“You have what it takes.”
It’s the first thing you’ll read before descending the steps to Lagree West for a straight-up ass-kicking workout (but really, your ass will burn). And it’s a message that speaks true to the lifestyle of studio owner Barbie Bent. As an equity sales associate turned optometrist turned fitness expert, Bent gives her all in any situation, no matter how unconventional.
Bent is the epitome of the West Coast. Think: ultra-chill vibe, playful sense of humour and at peak comfort level by the ocean. It’s hard to imagine she’s only been in Vancouver for a couple years. After working in finance in Toronto, Bent left Canada to become an eye doctor in London, in pursuit of a more entrepreneurial career path. This is where she discovered Lagree – a high-intensity full-body workout method – and decided to take another risk to open up the first studio in Vancouver – a city she had never even visited before.
“I have the type of personality where I can jump around. When a part of my life is done, I’m ready for a change. If I’m not truly happy, I don’t have the patience to sit and wait for things to get better,” Bent says.
For a risk-taker who thrives on new challenges, Bent and Lagree are a match made in fitness heaven. The workout takes influences from pilates and turns the dial up to 12 for a 45-minute dynamic class that keeps your cardio high and your muscles under constant tension. And with only 10 spots per class, it’s like you have a personal trainer to push you through every plank, lunge and crunch.
We spent a day with Bent to discover the places she goes to sweat, play and power down – and to witness her in her element at Lagree West.
Meet Barbie Bent.
Morning meditation and coffee with boyfriend Dan Sutton
“It’s hard to turn off once you start a business. I felt like my mind was always racing – I was exhausted. I felt guilty to even take a nap. Now I’ve learned if I want to take a Sunday and turn my phone off, it’s actually okay.”
Getting outside by the ocean
“I always leave my Monday mornings open on my schedule for hiking or working out. You really do have to carve out time for yourself and build in those moments.”
Wearing several hats at Lagree West
“So many things are connected. When I was living in England I met my friend Katie who lives in Vancouver. I wouldn’t have been brave enough to open Lagree West if I didn’t know her. Little things like that – you can always find a thread throughout your entire life that lines up.”
Happy hour at Savio Volpe
“You can’t just be in one box and say, “All I’m going to do is work” – you will go crazy and you won’t be effective. But I definitely can’t give my full self if I go out and party, so I stick to healthy, active social things.”