Fitness studio will use barre in workouts

The presence of a ballet barre in Jestina Orlando’s Uptown Park Ridge studio doesn’t mean visitors will see pirouettes and pointe shoes.

At the Barre Code, scheduled to open later this summer at 33 1/2 S. Prospect Ave., the barre is incorporated into fitness routines focused on cardio, strength training and flexibility.

“You don’t need to be a dancer to take this type of fitness class,” said Orlando, a Park Ridge native and personal trainer at the Park Ridge Community Center who first discovered the Barre Code fitness regimen two years ago after taking a class in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. At the time, the Barre Code was known as Barre Bee Fit.

“After my first class, I don’t know what hit me. I was really thrown for a loop,” Orlando said. “It’s a mind-body workout. A lot of shaking and burning. I don’t think I could walk for a day. I was like, ‘This is it. I finally found what I want to do.’”

A year ago, when asked if she would be interested in becoming a franchise owner of the first suburban Chicago Barre Code studio, Orlando could think of only one location she’d want to pursue: Park Ridge.

“The one thing I felt we were lacking is boutique fitness,” she said. “Core Power Yoga has a pretty strong community, you have the [Park Ridge] Community Center — which is great — but you don’t have that small vibe fitness center where everyone knows everybody. I want people to be able to walk in, take a class, pour themselves a cup of coffee and watch TV when class is done.”

Formerly used as offices for a mortgage company, Orlando’s up and coming studio, which overlooks the Park Ridge Public Library, is undergoing major renovations to turn it into the fitness center she envisions. She hopes to open to the public by summer’s end, though some individuals were to get a sneak peek Saturday when they participated in free classes meant to be training sessions for the new teachers.

Focused more on overall physical and mental wellness than weight loss, the Barre Code offers classes in total body conditioning, cardio kickboxing, cardio dance, strengthening and yoga. “Expect to sweat and shake!” declares a FAQ page on the Barre Code website, promising a challenging, but “efficient and results-driven” workout.

Drop-in classes, memberships and package deals will be available.

Orlando is planning to open a heated room — she calls it the “burn room” — for hot yoga and other classes that incorporate a higher temperature into their fitness routines.

A student at St. Paul of the Cross Catholic School and a 2005 Maine South graduate, Orlando was always the athletic type, playing on the girls soccer and basketball teams and running cross country in high school. After living away from Park Ridge for a time, Orlando found herself returning as an adult.

“Every person from Park Ridge who was born here goes through the same roller coaster,” she said. “We leave and go to college or wherever and we realize we’re never going to get the community that we have here anywhere else. So you see everybody coming back here.”

When it opens, the Park Ridge Barre Code studio will be the fifth in the Chicago area. Other centers are in Chicago’s Gold Coast, River North and Lincoln Park neighborhoods, as well as on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago.

More information about The Barre Code can be found at www.thebarrecode.com/studios/illinois/park-ridge.

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