Raise The Barre

I have a serious habit of getting ahead of myself. If I have a vision for something — a project, a relationship, a personal goal — and decide to commit to it, I want it to happen to its fullest potential and reach that potential as quickly as possible. While my drive and persistence have offered me many successes in life (I am almost feeling as if I can officially add The Sweat Life to that list) - building this company has made me, for the first time, truly appreciate and respect the process. I value what it feels like to both push myself and those around me, while also staying present in any given moment to appreciate where I am, how far I have come, and what it has taken to get here.

Lacy Wittman, Producer and Director of The Sweat Life video content, has a code word she uses when she can tell I’m getting itchy to be further along in our building process than we are — “Champagne.” You see, as we were heading towards launching our website, and along with it, the first slate of video episodes (which we had spent the better part of a year shooting), we were talking through any moving parts we may have overlooked. I had the idea that I wanted to send a bottle of Champagne to each studio the day their episode was released. However, the reality was that, as a startup, we couldn’t afford to buy each studio a nice enough bottle of Champagne that it wouldn’t feel “cheapy” and defeat the purpose. For some reason, I was stuck on this little roadblock (which was completely self-created). Finally, Lacy talked me out of it and said, “Nobody is going to care if they don’t get Champagne they never knew they were supposed to get in the first place. Someday, we will be able to send a case of it, but for now, we need to appreciate where we are. Getting these episodes shot, cut, and building a website to release them on are all incredible accomplishments alone. Why not be proud of that, and realize the Champagne will come later?” Now, every time I have a moment when I am lamenting over what we have not yet achieved, as opposed to appreciating what we HAVE (which happens on a fairly regular basis), Lacy is always there to remind me…”Champagne.”

This is a balance that we should all strive to achieve — pushing ourselves to be our best and realizing there is always room to Raise the Barre, but also staying present in where we are and appreciating ourselves for what we have achieved. While I work every day to remember “Champagne,” and appreciate the process it takes to truly build something, I also know it is a positive quality that I constantly strive to improve myself and this company. This is growth, and I believe it is one of the fundamental reasons we are on this earth. If we don’t push ourselves to constantly Raise the Barre, we will never know what we are capable of achieving.

Everyone thought I was a little mad to set out on the journey of Sweat it Forward while we were already in such a building phase with The Sweat Life, but I had a vision for it and just had to do it. I saw Sweat it Forward as the in-person manifestation of so much of what we stand for, and once my mind was set on it, there was no turning back. While this program has afforded me months of sleepless nights, during an already-difficult time in my life in the wake of my mother’s death, it’s been more than worth it. I had my official moment of completely appreciating what we have built with The Sweat Life, during the first Sweat It Forward challenge at the Bari Studio last week with Barry’s Bootcamp. The purpose and meaning of Sweat It Forward — to foster support and collaboration within the fitness community, and stand up to fight cancer — was clear to me, and that night I officially got to see that others understood it as well. I had both reached for the “Champagne,” and stepped back to appreciate and be present in the achievement. I had Raised the Barre for myself, for our company, and for our community, and I couldn’t be happier.

This is everything that our featured studio this week, barre 3, embodies — both in their workout and in their philosophy. The barre3 method is developed to keep you constantly challenged and always provide you something to improve upon, but their yogic-like philosophy keeps you completely present and appreciative of where you are in each moment of the class. I walked out of barre3 feeling challenged, stronger, but also standing a bit taller and feeling a lot more present in myself.

So we dedicate this week to Raising the Barre: Holistic nutritionist Tara Milhem shows us that Raising the Barre on healthy eating doesn’t have to be a chore; PR exec Jenna Guarneri “raised the barre” to leave her comfort zone and start her own PR company; barre3 West Village co-founder Amy Leclerc tells us why barre3 “raised the barre” with their first New York studio; and Athleta “raises the barre” on being true to yourself and your workout.

As you go into this week, keep in mind that this is what life is all about: Pushing ourselves to grow, but allowing ourselves to be present in each moment and appreciate just where we are. What does that mean for you?

Until next week,

Aly Teich
Founder, CEO, and Host
The Sweat Life