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North Tonawanda gym in historic former church offers new BarreFlow classes

Ashley and Jeremy Ramsey jumped at the chance last year to move their year-old downtown fitness center into a former church in North Tonawanda. Personal training, Mixed Martial Arts conditioning, Zumba and yoga are among the offerings at FIT Method Studio in the former Ascension Catholic Church at 172 Robinson St., at Vandervoort Street.

“It’s a different feel than walking in to a typical gym,” said Ashley Ramsey, 33, who holds a bachelor’s degree in athletics and exercise training from the University at Buffalo.

The former Best Fitness group fitness director recently added to her repertoire BarreFlow, non-stop sessions that combine yoga, Pilates, barre fitness and strength training.

Q. Talk about the layout.

There still is a working organ upstairs in the choir area. We have workout stations with heavy bags and saddle ropes set up along the side walls. ... The altar is our cardio section. We use the offices in the back as our kids room. The group exercise room downstairs is about 1,000 square feet. Owner Paul Brown and his son took most of the pews, refurbished and sold them.

Ashley and Jeremy Ramsey opened their fitness studio last year in the former Ascension Catholic Church.

Ashley and Jeremy Ramsey opened their fitness studio last year in the former Ascension Catholic Church.

Q. Describe BarreFlow.

It has elements of barre but also puts in a portion of Vinyasa yoga. With yoga, there’s always a flow to it. Each one of our sequences literally rolls right into the next one. It’s a soothing workout but you’re going to feel it the next day.

Q. How did you find out about it?

Karli Taylor was my boss at Best Fitness. She ran the personal training department for all of the Best Fitness locations from here up to New England. She left the company and started her own company in Albany, called Poise Studios. It was yoga and hot yoga. She was going to barre classes and decided to do barre her way. She’s very into how the body functions, how the body flows and how we can make the body work better. A lot of the exercises are corrective exercises: how you stand, how your feet are, if you’re up on your toes, if you’re sinking into your hips. These movements have a purpose to correct your body as a whole. It also helps get your body back to the way it’s supposed to flow.

Q. What is a typical class like and how many calories can you burn?

There are about three to four different formats. A typical BarreFlow class is about 45 minutes. It adds three different flow portions. There’s a warmup flow that starts on a mat, there is a barre flow that goes up to the barre. Then we come back to the floor for a mat flow, which is focused more on your core exercises and finishing your body as a whole. Calories you burn can run between 300 and 700 depending on if we’re doing a BarreFlow Fire – more of a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) type of class, where we’re going a little bit faster and a little bit harder, so there’s more movement. Another BarreFlow class, we’re focusing more on the flow and the movement than how fast and how many movements we can get it.

Q. Is there music?

Yes. Beats per minutes usually range from 100 to 130. We can make up our own play list. It can be the Top 40 or anything we’re feeling at that point in time. New Lady Gaga is on my playlist right now. We want to make sure we stay within counts of beats, so there’s a constant tempo.

Q. Can you talk about some of the modifications?

Everybody’s body is different. No everybody’s made the same. We do a lot of things on the floor where we’re on all fours. ... If a plank becomes too hard, we can have them go down to their elbows instead of standing up on their arms. When you’re at the barre, if you can’t get high on your toes you can come down to your heels. We do a side plank. If people can’t get their body all in one line ... we can take their base knee and bring them down to the ground so they’re still getting the same action, working the same muscle. That knee gives them an extra bit of support.

Q. How much do classes cost?

We charge $7; that’s are walk-in base price for any of our classes. We do monthly classes, we have 5- and 10-pack classes and we also have unlimited monthly passes starting at $59.

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