Charlotte Tooth, known for her fiery barre and pilates classes, has been coaching for 10 years in the top boutique fitness studios in London. She has coached Hollywood stars, royalty and top athletes in the field of dance. Expect to come out of the session feeling worked, energized and ready to take on the rest of your day. Charlotte focuses heavily on technique and understanding your body, so you leave with a great workout and a side of education.
Tell us your story with movement and training – what inspired you to pursue the path of becoming a trainer and teaching barre.
I was inspired to move from a young age – always loving sports and copying dances from the TV! I started dancing around age 17 and then decided that I simply HAD to do something movement-focused for the rest of my career. I moved to London, went to stage school and there was no turning back.
Whilst training to be a dancer, I was always watching the injury process of each dancer and how some dancers came back to performing much quicker than others. I started to study the human body and then trained up to be a barre Instructor and personal trainer.
To this day, I specialise in injuries and help people to return safely to exercise. I would say helping people has always been my inspiration. I love to see people’s faces when they do something they didn’t realise they could do, achieve a goal they never knew they could or even adopt a new habit they never thought would stick! The human body is incredible and my aim is to help people to feel that.
Your dance background has been a strong influence on how to approach teaching. Are there any aspects of the dance industry that you might disagree with and look to almost fix in your teaching?
I trained professionally for three years at stage school and I would say most of what you learn in the dance world is positive. Discipline ensures you train and stay on top of your fitness. Attention to detail for great technique. Perhaps the only thing I would change is respecting human anatomy more than the dance world does. Everybody who comes to my classes has different limitations, both physical and mental. Everybody is on their own journey. I am there to support that, not rush it.
Your new Wanderlust TV classes – The Barre Burn – focus on the mind-to-body connection. Could you elaborate on this a bit more in a sense why awareness is so important when doing barre?
When I speak about the mind-to-body connection, I am speaking about being present in your body at any given moment. We know that by thinking about what we are doing, focusing on sensations, maybe shapes, using imagination, we can increase the work going on in the body.
Muscles are not like light switches – off or on. They are more like dimmer switches, which can be on 20% or 80%. There is a sliding scale. If you think about the way you are doing something, you will work significantly harder, making your time in class more efficient. The Barre Burn classes can also be a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. If you are focused entirely on your body and your movements, you can really give a racing brain some relaxing time.
Is barre an inclusive practice when it comes to intensity and complexity?
The main reason I have been teaching and continue to teach barre for over ten years is the inclusivity aspect. The way I teach is that I deliver different options, so you get to choose what is appropriate for your body that day. Like a movement pick’n’mix! I give constant cues about what you should be feeling and anything to back off from so you always know where to push and where to put the brakes on.
You are in charge! My clients are between the ages of 17 and 69, which goes to show the barre classes truly are for everyone.
What other practice would you recommend incorporating to support one’s barre training?
I would always recommend taking part in some good quality flexibility work. Most of us spend a lot of time in the same positions due to the nature of work / life. This can often cause aches, pains, and even injuries. Regular stretching can really help reduce all of that plus it is incredible for your mental health too. I incorporate stretching into every class, within the movements and at the end of each set. I have never met a person who didn’t feel better for doing more flexibility work.
Which teachers or leaders in this space had the biggest influence on you as a practitioner and as a teacher?
Niki Rein and Morgan Palmer-Bolton (the founder of Barrecore/ First Master Trainer of Barrecore) are two people who were pivotal in the shaping of my instructor personality and style. They taught me how to interact with people during classes, how to keep people engaged, and how to respect the female body. Both women were highly skilled coaches and constantly reminded me about the psychology of training and how important it is to meet somebody where they are at.
What does your personal training routine look like?
My routine changes every six weeks but it generally involves two pre-programmed resistance training sessions per week, two Barre classes, two TRX classes and daily flexibility work. If my schedule allows, I will also tag on some ballet classes and vinyasa yoga too (Wanderlust TV classes are THE one for this). I love training because it is the one part of the day where my mind calms and I get into a real flow state. I always advocate the benefits of training on mental health within my classes, but I truly feel them every time I train myself.
If you could meet one individual, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet the queen of the stage, Beyonce, but not for obvious reasons. I think she has an incredible amount of capability to deal with a lot of things at once so I would love to see her daily routines, how she trains and what she does to keep up with self-care. She truly is a boss businesswoman and I admire that. And of course, I would HAVE to take her through a cheeky little Barre session! Thigh surprise Bey?