One of our favorite studios is down in the sunny Caribbean Islands, Anguilla. Retreat AXA is a full-service wellness studio with barre-based fitness, homemade cold-pressed juices, and an athletic boutique. Sara is an all star barre and spin instructor who pursued her dream of opening a studio down there.
Before Anguilla, you could find her teaching 20+ cycle and barre classes each week at Equinox and Exhale. Sara is an exhale certified instructor with a certifications from American College of Sports Medicine Group Fitness and National Academy of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer. Check out her guided workout below!
What advice would you give to someone who's interested in a barre-based class but isn't sure if they'll enjoy it or it will be the right fit?
I would suggest giving it a try and keeping an open mind! I know, easier said than done, but there's nothing like actually visiting a studio and taking a class. Read the bios of the instructors and find someone that seems like a good fit. Try a beginners class if its offered at the studio. Explain it's your first time and be sure to explain any injuries or limitations you may have. I always tell new students that it takes 4-5 classes to really "get" barre, so cut yourself some slack, listen to your body and certainly take all the breaks you need in those beginning classes.
When did you figure out that you wanted to pursue a career in the fitness industry?
I sort of fell into teaching full time after I left a corporate job and began consulting on my own. On a whim, I got my Spinning certification and picked up a few classes for fun. Long story short, I began teaching way more and consulting way less, and here we are!
How is life in Anguilla compared to Boston?
You really can't compare life on a Caribbean island to live in a major city because they are pretty much the exact opposite of one another! We certainly miss some of the conveniences of living in a big city (Amazon Prime and Dunkin Donuts are big ones), but island life is amazing. We're big beach people, so we're truly fortunate to have some of the world's most beautiful beaches just down the street from our house. The slower pace of life is refreshing as well; we were more than ready to leave the traffic and some of the hassles of city life.
What does a normal day look like for you?
We get up at 4:30AM and arrive at the studio about 5:15AM for our 5:30AM class. After class, we take care of administrative and studio stuff until our 8:30AM and 10AM classes. We close from 12-4PM which, during that time, my husband oversees Kizel, who is integral in our cold-pressed juicing program. While we're closed, I often run errands and take our dog for a beach walk. I'm back at the studio to re-open at 4PM and prepare for our 5:30PM class.
Outside of classes at Retreat, what are your favorite exercises to incorporate into your routine?
We brought a Peloton down to Anguilla which I am absolutely obsessed with! I also work out with a personal trainer three days a week.
Lastly, any recommendations on where to stay and what to do when we visit Anguilla?
There are so many great places to stay and things to do in Anguilla! I'd highly suggest the Quintessence Hotel, Frangipani and Cap Juluca for a splurge, although there are many great moderately priced accommodations on the island. Honestly, as long as it's clean and has hot water, you can't go wrong in Anguilla! With 33 beaches on the island, you're never be at a loss as to where to go relax and catch some rays. If it's your first time to the island, definitely go snorkeling in Little Bay, take a sail with Traditions, spend a day at Sunshine Shack, happy hour at Sand Bar (you must get their frozen rum punch!) and Friday night at Dolce Vita. If you're a sports fan, be sure to watch a game at Elvis' Beach Bar