Sadie Lincoln: A Generous Giver Balancing Body, Mind, and Spirit
The secret to Sadie Lincoln’s successful fitness company, barre3, is simple – she has surrounded herself with friends, family members and colleagues who provide her encouragement, support, laughter, positive feedback and inspiration in her endeavors.
And in turn, she gives it right back to them. A humble woman with a warm smile, Lincoln knows barre3 would not be where it is today if she didn’t have an amazing team helping her along the way. “My team and I are completely supportive of one another. They care about me as much as I care about them,” Lincoln said. “Giving generously is one of our big mantras and we give generously to each other, to our clients and we give generously to our families and to ourselves. That is something that fuels our success.”
Since 2008, Lincoln has gone from offering free classes in an “attic with a ballet barre” to garnering national attention. There are barre3 studios in more than 60 locations across the United States. Barre3 is modernizes the ballet barre workout by adding the elements of yoga and Pilates to music. A renowned wellness expert, Lincoln along with her husband and business partner, Chris, opened their first studio in the Pearl District. Since then, Lincoln has been featured in national magazines and television shows, has created barre3 workouts accessible on computers and smart phones and recently released her new book, Love your Lower Body.
Thinking of herself as more of an educator than a business woman, Lincoln’s approach to fitness isn’t about going harder, stronger or faster. Instead, it’s about balance – a healthy body, a clear mind and a positive spirit. Lincoln’s approach is about providing her clients with the tools so they can make healthy choices throughout their day. Before starting barre3, Lincoln worked at 24 Hour Fitness for 10 years in numerous roles including brand communications strategy, marketing and developing global sales. She began teaching group exercise classes 20 years ago while attending UCLA, where she earned her bachelor’s degree. She earned her master’s degree from the College of William and Mary.
Share a little about yourself and your family. What is a day is like for you?
My husband, Chris, and I are very hands on partners at work and at home. We are the parents of Audrey, 10, and Drew, 8. They are the center of our universe. We have a stray dog we rescued named Diego and we live in Northeast Portland where we moved to from California in 2008. I grew up in Eugene before leaving for college. We decided to move back to Oregon because we wanted to develop meaningful relationships and really love what we were doing.
I start my day with a workout at 6 a.m. My best friends and I carpool to barre3 and I am home by 7:30 to make breakfast. We always eat breakfast and dinner together. Chris and I will eat leftovers for lunch or go to one of the amazing restaurants nearby. After we take our children to school, we go to work and I have meetings with trainers, business partners and colleagues. We are working on our relationships with Nike, QVC and Rodale press. I have 20 full time employees. Every one of my team members started as clients. Everyone is aligned with our product and our passion. It’s all women who work here except my husband and our cameraman. I am home by 4 which is amazing since we have this huge company. It is hard for me to turn off and sometimes my kids have to hide my phone from me.
What inspired you to start your own company in 2008? Who were your first clients?
Chris and I we put our life savings into starting our business after selling our home in California. While we were in construction for our Pearl District studio, we rented a house in Irvington and nearby there was a Wild Oaks store that is now a Whole Foods. Above the store was a room with a ballet barre that I rented for $20 an hour. The first person to take my class was Teal Davison who I asked to go to my attic to take a barre3 class for free. She now works with me. She helped me stand outside the libraries and hand out flyers to encourage women to come to my class. She told her friends who told their friends and people started coming for free. That is where I met all my best friends. My first class was Aug. 12, 2008 at the Pearl District studio and it was an amazing moment. Nineteen people who I didn’t know came to my class.
For many busy women, working out is just another task on a long “to do” list. Share how you have made barre3 accessible to women regardless of their busy schedule and how it can be incorporated into everyday tasks.
Exercise is a chore for so many people. A big challenge for me is trying to figure out how to make exercise an innovative part of a person’s life so feel naturals. We offer childcare at our studios, lots of class times and we have designed our 60 minute workout so you get a great head to toe workout. We also have online workouts that can be done with your phone or computer. One thing people have been brainwashed to believe is that they have to workout for 30 minutes. I have designed 10 minute workouts that you can do throughout your day. The healthiest people I know are the ones who are always moving. I have designed workouts you can do at the playground, grocery store or at your desk.
Why is inspiring people to be fit important to you?
Our classes are about teaching balance. Unfortunately, too many of us just go, go, go. In our classes, there is a lot of high energy at first and then we wind down. When you slow down and take time to exercise, you breathe better, you release stress, you connect your mind to your body and you ultimately make better choices. Exercise fills your tank so you can go, go, go when you need to. I see people leaving our classes less frazzled and more energized.
Are your classes just for women?
I see a lot of women bringing their men to the classes. And with our online classes, it is often less intimidating for men to do. The men who do come tend to be athletes who are training. They have found the barre3 workouts tend to increase their running stride, helps them rock climb and helps them with their speed.
What do you say to someone who thinks they can’t do barre3 because they don’t know how to do yoga, Pilates or ballet?
I recently spoke with a franchise owner who told me she has three generations coming to her class in Oklahoma – a mom, her daughter and the grandma. The thing that I am most proud about barre3 is that everyone can make the class their own and there are ways to modify the exercises. In our classes, you will see all shapes and sizes and different abilities and ages. We tell people to trust their body. One of my instructors said to her class, “Love thy neighbor but ignore thy neighbor.” And that means we should support one another but we shouldn’t try to do what everyone else is doing in class and instead we should listen to what’s right for you.
Have you designed the classes so anyone can take them?
Anyone can do barre3. It is doable, it’s fun and it works and you don’t need to kill yourself to get the results you want. It is a way to ease into fitness and get great results. And the other thing is that I am a real person. I am not a fitness superstar. I am not super buff. I don’t work out several times a day. I workout just like most people. Sometimes I am so busy I can only squeeze in a 10 to 15 minute workout. I am an educator and a busy mom and someone who works a lot so I am always creating exercise programs around that reality.
You have said that barre3 is not just about the time working out but also how it carries on to the remaining of the day. Can you explain?
Everything we are doing in class supports what we do outside of it –whether it is running or lifting your kids and the groceries. We emphasis the importance of the mind and body connection. We share the importance of nutrition. Our training is very functional meaning it is designed to help you the other 23 hours of your day. We are constantly educating people to work smarter, not harder and to listen to your body and to trust your body’s wisdom.
When you watch a class – what are your thoughts?
It fills my heart. I just love it. I just care so much for all the people who take time out for themselves. It is a sense of connection, like we all have something in common through support and community.