love how she went about building her business, starting small, testing it out and eventually taking the bigger leap to go full-force with Avant-Barre. Nini said the scariest part was creating her own brand and truly putting herself and her ideas out into the world. Fortunately, her honest and open approach has built up Avant-Barre to have a very solid community of followers.
Avant-Barre has been expanding their community offerings with days of wellness (I spoke at one!) and hikes, with more out-of-the-studio get togethers on the horizon–I’m excited to see what they host next.
Is Avant-Barre For You?
Going back to where this post started, I began going to Avant-Barre to get ready for my wedding. I made it to class 3-4x a week and I could totally see and feel the changes. While I am a tad uncoordinated and by no means a ballerina, I definitely improved as I continued to go on a regular basis. By my wedding I felt toned and lean, but also strong. With the frequent class visits, I’m pretty sure this was the leanest my legs have ever been (not that this mattered in wedding dress, but still).
Whether you’re slimming down for your wedding or not, I highly recommend you check out Avant-Barre. The welcoming vibe, the challenging but doable hourlong session and the happy and open way you feel leaving the room makes this studio my favorite barre studio.
Thanks to the amazing staff, if you’re a barre newbie or a pro ballerina, you’ll be welcomed with open arms. The classes are great for all levels and if your first class feels tough, don’t feel discouraged. Stick with it and I promise you’ll get into the swing of things within the first 3-4 classes.
Meet Me At the Barre
I’m sad to admit that since the wedding my attendance at Avant-Barre has been lacking, but it’s time to get back into the studio! Want to check out a class together? Comment below or shoot me a message and let’s hit the barre.