Happy hour at my favorite bar(re)

In my second post, I provided 8 tips for kicking homesickness. The fourth tip says:

Think of three of your favorite things from your old location. Find or create them in your new location.

Of all the things – too many things – that I had access to when I lived in Metropolitan D.C., my barre studio in Alexandria, Va., made my top 3. That’s how I knew that I needed to find one in our new location, Augusta, Ga. As you might suspect, Type-A me did my research before moving; coming across Oxygen Fitness Studio’s website made me feel at home before ever setting foot in Augusta.

After living here for about a month and a half, I finally made it to one of Amy’s classes this week – a 5:45 p.m. Wednesday 60-minute barre class. I pulled into Surrey Center, where Oxygen Fitness Studio is located, and noticed not only how charming it is but that parking is hassle-free. No matter how much time goes by since I lived in Metropolitan D.C., I will always be amazed by a parking lot – and one where I can actually park and comfortably get out of my car.


Before I even made it in the door, I could feel a positive vibe and attribute that feeling to the chalkboard that said, “You never fail until you stop trying.” I’m a sucker for motivational messages.


I walked inside and found even more things to fall in love with, like the decor and lighting, and class hadn’t even started yet!


Another motivational message! I’m in my element.


After I walked inside and got an initial sense of the front-desk area, Isabella, who also teaches hot yoga at the studio, greeted me. As a couple of clients walked in, she made a point of committing to memory their names by asking, “You’re [insert name here], right?” It’s nice to see a fitness studio make it a point to recognize its clients as people instead of barcode numbers.

Richie, the owners’ son, offered to take me into the studio. I couldn’t believe how large the space was and how many mats were set up – wait, they were set up! I felt spoiled. Richie introduced me to Amy, who’s also one of the owners. She asked about my barre experience and any physical restrictions. In all of my years of taking group fitness classes, while I’ve heard instructors, including myself, provide options for those with physical restrictions, I’ve never heard one ask me this question. It showed a lot of thoughtfulness on Amy’s and her studio’s part. I told her that I started taking 60-minute barre classes toward the end of last year at a studio in Alexandria, Va.

I took a seat on a random mat and watched other women shuffle in; I got the sense that Oxygen Fitness Studio has the happiest happy hour in town! Immediately following the warm up, the energy was flowing and sweat was dripping. I was easily the sweatiest person in class, and I was about to get sweatier. We hadn’t even done glutes yet! Here’s one way of doing a glutes exercise (below).


Glutes form (upper body): Lightly place fingers on the barre; relax shoulders; tuck tailbone underneath; hold navel in toward spine


Glutes form (lower body): Slight bend in standing leg knee; flex free foot… For an extra burn, pop it up in relevé. Every time you press your free leg straight back, the glutes contract. This is what gives your behind tone and lift!

I learned through my group fitness certification and instruction that people learn in different ways, such as by watching, hearing, and doing. Amy’s instruction accommodated all learners, as she announced what the next position was and how to do it while modeling it. She was also very attentive to her students’ form and made adjustments, as well as gave praise, when applicable. I highly recommend Amy’s classes and am sure that, as an owner, she trains her staff to instruct effectively, as well.

My favorite workouts are the ones that challenge me and that I wish didn’t have to end. This class was very easily the best hour of my day, and I look forward to many more.

Not only did I feel spoiled with the setup process but also with the cleanup process. I noticed that my weights were already put away for me. I just had to clean off my mat with a wipe that was placed on top and put the mat away.

Here's what my friend Rose calls a "sweaty selfie." This was even after the cool down!

Here’s what my friend Rose calls a “sweaty selfie.” This was even after the cool down! I have tight hamstrings, so mine needed an extra stretch.

After class, I peeked into the cycling studio. For my readers who know me and that I’m a certified Les Mills RPM instructor, this is KEY for me.


Before moving to Augusta, I had no idea what my group fitness options would be here. I told Nate that I was hoping to find a studio that offered my two favorite exercises and classes: cycling and barre. I’m pleased to report that I found this and so much more at Oxygen Fitness Studio!

I give Oxygen Fitness Studio a thumbs up!


My adjustment to life in Augusta has had its highs and lows. I’ve learned that the highs result from feeling connected – or at least a potential to be connected – to other like-minded people, and the lows result from feeling out of place. Read about a low here. Going to Oxygen Fitness Studio made me feel like I was part of a community. I was surrounded by people who seem to be like me, because they value something that I value: health and fitness.


10 thoughts on “Happy hour at my favorite bar(re)

  1. So glad you found this little fitness home in Augusta. It’s so important. And I love the sweaty selfie. Rock those muscular arms, girl! This just inspired me to try out a Pure Barre class … going to check the schedule on a place in P-ton!

  2. WoW! I also love Oxygen Fitness in Augusta! Went to Barre, Rip Ride, and Hot Yoga this morning(Sat.) In fact, I can say that I am addicted to it!! Love it! We will , no doubt, be in class side by side, I am sure! Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi, Paula! Three classes?! That’s amazing! Thank you for stopping by, and feel free to like Charmed Wellness on Facebook so we can stay in touch and say hello if you see me at the studio! I’d love to meet you in person! Take care!

  3. Hey! Just finally got around to reading this. I hate to say it but I totally didn’t know that barre classes existed. That’s sad to say since I danced throughout high school and some college! Any recommendations for the Summerville/Charleston area?

    • Samesies. I have no idea what’s around you, but you should check it out! PureBarre is a chain and may be an option near you. However, I’ve never taken a class there. I love my boutiques/small businesses. 🙂

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