Finding the Perfect Morning Routine!

Perfect Doesn’t Mean SAME.

Because we’re in the middle of a world that is full of DOing, morning Routines can be a little intimidating. First things first, they don’t have to be perfect. They also don’t have to look the same every single day. Let’s be honest, life happens. As long as you feel good about your morning routine, BE with it. 

My personal morning routine changes from day to day and it looks a lot different than it looked 3 years ago. At the Pilates Barre Studio, we aim to create an environment that allows you to move your body in ways that feel good and move your mind and soul toward being the best version of you that you could possibly be. But really, being the best version of you, starts with your morning routine. 

4 things you should know about morning routines:

Keep it reasonable. 

If you know you’re not a morning person, don’t make a list of 18 things to do before you need to be somewhere. If you know it’s not really realistic for you to wake up at 4am, don’t expect that you’re going to try it one day and just pop out of bed. Instead, try waking up 20 minutes before your alarm typically goes off and add one thing that’s important to you into your morning. 

If you don’t already have an established routine, start small.

Think about what makes you feel alive and energized. Start incorporating those things, but set a limit. If time with your coffee is what soothes your soul, do that! 

Your morning routine doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. 

Social media can place expectations on us that seem out of reach, which could leave us feeling overwhelmed and failed by what our routines are “supposed” to look like.  Find something that works specifically for you and roll with it.

If you’re struggling to keep with your morning routine, make a nightly list of what you want to accomplish when you get up. 

Your morning routine doesn’t have to look the same every single day. Make a list at night of what you want to accomplish the next morning before you “start your day”. I like this tactic because rather than rolling over and grabbing my phone, I grab my list. Also, because I find a lot of satisfaction in crossing things off of lists.

We wanted to show you what our morning routines look like in hopes of inspiring you to find what works for you! 

Stephanie: This time of year my morning revolves around keeping myself and my kids healthy! I start the morning with drinking about 12oz of water before I’m even out of my pjs. Two mornings of the week, I get right on the bike, then start the rest of my day.  The other mornings, I try to get in a daily devotional before I go straight into mom mode (this doesn’t always happen!). After getting the kids ready, I have elderberry syrup, an emergen-c with my digest plus probiotics mixed together, and last I have a coffee throughout the morning. I wait to eat until I’m hungry which is usually around 11:30/12. My workouts then happen throughout the day because I have the flexibility in my schedule! 

Harley: Whenever I wake up, I do some sort of movement. Whether it’s stretching in bed or getting on my yoga mat and doing a little movement there. I drink a cup of water; I like to switch it up. More often than not in the winter, it’s hot water with lemon in it to help cleanse my body. In the summertime, it’s typically water with fruit in it. No matter what kind it is, I try to drink at least a cup before I have my coffee. I practice mindfulness each day whether it’s reading a few pages of a book, writing in my journal, or meditation. I’m one of those people who thinks about food the moment their eyes open, so I’ll make breakfast. My favorite is a smoothie and a slice of avocado toast with turmeric powder and sliced tomatoes. Then I’ll open my planner to start checking off my daily list! 



Olivia: Wake up- protein, plants, + planning! 

My morning consists of waking up my brain with a warm cup of joe with my favorite protein powder frothed in.

I prepare my shaker of greens, reds, collagen, & mushroom powder to have for later in the morning when I need a boost of brain power.

I then check my calendar and reminders list to prepare for my day. Knowing where I need to be & when to be there, is an important part of my daily teaching schedule. This helps me optimize my in between time, to get other life tasks done too! 

Some mornings are tough to get out of bed, others I spring up and get right into action. It’s important, I think, to have some sort of consistency, but to know that no two mornings are the same. Healthy habits at least help keep you moving through the slower mornings with a little more ease!

Place priority on your morning routine. Rachel Hollis says if you need to show up for a meeting at 9 as your best self, you can’t wake up at 7:45, rushing and scrambling through the morning, and expect to have your head on straight once you get to work. Take your YOU time. Regardless of where you need to be, you want to show up as your best self. It’s your job to figure out what gets you there. 

In Strength and Confidence,


The Pilates Barre Studio

Let’s Talk About Snacks, Baby!

They have the power to provide more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants into your diet. They can give you a little extra umph in the middle of the day or offer a boost before or after a workout. How can we make the most of what we’re putting into our bodies? When it comes to snacking, sometimes it’s hard to know when to eat or even what to eat. Life gets busy, but fueling your body doesn’t have to be complicated. If you need tips on fueling your day, we’ve got your back. 😉


  • Listen to your body. If you feel hungry, EAT. 


This one is my favorite. There’s a big focus placed on eating 3 meals a day with snacks in between. You’ve learned it. I’ve learned it. It’s the traditional way to do things. But, here’s the thing, everyone’s body is different. Everyone fuels in different ways. Maybe some days you eat breakfast and an hour later your stomach is growling. Hunger cues are a result of the endocrine system and the digestive system interacting with the brain, saying we’re not satisfied here. Don’t ignore hunger cues: tired, cranky, lack of concentration, empty belly. It’s your body telling you that it needs something.


  • Use snacks as a way to fill up on nutrients.


Rather than viewing snack time as an “in between” time where you can splurge or just grab what’s easily accessible or convenient, think of it as a supplement. What can you eat that will fuel your body in the best way? If you didn’t have a veggie with your breakfast, have one for a snack. Grab some baby carrots, snap peas, baby bell peppers and dip them in your favorite flavor of hummus. Make a piece of avocado toast.

Snacking Side Notes:

  • I’m not here to tell you that you need to cut out meat, gluten, dairy, or complex starchy carbs.
  • Be mindful of eliminating food groups from your diet. Educate yourself using reliable sources. It might work for someone else, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. 
  • No matter what you’re consuming, eat local and seasonal when you can. You can find tips about that here:
  • Limit your intake of processed foods. 
  • Be aware of sugar content if you’re having yogurt, granola, granola bars, smoothies, etc. When it comes to those things, I try to keep the sugar under 6g per item.
  • Oh, Nuts! Take a look at the serving size of your nuts and make sure you’re buying them raw. When they’re roasted, there’s usually oil added. 

As I mentioned before, listen to your body. It will tell you exactly what you need to know.


  • Use your meals as a guide for your snack choice. 


Reference what you’ve eaten in your previous meal that day and have an idea of what you might eat for your next meal. Think big picture. For all of my fellow one-step-at-a-time, detail-focused friends out there, I know this might be challenging at first. Whenever I eat breakfast in the morning, I create a mental picture of what I might eat for the whole day. It doesn’t have to be specific or exact. Just a rough draft. 


Breakfast: Oatmeal with granola, cinnamon, peanut butter, flax seeds, and blueberries

Lunch: Black bean burrito with salsa and avocado

Dinner: Spinach and Kale salad with golden beets, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, quinoa, and pumpkin seeds


  • Because I didn’t have a veggie for breakfast, I could make a green smoothie with spinach, kale, avocado, etc.
  • Maybe I took a barre class or did yoga in the morning, so I’d have a boiled egg to increase my protein + half a grapefruit.
  • If I’m on the go, I might grab some sort of bar or a few power bites to keep me full.

Here are a few extra snack ideas: 

– Peanut Butter + Apple/Banana

– Hummus + Snap Peas

– Hummus + Carrots 

– Celery + Peanut Butter

– Power Bites (See video posted for one of our favorite recipes at the Pilates Barre Studio)

– Nuts(almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, etc.) + Grapes

-Half an Avocado on Toast, garnish with Tomatoes, Turmeric Powder, Orange Slices, etc. 

-Boiled Egg + Fruit of Choice

-Rice Cake + Peanut Butter/Almond Butter/Cashew Butter

-Yogurt (regular/almond/cashew/oat) + Granola 

-Tortilla Chips + Guacamole or Salsa 


Stay Healthy and Happy. 




Interested in reading more of my work? Head over to my website:



January Client of the Month, Betsy Butler!

January Client of the Month, Betsy Butler!

Congratulations to the amazing Betsy Butler! She is our January client of the month and has been working so hard!

When I was trying to convince my husband to let me quit my teaching job, all I could say is, “I just feel like I am supposed to be doing something bigger.”  That was the only way I knew how to articulate the fact that I loved movement, fitness, and Pilates, and that I wanted to create a community of like minded individuals who would become friends, shoulders to lean on, and people I could call up to help hold me accountable. 

After three years, the studio has become more than I could imagine. The friendships and people that I get to hang out with are exactly what I needed! For the year 2020, we are going to spotlight these wonderful people each month and Betsy Butler is one of those people!  She is our first client spotlight of the year and I couldn’t be more excited to highlight this beauty!  

When Betsy started, she was struggling to fit exercise in with her busy life as a working mother.  She was trying to piece together workouts from Pinterest fitting them in whenever and wherever she could. Since starting at the studio, she said that she has been more present, has a better mind-body connection, and she feels strong and confident!! The membership style helps her to stay accountable and focused in her workouts.  

After classes, she feels energized and has loved the changes she has seen in her body! She said it is more than a workout, it is a balance and confidence in life!

It has been a joy to watch her get stronger, more confident and make healthy changes in her life! I am glad to call this beauty a friend! Thank you Betsy for being authentically you! Thank you to Blow it out on Main for the complimentary Blow out for our amazing client, Betsy!

In Strength and Confidence,


3 Reasons to Eat Seasonally

3 Reasons to Eat Seasonally

Seasonal Eating is simply like it sounds- eating with the seasons. Living in the midwest, it is a little bit harder to eat strictly with the season because of our cold winters, but now is a really great time to get in the habit of being mindful of where your food is coming from and learning which foods grow best in certain seasons. 


  • Higher Nutritional Quality + Better Taste


The taste of tomatoes in the summertime from your garden or the farmers market versus the tomatoes from the grocery store in the winter months… It’s a world of difference! Taste and nutritional quality go hand in hand- produce that is growing in its season is much more nutrient dense. There is typically a rotation implemented by the farmers for each of their crops to keep the soil at its best to create an environment that allows produce to flourish and soak up all of the essential nutrients. When produce is out of season and still grown, it is not able to follow natural growing and ripening patterns. Some farmers may use extra chemicals to speed of the process so it can be shipped to grocery stores to be purchased. Your taste buds and your bodies will thank you for eating seasonally! 



  • It’s Cost Effective


In season produce is cheaper, you guys! Have you noticed how the price of berries skyrockets during the winter months? That’s because it takes more work and energy to grow those berries and have them (most likely) imported to the grocery store in your area! 



  • It’s Better for the Environment


The list below is seasonal produce in the United States in January and February, which means while the produce has to travel to get here, it isn’t being shipped from other countries. That decreases the amount of travel time and less fuel emissions going into the environment. Farmers also do not have to preserve the vegetables as much for travel time which also helps the environment. 



Collard greens








Sweet Potatoes


Winter Squash


  • Check the labels on your produce- try buying produce grown in the United States
  • Shop at the local farmers markets during the spring and summer months
  • Don’t be afraid to branch out and try new recipes with your seasonal produce!


Harley’s Blog:

In Strength and Confidence,


The Pilates Barre Studio


Problem Areas…They’re NO problem

We all know that you can not just workout certain spots to fix those pesky problem areas.  If we want to see results, we need to loose weight all over.

HOWEVER!!  Pilates and Barre do tone and work areas of the body that tend to be problem areas, DIFFERENTLY than traditional exercise!

For example, many of us have a little less tone in the back of our arms and shoulders.  Because we tend to be tight across the chest and front deltoids, it is harder to train those posterior muscles.  Pilates and Barre have certain exercises that can train the back of the arm while simultaneously opening up the front of the shoulder and chest.

Our bodies tend to settle weight where we have trouble toning. Here is a list of traditional “Trouble Areas” and a list of Pilates and Barre exercises that can help these areas!

  1. Rear Shoulder/arm (rear deltoids and triceps)- We are weak in this area because we spend our days unintentionally rounding our shoulders forward when we work, drive, and sit.  We need to train these areas to maintain proper postural alignment, and to limit or correct tight neck and trapezius muscles.
    1. Equipment: Arm pulls and T; Key thoughts: widen collar bones, pull arms apart while pulling back
    2. Barre: tricep press, arm lift
    3. Key thoughts: widen collar bones, pull arms apart while pulling back

  1. Outer thighs (abductors)-   We are weak in this area because we sit a lot and that contributes to tightness in the front of the hips, while weakening the posterior chain.  We need to train these areas to maintain healthy hip function balancing out the muscles of the leg.
    1. Equipment: side splits, (green spring)
    2. Barre: side leg work with or without straps
    3. Key thoughts: Make sure knees are in proper alignment lining up over your second and third toes. The movement should not come from a movement in the pelvis, but rather the actual hip.  Make sure pelvis isn’t hiking towards the ribs!
  2. Inner thighs (adductors) – We are weak in this area because we rarely do adduction.  We need to train this area to maintain health hip function and to aid in the strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles.
    1. Equipment: side splits and leg straps (red spring)
    2. Barre: lunges with knee squeeze, squats with the ball
    3. Key thoughts: when bringing the legs together, think in and up as if your inner thighs could draw all the way up through the pelvic floor and out of the top of your head!
  3. Low belly (rectus abdominis and transverse abdominals)- We are weak in this area because we tend to use our backs for the functions of the low belly.  We need to train this area to maintain a healthy and pain free low back, hips and core (and pelvic floor).
    1. Equipment: overhead (bonus works back of shoulder too),
    2. Barre: Bear hover walking back to plank
    3. Key thoughts: NO MOMENTUM! If you can’t get all the way over, just do little controlled lifts of the tail.  Belly should feel like it is doing the work NOT your back (or swing of your legs)!

4. Glutes (Gluteus medius, gluteus maximus, and gluteus minimus)-  We are weak in this area because we tend to not bend at our hips, but rather our back.  If we don’t bend at the hips, then we aren’t using the glutes to extend the hip! We need to train this area to maintain a healthy back and hip function while also supporting our spine health

  1. Equipment: side lying footwork, side lying jumpboard
  2. Barre: bridge work on ball, one legged bridge work
  3. Key thoughts: think about where your glute turns into your thigh, make sure that you are feeling that transition do the work.  Lengthen the low back, so you aren’t using your low back to find the height of your bridge.

Although we want to continue to be active, work the whole body, and get in appropriate amounts of cardio, it is ok to give a little extra attention to those areas that weaken due to our daily lives.  Pilates and Barre are efficient ways to tone and target the body while also giving a total body workout. Let’s stop the pinching, poking and pulling on those pesky areas, love ourselves where we are, and train smarter!

Follow us on instagram for videos and workouts specific to these areas!

In strength and self confidence,

The Pilates Barre Studio

How to Stay Healthy this Summer! (Without Missing Out!)

Sunshine, summer vacay, and boating!!!

That is what summer dreams are made of! But what about that swimsuit, or shorts, or tank? We don’t care what you look like in those pieces of clothing, but we do care how you FEEL in those items.

We were on the boat as a family this weekend and I found myself in a swim suit having fun with just my kids and husband…until other people showed up! (Eeek!) I am bound and determine to not miss fun in the sun with my kids because of not feeling comfortable in my swim suit or clothes.  For me, that means continuing to eat healthy and exercising for me to feel my best.

Here are 10 ways to stay healthy this summer!

  1. Bring your own food/plan ahead – We go boating with other families just about every weekend in the summer.  This usually means meals out, quick grabs, and bad choices.  When we plan ahead as a family, it makes healthy choices much easier and makes me feel confident instead of bloated and guilty.  I challenge you to really think about how the foods you eat makes you FEEL. If you are good at journaling, I recommend a food journaling through My Fitness Pal.
  2. Make Healthy Swaps – What are you favorite summer foods? Ice cream – eat nice cream; Eat a healthy heavy salad instead of fried foods or heavy foods; Add avocado – it’s a great way to make a meal feel indulgent without adding something bad for you.
  3. Fit in exercise with the play – Boating, water workouts, walks with kids, and active trips are all ways you can easily fit in exercising with the family without feeling like you are missing out! This also helps with summer boredom!  When we are boating, I try to get in deep water, so I have to tread water while I’m planning with the kids! Talk about a workout!! This kids also love to ride their bikes, or ride in backpacks while my husband and I hike.  We are lucky to have several parks and great hiking within an hour or two of us, so it is fun for a quick getaway!
  4. Find community workouts – In the Edwardsville and Maryville Communities, there are several offerings of FREE Yoga or other workouts in conjunction with the local markets! What a great way to fit in an outdoor workout while building community!
  5. Make summer fruit a sweet tooth swap – There are so many yummy things in season during the summer, it is easy to substitute a fruit to satisfy that sweet tooth.  Adding a healthy dip makes the sweet treat even more enjoyable
  6. Hit the local Market – After yoga, don’t forget to pick up some fresh dinner options! Often times the people selling the produce at the market have their favorite ways to cook the ingredients, or sell their own cook books. Don’t be afraid to ask!
  7. Rehydrate – It is easy in the heat and humidity to become dehydrated quickly.  You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces each day.  Sometimes I need a little more than just water to replenish what I have lost.  Instead of sugary electrolyte drinks, I go for a coconut water because of all its benefits.  Read the labels when it comes to coconut water!  Many brands add extra sugar, or “other natural ingredients” and those are no bueno!
  8. Break out the grill – Grilling is an easy way to make an entire healthy meal with little clean up!! My favorite on the grill is salmon, seasoned squash and zucchini in a foil pack, and corn on the cob (still in the husk while grilling).
  9. Wear sunscreen – don’t forget to keep your skin healthy this summer! It’s best to use a moisturizer with sunscreen in it to make sure that your covered!
  10. Journal – Mental health is important too! Journal during your morning devotional time, or upon waking is a great way to find things to be grateful for, process emotions, and stay connected to the important things in life!

The most important thing to remember is that being healthy is a lifestyle. It is the accumulation of smaller, everyday choices in order to meet a goal. Each decision is independent of each other, so if you make one bad decision, that doesn’t mean that the whole day is ruined. It means that you made one bad decision, own it, and move on.

My kids will not remember how I looked in a swimsuit, but they will remember if I joined them in the fun, or sat out because I was too self conscious to participate. I want them to look back on their childhood and remember us having fun, playing tag, jumping in the water, and enjoying laughter together.

In strength and self-confidence,

Stephanie and The Pilates Barre Team

Why we wont be making a New Year’s resolution this year!

In the day of information, we have research to support just about anything – including New Year’s Resolutions!  Research shows that most New Year’s Resolutions fail by the second week in February, so, this year, we are focusing on Healthy Habits!  Increasing healthy habits is easier to stay committed and to make steps towards a healthier lifestyle for the long term.  I have made plenty of New Year’s Resolutions over the years and none of them have stuck.  A few years back I started focusing on increasing healthy habits and I have continued to make measurable steps towards a healthier lifestyle!  The beginning of the year is a great time to reevaluate those healthy habits and to start fresh after the holidays.  In the spirit of the new year, I have made a list of my favorite healthy habits and a few recipes that help me stay on track.

  1.  Prep, prep, prep – taking 30 minutes the night before to prep for my day helps my chaotic mornings with two kids go much smoother.  I make sure my shake is made, lunch is made, and any snacks I will need are ready to go!
  2. Wake up and drink –  the first several hours of my day is all about consuming fluids! I wake up and have a glass of water right off the bat. Next, I will drink either a detox drink or half of a kombucha.  I feel that it helps get things awake and helps my healthy gut flora thrive!  Last, I will grab my shake on my way out the door.  When I am in a hurry, I will just do Juice Plus Protein and Your Super Foods Energy bomb and Greens.  If I have prepped the night before, my favorite morning smoothie is the below recipe.

Green Smoothie:

– Two large handfuls spinach

-one frozen banana

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1/4 tsp turmeric

-1 scoop Juice Plus Protein powder

-Almond milk to cover ingredients

3. Drink water throughout the day – When I drink the amount of water I should (half your weight in ounces), I feel that I am less hungry and feel better throughout the day!

4.  Plan for dinner – I received an instant pot for Christmas.  Let me start by saying, I do not like extra “stuff”.  I don’t usually want the latest and greatest when it comes to kitchen equipment.  Since I received it as a gift, I thought, I’ll give it a try.  I have used it several times already and love it.  It’s easy, quick, easy to clean, and I can now get rid of my rice cooker and pressure cooker.  There are also TONS of recipes on Pinterest and specific groups on Facebook to help me catch up with the trend.

I hope these tips help you evaluate your habits and know that our health is in our control, it is about the small decisions we make, and one bad decision in a day does NOT derail your entire day.  Each decision is an individual piece of the whole day!! (Thank goodness for that!)



The Pilates Barre Studio


Stretch away the Holidays!

The holiday season is exciting, comforting, and can also be stressful.  With the added stress, our bodies start to tense and tighten in areas such as hips, shoulders and upper back.  This added tightness can cause unwanted pain, which can be alleviated through mindful movement and stretching.  Take a few minutes from your holiday hustle to complete these moves.  Give yourself the gift of a relaxed and open upper body!!

Theraband Stretch:

  1. Start with the band in each hand, hands wider than your shoulders.
  2. Slowly start to lower the band behind your back keeping your arms straight and without popping your ribs.
  3. Take the band all the way to your hips stretching open your chest and shoulders.
  4. Slowly lift the arms back to your starting position.

Open Chest Wall Stretch:

  1.  Start with your arms in a goal post position placing your arms and upper back against the wall.
  2. Slowly draw your elbows towards your hips trying to keep our hands and arm against the wall.  Only go as low as you can keep the arms flat without popping the ribs.
  3. Slowly return to your starting position.  You can also start with hands above head for a more advanced version.