Downtown London - News

December 2018

  • Finding mobility, fitness, community at the Barre

    December 18, 2018

    Finding mobility, fitness, community at the Barre


    By Sean Meyer


    When she was In her 20s, Kristy LeBlanc admits to being squarely focused on her business career and the only connection she had to the fitness world was what the self-described “gym rat” was doing to stay in shape.


    Although she had added Pilates to her workout routine In the late ‘90s, exercising was being “pushed to the bottom of the priority list.”


    A 2005 car accident changed that as her rehabilitation got her back into the habit of exercising and thinking about what she might want to do differently with her life.


    After her job at the time “was no longer available,” she decided to pursue Pilates a little more seriously. 


    “I didn’t think about making this my career. At that point it really was a hobby. When I found myself looking for a new career, someone said to me why don’t I teach Pilates full-time,” she said. “I said no, that’s what I do for fun. The response back was that’s what everyone tries to find, just that, something fun. So, I thought I’d give it a shot.”


    Kristy build her reputation working out of her basement, visiting clients in their homes and freelancing at other studios.


    In February 2015, she took things to the next level as Kristy — with the help of her husband Troy — opened Pilates Barre & Fitness Studio at 615 Richmond St., Unit D. Troy takes care of “all the behind the scenes stuff,” freeing up Kristy to run the classes. 


    At her studio — often referred to as @ The Barre, which she jokes is the one that will benefit you and not the one where you might not feel so good after the next day — Kristy utilizes Stott Pilates, a method that combines the modern principles of exercise science with rehabilitation. Barre workouts — which have been practiced by dancers for years — are designed for all fitness levels to challenge endurance, improve balance and strength while providing a full body workout.


    “Everything we do here is with a focus that when you’re 90 years old, you can continue doing the things you like to do without restriction,” Kristy explains. “This is about longevity, not fast, shot-term goals. What I want for my clients is they don’t wreck their bodies, that they’re finding strength within . . . so they can live a healthy life.”


    Running a small business often means long hours, which Kristy admits has been the case for her as well.


    Kristy does try to find time for her family (including Troy and daughters Kayla, 27, and Isabel, 14), but also — and perhaps most importantly — for herself. For example, she has started getting her nails done on a regular basis, something she describes as adding, “just a little bit of fun.” 


    She also enjoys walks with the family dog, spending time with “a lovely group of friends,” and painting. Ironically, Kristy has a university degree in visual arts, but it didn’t come in particularly handy until she opened a business that needed art on the walls. 


    Something she also enjoys is being a part of the Richmond Row community.


    Having grown up in London, Kristy is excited for the core’s future as she believes the community is committed to building a stronger downtown.


    “This street is made up of amazing Londoners who have worked long hours, like me, who are passionate about what they do. You can’t own your own business, and not be passionate about it, or you won’t stay open,” she said. “If we have a strong downtown core, we’ll have a strong city. We are in the process of that, it will just take a little time.”


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