IDEA World Convention 2019! A Snapshot from Sessions to Showroom

Expo Cool

FREEMOTION had on-going demos in their all white sleek space

It’s always a whirlwind walking into the IDEA World Convention along with 14,000 other “fit pros” (gym owners, managers, instructors, trainers, dietitians) and fitness and wellness fanatics all bouncing in to grab their badges! All of “us” gearing up for a week of pre-cons, workshops, work-outs, summits and most joyous, the parties and sheer FUN of it all! Getting that many passionate people under one roof, it’s bound to get a little crazy with maybe a few dance moves and a push-up competition to boot!

THREE big moments of the opening ceremony:

  • Jay Blahnik (recognized premier fitness instructor, educator, author and Director of Fitness and Health technologies for Apple Inc.) receiving the 2019 IDEA Jack LaLanne Award. His heart-felt speech, interrupted by a few tears and needing to “take a moment”, spoke to all of us as he reminisced about his humble beginnings, his true desire to touch lives and his passionate drive professionally and personally to continue to evolve and reinvent himself. The intro and award given by Elaine LaLanne (the first-lady of fitness) was priceless!

  • Victoria Arlen, winner of the 2019 Idea Fitness Inspiration Award. An amazing young women who defied the odds after she developed Transverse myelitis, which put her in a vegetative state for 4 years. With un-wavering work and determination, she became a record-breaking Paralympic gold-medal swimmer, a finalist on Dancing with the Stars, and an on-air host with ESPN. In her own words she talked about “being locked inside my own body unable to move, speak, or eat, completely aware of what was happening around me”. With a strong mindset she went on to not only winning gold and box jumping with the help of her trainers, but is now a world-renown speaker, actor, author and founder of Victoria’s Victory Foundation. Her message: “Face It, Embrace It, Defy It, Conquer It”.

  • Mastin Kipp, the Keynote speaker delivering a mantra to “Live your purpose from now on”. Kipp is a best-selling author, speaker and Creator of Functional Life Coaching. He was named by Oprah as “one of 100 awakened leaders who are using their voice and talent to elevate humanity". The top slides with messages that spoke to me and many others in the room:

    • “When you align with your purpose, you create financial freedom for your family”

    • “Living your purpose is the greatest gift you can give to those you love”

    • “In general, purpose in life can be defined as a self-organizing life aim that stimulates goals, manages behavior and provides a sense of meaning”

    • “Living your purpose is embodying and expressing the emotions, behaviors and lifestyle that LIGHT YOU UP”

    • “Uncomfortable emotions indicate unhealed parts and unlearned lessons that are disconnecting you from your life’s purpose”

    • “How you express your purpose continually changes & evolves”

ONE note-worthy session:

  • The Women’s LeadHER Conference led by Women in Fitness (WIFA) Board member Emma Barry, Sadie Nardini and Shannon Fable. Emma talked about “Rocking your Tribe”, Sadie, “Rocking your Voice” and Shannon, “Rocking your World”. They spoke about the impact of surrounding yourself with the right people and to ask for help. Gave motivation on how to tap into our “fierce feminine power”. A structured breakdown of how to “spin all of the plates in our life” with smart, actionable tips to be able to balance work, family, finance, and fun as well as finding time for self discovery and growth! Now that’s a lot of plates to spin, but we learned all they really need is a small whirl and a little focus to keep them all in motion. Spinning plates is better than juggling - where the balls often get dropped!

FOUR picks from the halls of the EXPO:

  • Potatoes, Walnuts and Almonds making a big impact with long lines for the simple foods! Yes booths giving out samples of one-ingredient from the earth - “Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication” Leonardo da Vinci

  • anytime CBD - offering “medically minded” products for healthier people, pets and the planet. Touting the benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD) and recommending adding these oils as boosters to our post-workout smoothie or morning coffee. CBD is the 2nd main active ingredient in cannabis (marijuana) but is derived from the HEMP plant and does not cause a “high”. Its known benefits are helping with anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain and inflammation.

  • Instructrr - all-in-one class design, music player, timer App (with cue cards) for Group Fitness. This App helps instructors create classes faster helping them “crush it” on the studio floor.

  • Adding two to the “Group Fitness” space with Stick Mobility (movement made better) with co-founder Dennis Dunphy and Spartan Strong with co-creator Alex Isaly. Stick Mobility combines “joint mobilization, strength training, and deep fascial stretching to increase athletic performance. Spartan Strong, puts you in the mindset of a warrior, ready to compete and conquer your fears! I took a packed class with Alex and crushed the workout with the weighted “pancake” because of the comradery and motivation of the other “spartans” in the room. Their motto for their races: “You’ll know at the finish line” - the rewards will be worth it. I felt that at the end of class!

I was honored to meet and greet with the finest in fitness and have the opportunity to see, touch, feel, eat and experience all there is to offer within this every expanding and important space. We are fueled from the inside out. The key is to find our path and what moves our soul to achieve ultimate health, longevity, mobility, strength, peace and happiness.

Best in Health and Fitness,

Ann Marie

Ann Marie Barbour
From Injury to Invincible! An Interview with SoulBody Co-Founder Stacey Vandiver

Healing Trail

Stacey keeps a positive mind and strong body!

This winter Stacey had the incredible opportunity to ski Sun Valley, Idaho with a group of friends. They are all very high level skiers (Stacey included) but the conditions were a bit extreme with powder up to their knees and very little visibility! Yes there was an injury as Stacey tore her ACL (on her fourth run, although we’re not going to go there!), BUT what an incredible come-back having a mind/body determination and a great TEAM! Here is my interview with Stacey.

AM: What was your mindset when you were told your ACL was torn and you needed surgery?

SV: Well as you can imagine I was immediately upset as I knew this would effect my teaching, but that only lasted a short moment as I know mindset is everything! I wanted to know exactly what was involved and put my mind to surgery and dedicated recovery. I knew I had a good team to work with too! Dr Rich Levine for surgery and Jarod Felice of FX Physicaly Therapy…a dream team! I also promised my members that I would be back stronger than before!

AM: Post-OP - What did you do to stay positive?

SV: Focus on the positive is the biggest! And that applies to all in life! My ski accident happened, could have been worse, and what is done is done. The day after surgery I was doing tricep dips on the side of the sofa... I was not going to let this get me down! If anything, it was a time of rest and reset. I juiced, drank lots of soothing teas, and let my family and friends help me out…which is very hard for me…I am someone who does not sit still very well! Another big help post-op is not only inner strength, but physical strength. The stronger and healthier you are, the faster we can recover from a set back - I often talk about this in class.

AM: What did you do to physically rehab?

SV: I started with rehab twice a week right after surgery and went to work listening to everything Jarod and his co-worker, Pat Griffin had to say. I knew I could count on them to get me back in the studio. They were encouraging, supportive and highly knowledgable in how far to push me and when to back off. On top of rehab, icing was KEY! I was given the vast-therm ice wrap that I believe helped speed up recovery. Each week I was coached to try a little more, and through determination and persistence, I continue to feel stronger.

AM: Where are you now over two months out and what would be your top recommendation to those just going through this?

SV: Now 10 weeks out, I have full extension and flection is at 138 degrees! I am back in the studio teaching although with caution and modifications. I highly recommend anyone that is going through a surgery that sets them back, to shift gears mentally, stay focused and positive, and listen to your body (as well as the doctors!). No need to push it as full recovery will eventually come if taking proper steps to heal. 
This surgery was my first ever…and it has been quite a learning curve, realizing that the body is not invisible. I also realized I am blessed to have the support of family, friends and good docs…I LOVE MY TEAM!

Best in Health and Fitness,

Ann Marie

Ann Marie Barbour
Next Stop NYC for the Boutique Fitness Summit!

Pitch Perfect

Co-Founders Stacey Vandiver & Ann Marie Barbour pitching to Investors at BFS Ventures!

It’s always an exhilarating adventure when visiting NYC. The energy and talent within the Boutique Fitness Summit matched the momentum and pace of the New York City Streets, where the “boutique boom” is in FULL SWING! Our hats off to co-founders Ntiedo (NT) Etuk and Julian Barnes for a job well done from A-Z!

Similar to our visit to SUCCEED, The Boutique Fitness Summit brought in some BIG NAMES in fitness for one-day of panel discussions and sessions. Such names as Annabeth Eschbach, founder of Exhale, Jennifer Maanavi, co-founder of Physique 57, Amanda Freeman, founder of SLT, and Ruth Zuckerman, co-founder of SoulCycle and Flywheel. The list goes on but many of the best of the best in boutique represented!

We at SoulBody were invited to come pitch at BFS Ventures, their version of Shark Tank. Well prepared with our pitch, Stacey and I presented to an esteemed panel of investors with confidence. We already have great traction and established success with current programming and offerings, but there’s more to come and we need fuel to propel it. It was a great experience and we look forward to our fund-raising journey ahead. We want to congratulate the winners of BFS Ventures Austin Cohen and his team from FlexIt, they are like the “Uber of Fitness” where you only pay for the hours you use at participating gyms…check it out!

One of our favorite session was given by one of our SoulBody Advisors, Emma Barry, former director at Equinox & Les Mills (observer and catalyst). The title to her session was “Build that Badass Boutique” and the room was packed by the next SoulCycle hopefuls. It was all about dialing up the emotional experience in the studio. We can check off all the boxes such as location, amenities, service, class availability, but the ONE THING that will set us apart is the authentic experience we offer our members. The smallest gesture or offering could make all the difference. She also had us fill out a “Boutique Barometer” form. A couple of the questions Emma urged us to think about (which we should all take the time to answer was) 1. How much do your members adore you? 2. How engaged are your members? 3. How baller is your programming? 4. How often do you deliver the results your promise? How rockstar are your instructors? How differentiated are you from others? Emma also recommended a few books to help us all on our member experience journey: Find Your Why, Mapping Experiences, The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences, The Experience Economy and The Effortless Experience.

The Expo was also packed with innovation, especially in tech, and a lot geared for us instructors (whoo hoo) such as BFS’s NT Etuk’s FitGrid and the newest class music app Instructrr, (a group fitness savior), an all in one class design and music player + timer app.

We always come away from these conferences and summits so inspired, not only by the innovation but the motivation and passion from everyone involved within the vital world of fitness! Everyone’s true aim is to make the planet a happier, healthier place:)

Best in Health and Fitness,

Ann Marie

Ann Marie Barbour
What's happening in BOUTIQUE? First Stop SUCCEED!

Big Names in Fitness

Hanging with some major movers and international influencers in the Fitness Space! Josh Leve, Founder & CEO of Association of Fitness Studios, Todd Durkin, conditioning coach and motivational speaker, Maureen Hagan, health wellness and anti-aging expert, Petra Kolber, speaker and educator and Fred Hoffman, fitness expert and consultant

April proved to be a busy travel month with two conferences centered around “Boutique Fitness”. The first stop was Orange County, CA for the Association of Fitness Studios Annual Business Convention & Expo SUCCEED. This was their inaugural conference and Josh Leve, founder and CEO along with his passionate team brought on their A-Game! With three heavy hitting Keynotes, Todd Durkin, Augie and Lynne Nieto of Augie’s Quest and Adam Robinson CEO of Hireology. There were fist pumps, tears, motivation, personal stories of heartbreak and triumph and real world takeaways that we were all blessed to hear and experience first hand.

The weekend was full of great sessions in marketing, fitness future, retention, financing, wearable tech, working with special populations and more. But what was new and fresh to see was the energy from ALL of the small gym and studio owners that attended. Boutique is such an emerging market and Josh Leve has his finger on the pulse! There are now 100,000 small “boutique” studios compared to 10,000 BIG BOX Gyms in the U.S. We at SoulBody work primarily with the bigger clubs, offering them “boutique” group fitness programming to level up and compete with these smaller studios. But what was interesting was a session and message from World Gym CEO Guy Cammilleri and COO Doug Katona telling the boutiques to watch out because BIG BOX is coming into their market. These larger clubs are not only offering “boutique” inside the clubs (like SoulBody’s offer) but now they are getting into this space with stand alone studios. Watch out for sure because larger gyms have buying power and experience behind the build. Their message was “Be Harder to Kill” - a message we all need to armour up for in the FITNESS BIZ.

Next stop the Boutique Fitness Summit NYC!

Best in Health and Fitness,

Ann Marie

Ann Marie Barbour
IHRSA 2019 - Fitness, Friends and Innovation!

SoulBody soaked up every minute at IHRSA 2019 last week in sunny San Diego! This international trade show brings together a global community of health and fitness industry leaders with an expansive trade show, passionate key note speakers, a wide variety of educational sessions and top tiered (FUN) networking events to meet and greet. Meet and greet is what we did and we came home buzzing with excitement and anticipation about not only what’s new within the fitness sphere, but adrenalized with new collaborations and possible partnerships.

Our top two FAVE events was the Fitness Business Podcast early morning Meet-Up that Active Management hosted. It was a 6am walk around the beautiful SD Harbor as the sun came up (perfect idea for us fitness fanatics)! The idea was to walk and talk with people you didn’t know (or haven’t seen for a while) to learn about their fitness business and give your 30 second elevator speech!

Our second “not to be missed” event was the WIFA (Women in Fitness Association) reception. Women are emerging BIG TIME within the fitness industry as leaders, owners, CEOs, managers, founders, entrepreneurs... It’s about time and powerful to see and be a part of! Speaking of remarkable women leaders, it was inspiring to watch Francesca Schuler, CEO of the California-based club chain In-Shape Health Clubs receive the IHRSA 2019 Woman Leader Award in honor of Julie Main, an IHRSA board member, club owner and founder of the Cancer Well-Fit Program who lost her battle with cancer. One of the most notable changes Francesca brought with her leadership role was focus on diversity within her team to reflect their member base - diversity in gender, race and fitness levels. Everyone should take a page from her playbook!

A few take-aways from the electrifying trade show floor…Ok you guessed it - TECH, but also programming to go along with equipment woven together by TECH. An example of this perfect storm is PowerPlate. We stopped by their booth and didn’t just see a few sales people standing around these vibrating machines, we saw program directors and certified small group fitness instructors demonstrating classes and workouts around the PowerPlate. Really smart education and training to compliment the unique vibration technology of this product. Another must-see during our laps around the exhibits is always TRX. Again, product driven by programming and leveled up with TECH to meet the needs of today’s discerning fitness consumer. You can’t help but to get caught up in the energy of their booth with all of the workouts and demos. We checked out their latest launch TRX HOME2 System. The promise of this system - “Work out how you want, anytime, anywhere” - the resounding mantra of 2019! It’s their new suspension trainer with a personalized app. They are also rolling out in-gym on-demand classes and offerings for their members. Going to watch out for that!

We are blessed to be in an industry that focuses on the health and well being of the human race. We are not only seeing great innovation, frictionless access to workouts anytime/anywhere, and health & wellness education, but we are seeing the leaders in fitness come together to make fitness and health education accessible to ALL people - to those with different socio-economic backgrounds to those with mental and physical limitations. The fitness industry is exploding with revolutionary products, programming, trackers, scanners, apps, and more, but those who are now benefiting from these offerings as well as creating these offerings are starting to match up as Francesca Schuler is championing. The fitness industry is proudly becoming one big, beautiful and DIVERSE community ready to take on obesity, illness, depression and more. It is uplifting to see, hear and experience in this often divided climate in which we live.

Cheers to EVERYONE within our industry! Keep-up these vital, life-changing initiatives! See you at IHRSA 2020!

In Good Health,

Ann Marie

Ann Marie Barbour
SoulBody Goes to COLLEGE and Learned about INCLUSIVITY!


Checking out all of the new props and products! Love Escape Fitness’s new STEP!

I was thrilled to represent SoulBody at the NIRSA Annual Conference + Campus Rec & Wellness Expo in Boston this month. NIRSA used to stand for National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, but now simply considers themselves “Leaders in Collegiate Recreation”. SoulBody is now an Associate Member of NIRSA and is proud to be a part of an association that according to NIRSA “supports college and university student’s learning and growth by fostering lifelong habits of wellbeing. Leadership, teamwork, dedication, and respect are among the many skills exercised by inclusive competition, fitness, and recreation”. These students are our future leaders and instilling strong work and healthy lifestyle ethics are key!

SoulBody’s pre-choreographed BARRE + HIIT programs are currently in over 200 + larger clubs and gyms worldwide, but only in a few universities including American University and UC Riverside. After attending this conference and meeting so many young, energetic and forward thinking University Rec Center Group Fitness Directors across the U.S. and Canada, it was amazing to see and hear about the renovations these rec centers are going through and the innovative programming they are now offering to their students. Many came to our booth looking for new, progressive programming and wanted BARRE more than anything else! It was explosive and exciting to be a part of. Nothing like the youth of our nation, and to see their excitement and energy focused on fitness was truly inspiring, I wanted to bottle it!!

We came away with a stack full of business cards from big to small universities and colleges and are excited to re-connect, set up our SoulBody Teacher Trainings to train these future leaders to help us “Inspire Through Movement”.

One take-away from the weekend I want to mention was the subject of “Inclusivity”. The sessions were centered around this subject and the speakers were soulfully preaching about acceptance, empathy and conversation. The two impassioned key note speakers were Tim Shriver, the chairman of Special Olympics International and according to his bio “has been a part of an amazing team that has created exciting new Special Olympics programs in athlete leadership, cross-cultural research, health, education, and family support.  Among them, Special Olympics Healthy Athletes® has become the world’s largest public health examination and education program for people with intellectual disabilities, and Special Olympics Unified Schools has become a powerful program promoting school-based social inclusion and unified leadership”.
Ash Beckham was the closing speaker. She was the key note at the first-ever LEGTQ Conference at Harvard University and became a viral sensation with her TEDx talk “Coming Out of Your Closet” or her Boulder Ignite speech, “I am SO GAY”.  These speeches were inspiring and heartfelt on how to embrace diversity and create a sense of belonging and inclusion. What an important message to this specific group of young students as well as the professional staff and leaders of these Universities. It truly was awe-inspiring, full of hope and went way beyond the workout and sports field. Everyone felt the message and we at SoulBody are leaning in and ready to make great strides to build broader relationships and help create greater diversity with inclusivity!

In Good Health

Ann Marie

Ann Marie Barbour
The Future is HERE! 2019 Promises More Tech and a Whole Lot of Innovation!

As I'm standing in a small room at 432 House (an innovative fitness concept) in midtown Manhattan getting strapped into a wet down compression suit and connected to an Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) machine ready to send surges of electricity throughout my body during my workout, I knew I entered the future of fitness!

It was exciting to see and experience what is happing within the fitness space and who's adopting the newest technology and techniques, bringing it to the forefront for all of us fitness fanatics to encounter. My "celebrity trainer" Josh Holland promised me (as I was doing jumping jacks and mountain climbers with electrodes attached to all of my major muscle groups) that this EMS Training System (through Systimfit) made my 20 minute workout equal more of a 6 hour workout as my muscles were contracting up to 36,000 times with those extra zaps of electricity!

After my slightly uncomfortable but exhilarating session with Josh, I wanted to research other workouts that include the EMS technology. One place I read about in Club Business International was a studio in Miami called IMPULSE that offers small group fitness classes with everyone suited up! Just 25 minutes of their group fitness session with the integration of EMS equals a 2 hour workout. As their tagline boasts - the future of fitness has arrived!

One thing we hinted upon in our grateful glance back, is the rise of classes and workouts that build bodies mindfully without a lot of impact. As HIIT (high intensity interval training) classes were the biggest trend in 2018 a lower intensity option is coming to the forefront. Think foam rollers, bands, low impact cardio, mindful movement, body weight training and STRETCHING. One leader in the "low impact training" space is (as the description fits) LIT Method with both studio and on-demand classes.

Wearable technology is back on top again as one of the biggest fitness trends moving into 2019. Why? A wide variety of wearables in all different price points are now offering more accurate data and the playing field is starting to level. As we've blogged before, these fitness trackers are now the new normal, becoming an integral part of not only our workouts but our lives! We want and crave the data to track our workout progressions, give us reminders, measure our heart rate and sleep patterns, as well as gamify our workouts. It's now fun and easy to track effort and compete with our fellow warriors in class or in small group trainings. This friendly competition not only motivates us, but also helps creates community!

Speaking of community! Group Fitness is the number two fitness trend of 2019 (according to a poll taken by the Washington Post). I spoke in detail about the POWER of Group Fitness in a recent podcast. Being part of a motivational tribe with a world-class instructor at the helm who leads with heart-pounding motivation and passion is a powerful place to be! One of the biggest drivers for the uptick in Group Fitness and the higher level of programming and instruction is the rise of the boutique studio space. Larger health clubs and gyms are now seeing the need to level up and offer more high caliber classes and experiences. We at SoulBody saw this trend years ago and created our SoulBody "boutique style" programming for these larger clubs to help them not only compete with the studio concepts, but win! Click HERE to listen to my podcast with Chantal Broderick of the Fitness Business Podcast to hear more about the moment Group Fitness is having and the rise of the rockstar instructor.

Older adult and kid fitness programs are also seeing a surge. We are seeing innovative and specific programming, classes and training systems to meet people where they are. Fitness is getting smarter by the minute not only with technology but with inventive and creative movements, props, and a mix of modalities to not only strengthen bodies of all ages, but motivate people to move, change and live longer, healthier and more functional lives.

Any other trends you are seeing or have experienced? Send us a note!! We'd love to hear from you!

In Good Health,

Ann Marie

Ann Marie BarbourComment
Eat, Sleep, Workout, REPEAT!


Adding this creamy fruit with other veggies helps your body better absorb all the nutrients and vitamins from those foods! Packed with Omega 3 Fatty Acids it fights inflammation and boosts the brain!

We’ve all heard and read the stats, weight loss or keeping a healthy weight is based on 80% diet and 20% exercise. Now, we at SoulBody are in the biz of fitness and movement BUT we are 100% into nutrition! Without going into more math it’s hard to burn calories through exercise and easier to control your calorie intake through your diet. If you keep the 80/20 rule, the combination of mindful eating and moderate exercise will equal masterful results.

According to the Institute of Medicine, the Estimated Energy Requirements (EER) for ACTIVE females age 19-30 is 2400 calories per day and 2200 per day for ACTIVE females age 31-50+. For ACTIVE males in those two categories the EER is about 3,000 calories per day. So how do we create the perfect formula?

For a smart workout week, we at SoulBody recommend grabbing a strength training session at least 2-3 times per week, a “HIIT” of cardio 2-3 times per week (lace up your sneakers and run or hike in nature to clear your mind and soak in a little vitamin D) and yes REST days in between. Don’t forget to SLEEP! According to the Neuroscience Institute at JFK Medical Center the average adult needs between 7.5 and 8 hours of sleep per night. They also say many can function on as little as 6 hours (my co-founder Stacey) and need as much as 9 hours (me)!

Now on to the EATing part of the equation! Think how the there are different grades of gas to fuel a car, we need to find the proper fuel to run our bodies at the highest, optimal level of performance. We want our bodies to be a sports car, not a beaten down clunker, but we need the right fuel to create that.

Whole foods from the earth are “performance food”. It’s actually a very simple concept: eat whole fruits, vegetables and grains because they are loaded with vitamins, nutrients and minerals to keep your immune system in full throttle and protect you from diseases. Processed foods have “trace-amounts” of whole foods and are usually loaded with salt, sugar and fat. With processed foods we have little control of really knowing what’s in the ingredients and the food we are putting in our body, but in the end we are in control. Know what you’re eating, where it’s sourced and demand only the highest quality because as they say “your body is your temple”, and we need to start treating it like that. We often do with exercise, but seem to make a wrong turn when it comes to proper nutrition.

A few good cook books we at SoulBody have in our kitchens that will help you on your journey to complete wellness: Now go grab a green juice and get cooking!

  • Clean Eats: Alejandro Junger

  • The Clean Plate - Eat Rest Heal: Gwyneth Paltrow

  • Body Love: Kelly Leveque

  • Clean Food: Terry Walters

  • The Blender Girl: Tess Masters

Best in Health and Fitness,

Ann Marie

Ann Marie Barbour
Group Fitness Creates Community!

We are hearing about and participating in "virtual" fitness classes at our gyms and on-demand classes in our homes, offices and hotels. We are even working out with a trainer on our mobile apps in the park or on the beach! YES, it's easy, convenient and more important, high quality with rock star instruction - what's not to LOVE!

SoulBody has even jumped on this bandwagon with WEXER, allowing members to virtually take our Soulbody Barre, Unhitched and Power classes at health clubs worldwide, as well as BURNALONG, where our fans can take SoulBody classes at home or on the go. They can even invite friends to join  them on their TV or computer screen, creating even more of an online community fashioned around fitness. We also just signed on with a cool new player called NEO U that also allow fitness fanatics to work out on their own, streaming classes on their TV, tablet or computer. NEO U is on trend with a Fitness Hub in NYC where they host top fitness experts and creative workout concepts from around the world.

There is an absolute  "virtual fitness community"! We have all experienced it, appreciate it and benefit from it! This platform is becoming our new normal, but let's go back to basics for a minute. Let's go back to the root of where it all began - in the "Group Ex" room! Where if you glance in, you see all of  the motivated "Groupers" working out in unison. Now we see more "Mind/Body" studios within larger clubs with ballet barres, blocks, balls, straps, and mats for BARRE , YOGA  and PILATES - evolution! But what's at the crux of it all is COMMUNITY. Saving a mat, high fiving after a HIIT round or making funny faces with your neighbor (like you did in grade school) when the burn at the barre is getting a little unbearable! Then grabbing a coffee or tea after class to catch up and commiserate about how hard class was - that's a tribe! The beauty of the Group Fitness Community is it's surrounded around health and wellness, doing something vital for your body to ensure longevity and functionality for years to come as well as releasing a few endorphins!

The camaraderie of the Group Fitness Community not only comes from the connection and motivation of their "classmates", but from the "LIVE" rock star instructors. They are the "boots on the ground" at clubs and studios driving the tribe - motivating, welcoming, teaching, correcting, connecting, following-up...

We at SoulBody know and understand the power of our instructors who we call our "SQUAD". Although we deliver new choreography and music every quarter, they are the ones in front of the class, on the stage, walking around the room breathing true life into what we've created. They frame the "touch-points" for those experiencing our classes. The goal of our SoulBody Teacher Trainings is to instill confidence in our SQUAD to be able to create true connection through touch, voice, and demonstration as well as mastering the exercises and cueing proper form so they can join our mission of "inspiring through movement".

Bottom line is whether your online or side by side with a "motivational pack", you're hanging around the right crowd, doing something vital for your mind, body and soul! As the old adage says, "there's strength in numbers" not to mention accountability and upping your game! Invest in yourself, find your tribe and THRIVE!

For more information on joining our SoulBody SQUAD, visit

Best In Health and Fitness,

Ann Marie

Ann Marie Barbour
MeFit Health & Fitness Summit 2018

Having already had an extremely successful SoulBody Teacher Training and launch of Soulbody Barre and Unhitched programs at Gold's Gym Egypt last year, we happily accepted MeFitPro's invitation to join their MeFit Summit last week to present a few SoulBody Master Classes and meet the team!

We also hosted a post-conference SoulBody Teacher Training for managers and instructors from Gold's Gym Saudi and UAE at the beautiful Talise Fitness Health Club (along with other reputable instructors around the region). Growing our SoulBody GLOBAL SQUAD!

Quick recap of the MEFIT Summit and the "thought leaders" we got to meet and know better! 

  • Wonderful to hear HE Saeed Mohammed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council (DSC) during the opening ceremony! The DSC is the official sports governing body of the Government of Dubai. Their goal and task at hand is to develop a holistic sports culture for the Emerite. 

  • Happy to have met and gotten to know Greg and Rania Boucher from MeFitPro (and their AMAZING TEAM) who are truly passionate leaders in the Middle East, not only running the Mefit Summit for 15 years, but working as a stand-alone Fitness Institute who works with partner companies in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon to help expand Education and Training. The end of summit "celebration" they hosted on a private boat (from the Dubai Marina) to take in the sights of modern Dubai was quite spectacular and much appreciated!

  • Had almost too much fun with the MOVE U "YouTube" sensations Dr. Mike Wasilisin and Andrew Dettelbach as they presented quite a few workshops on how to FIX YO SH*T with their "Forever Fix" online program. 

  • Always humbled and honored to sit around a table with Farel Hruska, personal trainer, group fitness instructor and pre- and post-natal fitness expert. Her workshops #rocked!

  • Got our "networking on" with Alexandra Maia from House of Social, the Middle East's go-to social media know-how platform! She definitely lit up the room!

  • Learned A LOT about RockTape who sponsored the event. This is the perfect example of how EDUCATION and support along with product catapults a company. 

  • Also got to meet the team and experience a workshop for Stick Mobility (training system with a flexible Mobility Stick to improve range of motion, muscle activation and coordination). This was fun for us as we use the weighted training bar for our SoulBody Unhitched Program and use many of the same foundations and fundamentals. 

  • Last but not least a shout out to other companies whose founders and teams we got to meet and enjoy amazing food and conversation with! Woodway, Styku, SKLZ, MYZONE, TRX, Trigger Point, THERAGUN, Nuzest Nutrition, Animal Flow, as well as club owners and operators from Gold's Gym UAE, Gold's Gym Saudi Arabia, Fitness First UAE, Talise Fitness and more!

Happy to be back in the states to ramp up for our next big conference...FIBO USA in Orlando, FL from December 5-8. 

SoulBody will be presenting and holding a post-conference Teacher Training so be sure to find us if you plan to attend. We are also looking forward to seeing our friends from WIFA at their event on December 7!

Best in Health and Fitness,
Ann Marie

Sandra Alexander
Welcome to SoulBody! A Note from Co-Founder Ann Marie Barbour
Help Us Inspire Through Movement…

Help Us Inspire Through Movement…

Hello!! Welcome to SoulBody's Blog - SoulBody Thrive! Stacey Vandiver and I are the co-founders of SoulBody and the creators of SoulBody Barre, SoulBody Barre Unhitched and SoulBody Power group fitness programs.

We offer progressive, unique, "Boutique-Style" programming to large Health Clubs, Gyms, as well as University, Corporate and Recreation Fitness Centers. We train instructors in a one-day comprehensive SoulBody Teacher Training, then go one step further offering them exclusive choreographed classes, set to amazing music every three months! We keep classes fresh, instructors vested and inspired and clubs ahead of the curve and competing by offering innovative programming with #rockstar instruction!

Here's the deal!! Stacey and I have been in the group fitness space for over 15 years. We have seen the growth of the boutique studio concepts offering unique, one of a kind, specialized experiences to their "tribes". We saw a need for these larger clubs and gyms to compete in this market to not only retain their members but bring in new sets and sub-sets with innovative programming. We saw the rise and popularity of BARRE so created SoulBody Barre, using the ballet barre, then SoulBody Barre Unhitched using the weighted bar for those clubs that didn't have a mind-body room - no installation required! Then saw not only the effectiveness but pure explosion of HIIT, so we put our mind-body twist on this concept and created SoulBody Power, our version of 30 min HIIT meets Strength - no props!

We are on a mission to "inspire through movement" GLOBALLY! We've created an amazing SQUAD of vested instructors helping to lead the charge and have a family of clubs across the globe feeling the SoulBody LOVE and offering their members the SoulBody "boutique" BARRE and HIIT experience.

We will continue to sift through the trends. Pick the programs that are safe, effective and body-changing - always progressive and unique, pre-choreographed and set to AMAZING music by current, original artists!

Our mission is to stay relevant, listen to the needs of our squad and clubs, and continue to rise with those innovators and trailblazers within this critically IMPORTANT world of health and fitness.

Be the Movement!

Best in Health and Fitness,

Ann Marie

Ann Marie Barbour