Tami Conway’s Daily Dose of The Dailey Method
The barre technique scene is overflowing with options for fitness junkies hoping to find their perfect match. For Tami Conway, The Dailey Method proved the most satisfying—both as a client and business owner.
After dancing with the Chicago Bulls and becoming a middle school teacher, the educator dove plié deep into the barre method while studying and teaching Exhale Core Fusion barre classes at Exhale Spa.But, when she moved to Chicago with her husband Brett, they aimed to open their own business. While Conway adored Exhale (and still does), when she found The Dailey Method (founded and developed by Jill Dailey), she was thrilled by its focus on alignment, enjoyment and encouraging corrections and its franchise system. So, seven years ago, the couple opened The Dailey Method studio in the North Shore area of Kenilworth just outside of Chicago. Today, it’s one of the most popular barre options around.
Read on as SBS finds out about different barre approaches, the fulfillment of franchise and a killer plank option.
SBS: How is The Dailey Method different from other barre techniques? What drew you to it specifically?
Tami Conway: The vibe of The Dailey Method is so special. Most barre classes originated with the work of Lotte Burke, and since then, multiple studios have taken off on their own. But, out of all of them, what’s true to my personality is the foundation of kinesiology and anatomy Jill Dailey provided. We focus on education and are constantly trying to teach clients about their muscles and what they’re doing. Plus, every day, the classes are different. We have a choreography schedule, so clients have a different warm up, different ending, and we’ve separated our abs work so it’s spread throughout the class: We changed that so your abs are constantly working for you, and it’s this type of meticulous attention to effective effort that makes me love The Dailey Method most.
SBS: Why was it important to you to be a franchise owner instead of part of a corporation?
TC: I wanted to be my own boss and develop my own program—but with support from an established team. The franchise model is a great middle ground for new entrepreneurs. I had been a school teacher, not a business owner, so having a new company and a brand new baby, that assistance was essential. For example, they help with marketing and web pages—stuff I don’t do—but I’m autonomous with what retail fits my market, how hard my classes are, how I want to schedule the classes and how my community is structured. That autonomy gives us the flexibility to be creative, and that’s where I thrive. Through that freedom, I’ve become a leader in our franchise team in the area in terms of structuring classes. I’ve even brought an interval class into our studio after noticing that Chicago dwellers really need to sweat! The Dailey Method allows me to do all of that.
SBS: What do you look for in an instructor?
TC: The best instructors are connectors. They know your name…maybe not immediately, but they find out throughout the class and make a point of doing so. It’s sad sometimes when you’re a number in a class of 65. I also make sure that my instructors are always positive. Maybe they’re giving you a physical adjustment, but the mental note is always positive. These teachers also focus on education, explaining what you’re working and why. Then, the fun element is a huge part of it! Can you educate, be specific and offer a ridiculously fun class? Maybe you turn off the lights for the last bit of thighs and ensure that your vocal tone is exciting and properly spaced so clients can digest what you’re saying. All of these details, combined, are what make instructors valuable to me.
SBS: What are the biggest mistakes you see in your The Dailey Method classes?
TC: Because it’s low impact, I’ve created some monsters that come to class seven days a week. Their muscles aren’t getting torn so easily, so they’re able to do so. But, in general, I don’t believe in working out seven days a week. I think the body needs rest, and your body is more successful when it has time to rebuild. I think five days is great, six is ok, but take at least one day for rest.
SBS: How and why do you incorporate inspiration, meditation and life coaching in class?
TC: Bringing life lessons into the class helps in every way. For example, if a client is used to standing in one spot, but that spot is taken already, I remind them that life doesn’t always go down the path you expect. Embrace it! Feel confident, just as you would in your corner. That helps the client in—and out!—of class. Or, if you’re going to sit with your legs crossed, use your normally crossed leg for comfort or switch to the other side for change.
Our The Dailey Method motto is about the “Dailey Life,” so it’s not just about the class, but about leaving here with the strength you gained. One way of doing that is using key words. For example, in our plans, we’ll pick a word like “recruit.” So in that third, challenging plank, we ask our clients to recruit their abs and mind. The word is muscular and inspirational. There’s a lot that can be done in this area. And when you create that positive environment and security, it makes a better space for everyone.
Tami’s Favorite SBS Mantra:
“Be Bright: I believe you get from life what you put into it. Being bright means having energy that shines out of you because you know you’re living your best life, bringing brightness into the world and having it come back to you. You have obstacles and set backs, but day to day, week to week, you’re continually aiming to be your healthiest, kindest, most authentic self. To me, that’s burning bright!”
Try a Different Dailey Plank: Complete a few cat/cows repetitions, and then find a neutral spine, with your hands beneath your shoulders and knees beneath your hips. Tuck your toes and pull the belly into your spine: This activates your transverse abs. Lift your knees about three inches. From there, hold for 20 counts and then go down and up for 20 counts. Then straighten your legs back to a straight plank to hold.