Crash Course: The Define body class at Define Oakley is best categorized as a 60 minute barre class. It mixes ballet, yoga, pilates, and strength moves into one hour of burn-baby-burn magnificence. Each class is different, and a variety of handy equipment (think straps, balls, weights) is ready to help take your barre game to the next level. More of a cardio junkie? Define also offers high-energy, rhythmic spin classes. There’s a little something for everyone at this friendly neighborhood boutique studio, so be sure to check out the schedule and stop by for a sweat![line] [left]where: 3012 Madison Road | Oakley, Cincinnati
bring: socks, water bottle
perks: towels, cubbies, child care on site, rental spin shoes ($3), free parking
sweat score: 7 out of 10[/left][right]wear: socks, leggings
cost: drop-in $20[/right][line]
Over the holidays I traveled home to Cincinnati to spend some time with the family. With everything that went into the months-long process of moving to NYC, it had almost been a year since I last set foot in Ohio. Not cool. Eleven months is way too long. So I was bound and determined to get myself on a plane and to my hometown for a little R+R with the folks.
One thing that’s always on my pre-flight checklist: research the local fitness scene and find something new to try. I think it’s a fascinating and fun way to get to know the city you’re visiting, and booking a class in advance ensures that I get up from the couch at least once during my stay. Cincinnati has a number of boutique studios, a few of which I have already crashed, and I was eager to see what had opened since my last visit. After reading about Define on the adorable Out + Outfit blog, I decided I had to give it a try!
The studio is located in the heart of Oakley square, across the street from the 20th Century Theater and next door to Dewey’s Pizza. There’s free parking in the adjacent, or very reasonable metered street parking out front. For those of you not currently living in or visiting Cincinnati, Define also has multiple locations in Texas and will soon be opening its doors in Atlanta and Dubai.
The Cincinnati location is a sparkling clean and welcoming studio run by Tallie and Mikel, two ladies with a contagious commitment to making Define Oakley a positive and inviting place for people to work out. I know Midwesterners have a reputation for being a little (how do I put this) nicer, but even with that stereotype in mind, I was truly impressed with the family-like environment that shines out of this place.
To prove my point: the studio offers child care for any moms and dads needing a little extra help fitting in their sweaty “me time.” There are also occasional mom/dad + baby barre classes where you have the option to wear your bundle of joy while you tuck and plie.
Speaking of moms and kids, I brought The Original Fit Crasher with me to try out the body class. We’ve done barre classes together before and I know it’s always something we enjoy doing in tandem. Probably because we’re both hilariously inflexible get a kick out of ourselves trying to gracefully bend and glide through class. Mom taught me the importance of a healthy lifestyle, but also imparted her ability to get a kick out of life. I’m so very grateful for both essential life skills.
All of the barre and body&mind classes (an hour of stretching and foam rolling) are held in this beautiful sun-lit room. Grab a spot on one of the mats and make sure you’re facing toward the middle so you can see the instructor and her cues.
I’ve tried almost all of the major barre studio chains out there, and was interested to see how class at Define would compare. The consensus? I loved it. It was upbeat and challenging, the music selection was great, and the atmosphere positive enough that I didn’t feel horrendously out of place despite my shaking legs and inability to touch my toes.
And when I say it was challenging, I mean that the moves were creative and effective enough to make this function-fitness-junkie a happy camper. It wasn’t just lift lift lift squeeze squeeze squeeze repeat. There was interesting variety and I felt like I was really getting a well-rounded barre workout.
I also highly recommend Tallie’s class. I’m sure all of the other instructors are also fantastic, but I just loved her down-to-earth and positive vibe. She recently had a baby and was absolutely rocking it. Her form was beautiful, her encouragement sincere, and I felt motivated by her instruction instead of intimidated by it (which I feel is sometimes the case in the barre world).
My mom and I left sweaty and happy – the perfect way to kick off the holidays. Next time I’m in town, I’m definitely stopping by to try the spin class. There was one starting just after our class let out (so folks could do a double!) and it sounded like so much fun. The music was great and from what I could hear, the instructor was really high-energy.
Another reason to visit? Define is getting a new healthy neighbor in early 2015. Rooted Juicery & Kitchen will offer 100% organic cold-pressed juices, superfood smoothies, acai bowls, raw deserts, and other healthy snacks sourced from local Ohio farms. I’m in love already! And in case you can’t wait, there’s another juice option that just opened down the road in Hyde Park Square: The Weekly Juicery. If you’ve been, let me know what you think!
New York City has spoiled me into thinking that all classes should be celebrated with a post-sweat smoothie. Call it habit, routine, or just plain delicious – I don’t care. I’m a fan of my green blended drinks. So I’m delighted that there are more options opening in Cincinnati to help me continue this indulgence at home. #sorrynotsorry
Thank you to Define Oakley for welcoming The Original Fit Crasher and I with open arms and for inviting us to share the gift of a pre-holiday sweat. We had so much fun and are grateful for the opportunity to spend time together doing what we love most: exploring the local sweat scene. Hope to see you again soon!