Barre Coach Marnie Alton Explains the Advantages of Morning Motion

Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Marnie Alton weighed in at just four pounds at birth, earning her the nickname; “Mouse,” but that didn’t stop her from becoming an unstoppable force of nature when it comes to encouraging people to stay strong in body and mind.

Influenced by her roots as an on-stage actor and dancer, and even making a name for herself in Hollywood, Marnie Alton is now a wellness coach and physical trainer living in Los Angeles. And, while she tutors a growing cast of A-list stars like Drew Barrymore, you don’t need to be a regular on the silver screen to pick up her winning wisdom. Marnie Alton advises that anyone hoping to make a positive change to their lifestyle should start at the beginning and that means moving every morning.

M&F finds out why barre became her beat, and how all movement should be encouraged, even in the A.M.

“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be on stage performing,” says Alton, who studied drama and dance in college. Her acting credits include The Outer Limits (1995), Josie and the Pussycats (2001) and In Hell (2003), but it was 2005 before she came to Los Angeles, and immediately became hooked on barre; a workout that tones through stretching and bodyweight exercises.

“Having danced all my life, the movements felt so natural and empowering,” she continues. “I also couldn’t believe how quickly barre produced physical and mental benefits. I started teaching only one week later, and never looked back! In 2014, I decided to go all-in all and I opened my flagship studio in LA. I maxed out my credit cards, drained my bank account, sold my car, and moved into a tiny apartment. I learned how to lay dance floors, install ballet barres, and operate power tools!”

Marnie Alton Is Toning Up Tinseltown

The toasts of tinsel town were just as enthused as Alton with the benefits of barre, and soon the fledgling teacher had a room full of stars. “I first met Drew Barrymore in 2006, while teaching at that first studio in West Hollywood,” she shares. “Barre was the newest, most popular workout trend at the time, all my classes were sold out and filled with A list celebrities. From day one, Drew stood out as one of the kindest, most hardworking people in the room. One time she was rushing to class from set and had forgotten her leggings, so in true Drew style she refused to miss her workout and insisted on doing the class in her corduroy pants instead, laughing the whole time and hoping they wouldn’t split! She started coming to all my group classes, then reached out to train privately. We’ve worked together ever since, and I couldn’t love her more. Drew is one of the smartest and most authentic and inspiring people out there.

In addition to raising the barre, Alton feels that moving in the mornings is a great way to start the day right. Of course, moving in the A.M. can be a real challenge, especially when hitting the snooze button multiple times. It’s is a sure-fire way to lose quality time before work, and also provides less opportunity to be active, unless you count running for the bus that is.

“The thing I hear most from people is about how challenging it is to stay motivated,” shares Alton. “And, I can totally relate to this. My own habits really changed for the better when I realized that motivation is a verb not a noun: the more we move our bodies the more motivated and energetic we feel, not the other way around. Rather than chasing the feeling of being motivated, moving your body will make you want to do it more. Look for opportunities to be active for at least 5 minutes every hour: take the stairs, walk around the block, get on the floor and play with your kids or pets, stand up and wiggle and dance around to your favorite song, anything to activate your body and mind.”

Marnie Alton is w Taking Her Message Beyond Hollywood

 “In 2020, we decided to move our sessions online, and even though I miss the physical space, I’m so grateful to be able to connect with even more people around the world,” says the now global mentor.

“Online access makes exercise more accessible and convenient for everyone. People used to have to travel for up to an hour each way to take an M/BODY class (a mixture of barre, dance, and yoga) at our physical studio. Some even flew in to be able to experience it! w, anyone can get involved from anywhere in the world. This makes it possible for people to stay committed to a workout routine even if their schedule changes, which of course it often does, and when we least expect it. To me, the coolest part of being virtual is that the support of the community. This kind of connection increases a sense of belonging and improves mental health. Even if you’re technically sweating by yourself in your living room, you’ll never feel like you’re alone.”

Natalie Costello

Marnie Alton’s 5-Minute Morning Routine

“Even short bursts of exercise in the morning will have a huge effect on the rest of your day, including how well you’ll sleep that night,” explains Alton. Movement not only gets your blood pumping, but it also releases endorphins, improves brain health, oxygenates your lungs, and helps alleviate anxiety. Receiving all of this will make you feel more centered, energized, and ready to take on the day. Here’s an easy 5-minute routine:”

While you’re still in bed: Pull one knee up at a time holding it close to your chest for about 30 second and then bring that leg across your body while keeping both shoulders down on the mattress. Feel a gentle twist in your stomach to wake up your digestive organs and spine. Repeat on both sides.

Stand up and do full body shake: This stimulates your lymphatic system and literally shakes out all the built-up tension from your mind and body.

Do Sun Salutations: Wake up your joints and increase blood flow. Focus on moving your body with your breath to create a powerful mind-body connection for the day. (Sun salutations are a yoga sequence made up of the following movements in this order:

  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
  • Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)
  • Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
  • Halfway Lift (Ardha Uttanasana)
  • Plank Pose, Chaturanga
  • Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
  • Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) or Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
  • Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  • Halfway Lift (Ardha Uttanasana)
  • Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
  • Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)
  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Begin with one round, and once mastered you can repeat for further rounds to extend your morning workout.

For Alton, self-care rituals like exercise and taking care of hydration is key for happier mornings. “I start every day with a mason jar of lemon-ginger water as soon as I wake up before eating or drinking anything else,” says the coach. “It hydrates all your organs including your skin after having been many hours without hydrating during the night. It also boosts the liver’s efficiency, aids in lymph flow, detoxifies, balances your gut health, and creates a natural energy boost. It was challenging to get used to it at first, but now I can’t start my day without it.”

Alton instructs live classes every Wednesday and Saturday and people log-on from all over the world to get involved. “So many people have met and become friends this way and show up to work out together,” she enthuses. If you are moved by Marnie Alton’s mission to get you more active, visit: and receive a free 7-day trial.

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