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Mom on the Move Ann Marie Barbour

Lives: Reisterstown

Children: Max, 19; Evan, 18; Oliver, 12

Occupation: Owner, SoulBody LLC

How did the idea for SoulBody come about?
About eight years ago, after teaching other pre-choreographed programs as well as pilates and barre, I noticed that there was no consistent barre programming for larger clubs. My best friend from 9th grade, Stacey Vandiver, and I saw a need for progressive barre programming in large gyms to compete with the small boutique studios popping up all over.

[Stacey and I] came up with our own method, blending ballet-inspired moves with traditional strength training, principles of Pilates and elements of cardio. We created SoulBody Barre first, using the ballet barre, light weights, a thera-band and ball, but then we came across many clubs that didn’t have a studio, so we created SoulBody Barre Unhitched using the weighted body bar for both weighted and center “barre” work. Finally, we created our SoulBody Power class, blending high intensity training with elements of barre to create a mindfully intense class. We currently have over 200 instructors teaching our method and are in over 50 clubs in the US, Canada and soon-to-be Egypt and China.

How do you balance SoulBody and being a mom?
It’s very, very hard. I find myself working a lot in the evening after school pick-ups and dinner is made. I’ve got the day when they’re at school, but once 3 p.m. rolls around, I’m busy with the kids and my focus has to shift a bit. During the day, I’m busy not only with teaching classes (as Stacey and I like to teach as much as we can to practice and create new choreography), but also working on all aspects of the business from marketing to website to sales to bookkeeping and accounting. It truly is the craziest ride running a business.

As a fitness instructor, do you ever have to work out?
I work out all the time — as I teach, often over five times a week, and in the studio creating and practicing our quarterly choreography that gets released every three months. We have three programs, so that’s a lot of creating. I also love to take other top instructors’ classes from yoga to cycle to step — dance, boxing, you name it. I’m in the group exercise biz, so I’m a group ex-junkie. Put me in a studio with a bunch of like-minded fitness enthusiasts and I’m my happiest.

What’s your favorite quick and easy healthful meal?
My go-to is avocado toast with eggs and a little feta on top or just a large salad with raw veggies, nuts, yellow raisins, maybe some garbanzo beans and a hard-boiled egg. My kids love my fruit smoothies or raw cacao and peanut butter smoothies. Living a healthy lifestyle includes eating as close to the earth as I can. [It’s] just as important as going to the gym and working with a trainer or taking a group exercise class.

What motivates you?
My family and friends motivate me to be my best. Owning and building SoulBody with my good friend and business partner is all-encompassing, but I’m motivated every day to make our choreographed classes and business the best we can offer. I love to travel and give my children the best opportunities I can — not only with their education, but with life experiences. I want peace, happiness, fun and opportunity for myself and my family.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Work out! Sad but true. I also love to hike with my dogs, [which is] so peaceful and restorative. I have two: Cooper, a Golden, and Rosie, a black lab/St. Bernard mix—she’s one and has a ton of energy. I love to run with them. I also love just hanging with my boys, Max, Evan and Ollie. They are my guys. We love to go to the movies, eat out, go away on weekends together or just cuddle on the couch and hang.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
Black licorice, chips and salsa, good red wine, dark chocolate … and I could go on. I don’t go overboard, but I also don’t deprive myself. I also like to buy really nice facial products, especially now as I’m getting just a bit more ‘mature.’ I splurge a bit on nice dinners as well, but hey — I work hard and am fully focused on work, workouts and healthy eating during the week. On weekends I like to indulge just a little. Everything in moderation!

What are you most looking forward to in the next five years?
Blowing up SoulBody globally, seeing my kids excel in school and college, watching my oldest son Max compete in Division 1 running, watching Evan enjoy his four years of college as he embarks upon his journey this fall, and being there for Oliver throughout middle and high school. I know it goes by quickly, so my plan is to take a breath, be present and enjoy every minute of the journey.

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