This week The Sybarite sat down with Vicki Anstey, an inspiring woman who this year celebrates the 10th anniversary of her Barre Studio, Barreworks, in beautiful Richmond. Barre uses the ballet barre as a basis for a complete body workout, with exercises involving dynamic and static movements, isometric holds, core strengthening and luxurious orthopaedic stretching. Vicki talks us through her journey to setting up the UK’s original and leading Barre company, her luxury retreats, experiences in this year’s SAS: Who Dares Wins, and her growing involvement in motivational talks, encouraging people to “feel comfortable with the uncomfortable”.
After working long hours living an unsustainable and unhealthy lifestyle in advertising and media, Vicki decided enough was enough, and it was time to take back control and start something new. Subsequently discovering The Lotte Berk Technique, known to transform body shape and work all muscles, Vicki knew she’d found something special, something she loved, and something she knew worked. Seeing great results, she realised this technique was transformative, not only in becoming physically leaner and stronger, but mentally too. It was at this point she knew these results could be achieved by others, and not long after Vicki trusted her instincts and set up Barreworks. Classes are taught by ex-professional dancers, some from the National Ballet, to teach the range of classes available that welcome all levels of experience.
These fun, fast-paced classes run between 45-90 mins, giving a full body workout which leaves you feeling like no muscle has been left unworked! Dynamic classes improve strength and flexibility, including floorwork and ballet techniques to keep a tight link to ballet. Movements integrate active stretching, building stamina and strength, with some movements based on rehabilitation. Vicki says “it’s the glue that holds my body together, I never really take a rest day and haven’t had to take a day off work in years!”.
Many clients attend classes to encourage fast injury recovery due to Barre’s dynamic nature, with clients also inclusive of elite athletes, pregnant women, even clients of 75 years of age. Vicki’s Barre classes really are inclusive and active, taking pride that classes are small and therefore tailored to the requirements of each individual client. With a range of movements included to strengthen, increase flexibility and maintain functional stability, a focus on ballet is still evident, with no previous experience necessary to take the classes. Staple positions such as plies are incorporated as well as isolated glute work, focuses on posterior muscles, core work and flexibility.
Still teaching 6-7 classes a week, Barre still plays a huge role in Vicki’s day to day training routine. With such a busy schedule, Vicki trains for general physical and mental preparedness. She says “we don’t always need a ‘thing’ to train for, make it a lifestyle pattern, it’s your insurance policy.” This theory was truly put to the test when Vicki applied and quickly became part of the first female intake of the ultimate physical and psychological resilience test, SAS: Who Dares Wins. This selection process is run by Ant Middleton and other ex-Special Force soldiers who puts contestant through their paces, with this year being the first year women are allowed to apply to join the Special Forces.
Not only did Vicki smash her personal goals and face her fear of heights, she is now involved in motivational speaking at events around the country, asking “what would you do if you weren’t afraid?”. She also manages to fit in time to plan luxury Barre Retreats in partnership with HHH Health Retreats, to the beautiful island of Kefalonia. These include meals cooked by top Detox Chef Alan Wichert, a variety of Barre classes, hikes, cooking workshops, a luxury speedboat trip and so much more.
After interviewing Vicki, it’s clear that she is driven, intelligent and kind, having built a successful business through which she wants to spread her love and experience of this amazing workout technique, delivering great results for her clients. Motivating others from her wealth of experiences in the fitness industry, Vicki’s three points for anyone looking to start Barre or even any new challenge are to “break it down, enjoy the processes and don’t write yourself off!”. We can’t wait to see what the next chapter of Vicki’s inspirational fitness journey looks like…and after hearing her enthusiasm and trust in the Barre practice, I can’t wait to book my Barreworks classes!