Siri Nordhejm arrived in China from Denmark in 2011, and is now well known in the community as a fitness entrepreneur, awesome instructor and busy mother of three. Having worked in the fitness industry for the last 12 years, she has a personal commitment to being healthy, staying active and inspiring positive change in others.
Ann MacLellan, a former national level figure skater, also arrived in China in 2011. Hailing from Scotland, she studied sports management and has worked in the health and fitness industry for more than 25 years. She is an experienced group exercise instructor with a passion for training fellow instructors, but also has been part of the sales, marketing and operations side of the industry in the UK.
Ann MacLellan (L) & Siri Nordhejm (R)
Together they founded MYbarre Fitness, and recently expanded their operation from live online to two brick and mortar studios in Shanghai. We sat down with them to find out more about their growing empire.
What is MYbarre?
It is a group exercise class in the studio; a full body workout inspired by ballet and Pilates movements combined with functional fitness training.
The MYbarre program is for all levels and welcomes everyone! Our classes are designed using compound movements (where we work more than one muscle group at a time) and isometric moves (holding positions) to really help target trouble zones – glutes, thighs, abdominals and arms.
The combination of these styles of exercise and the series of movements work in such a way that you are lifting, toning and calorie burning – resulting in a nice long, lean and light body. Our students will feel powerful yet elegant in this cardio and sculpting workout.
Taking MYbarre three to five times per week, you can expect to see a more lifted booty, strong core, and lean sculpted arms and legs. The key to success in fitness training is to be consistent and have variety in your training.
How did MYbarre Fitness come about?
MYbarre was created by Siri and I in Shanghai in 2016 through a friendship and passion for barre fitness.
We are the pioneers of barre fitness in China; Siri brought the first barre program to Shanghai in her previous fitness venture here 12 years ago. But we knew we could make it better.
So, with our 30 years of combined group exercise teaching experience and knowledge from all fields of exercise, we created our own format, choreography, instructor training program… and now stand alone studios.
As busy moms, entrepreneurs and fitness lovers we had a desire to create not only a fitness program but a community for instructors and students that welcomes everyone, that empowers, supports and inspires people to transform their mind and body.
Tell us about the new studios…
It’s been a real adventure. As you know, 2022 was a rollercoaster, but we decided that it was now or never!
We are so happy we made the jump to open physical studios after creating such a strong online community during the COVID lockdowns – we have now seen these super fans transition into the studios.
We have one in A-Mansion (Fumin/Change Lu) and one in Citic Square JingAn (Nanjing/Shaanxi Lu).
What can people expect?
A very minimal design but warm feeling; a community hub for barre and fitness lovers to train, connect with us and other like minded people.
The studios are bright and light with all mats and equipment provided for every class. We have female and male changing rooms with showers, towels and toiletries, and a reception social community area.
We offer membership packages of different levels; you can join and book classes directly on our WeChat mini program. We also offer a trial class for free.
What kind of classes do you offer?
Our main class is called MYbarre CLASSIC. This is a well balanced workout to great music with a section for upper body sculpting using light dumbbells; lower body set at the ballet barre inspired by elegant powerful moves; and finally core work on the mat focusing on posture and tone.
We also have MYbarre CARDIO – a high energy HIIT inspired group class where you can expect to improve your cardio and all over fitness. We have taken the ballet barre conditioning moves to the center of the room (without the barre) and combined them with some fitness moves and jumps.
This class has all the elegance and beautiful lines of ballet, focusing on high repetitions of small movements to isolate the muscle to feel that signature MYbarre burn.
MYbarre CORE offers a twist on our MYbarre classic workout. The first half of the class will raise your heart rate and work with the ballet barre challenging balance and strength, followed by a longer floor section on the mat where we target the core muscles that stabilize your entire body.
Inspired as always by ballet moves with flowing lines and challenging positions, we now introduce more pilates moves with the MYbarre props.
We have also MYbarre ONLINE classes (that were spun out of lockdowns) that we run from our MYbarre filming LAB. They are held on Tencent Meeting Platform and are a LIVE workout with a MYbarre instructor you can view from home. These classes are also available to book on the mini program.
Any plans for further expansion in Shanghai? And beyond?
We would love to grow our studio portfolio; as the membership base increases, we plan to offer more locations around Shanghai in the next year covering the key residential and business districts.
Watch out 2024 for China expansion!
You are also big on social media – what platforms are you on?
We have MYbarre official account on WeChat, where we keep our students and guests up to date with class news, events and training courses.
We also have Xiaohongshu, where we upload short workouts you can do at home every week. We just hit 40k followers last month, which we are super excited about and can’t wait to keep creating new content for these dedicated barre fans!
MYbarre is also on bilibili, where you can find longer workouts if you want to take your home fitness to the next level.
Any exciting plans for the future?
This year we can’t wait to offer more classes and meet more students in our studios – growing with the community is important to us!
We will of course upload more workouts to our social medial platforms, run some in-person fitness events and parties and, of course, build our MYbarre Instructor community.
We are always looking for great trainers to join our team, and we offer a great in-depth instructor training program and journey – 2023 will be a great year, and we are excited to plié, pulse and passé our way into the spring with two studios open.
Follow MYbarre Fitness on WeChat, and receive your first class free, search ‘MYbarre’ or scan the QR:
And for the MYbarre Fitness Mini Program, scan this QR:
[All images courtesy of MYbarre Fitness]