Xtend your limits with Xtend Barre

When it’s cold, wet, windy and hailing outside it can be difficult to get out for a power walk during the day which is why today’s post features some indoor inspo courtesy of Xtend Barre International Director Rockell Williamson-Rudder

I may have mentioned it in earlier posts that when I wanted to get fit for my wedding last year, the exercise I turned to get me ready was Xtend Barre. I’m the type who prefers incidental exercise to the gym so this workout which is a combination of pilates and ballet is perfect for me. While in other work outs it can be tempting to relax a little, Xtend is mostly led by former dancers who I find encourage me to keep form by their own graceful, strong and precise example. Exercise isn’t just about going through the motions but keeping good form throughout the whole workout and for the first time I find myself compelled to try do just that. Fresh choreography means that I’m kept interested every workout. As a result (and including a healthy diet) I reached my fitness goals within my desired timeframe and I love the energy of the studios that I have visited to date. A year and a new country on, I have been delighted to find a brand new Xtend Barre studio within walking distance of our new home in Auckland.

International Director Rockell Williamson-Rudder was in town recently to visit local studios and I had the chance to find out more about this increasingly popular work-out.

Rockell Williamson Rudder visits xtend barre ponsonby

Xtend Barre International Director Rockell Williamson Rudder

You are Australian! How did you hear first about Xtend Barre?

Yes I am Australian but I’ve been living the US for so long now that my accent is a lot of things! I trained as a dancer and was teaching Pilates when my husband and I moved to Las Vegas for his job. Around that time I decided to give up my professional dancing career and was trying to decide what to do. I found for the first time in my life I had to force myself to go out and exercise; previously it had just been part of what I did every day!

So there I was trying lots of things and I had tried other Barre classes but with Xtend Barre, I “got it”.

How did you join the business? 

I was going all the time and that led to a conversation with Xtend Barre founder Andrea who saw my passion and talked to me about joining the business.

In my role I oversee business, training, recruitment and quality control. It’s my job to go out and help set up new franchises. We now work with 27 franchises across 18 countries around the world.

Something that has impressed me with the Xtend Barre studios that I have visited across Australia and New Zealand is the consistency of high quality instructors but also the positive energy of the studios – how do you do that?

That is something that is so important to us! We do try to have a consistency of look with the colours but also the way things are laid out with break-out areas and places to put shoes and jackets etc to create a welcoming environment that helps people feel comfortable.

Our instructors go through auditions and some gruelling training but most importantly they need to have that compassionate heart to help people reach their fitness goals because the absolute key reason that we exist is to empower women.

Who inspires you?

Emma Isaaccs, founder of Business Chicks: the way she believed in something and has taken it by the reigns and put her all into it. We’ve worked with her on launching Business Chicks in the US and that’s been wonderful to be a part of.

Andrea Rodgers, Founder of Xtend Barre: We can freely bounce things off each other – the good and the bad. We can be so frank but so honest, I find it so refreshing.

My Mum: She is a fearless woman who empowered me to be independent. That’s something that I try to teach to my own kids.

Career advice?

If you [want to be an entrepreneur and] are not passionate, it’s not going to work. I love the quote, “entrepreneurs are people who work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week for someone else.”

Three stretches to ease your work day

Rockell was kind enough to demonstrate these three work stretches which you can try out in the office to release the tension that has built up from sitting at your desk.

Rockell Williamson Rudder stretch 2

Standing at the photocopier? Take the opportunity to release your side muscles with this artful side stretch bend. You can even do this one seated and either use your chair arm rest or swivel out and use your desk to provide resistance!

Rockell Williamson Rudder stretch 1

Have the space to kick off your shoes and flexibility in your work bottoms to work into your glutes? This is also a good one to do on the plane when you get up after having not moved for a while!

Rockell Williamson Rudder visits xtend barre ponsonby studio

And stretch, Rockell makes doing a hamstring stretch a breeze. One to try if your workplace has a bench or railing you can use.

Many thanks to Vivienne and the team at Xtend Barre Ponsonby for arranging this interview and a shout-out to Jaquie and the team at Xtend Barre Hawthorn who first got me hooked!

Want to try Xtend Barre for yourself? Visit xtendbarre.com to find  a studio near you. Most studios offer a two week trial for $49.

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