Raising the bar

The Bar Method Englewood is a fitness studio that teaches The Bar Method, a workout program that is offered in studios around the country. Owners and Haworth residents Shirley Morris and Carolyn Norden started out as friends who took Bar Method classes together in Summit. Inspired by their results, the women opened the Englewood franchise in February 2010.
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The Bar Method Englewood is a fitness studio that teaches The Bar Method, a workout program that is offered in studios around the country. Owners and Haworth residents Shirley Morris and Carolyn Norden started out as friends who took Bar Method classes together in Summit. Inspired by their results, the women opened the Englewood franchise in February 2010.

WHAT IS THE BAR METHOD?

SM: It’s an intense one-hour, non-impact workout that combines yoga, Pilates, dance conditioning, isometrics and interval training. The idea is that you use your own body weight as resistance to burn fat and work every major muscle group. We use a ballet bar for about three-quarters of the hour-long class, and also provide mats for stretching and performing various exercises, straps for stretching and light free weights for strength training.

CN: In addition to the exercises, stretching is an extremely important component of the workout—we stretch at intervals throughout the hour to improve flexibility.

WHAT MAKES THE WORKOUT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER EXERCISE OPTIONS OUT THERE?

SM: We give a great amount of personal attention to each client because proper form is so important. We also make an effort to know each client by name, as well as their injuries and limitations. Our focus on safety is another distinguishing factor. The founder, Burr Leonard, consulted physical therapists when designing The Bar Method to ensure it wouldn’t cause injuries.

WHAT WILL THE BAR METHOD DO FOR YOUR BODY?

SM: The combination of exercises and stretches gives you a lean, strong, sculpted dancer’s body and can also improve your posture and flexibility. I dropped a pants size within four months of starting the workout, Carolyn lost 1.5 inches off each thigh, and we’ve seen amazing transformations in our students.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO OPEN A BAR METHOD STUDIO?

CN: Before we opened this studio, Shirley and I were friends who enjoyed taking Bar Method classes together.  I was working as a graphic designer and children’s book illustrator and Shirley was a senior vice president for a Manhattan real estate firm, but we were so inspired by how the workout changed our bodies that we decided to completely change career paths.

WHY THIS LOCATION?

CN: We both live in Haworth and have three kids, so we wanted the studio to be nearby for the sake of our families. We also felt there was nothing like this in the Bergen area. We chose Englewood because it has good visibility and would attract people from different towns.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

CN: The passion I have for what I do. It’s incredibly rewarding to see how my students’ bodies change, and I look forward to coming to work each day.

SM: Our families also help keep us inspired. I’m able to spend more time with my kids because I’m no longer working in Manhattan, and I feel stronger, happier and healthier.

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR OTHER PEOPLE WHO ASPIRE TO OPEN THEIR OWN BUSINESS?

CN: Be prepared to work hard, but if you love what you do, it won’t feel like a job. If you’re not passionate, it’s going to show in your business.

SM: Also take your time when planning your business so every detail is the way you want it. We took extra time to make our studio as beautiful, warm and inviting as possible.

Categories: Bergen Health & Life, Health & Beauty Features, Homepage Features