December 27, 2016

Bluebonnet Circle workout studio owner stresses importance of community

Smart Barre, located next to Fred's on Bluebonnet Circle, is a workout designed to fatigue big muscle groups by incorporating repetition into the exercise.

Photo by Monica Dziak.

Smart Barre, located next to Fred's on Bluebonnet Circle, is a workout designed to fatigue big muscle groups by incorporating repetition into the exercise.

Kristi Rittby is focused on more than just providing clients with a good workout. She said she wants to help them grow and also establish a community within her boutique fitness studio in the 109’s Bluebonnet Circle, Smart Barre.

“I enjoy helping them grow and maybe overcome obstacles they had and learn something they didn’t think they could do or may have been afraid to do before,” Rittby, the owner said. “Customers become friends when they come in here, the old clients welcome in the new clients.”

Smart Barre — a workout that incorporates repetition and small movements focusing on big muscle groups such as the legs, arms, seat and abs — is a small franchise that offers a personal feel to its community of members, even down to the training that class instructors complete.

Instructors train for 50 hours in small groups of two to five. The instructors are expected to know proper form and modifications for each position, and also must create their own playlists and choreography for classes.

The small amount of instructors allows for flexibility during class time.

“You’ll get an individual class from an instructor who’s picking their music, and they may have it based on what they see they have in class that day and may change what they originally had planned to do. Being able to make those adjustments on the fly is what we look for in training with our instructors,” Rittby said.

Rittby said she wants her Smart Barre clients to know that the studio is happy they’re there. She said the fact that they have gotten to the studio to work out is 90 percent of the battle. | Photo courtesy of Kristi Rittby.

Rittby said she wants her Smart Barre clients to know that the studio is happy they’re there. She said the fact that they have gotten to the studio to work out is 90 percent of the battle. | Photo courtesy of Kristi Rittby.

The Smart Barre manager and owner first started taking classes as a client with her long-time pal and founder of Smart Barre, Allison Poston.

Rittby then started teaching classes at the Camp Bowie location and shortly after, opened the location on Bluebonnet Circle because she realized the area was in need of something other than a big fitness gym.

“With the location being close to TCU, naturally, that’s a captive audience of young people,” she said. “And for the neighborhood around this area, having something close by is really convenient — a lot of times people don’t have the time to drive 20 minutes to go work out for an hour then drive 20 minutes back.”

The studio also gives back to the community through unique donation classes.

The donation classes allow clients the opportunity to donate money — so far, the studio and its clients have raised money for Baylor All Saints, Joan Katz Breast Center, SafeHaven of Tarrant County, animal shelters and other local charities.

Rittby said she wants to make people feel welcomed to return to work out at her studio and encourages them to not be afraid to try something new.

One of Smart Barre's goals is to get clients to return. One of the ways the studio does so is providing a welcoming atmosphere for everyone who enters. | Photo by Monica Dziak

One of Smart Barre’s goals is ensuring clients return. One of the ways the studio does so is providing a welcoming atmosphere for everyone who enters. | Photo by Monica Dziak

“I want them to know we’re happy they’re here,” she said. “We like to provide them with a space that’s beautiful and welcoming and give them a workout that makes them feel good when they leave.

“The fact that they’ve gotten here is 90 percent of the battle — I understand when people walk in the door for their first class and they look scared, but everyone in there is in the same boat and the next time you come, you’ll know what to expect,” Rittby added. “We’re going to work with you to help you do it the best that you can.”

She has benefitted from friendships made through owning the business.

“It’s fun to be around these women and you learn their stories from surviving cancer to having a whole bunch of kids to having injury issues that they’ve dealt with and pushed through — I’m seeing a different slice of the world with women from different ages and different backgrounds, that’s been the most rewarding thing for me,” Rittby said. “These are people that I’ll remember forever; I’ll remember this time in my life,” she added.

A client’s first Smart Barre class is free. The studio is located right next to Fred’s on Bluebonnet Circle at 3515 Bluebonnet Circle.

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