Work It Out and Give Back {Cardio Barre T.O.}

We’ve posted about Cardio Barre a few times because well what’s not to love about Cardio Barre T.O.? You get a great work out in, we love the motivating atmosphere, and they often have discounted rates through sites like Conejo Deals and Groupon.  And if there wasn’t enough reasons to love them, we now love them even more thanks to the November donation campaign they are running for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is near and dear to our heart not only because Tanisha used to work there, but for those of you who don’t know, her and her husband had a son who received amazing care when he was a patient there before he passed away.  So when we found out Cardio Barre was collecting donations for CHLA as well as offering Perkville points and raffle tickets for prizes, we were pretty excited. For more information about Cardio Barre T.O. as well as a full class schedule, check out their website here.


Now our blogger Nicole Schussel tells you why you need to try this class out {can you say dancer’s body?} and how to look like a pro…

As a former dancer, I am always looking for a great workout that maintains a dancer’s physique (think long, toned lines).  Plus, it lets me feel like I’m “living the dream” without the intimidating dance studio environment.

I have tried so, SO many different “barre” workouts, and while they are all a bit different, each studio offers something unique and challenging.  Needless to say, I was doing pirouettes when I realized there was a great barre studio near my new house – score! [plus, I got a Groupon, which sweetened the deal 🙂 ]


{Obviously, they are well-liked}

Ok, I’d be lying if I said I had never tried CardioBarre before.  In fact, I currently have passes on my keychain to the Thousand Oaks, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills locations.  They are a franchise company, which means that each one is privately managed and owned — so make sure to check out a studio near you! This Thousand Oaks location is especially friendly and welcoming toward new clients and old veterans.  Here’s a little bit about Lili, the owner:

Lili Merhavi-Surkin was first introduced to the word “Cardio Barre” while working as a preschool teacher during the pursuit of her masters in Psychology. A number of moms would drop off their children in a hurry to make it to what they referred to as their “addictive workout” that kept them sane for the rest of the day! After seeing what great shape these mothers were in due to this mystery workout, Lili knew she had to check it out for herself. After taking a Cardio Barre class, Lili was hooked! She knew that it was an amazing experience worth sharing. 

As for the workout: Ladies, get ready to feel some serious thigh burning.  This was truly a full-body-toning workout, including cardio, which I feel tends to get skipped over in other barre-type classes.  When I thought I couldn’t take the muscle shaking anymore, my instructor would call out, “Keep it up, Nicole!” She seriously knew and/or learned everyone’s name, and would sporadically call out personalized cheers of encouragement.  Totally kept me going [if only for the fact that I knew she was watching me..!]


Sure, there is some repetition among the classes.  For example, warm-up and the cardio section is typically pretty standard from class to class.  This is actually a beneficial practice, because these sections are quintessential to the fundamentals of the class – practice makes perfect, and building a strong technique foundation is vital for success and results.  Plus, once you learn it, you start to feel a little more like a ballerina rockstar. #justsayin

In spite of a somewhat-familiar routine, the instructors are given the creative freedom to do a wide variety of leg, arm, thigh, butt, and ab workout sections for the majority of the class – I have never experienced the same class twice!  The two levels [Beginning and Advanced] meet everyone where they’re at in their workout journey.


Not sure how to make it in a barre class?  Here’s the key: Fake it ’til you make it.  Oh, and follow a few simple tips that will make you look like a pro in no time.

Tips for success in a barre class:

  • Keep your tailbone tucked under [pretend you are a scared dog with your tail between your legs – it works!] and don’t sway your back – talk about back pain for LIFE.
  • Don’t try to achieve that 180˚ angle of your feet turned out like pro ballerinas.  It’s just not realistic, and you’ll save yourself a knee replacement. Just put your feet together, then comfortably move your toes apart in a V-shape.  This is your natural turn-out – don’t force it!
  • When doing a plié (the move where your heels are together, toes pointed out, and you bend your knees outward), keep your spine aligned vertically.  A good visual: act like you are sandwiched between two walls (one in front of you, and one directly behind you), and you are trying to move up and down while staying in between the two walls. This means no hunched shoulders, either!
  • Corrections are a good thing. Don’t get embarrassed if a teacher comes over and realigns your hips, gives you a posture correction, or tells you how to improve.  This means they care, and are most likely saving you from potential injury (and getting you a better workout!)

For some great visuals, check out this blog post over at – written by a fellow 805-er and dancer!

Approach Barre Class Like a Dancer

IMG_7448Aaaand, just a little extra info (for you Type A-ers out there)…

Things to bring/wear to a Cardio Barre class:

  • Large towel (bath or beach size) – we lay on these for ab, butt, and other floor workouts
  • Water bottle – you’re gonna need it!
  • A trusty hair tie
  • Spandex pants or capris – you might not want shorts (or anything that may compromise showing your lady parts) for all of the leg lifting and squatting you will be doing!
  • Optional: socks or studio wrappers (Nike has a great version that we love! Ooooh and they’re on sale – yessss!)
  • Not optional: A can-do attitude!

Alright, leave the tutu (reluctantly) at home, and head on over soon! They’ve got a great introductory offer for a month of unlimited classes for first-time clients!  And don’t forget to have a little fun while you’re getting your beach bikini body back. 😉




Nicole {LocalLove805}


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  1. The Eighty Twenty
    5 years ago

    Thanks for the shout-out, Nicole! And what great tips for someone trying their first barre class; you’ve totally got it covered!

    1. locallove805
      5 years ago

      Thanks The Eighty Twenty! We love barre!

  2. Christina Abbatiello
    5 years ago

    Awesome blog, Nicole! Thank you so much for all your kind words. It was and continues to be a pleasure having you as a part of our cardio barre family here at CBTO!! You’re AMAZING!! Thanks again! <3

    1. locallove805
      5 years ago

      Of course! We love supporting local businesses — especially ones that help women along in their lifelong fitness journey 🙂 And thanks for the comment/posts/love!

  3. Cassy
    5 years ago

    My friend and I just took our first class! Thanks for the tips! We loved it! Definitely an intense and fun workout! And we scored the Groupon deal too! 🙂

    1. locallove805
      5 years ago

      Cassy – That’s awesome! So glad the post helped 😉 Hope to see you there soon!


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