Burr Leonard Founder of The Bar Method

Burr Leonard is the founder and creator of The Bar Method, a full-body exercise workout that utilizes a ballet bar technique. The method draws from the principles of isometrics, dance conditioning, interval training, and physical therapy. With 19 years of experience in the fitness field, she and her business partner have turned their one Bar Method studio into a franchise operation with 30-plus studios and a media company selling exercise DVDs and accessories.The Huffington Post, ABC News, KUSI TV, and KUSA-TV have featured Burr Leonard’s The Bar Method.

Born in 1947, Burr Leonard is the daughter of George Burr Leonard, an educator and published author in the field of self-mastery and human potential. Burr started her career as a writer, working as a journalist with "Esquire," Adam Smith’s "Money World," and "Forbes" covering young innovators and entrepreneurs. In 1981 she discovered the Lotte Berk Method of exercise and became an avid student. In 1991, along with her new husband Carl Diehl, they bought a license to operate Lotte Berk Method studios in southern Connecticut. Burr spent a year studying and teaching The Lotte Berk Method at the Manhattan studio then opened her first Lotte Berk exercise studio in Greenwich, Connecticut. Immediately, Burr noticed that some of her clients’ knees, backs and shoulders were not responding well to the exercises and sought the help of a physical therapist. Under his guidance she reworked the sculpting exercises so that they would target students’ muscles without impacting their joints.

During the 90s, the business partners opened three more Lotte Berk Method studios in New Canaan, Darien and Westport, Connecticut. At the end of their ten-year license term, their four studios were thriving, but their version of The Lotte Berk Method had become so unlike their licensor’s that they made the decision not to renew. In 2001 The Bar Method was founded, the Connecticut studios were sold, and the flagship Bar Method exercise studio opened in the Marina neighborhood of San Francisco, California.

Burr’s passion for The Bar Method is an intentional expression to live a balanced, healthy lifestyle and to help create that for others. Burr’s former husband, Carl Diehl, is her business partner and her sister, Mimi Leonard Fleischman, owns and operates several Bar Method studios in Southern California with her husband Mark.

With The Bar Method currently in seven states across the country and more than 10 studios in the works including three new states and Canada, Burr dedicates her time to ensuring consistency and quality in the exercise system, guiding the franchisees, and producing media products. Last year “Change Your Body!” and “Accelerated Workout” exercise DVDs came on the market, making The Bar Method workout available to wider audience. She is currently working on more home exercise workouts and a book on the Bar Method.

Burr lives in Sausalito, California with her boyfriend Michael Doud and her Pomeranian Pi.

“I feel lucky that the fitness technique that has enhanced my life is something we are making more and more available to people.”
~ Burr Leonard, Founder, The Bar Method