Chase Willman raises the barre

You can feel Chase Willman’s infectious, positive energy even through a screen on Zoom. Her 45-minute long live streams and on-demand classes are designed for a full-body, low-impact/high-intensity workout to lengthen, strengthen, and sculpt. 

As a long-time ballet dancer, performer, and former Flywheel Sports instructor, Willman brings her unique experiences to each class she leads. During the global pandemic, she kept her community moving, sweating, and laughing through virtual live classes that served as a positive outlet for many during a difficult time. Ultimately, these sweat sessions turned into her business: Chase Willman Fitness.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Chase and hear more about her life on and off the mat. Follow her on Instagram @chase_willman for her daily content of summer on Cape Cod, hitting the barre, and golden retriever Brody. 

You can join in on Chase’s energizing classes when you sign up for a Gympass membership. Personal training, nutrition apps, and unlimited access to your favorite gyms await.

First things first, how would you describe your barre class to someone who’s never taken it before? 

Willman: “I would first start by saying it’s not your typical barre class & you do not have to be a dancer or flexible! I’ve been using the term “barre-inspired” more frequently to describe my classes as a lot of my routines don’t necessarily require a barre! Most importantly, I want my class to be a fun experience for all, whether you want to work on building core strength, tone your arms, or really just disconnect from the stress of everyday life for 45 minutes. I design the workouts to be accessible to all, regardless of the space you’re in and the equipment you have & I always keep in mind that everyone is on a different page in their fitness journey.

The style of my teaching will resemble a barre class, where I program the exercises to match and flow to the music & I focus on low-impact, high-intensity movements designed to strengthen your entire body. My classes have continued to develop since taking my teaching “at home/virtual” & I really love the fact that it’s a workout that can be done every day like a morning routine. I challenge, motivate & inspire in a positive upbeat group atmosphere where everyone is welcome & acknowledged. Connecting every day with my community & moving together is the best part of it all. My energy will get you going & the 45 minutes  we have together will be over before you know it, but then I’ll see you tomorrow and we’ll do it all again!”

How has your dance training influenced your class and teaching style?

Willman: “As a former dancer, with over 15 years of ballet training, dance has always been my way of life. The commitment, determination, and lessons from my dance training influence every aspect of my life today. When I think about my classes and teaching style, I have always referred to them as a full performance where I am creating an experience, from the music to the programming and flow of exercises. My years of dance are what grew my love for movement, for music, for discipline & the ability to bring it all to life as an expression through my body. I truly love being able to share that passion with others and in my classes give you the opportunity to experience the same! 

In my classes, I like to focus on muscle endurance, strength, balance, and core stability all which have stemmed from my years of ballet training. Ballet influences my teaching style with my emphasis on technique, form, and quality of movement. The level of precision, detail and repetition learned through my years of ballet is something that comes out in every class I now teach. I might not be doing hundreds of tendu’s anymore but the quality of movement in our tricep kickbacks is spot on! 😉

The intentions behind every movement, the energy and breath that comes with every move, what you feel when you’re moving, all those things spark into my style and it always takes me back to the stage. I never once thought I could come close to the joy I felt as a dancer/performer, but then I became an instructor.”

In your opinion, how do you think people can benefit from using a combination of virtual fitness and in-person fitness moving forward?

Willman: “I think people will benefit greatly from both in-person & virtual fitness as time is of the essence! When people know they have the time, in-person fitness may be an option, also gives them that social aspect, whereas virtual they can always count on it, throw it on quickly, get it done and move on to the next thing they have that day.

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I think having both options will be really great to always accommodate everyone’s schedules & lives. I know a lot of my clients are loving my morning virtual workouts because right after class, they log off, hit their showers and jump into work. It completely has cut out the time of traveling to classes, gym shower lines, and commuting to their offices.”

What does your pre-workout routine look like?

Willman: “My pre-workout routine is usually a good night’s sleep, a workout outfit that makes me feel amazing, a slicked-back low bun or ponytail, a little iced coffee, and a great playlist to get me in the mood.”

What do your off-days look like? What do you do for self-care on these days?

Willman: “On my off-days (Sundays!), I tend to move a little slower in the morning & I usually make the chocolate croissants from Trader Joe’s! I like to spend the day doing something fun out & about, watch sports, and wear something other than workout clothes & usually give my hair a break from the tight bun!”

Do you have any unique or unusual ways to keep yourself motivated?

Willman: “Whenever I’m in a mood or feeling unmotivated, I always remind myself of the feeling I feel after any workout/type of movement. Sometimes as I get dressed for my workout, I put on a fun upbeat song and I’ll start dancing on my way to the mat! The hardest part is always just getting on the mat, but once I move a little, I always feel better mentally & physically! In the virtual world, I know that when others are joining me on the other side of the screen that motivates me too!”

Lastly, what’s one piece of advice you would give to someone struggling to get back on the mat after the pandemic? 

Willman: “Commit to yourself. Set aside some time and just start. Remember how you feel after you finish a workout, let that inspire you. Start small and build. Consistency is everything. A little bit every day & you will get back into the groove before you know it. Sometimes just starting is the hardest part!