This week’s spotlight highlights a very special person in the Dallas fitness community. Lori is someone I’ve always admired. The incredible works she’s done with the Barre Code in the Design District with her business partner Julie M. has been phenomenal to watch. She’s incredibly creative and passionate and has pushed the bar (no pun intended) on making fitness fun and accessible to everyone. She also shares an amazing and personal story in how she became a part of the Barre Code family. Check out her Q&A below:
Name: Lori Lesniewski
Company: The Barre Code – Design District
Short About Me: I was born and raised in Shreveport, LA and moved to the Big D 15 years ago. I graduated from LSU with a Marketing major. I’m one of 6 kids and while most of them have kids of their own, the studio is my only baby. With a traveling sales job and running the studio, the only hobby I really have time for is working out.
I’m definitely not the stereotypical studio owner that was a fitness fanatic throughout life and followed their dream to owning their own studio. My story is more one of perseverance and passion. I actually was introduced to barre in NOLA when I moved down there to get married. I immediately fell in love with it, but it didn’t come easy. Right before I moved to NOLA, I found out I have Rheumatoid Arthritis which causes inflammation and pain especially in the hands and feet. Barre classes exacerbated the pain because so much of the classes are on your toes. Even though my doctor told me to give up barre, I wouldn’t and pushed through it. Three years later, my feet rarely hurt although I do have to modify some moves. But that wasn’t the only pain I dealt with in NOLA. My fiance called off our wedding two weeks after invitations went out, two months before the wedding to pursue his career in DC. Hurt, humiliated and feeling like the biggest failure in my life I packed up after only nine months and got back to Dallas as fast as I could.
TBC (actually Barre Bee Fit at the time) had just opened nearby and had a Groupon that I bought. I saw the biggest physical transformation in my body that I had ever seen- I had abs and awesome shoulders. But the biggest change was on the inside. For the first time in my life I felt so comfortable in my own body which is what made me want to be more than just a member. I wanted to help other women feel exactly how I felt especially after such a low in my life. Two years later and I’m just as passionate if not more. I still crave our classes, they still kick my butt and I am motivated and inspired daily by our awesome instructors and clients. It’s tough juggling two full time jobs and a lot of people think I’m crazy but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. There is nothing more rewarding than giving a woman confidence; it’s not something that comes easily. And the community of strong supportive and empowering women we’ve fostered is irreplaceable.
Tell me about your studio and why it works: The Barre Code franchise is exploding nationwide not only because it is a unique and effective fitness program, but because of the culture and business is built on. The Barre Code isn’t just a fitness studio, it is a community of women motivating and inspiring other women to push past their comfort zones. Our comprehensive fitness program incorporates barre moves into several different class formats (kickboxing, HIIT, bootcamp, cardio dance and yoga) and our routines/props change weekly so our clients don’t get bored or physically plateau. Our clients see drastic changes not only in their bodies but more importantly their minds with new found confidence from exceeding their own expectations. The Barre Code is not only a community within the studio but we are very involved in our local communities, as well, and we can be found putting on fun class/events all over like Katy Trail, Lee Park, The Tower Club, Community Brewery and many others.
What has it been like running your own business? I love running my own business! It is a lot of work and I’m still not sure how I juggle the studio with my day job but I do and still enjoy it. I’ve definitely had to learn how to delegate and prioritize. The studio truly is my happy place. Despite all the work, it doesn’t feel like a job because I’m that passionate about it and I absolutely adore my staff and clients. I’ve been in medical sales for 16 years and my current job was a startup, so I’ve built my territory from nothing. Seeing how successful I was with that and my strong work ethic there was no doubt that I could run my own business.
What makes you passionate about fitness and health? I’ve always worked out to stay in shape, but I wouldn’t say I was ever really passionate about it. Later in life I realized that by setting fitness goals for myself I found working out much more enjoyable. So at New Years each year while every one else is working on resolutions I commit to a big fitness event. I’ve completed several half marathons, one triathlon, one marathon and even did the Big D Climb in January with 70 flights of stairs. When I founded The Barre Code is when I truly became passionate about fitness. Our classes are addictive and they’re hard which leaves me feeling like I can take on the world afterwards. With the manifestation of Rheumatoid Arthritis a couple of years ago I’ve had to cut back on the running and have to modify some in our classes, but I have vowed to not let it take over my life.
What is your personal favorite workout? Brawl, our kickboxing class. It’s our hardest class, but also our most popular. I had a love-hate relationship with it in the beginning because I wasn’t very coordinated. After pushing through it for months I got much better at it. The class is such a good stress-reliever and you walk out of the class feeling so accomplished and strong.
When you indulge, what do you normally crave? Ice cream is my ultimate weakness, in particular milkshakes on a hot summer day. Luckily I’ve found a healthy alternative- blended frozen banana, flax or almond milk and sometimes I’ll even throw in some powdered peanut butter or chocolate protein powder.
Current favorite song you like to workout to? Whatever The Barre Code HQ sends us. We have some jamming playlists!!
Some silly questions for fun:
If you had to choose, would you rather workout without a sports bra or wear see through leggings when you bend over? Ugh I can’t imagine working out without a sports bra unless it was a regular barre class with no jumping, so I guess I would have to go with the sheer leggings ; )
Would you rather workout and have incredibly bad B.O. or sweat so profusely, no medical antiperspirant will help?Sweat profusely, I’m usually the sweatiest person in class anyway.
Have something in your eye OR need to sneeze but never be able to, for a year? I usually sneeze 5 times when I sneeze and hate the lingering feeling. I can’t function so definitely something in my eye.
Would you rather never have coffee again or live without your favorite dessert forever? But coffee and dessert go together!! I actually don’t drink much coffee these days. I converted over to Advocare’s Spark a couple of years ago and have that in place of my morning coffee. It’s great for mental focus. So I could skip the coffee.