Blog | Beyond Barre Pensacola

Plie vs. Squat

The Down Low – Plie vs. Squat

The Down Low – Plie vs. Squat

 With new visitors to a BeyondBarre class there is sometimes confusion on the difference between a plié and a squat. When working in the plié position I frequently see class participants stick the booty out and sit back with their weight centered over their heels in a squat action.

The plié is different from a squat in that the weight is centered on the balls of the feet and the body is upright. As the knees bend the torso remains vertical and moves up and down in space similarly to an elevator. I like to cue “Imagine there is a wall behind you. Stand with your back against the wall. Head, shoulders, lowest ribs and glutes all against the wall and pelvis in a neutral position. As you bent the knees slide down the imaginary wall. As you extend the legs slide up the wall”.

Plie in 1st and 2nd Position

The Plie is a bending of the knees. It’s done with a slight external rotation or “turn out”. The plié targets different muscles than the squat. Overall strengthening of your lower body and legs.

Plies Target:

  • Butt, (gluts maximus)
  • Thighs, (quadriceps)
  • Hamstrings
  • Inner thighs (adductors)

Start in a 1st or 2nd position. First position is done with the feet in a “V” stance. Second position is done with the feet shoulder width apart and the toes angles outward. The Second Plie position may be done in both a narrow and a wide stance. The weight is distributed over the entire foot with the knees back over the little toe.

Imagine your back is sliding down a wall while you lower down. Your back slides up the imaginary wall as you extend the legs back to the starting position. The pelvis remains in a neutral position.







The squats are a great leg and abdominal, and balance exercise. They are completely functional. We squat through out the day, sitting down, getting in and out of the car, picking items up off the floor, getting dressed, ect. Overall strengthening of your lower body and legs.

Squats Target:

  • Butt, (glutieus maximus),
  • Hips (gluteus medius),
  • Thighs (quadriceps),
  • Hamstrings
  • Calfs


Place feet parallel, shoulder-width apart, hips stacked over knees, knees over ankles.

Shoulders back and down away from the ears. As you lower, the butt starts to stick out. Be sure the chest and shoulders remain upright. The back should stay straight. Keep the gaze straight ahead. Engage the core, while driving through the heels as you extend the legs. Imagine the feet are pushing away from one another.

Beyond Success

By: Jennie McKeon

Lisa Cole had been trying to lose weight for a year before she started taking classes at Beyond Barre Pensacola. She was searching online for local yoga classes when she found the Beyond Barre Pensacola website and signed up for her first class. She was immediately “hooked.”

“I loved it,” she said. “I think it was a dynamics class. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was a great workout. I especially like how the class works all of your body, it’s not isolated to one area.” Trying a new workout can be intimidating, but Lisa said she felt comfortable. The instructor and fellow clients were friendly.

“It was laid back, not pretentious,” she said.

 Less than two months of classes, Lisa has lost 20-pounds to date. She not only enjoys buying new clothes, but feels better in and out. “Emotionally, I have a better outlook,” she said. “I have more energy. It’s a big difference, everyone is encouraging here.” At 58, Lisa said it’s been harder and harder to lose weight over the years. Not to mention, working from home makes it more difficult to get up and active. But without a change to her diet, she started to see the pounds melt away — and was having fun at Beyond Barre classes. Beyond Barre workouts incorporate yoga, pilates and ballet fitness. Lisa says she’s never had dance lessons and jokes she has “no rhythm,” but it hasn’t hindered her results.
“I’ve always wanted to take ballet,” she said with a laugh. “What surprised me is how quickly you adapt. Within a week you’re able to come work out and not be incredibly sore. And there’s a variety of classes so it doesn’t get stagnant.”
Testimonies like this are music to the ears of Beyond Barre Pensacola owner Briana Knight, who opened this studio to help folks like Lisa meet their fitness goals. “It’s very similar to my first experience with beyond barre class,” Briana said. “It’s exactly why I wanted to do this in the first place.”

What’s love got to do with it?

Simple– everything

I have been doing a lot of meditating, laughing, yoga, mingling, working, resting, shopping, putting boots on, taking them off…waking up early, going to bed late, getting sick, getting well,.. No matter what I am doing and no matter what is going on in the world, I notice that.. If I approach things with love, I am happy and at peace.

Can you see the light in yourself? Can you see the light in others? That light is love. Because that is what you are, my friend, and that is what everyone else truly is. I’m not blind to everything going on in the world right now and, if you have a Facebook account, neither are you. I have some words for you that may or may not help, but here it is.

There is light in everyone, no exceptions. NO exceptions. Just look around and you will, hopefully, see what I see. On the surface, people can seem all kinds of ways. As I sit here in Starbucks looking around at all of the coffee drinkers,. .. I see a man waiting– clearly irritated with the woman behind the counter. It may be easy for me to think “he is an asshole”. I am seeing an outward manifestation of his thoughts and people… are not your thoughts. This man is not his thoughts. This man is light. So let me look again….I can smile now with love. Because I can now relate to his light. I can also see that he is in a hurry and people, I have been in a hurry before. I have been irritated before. Now I have found compassion, love, light… Life is light, life is love.

You get to a point where instead of “he is an asshole” you can say…”Hello, I see you are being an asshole, I have been an asshole too before, how can I help?” – Jennifer Gutherie.

Can you do this in every area of your life? The answer is … absolutely.  The answer is, why not?

We all have plenty of love to give, it isn’t running out. We have this unlimited supply and we can choose to give it out freely to everyone we meet and to ourselves. Love has everything to do with it. Love is the key to life.

No matter who you are, you can relate to anyone…..and I do mean anyone y’all. From Donald Trump to Hilary Clinton, you can relate to anyone. Think I am wrong? Try it. Have you ever said something that popped into your head that was offensive before? No? Are you sure? Have you ever told a lie before? Hidden something before? No? Are you sure?

Division comes from within. We are the ones, with our egos and identity, that think we are so different from everyone else. So separate. If you want to close a divide…start with closing the divide between you and the rest of the world. When it comes down to it, we can all relate.

This kind of thinking, or being rather, will lead to so much happiness in every area of your life. You will find that you have more compassion, less judgements, less guilt, less worry. Because through finding compassion and love for others…you will find compassion and love for yourself.  Treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend. Treat the world the way you would treat your best friend. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?

It works, I checked.

Namaste and I love all of you..





Here are 5 tips from Lindsay on fitting workouts into your schedule

Who has ever felt like this muppet?! 🙋

Have you ever said, “I want to workout but I just can’t find the time.” 🙋No more! Here’s how to bust out of that cycle.

1. Commit to making yourself and your health a priority. Change happens incrementally so don’t try to wake up at 5 a.m. for 6 a.m. barre class if you normally hit snooze till 7! Ask a friend to come with you to an evening class instead of doing happy hour and then make it a habit.

2. Find something you really love. It might not be barre (we’re betting it will be!) but when you find a workout that you feel good about before, during, AND after, that you look forward to, finding the time won’t be a problem.

3. Grab a buddy and hold each other accountable. Healthy friends have healthy friends, grab your sister, cousin, Broad City-watching buddy and sign up for class together!

4. Use the MindBody app, sign up for classes in advance, and have it sync to your calendar. Putting something on your calendar as a commitment makes you more likely to do it than just thinking “I should go workout.” The app makes it really easy to put it in your schedule.

5. Try the new member special! $40 for 30 days of barre and tell yourself you’re going to try it for ONE MONTH, 4 weeks. It takes about 30 days to establish a new habit, commit to making yourself a priority for a few weeks and see how much better you’ll feel. We’re betting the time will find you.

Transformation: How barre changed Lindsay’s life

Thank you Lindsay for sharing your story so that the rest of us can relate to you and be inspired by you. It takes a lot of courage to be so transparent to so many.





Meet Lindsay, Instructor at Beyond Barre Pensacola

Back in February, I made a decision that was a long time coming: to eat better, exercise, and shed a few pounds. I didn’t intend to put embarrassing photos of myself in my own bathroom or pics of my abs on the Internet. Almost two years ago my doctor told me I should think about losing weight. It hurt to hear, especially because I have been active and relatively thin most of my life, but 30 hit and I learned you can’t have cheese, dessert, AND wine every evening! I was also scared. Anyone who has ever set a weight loss goal understands the fear of failure and anticipation of shame that you didn’t hit the mark you wanted to. On top of that, I have never even tried to lose weight in a healthy way. In my early twenties I would go through cycles of alternating bulimia and severe food restriction because I had a really distorted view of my body. As an adult I’m comfortable in my own skin but I was still worried that it would be all too easy to take things to an extreme or renew the hateful self-talk the brought on my eating disorder.

By grace and woo-woo twin powers my awesome sister decided literally the same day that she also wanted a healthier life for herself and her family. I’ve been incredibly inspired by her commitment and encouraged by her solidarity. Like Morgan says, 80% of weight loss is in the kitchen and I have had much more fun than I would have thought preparing nutritious foods (#jarsalad #desksalad #instapot) at home. The second step was finding fitness that I LOVE thanks to Beyond Barre Pensacola (#bodybybriana). People tell you to try things until you find the thing that you really love and I always thought that was a platitude from people who genuinely enjoy exercise (#whoareyoueven #mymom @carolpmyers)

BUT after my first class I was totally hooked! I have recruited all my friends to try it and I tell them that you will know after one class if you love it or not. It’s maybe not for everyone but if it’s for you, you will understand why people say it’s an addiction! After my first class I thought, “when do I get to go again?!” Which I can promise has never happened with another workout! It’s a whole body workout, a lot of isometric motion,never boring, and still challenging even though I go around four times a week (and now teach three times a week!). I also challenge anyone who thinks that small motions and relatively small weights can’t tone your muscles or make you stronger- I am so much stronger and barre has transformed my body in ways I thought were genetically impossible. For the first time in my life I actually love my legs and thighs! I’d like to think that’s a radical statement for a woman, though it shouldn’t be! If you stick with it, you will discover what I and many other Beyond Barre clients have- that it really changes you.

And although I am really proud of myself for losing weight and gaining muscle it’s very bittersweet- some of you know that Sarah and I have been trying to conceive and it hasn’t happened yet. Another reason I wanted to lose weight was for a healthy pregnancy that, in February, I was sure would have happened by now. But that will come in its time and meanwhile I am so grateful for the extra energy, the family of barre-istas I see almost daily, the encouragement I can give my sister in return, and knowing that I am stronger every day. Strength in one area of life often translates to other areas. Committing to myself has made me more committed in every area of my life and I am grateful for it.

I just wanted to share this to encourage others who are intimidated by their goals, feel like they are slogging along without progress, or who want to make a change but are scared to take the first step. I am with you! #transformationtuesday #onward #feelthefearanddoitanyway #barresohard



Keeping it clean at the barre


By: Jennie McKeon

When you’re trying to cram a workout into an already packed schedule, sometimes just making it to class is an accomplishment. But thanks to some pre-planning and advancements in beauty products, even the most brutal barre class doesn’t mean you have to fall behind on your daily plans. When you don’t have the time to shower (or the facilities), you can still feel refreshed after an hour of plies. Here are a few tips on keeping it clean from your head to your toes.

For the hair:

Before you get into first position, put on your headband to avoid a sweaty ‘do. And if you’re not already hoarding dry shampoo, get a can now. Batiste comes in all kinds of scents and even comes in different hair colors to avoid the white residue that occurs when you spray too close. As for styling, skip the hair tools and throw your hair up in a quick updo with a clip or bun maker.

For the body:

No matter if you try to keep cool, if you’re putting any effort into barre class, you’re going to sweat — everywhere. Some ladies may opt to wear a liner in their underwear to stay dry, or if you’re planning ahead, keep an extra pair in your workout bag. And keep in mind mesh activewear, which is not only fashionable, but functional for those extra sweaty days. After class, you’ll definitely want to freshen up with some deodorant. A spray version is more hygienic to share, we keep some in the studio bathroom,  (and you can spritz other body parts like your feet), but some swear by the crystal deodorants. You can always add your favorite perfumes or sprays as well. You will also find face wipes in the studio bathroom.

For the shower replacer:

Most boutique fitness studios don’t always have a locker room. If you need refreshment, you can always use baby wipes (also found in our studio bathroom) — always on hand for moms, or keep a pack of disposable cleansing cloths in your makeup bag for a quick fix. There’s also an easy and environmentally-friendly solution using Norwex microfiber cloths. Run one under the faucet and take a quick sponge bath before you go on with your day.

See you at the barre!


As we get more and more styles in the boutique, more and more clients have been taking the plunge toward higher quality yoga/barre wear. I felt it only appropriate to blog about it because well……my ankle is sprained and there is nothing else for me to do do accept write…so write I shall!

Let me take you back to my first pair of high quality yoga pants. You see, up until this point…I had been wearing a pair of $19.99 Spalding leggings to all of my workouts (and around town after). Don’t get me wrong, they are okay…but I had certain problems with them that I figured every pair of leggings or workout pants had.

  1. constantly falling down
  2. not very cute or fashionable
  3. practically disposable (as in after a few washes they looked faded or fuzzy)

I saw a pair of Alo Goddess leggings one day in a boutique and immediately thought 3 things..

  1. wow those are different, and CUTE!
  2. they must be for really thin people.
  3. omg they are expensive!

Turns out NONE of things ended up being true. We were out of town and I figured I didn’t know when I would be back so I decided to try on a pair of pants that I knew I wouldn’t be getting. I put the pants on and thought three things..

  1. I must have more
  2. I must have more
  3. I must have more

LOL!! Not only did they fit, but they seemed to form to my body like a glove. Also, the material is very compressive and after doing barre and yoga in them, I found that they didn’t fall down.  Another thing I came to realize, they will last FOREVER as long as you don’t put them in the dryer (hang dry). Now comes the cost….Remember how I said my other leggings were disposable? I went on Amazon and totaled up just how many pairs of those $19.99 pairs of leggings I had bought myself over the last six months or so. I came to the conclusion that I could have easily bought a pair, or even two or three, of the Alo leggings with the amount of money I was spending on the lesser quality pants.

I am now a FIRM believer that if you feel good in  your workout clothes, you workout harder. I noticed that when working out I felt GREAT in my clothes. I was’t fidgeting with my pants every five seconds. I felt confident in them. I loved the way they felt. In the end, I was more focused on the workout and less focused on how I looked.

I also want to add that making the investment in high quality workout clothes also gives you a reason to workout! After investing the money, I felt there was no excuse for missing barre. Last but not least, these clothes are extremely fashionable!!! I can leave barre or yoga and go run errands or go to the mall or out for lunch and feel like I am dressed for any occasion = more BANG for your buck!!

Now that I have convinced you that higher quality is worth it, lets talk brand, styles, and fit.

As far as the Beyond Barre Pensacola boutique goes, I stock things that I wear myself,  Items that I know are worth the money. We carry brands such as Alo, Beyond Yoga, Onzie, Anjali (anjali is organic and some styles are made from recycled materials), and more!

Alo Yoga

You will find these styles extremely versatile. You can definitely dress these pants up and go to lunch or wear them with a tank or tee and go to barre or yoga. The high compression makes these pants great for high intensity workouts as you will not find them falling down. The material is semi thicker than the other brands but I haven’t had any problems feeling too hot in them or anything like that. Material is soft too 🙂 Amy and Lindsay (pictured below) are wearing the Alo Airbruch Capri in Marble. You can find them in studio .


Alo’s Goddess legging is awesome as well! They are usually two-tone with a leg warmer type look. They are meant to be worn over the ankle. They are definitely a favorite of mine. We currently carry the black on grey and coral on grey.




Anjali is very lightweight. Their styles are either 100% organic or recycled from plastic. As Emma Watson will tell you, “Plastic is one of the biggest pollutants on the planet. Being able to repurpose this waste and incorporate it into my gown for the ‪#‎MetGala‬ proves the power that creativity, technology and fashion can have by working together.” Emma was talking about her gown of course, but it holds true for yoga pants as well. We are proud to carry Anjali!

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Onzie is great if you sweat A LOT. The material drys faster than a swim suit and is incredibly light. Onzie really covers it all from a variety of prints, to mesh, to solids….Onzie has a wide variety. I choose the Tuxedo, SunRay, and CandyCloud capris because, well they are really cute lol. I like the mesh in the Tuxedo, the fun back in the SunRay, and the CandyCould is just beautiful. Onzie is going to sit mid to high on the waist, which I like.

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Beyond Yoga

So SOFT! Anyone who has felt or owns a pair of Beyond Yoga pants will tell you they are realllllly soft, and they are. These pants are more on the comfort side (not as much compression) and it took me a while to warm up to them because I was so used to the compression of Alo Yoga, but now I LOVE THEM! I really like wearing them to yoga but lately I have found myself wearing them to barre as well. They make a really great solid color legging however they have some awesome styles with mesh and prints as well.


I am not saying that the right pair of yoga pants can change your life….All I am saying is that they encourage you to be more active, make you feel like your skin is wearing a soft blanket that was specially made for your body, and encourage a healthier lifestyle ; )



Check out the boutique at Beyond Barre Pensacola and try them for yourself!


As I sit here in the middle of the studio floor with my computer…I cannot help but feel emotional. A couple of months ago this place looked..well very different, lol. It was hard work and there were times that I would think to myself….”this just isn’t going to happen” but we stuck with it and kept working at it. Everyday something would be improved and we would get closer to the vision I had for this space. I am glad things happened the way they did. Had I had a bunch of money to just pay someone to come in here and remodel the place in a week’s time, I may  not appreciate it the way I do now. It was amazing how people stepped in to help.. people that expected no payment, nothing in return. We laughed, we watched DIY videos, we drank wine….LOL (so be forgiving if the paint is not perfect in certain areas). I could not have done this without these people. I could not have done this without my mom. I could not have done this without my faith. I could not have done this without my family. I wanted to create a space where friendships could be formed, strength could be gained, and people could come and discover that loving ourselves should be the easiest thing in the world. Maybe its not the biggest studio in the world, or the fanciest…but it is ours. It belongs to whoever wishes to come here and do something positive. I love this place and when I look back on this time, I will smile at all of the crooked wall hangings and clothes that I ruined with paint. I would say that I have the best clients in the world, but “clients” just doesn’t seem to be the word that comes to mind. These women are my friends and each time we meet here, they inspire me with how hard they work and the excitement they have for this studio. Thank you, all of you, for being patient as we fixed this place up. Thank you for coming even before the wall-fixed barres were up. Thank you for loving Beyond Barre Pensacola.

I am excited for the GRAND OPENING! I can’t wait to meet more people and share this space with Pensacola. Please join us for the RIBBON CUTTING on May 4th at 11am.




Nutrition, Stroller Barre, & New Space!

March is national NUTRITION month! I had the pleasure of being invited and teaching my daughter’s 1st grade class a crash course in nutrition. I have to admit I was a little terrified, lol. I really didn’t know what I was going to say. I am used to talking to adults about nutrition but children just are not going to understand “be sure to include nutrient dense vegetables and antioxidant rich fruits into your daily diet to prevent things like cancer and heart disease” …but I really wasn’t giving them enough credit! These kids are so smart and so sweet and they seemed so excited to have me there talking nutrition. We even did a little class  warm-up exercise that had the children laughing, bumping into each other, and kicking one another in the butt (think front attitude kicks—regular Beyond Barre clients will know what I mean). We focused on how to build a healthy meal and I had the class split up into groups, each with an assigned food group.

The class ended up putting the following meal together: milk, eggs, wheat bread, blueberries and strawberries, and broccoli.

It was tons of fun and I look forward to going back soon.

Moving on…

SO STROLLER BARRE is now happening! I really enjoy teaching these classes.  I am currently working on adding more to the schedule. Right now, we are doing them at Maritime Park — which is beautiful.

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However, as it gets warmer, we may find another area that offers some shade. I hate that I canceled today’s class but you live and learn. It felt too cold to have the babies outside for stroller barre and I elected to reschedule after a couple of moms called in saying it felt too cold. Of course as soon as I canceled the class, the sun came out from behind the clouds….go figure.

Also….wait for it….New location is coming soon! Like really soon! I am so excited and am working really hard to get the space ready for you guys. Seriously, I am pretty sure I have paint in my ears at this point. I apologize if you have come to one of my recent classes and I seemed extra tired, you will just have to bare with me until these renovations are done LOL. The walls in this place were black and red and took a lot of primer to get them ready for grey paint! I just wish I had decided what walls to take down BEFORE I painted everything!

It is starting to come together though an I am excited for what this space will mean for my West side classes. Stay tuned for updates!

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Anyway, that’s all I got. I hope everyone has a great weekend.


See you at the barre!