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Author: BARRE3

Tiffany DeLorenzo is making it happen. With daily Livestream workouts, a virtual Play Lounge, and an outdoor-class schedule in high demand, Tiffany is riding the daily rollercoaster that’s owning a studio during COVID-19 with curiosity, grace, and a drive to take on anything that comes her way.

As the owner of barre3 Camas in Washington state, Tiffany approaches challenges with energy and passion—but what’s more, she knows when it’s time to rest, and she surrounds herself with a team that encourages exactly that. Below, Tiffany shares how barre3 transformed her idea of fitness, what it’s like to take the reins of an existing studio, and how giving ourselves time to pause can create space for ingenuity and innovation.

BARRE3: What role did fitness and exercise play in your life before you found barre3?

TIFFANY: I was super active growing up. I played sports—soccer, basketball, and tennis—all through high school, and likely because of that, fitness was always something that I viewed competitively.

When I went to college and was no longer playing team sports, I looked for different ways to exercise and discovered that fitness was a great way for me to relieve stress. I started exploring group fitness and took up running, and I noticed that I felt my best when I was working out and eating well, and so I continued with it.

My competitive side started to come out again when I started running races. I ran a marathon my senior year of college, and though I trained properly and it was an incredible experience, I ruptured the joint on the top of my foot during the race. It was the first major injury I had in my life, and the doctors said that I either had to get experimental surgery or tape it and deal with the pain. Because fitness was such a large part of my life, I decided to take a little time off and continue to tape it.

Flash-forward a few years to when I got pregnant with my daughter. I wasn’t going to be able to keep running both because of being pregnant and because of my foot, and that’s when I really fell into barre3. 

I knew that I needed to continue to work out, but my body wasn’t jiving with anything that I asked it to do. Barre3 was the first workout where I felt that I was doing things that were safe for my pregnancy, and because it’s low-impact, the workout felt great for my foot.

What was amazing about that journey too was how it changed my view of fitness. Growing up, it was all about competition, and then in college, exercise shifted to something I had to do to relieve stress. But once I started doing barre3, fitness became something I truly wanted to do. It wasn’t a to-do list that I needed to check off, but something that was fully integrated into my life. I carved out time for barre3 because I loved it.

BARRE3: What made you want to become a barre3 instructor before you decided to take the leap to ownership?

TIFFANY: Before becoming a studio owner, I was a Retail Sales Manager, traveling about 125 days a year. Even though I was on the road all the time, I convinced my husband that I needed to become a founding member at our local barre3 studio. I tried it, I loved it, and I knew that this was what my body needed right now. From there, barre3 became a part of my life.

One day, the studio owner approached me and asked if after I had the baby would I be interested in becoming a barre3 instructor. From there, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. I had always imagined myself being an instructor when I did group fitness, and I felt comfortable in front of people because I had done a lot of training in my sales job. Being an instructor just became the thing I wanted to work toward. I decided that after I had the baby, I was going to make it happen.

So I had my daughter, started working part-time from home, and became an instructor. I loved getting to see the backside of the studio and how things worked and operated. It gave me a whole new appreciation for the class, the workout, and everything that goes into the studio.

From there, I was given the opportunity to move into the instructor mentor role which gave me a taste of the barre3 Home Office. The experience blew my mind—I was going to trainings and every single person I met on the team was just as amazing as when I was a client and meeting the studio team for the first time. I knew I wanted to be a part of all of that.

BARRE3: How do you feel your work as an instructor prepared you for becoming an owner?

TIFFANY: Being an instructor gave me a greater appreciation for what we offer at barre3. I loved it as a client, but when I became an instructor, I got to see how much work goes into creating the class and to making the workout what it is.

I also became more connected to the barre3 community, which made me fall that much more in love with it. Even on the barre3 instructor Facebook page, where the other 1,500 instructors from all over are posting, you see the excitement that everyone has for what we’re doing, and you get to share in that enthusiasm. It’s that network and the appreciation for the product that really set up me for what I do today as an owner.

BARRE3: Your path to ownership was different from most in that you bought an existing studio. Can you share a bit about that experience?

TIFFANY: From the first day of becoming an instructor, I knew I would love being an owner as well. I’m an Enneagram 3, and so I’m always thinking about the next step and how I can move further into the things that I love. Because I was passionate about barre3, it felt natural to make that jump into the owner network.

When I first started looking into owning a studio, there were no opportunities in my area, but I’m the kind of person who will keep trying something even when it feels like all the doors are closed. So I continued to reach out to the barre3 Home Office, and eventually I applied to open a studio in Happy Valley, Oregon, right outside of Portland. We signed the rights to the studio, but I couldn’t find a location. When I heard through the grapevine that the owner of the studio across town would be moving. I knew I needed to get in there and do everything I could to make this dream happen.

BARRE3: Did you feel empowered to make the studio your own?

TIFFANY: I always say that owning a resale studio is like moving to a new neighborhood. While you may love your old neighborhood and think that it can’t get any better, you move to a new one and discover that you appreciate it for different reasons.

I had my community and my team at my old studio, and it was hard to let go of the fact that the community at my new studio would be different, but that didn’t mean that it wasn’t going to be amazing in its own ways. Embracing that mentality helped me come into the studio and come into my role with an open mind.

I love the former owner, she was actually one of the first barre3 franchisees. The studio was her baby, and she helped it grow. I appreciate and respect what she created, and I’ve learned to cultivate that for myself. She ran an amazing studio before, and I felt like I just needed to come in, put a fresh paint on it and make it my own.

BARRE3: You’re a mom of three! While there’s no such thing as reaching perfect balance in our lives, how do you make time for both your role as a mother and running your studio?

TIFFANY: Honestly, it’s a daily struggle, but what helps make it possible is surrounding myself with a team and my family who understands how passionate I am about barre3 but who also encourages me to set boundaries and let some things go.

Right now, I’m not working at all on the weekends. That’s usually unheard of for me, but it got to a point where I was grinding all week and needed that time to reset. For me, the more that I recognize when I’m out of balance, the easier it is for me to make changes, but it definitely takes surrounding yourself with people who can recognize that as well.

BARRE3: What have these last few months during COVID been like for you as an owner?

TIFFANY: We try to ride the highs as long as we can because honestly, the lows are really low. I’ve always been someone who’s up for a challenge, but it’s the constant challenges and the decision fatigue that’s really hard right now. What’s been amazing, though, is the support not only from my team but from my community. Everyone’s been incredibly supportive of the changes we’ve had to make—we’re having to pivot really quickly, and to have people's support has been incredible.

One thing that I decided right away was that I was going to prioritize supporting my immediate team and keep everyone working. We’ve been doing virtual Play Lounges once a week and even a members-only Bingo Night. We’re trying our hardest to keep people engaged and make the best of what’s happening.

When this all started, I was coming up with ideas right off the bat that I had no idea where they were coming from. I was brainstorming with a few of my friends who are owners as well, and they reminded me that I am a creative person, but I’ve been so busy with all that goes into running the business that I haven’t taken the time to execute these ideas before now. A silver lining of COVID is that I’ve been given time to pause and bring to life some of the things we’ve been wanting to try.

Right now, each day feels like a week and so you have to move on ideas that much faster. My leadership team and I will come up with an idea in the morning and we’ll already have an execution plan by the afternoon. In some ways, moving to a virtual model was a blessing because it allowed us to ground ourselves and ask what we can do to bring the community together, support our team, and to keep people moving. 

BARRE3: What do you love most about being a studio owner?

TIFFANY: There are so many things, but I’ll narrow it down to two. One is the owner network—I have met some of the most incredible people that I plan on talking to for the rest of my life. I can pick up the phone and vent to someone or celebrate with someone. It’s amazing to connect with these women who understand exactly what I’m going through and who have my back no matter what.

The other thing is getting to lead a team of people who are all looking for what I was looking for: to redefine the kind of relationship you can have with women and create a healthy work environment around that. Having taken part in competitive sports and being in a sorority in college, I felt that even in what should have been fully inclusive environments, they were never truly that.

But now, I have the opportunity to provide that inclusivity, whether it’s through my team or my clients. That’s something that you can feel authentic doing at barre3 because of what people are looking for when they come to us. People want to connect, and so to cultivate and surround myself with a team who supports one another is incredible, and I feel so lucky to do it.