Sadie Lincoln wants you to stop being a copycat.
The holistic health expert began teaching exercise classes while attending UCLA, then developed a group fitness program at the College of William & Mary while earning her master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. From there, she began her career in corporate fitness.
It was after 20 years in that world that she and her husband, Chris, decided they needed to go out on their own and create something more about finding overall balance and developing connections. So, in Portland, Oregon, barre3 was born, a studio program that blends ballet, Pilates and yoga and emphasizes the consideration of individual differences instead of mimicking. Today, the concept has expanded to over 130 studios across the country, as well as a substantial international online community.
Here, Lincoln explains why it’s important to embrace individuality and remember that life is only so long:
Live The Process: What emboldened you to leave the corporate fitness world behind and create your own exercise program?
Sadie Lincoln: My husband and I wanted to create a life for ourselves based on our core values around building community and finding balance in body and life. We had unique expertise in the fitness industry and wanted to create a studio concept that other likeminded people could be a part of as franchise partners.
I was so clear on my purpose at this point that it wasn’t scary. It took courage, but fear did not play into my decisions. We let go of expectations of making money and simply focused on delivering an experience that was deeply rewarding. In fact, we figured out how we could basically live for a year without an income. We sold our house and downsized to the bare minimum.
LTP: How is barre3 different than other programs or classes out there?
SL: What makes us special is our empowering approach. We believe that copying skips understanding. Our job is to inspire each client to look inside for the answers versus depending on someone else to give them a formula for health to copy. When we copy what works for someone else, we are immediately set up to fail. Each of us is our own best teacher. At the beginning of each class, we give clients full permission to make each move their own and to adapt postures so they get exactly what they need out of their time with us. Our focus is on helping people develop a positive relationship with exercise, food and health, in general. This approach extends way beyond the time they spend in the studio or online with us.
"Everything that matters becomes crystal clear."
LTP: Was there a moment when you realized, “This is going to be a huge success!”?
SL: Day one, during my first barre3 class at 5:45 pm on August 11, 2008, I knew it was going to be a success. I really did. This was the moment when my 20 years of experience merged with my core purpose in life.
LTP: Aside from doing your own workout, do you each have rituals, practices or wellness obsessions that keep you feeling healthy and balanced?
SL: I recently spent a day with a Hindu priest. He had us do this exercise where we visualized ourselves 50 years from now. It was an exercise in remembering that life is finite. I loved it so much, I’ve kept it going. I do a visualization every day where I imagine myself at 95. When life is nearing the end, everything that matters becomes crystal clear. To me, this is what “healthy” is all about.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
SL: A life rich with powerful connections—within myself, with others and spiritually.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
SL: For me, it means that life is a journey and not about getting to some destination. It’s also a daily practice to trust this process.