Studio Three isn’t just a boutique fitness studio that bought the internationally acclaimed Xtend Barre classes to the country.
It’s not just a gorgeous one-stop shop either, where nine different disciplines from pilates to TRX are taught in Grey Lynn.
No, it is far more than that.
When you view the studio’s social feed, instantly you see that Studio Three is a passionate community of ‘barre babes’ ranging from millennials to baby boomers.
One instructor says it’s a place to “have fun and feel feminine”. A client says it “improved her posture, fitness and all round happiness”. Another loves the dance element calling it an “elegant work out”.
And it’s all led from the front by 54-year-old owner, Viv Gallagher, a long-time fitness industry stalwart with more than two decades of experience she admits date back to “Jazzergetics days”.
During that time, Viv learnt valuable lessons from instructing big group fitness classes: it didn’t work.
“I just felt there was integrity missing in the quality of instruction when you’re trying to instruct en mass,” she recalls. “It’s just not possible.”
Whereas Studio Three limits class sizes strictly to 20, keeping true to Viv’s vision of “creating an environment that’s special, safe, welcoming and all about community”.
By all accounts her team have nailed it. One tell-tale sign is the lengthy client testimonials from all age groups on Google and Facebook that are glowing and numerous.
“You can come and experience high energy cardio, make your body toned with pilates then relax with yin yoga — it’s good to have the whole range,” says one client.
When you walk into the studio you sense the caring camaraderie. Like when an instructor gently corrects technique yet at the same time keeps her client on task, focussed and motivated.
A sea of gold stars shines on the ‘choose your challenge chart’ fixed in a prominent position on the wall. Regulars who’ve committed to attending 26 classes in 42 days clearly love receiving their gold stars!
“I encourage a lot of mature women in their 40s, 50s and 60s that would normally be intimidated by other huge gyms and a bit nervous about trying something new to come in,” Viv says. Beginner classes are run regularly and all skill levels are catered for.
Viv also mentions that men attend classes too. They love the challenge of improved flexibility, core strength and posture although admits the guys are outnumbered by the ladies and “find the barre tough going!”
The breadth of instructor expertise at the studio is wide and even includes a qualified physiotherapist. “We’re all highly trained to look after injuries plus pre- and post-natal clients. We have a lot of referrals from top local osteopathy and physiotherapy clinics in the area which is a nice endorsement,” she says.
First-time clients with a history of back injuries are common: “A lot of people start with us not able to do a lot of other exercise because of lower back pain and weak abdominals. After taking the barre class they transform and don’t experience the same amount of pain again.”
Others who danced when they were younger like the concept of coming back to the barre. Once a month on a Friday there are popular ‘Barre and Bubbles’ nights for the members to mingle and chat.
Members also receive invitations to workshops held throughout the year. Currently essential oils are under the spotlight as part of collaboration with a muscular massage therapist in the same building.
To assist the “whole lot of rushing women” that Viv has noticed coming in, the studio’s next workshop will feature a breathing expert. It’s all part of the team’s commitment to “seriously looking after client wellness as a whole”.
While the impact of Studio Three clearly shapeshifts the lives of many, Viv says it’s not about having a body that looks a certain way, it’s about strength, balance and joy.
“At the end of the day if you do not love what you do, you’re not going to stick with it.”
Xtend Barre Fuses elements of pilates and ballet to create a workout that ticks all the boxes as it strengthens, lengthens and chisels the body in a cardiovascular and resistance based full body workout. Targets glutes, abdominals and improves posture. No previous dance experience required.
Pilates The building block for all our classes that focuses on the core postural muscles which support the spine. It improves posture, addresses muscle imbalances, improves circulation and sculpts a long lean muscle creating a trimmer appearance. Try the Pilates mat, Reformer and fusion equipment classes.
TRX A type of suspension training using bodyweight exercises to develop strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously. The TRX Suspension Trainer is used to leverage gravity and the user’s body weight to complete a wide variety of exercises for a total body workout.
Yoga Power yoga is taught for those wanting a dynamic Vinyasa flow using traditional teachings as well as yin yoga which is a deeply restorative practice focusing on breath and release of the fascia (connective tissue) to ensure balance is in the workout and to prevent injury.