Mornings, Fitness & Balance: A Chat With Callie, Jane Alison & Joanna From Barreworks

Two years ago, I started going to a barre studio and it changed my life forever. That magical place is called Barreworks, and today I’m super excited to share an interview with three amazing teachers: Callie Johnston, Jane Alison McKinney and Joanna Eisen. These girls bring such cheerful, sunny personalities and energy to their classes, and I wanted to know more about their healthy, positive lifestyles.

Read on about their morning routines, love of coffee (totally mutual!) and why they love being healthy. You will definitely be just as inspired as I was!


Callie Johnston: Barreworks instructor, receptionist at Barreworks and Downward Dog, a Strength and Conditioning attendant at U of T’s athletic facilities, and a voice actor

Do you have a morning routine?

Callie: I wish… I have things that I do in the morning, but I’m not sure it could be considered a proper routine. I set about fifteen alarms but I always wake up when the sun comes in, between 7:30 and 8. I drink about half a bottle of water, then I make coffee and throw together a bowl of cereal. If I’m not teaching or in a hurry, I really enjoy taking my sweet time putting on makeup.

Jane Alison: If I have somewhere to be, then my morning routine is to get out fast! have the same smoothie every day (frozen blueberries, spinach, banana, protein powder), pour my coffee in a to-go cup and get out the door. If I am being organized then I have coffee at home. If I am being really unorganized, I buy my coffee on the run. Mornings off are the best though. I sleep in, and take my time getting up and making breakfast, put on a show I like, and make a big french press at home (oh dear there is a theme here).

Joanna: I make coffee ASAP. Yes, I am one of those people. Even the smell of coffee wakes me up. On a perfect day I will sit down review my day and who’s in my morning classes or what clients I have. I answer emails and sometimes make a to-do list. Lately I have been getting up a little earlier to read, which is a really enjoyable way to start the day. I just finished Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht. I highly suggest it to anyone who is into social media, marketing or looking for some career inspiration.

What do you eat in a typical day?

Callie: I drink a lot of coffee and chocolate soy milk. I also eat a lot of fruit. Right now, my main fruits are apples, mangoes, and blueberries. Avocado or edamame hummus are my current main toast squeezes. Lentils are one of my staples, I usually make them in some kind of curry. I also eat more ice cream than any sane person should.

Jane Alison: My life is quite atypical, and I often end up buying food out and about. Smoothie breakfast is pretty consistent, usually a sandwich or salad at lunch, and dinner I will have soup, salad, or some sort of veggie quinoa dish. I can also be found coming home from teaching at night with Pad Thai or a frozen pizza, because life happens. Sweets and good chocolate make it into my life most days. If I have a performance or big project going on then I am pretty precise about what I eat. It’s not fun to drag that on too long though, so I try to find the balance of all the things I like in life.

Joanna: When I am teaching in the morning I wait until lunch time to eat. I’ll have a big lunch, usually salad, quinoa or rice  and chicken or fish. I also love making sweet potatoes post workout. Try them with a sprinkle of cinnamon… so delicious. On another day, I usually have two eggs on tomato with avocado, cucumber, salt and pepper. For dinner it’s generally some sort of meat or fish with a salad. I try to buy organic meat and fish whenever possible.

Don’t get me wrong though, I am a big advocate of balance. I try to follow the 80/20 rule. I believe if you are working super hard to stay fit and active, having the chocolate chip cookies or a glass of wine every so often is okay. I don’t think we should be so strict all the time because you deserve to enjoy your life! My favourite treat is Summers strawberry ice cream.


Joanna Eisen: Barreworks instructor and personal trainer

How do you release stress?

Callie: By cleaning or napping. You can always tell when I’m stressed because my place is either spotless from being overly cleaned or disastrous from being overly neglected in the name of naps.

Jane Alison: Taking a full day off. Sometimes I spend the whole day by myself, not looking at email, watching Netflix or reading outside. It’s really great when it involves catching up with a good friend or family member, especially with a glass or two of something nice! Sometimes on the perfect days, I find some inspiration in seeing a performance, or something beautiful outside, which then reminds me why I love what I do and keep going.

Joanna: This is a great question. Working out is a great way to release stress. My most effective method is going for a walk. If I get overwhelmed or find I need a moment for myself, I will go outside and clear my head. Even just 20 minutes can make such a difference. Give it a try next time you find yourself in a negative headspace.

What do you like about living a healthy lifestyle?

Callie: I find that when I’m active, everything else is more likely to fall into place. Knowing that my next workout is always looming, I’m more likely to choose healthier options, and I feel better. I’m also really lucky in that I sleep like a baby whenever I want to, and I owe that to being active.

Jane Alison: Everything in my life centres around movement and people. My health and physical abilities are a part of my personal currency. This is really valuable to me, I think it makes me a happier and more complete person. It also allows me to have a base to connect with a variety of different people, which is a real joy for me.

Joanna: Everything! It definitely has a lot to do with how I feel. When I am eating healthy, working out and managing my stress I feel confident, happy and ready to take on the world. I was raised in a very health conscious and active family so living a healthy lifestyle is all that I know. I can’t imagine a life where my health wasn’t a priority. Research has shown time and time again that regular exercise and eating well leads to a longer, happier, and healthier life… Why wouldn’t we want that!?


Jane Alison McKinney: Barreworks instructor, dance artist, choreographer, performer, and producer

What’s your favourite workout song?

Callie: “Sisters by A Tribe Called Red” feat. Northern Voice! When I’m not teaching, I’m more likely to be listening to rap or rock.

Jane Alison: “Elastic Heart” by Sia.

Joanna: Oh boy, right now it’s “Stop” by the Spice Girls. I know this is WAY BACK PLAY BACK! I just love seeing everyones face’s light up and sing along when it comes on in class. I think it’s so valuable to use music to motivate you during your workouts.

And because I’m a pop culture addict… What’s your favourite TV show?

Callie: Arrested Development is everything I’ve ever needed in a TV show.

Jane Allison: I have many favourites! House Of Cards or Game Of Thrones. Also much love to Friends always.

Joanna: Friends… I <3 Rachel Green.

Do you live in Toronto and want to try a class at Barreworks? You can head over to my Instagram and enter the giveaway. If you follow my account and comment on this post with why you love living a healthy lifestyle, you will be entered to win a 5-class pack. Giveaway is open until 9/27 and winners will be notified via DM.

Note: this giveaway is not run by or associated with Instagram.

Aya Tsintziras is a food blogger at She posts gluten-free, dairy-free and mostly sugar-free recipes, lifestyle and pop culture stories on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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  1. Great publicity….the word needs to be spread,and you do it very well!

    1. Thank you so much, and thanks for reading!

  2. What a fun interview! Wish I lived in Toronto so I could enter the contest 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, I’m so glad you liked it! Aw, well the next time you’re here you should totally check out a class!

  3. Oh how I love reading interviews!!! Sounds like you’ve got a great community vibe and lovely people at your barre studio!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Clover! Yes, it is the best community ever and full of the best people. It’s a place you really want to work out!

  4. They were all so different, and I love how they had different versions of balance. 🙂

    1. Yes! I love that too. Thanks so much for reading, Emily!

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