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New Fitness Center in Ft. Thomas Prides Itself on Unique Offerings

The new fitness studio in Fort Thomas, Barre3, hangs its hat on being more of a place for people to connect to one another rather than being a sterile place where people work out and leave without getting to know anyone else there.

Owner Kelley Groneck has spent a lot of time and effort providing members at Barre3 a place the feels inviting and non-intimidating.

“Barre3 is a combination of yoga, pilates, and bar work. What we like to say is that it’s a low impact, total body workout that you work out for an hour, but the moves provided are strengthening moves that carry you through the next 23 hours,” Groneck said. “So it’s a lot about balance and working small tiny stabilizing muscles, and then basically learning how to stand tall and how to have better posture and how to be stronger overall.”

It is important for Groneck and her studio to be a place that facilitates the needs of a wide variety of people.

“It’s for all fitness levels so it doesn’t matter if you’re new to fitness or if you’re an athlete, a bounce-back mom, or recovering from an injury. It’s suitable for everyone, so we don’t have specific classes, what we try to do is incorporate into each class options so the people can make it their own,” she said.

In addition to a place to exercise, Barre3 also brings health information to its members on topics like nutrition, dealing with stress and finding a balance physically and emotionally.

“The fitness component is one thing about Barre3, but we also focus on whole body health. So we have a blog, access to opportunity for clients to find whole food nutrition, and learning how to eat healthy. We are one of the first fitness centers to have a mobile app that incorporates what we do in here. We educate them on what good eating looks like and it’s not a diet, but it’s more about eating whole foods, eating more plant-based foods,” Groneck said. “If you think about the paradigm shift of what nutritional organizations are going towards, it’s for eating more fruits and vegetables, organic beef, organic chicken, or choosing not to eat that at all.”

In addition to being a place that promotes health, Groneck also sees the studio as being a meeting place for customers to get to know one another which in turn creates friendship and provides a healthy form of motivation for those looking to adopt elements of a healthier lifestyle.

“We also incorporate a lot of what I call mind-body connection so it’s learning to listen to your body and learn your body’s needs, when you’re stressed, when you’re exhausted and the ways to handle that. Or dealing with any kind of depression, it’s about understanding that and learning to find a balance in life. We’re showing people how to be healthy and happy in a community center. So people can come here and connect, inspire one another, motivate one another, and connect with people they have never met.”

Barre3 also eliminates some of the excuses deployed by those avoiding a workout by providing benefits like childcare.

“A lot of times the excuse is they don’t have anywhere to bring their kids so they’re just unwilling to do anything like this, so we made that accessible by creating child care by certified professionals that work with the kids and handle the kids for an hour.”

There is also a lounge area for folks to hang out and chat, and a local food presence where companies partner with Barre3 to put on events, or showcase their goods to members at the studio.

“One of my goals is to educate them on local resources that are good and healthy. We have little recipe cards that show them unique, healthy food that tastes sinful. We have changing tables in the bathroom, we have diapers, all the toiletries needed for professionals who want to go straight to work or who are heading out for the night. I am slowly incorporating some media boards that help with information of what’s going on. Women who have tried all sorts of exercises who have had issues, come in here and meet other people and it’s just been an amazing, positive environment, and that was what my vision symbolizes: For people to come and have a place to network and socialize, get healthy, get positive, and leave feeling like they’ve been in a really nice environment and carry that with them.”

Membership levels vary on what the individual seeks and can include unlimited classes, access to online classes, and discounts on retail items like active wear.

Each class is a total-body workout that includes providing modifications for people with physical circumstances like rehabilitating from an injury or pregnant women.

“One of the goals of all of the instructors is to find out all of the risk factors for every client, and during the workout, we provide modifications that help them listen to their body,” Groneck said. “We get the skeleton and then we offer turbo layers, if they want to take it deeper, or we offer the modifications, that way you’re not isolated into a category. Instead of just the classification, I want everyone to feel welcomed and a part of this.”

Currently, there are more women than men as members, but Groneck is determined to find an equal balance. A nearby wrestling studio and even the Highlands High School football team have found a resource at Barre3.

“Some of the wrestlers from the wrestling center next door come in and they love it because they use big power muscles, but what is important is to work those small stabilizer muscles, focus on the core and focus on balance,” she said. “So you will find once men get over the hump of the name, they come in and feel extremely challenged. I actually did a class for the entire Highlands football team. It really helps with their performance on the field. This is great for runners because we do lots of stretching. Cyclist and tennis players like tightening the back muscles. For golfers it’s great because you’re working the core.”

Barre3 hopes to work with other local businesses to do events like a farmers market in the parking lot of the strip mall where Barre3 operates in Fort Thomas (90 Alexandria Pike).

“One of my big visions is to partner with local businesses and promote local. So shopping local, promoting local, we’re really working on setting up a farmers market in the parking lot for next spring, which just feeds right into the environment with what Barre3 is all about,” she said. “I work a lot with the Highlander. Ron Robinson has been huge here in Fort Thomas bringing in the higher-end antique mall. We have also been partnering with a lot of the local juiceries, a lot of like-minded businesses like Carabello Coffee and Happy Belly.”'

For being a fitness studio, Barre3 prides itself for offering so much more than that to its members.

“The reason that I think it is different is that our focus on it isn’t just being that it is a fitness studio.”

Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor