Monday, March 7, 2016

Pure Barre Love - 75 Classes In


Yesterday, I attended my 75th Pure Barre class. Tomorrow, I'll be headed in for number seventy-six. To say it's addicting would be an understatement. If you've ever wondered about Pure Barre, read on to find out why I love it so much. If you're already an addict like me, read on to nod your head and agree ;)

I go through fitness stages. I like having a physical outlet that keeps me healthy and feeling my best. For many years, it was running, though truth be told I was a running snob and after moving away from the beach and the ability to run along the ocean, I slowly gave it up. From there it was yoga, then group classes like mat Pilates and even generic "barre" at the gym, and then most recently hot yoga. I was never an on-your-own gym person - I needed a class and a time and a place to be (with an instructor and lots of other people to hold me accountable), otherwise a workout wasn't going to happen.

Since moving to Alabama, I haven't been able to find a yoga studio that "fits" me. Honestly, the pickings are slim (this California girl didn't realize there's not a yoga studio on each corner everywhere in the U.S. - my West Coast roots are skewing me). Anyway, this is how I found myself in a Pure Barre class for the very first time (well, that and the Groupon I scored). If I couldn't find a yoga class I liked, I figured this might be close (it was branded as a yoga/Pilates/ballet hybrid - though the "ballet" part did have me terrified since I consider myself mildly highly uncoordinated).

My very first class was honestly a blur. There was so much going on and it was so faced paced, I was just trying to keep up. I did make note, however, of how extremely thought-out each portion of class was. At one point the desk attendant came through and gathered all the free-weights since we were done with them, and before the floor portion the instructor passed out mats (while we were exercising at the barre - not a second was spared). At the end, sanitizing wipes were set down by each student. Everything was so organized. In the barre-type group classes I had attended in the past, there was always a bit of chaos - scrambling up to the front to get a mat for the floor portion, not having space at the barre... there was none of this at Pure Barre. Since the structure is uniform for the entire franchise, this made perfect sense. And what was so neat was to think that the same classes were happening at all 370+ studios all over the country. I have a friend in Scottsdale who has also started attending, and it's been so much fun to share stories and pretty much feel like we are attending the same studio even though we are in different states.


image via here

But, what exactly is Pure Barre you might still be wondering?
Well, lifted directly from their site:


Utilizing the ballet barre to perform small isometric movements set to fantastic music, Pure Barre is a total body workout that lifts your seat, tones your thighs, abs, and arms, and burns fat in record- breaking time.

Boom. And, after my very first class, I had the biggest rush of energy I can remember in recent history. And the next day I was so sore I could barely sit (the day-after muscle aches stopped a few classes in). But what really made me keep coming back was how positive the entire experience was. The entire staff is super friendly and welcoming, and at all the studios they make it a point to learn everyone's names. During class you'll frequently hear the instructors call out names for good form/great effort/etc. and as a former teacher, I just eat it up.

Each studio also sells high-end workout gear. Genius. Post-class you'll see ladies perusing the racks. Often, clothing discounts are combined with attendance incentive programs - I mean, the entire model is pure gold, both for the studio and for the students. The students benefit from all the motivation and encouragement, and of course the studio thrives with more business. The current incentive program is the "Pure Madness" March Madness challenge - attend twenty classes over the month of March and earn PB clothing cash and discounts - score!

image via here

My favorite motivational phrase they use, often written on one of the chalkboards:
This is your 55 minutes - make it count!

There are no phones allowed in the studio, so I feel like I literally leave everything at the door upon entering and just get to focus on myself. As a Stay At Home Mom of a toddler, me-time is precious and rare so I totally take advantage of it. The actual class requires tons of concentration so it's pretty much impossible to think about anything else besides staying in the moment.

One of the best things that helped me as a newbie was attending one of the (free, monthly) Breaking Down the Barre classes. It really broke down each section of class: 
warm up
sculpt arms
tone thighs 
lift seat
flatten abs
cool down
Plus, Breaking Down the Barre offered tips and encouragement like the fact the arms section works best if you never drop your arms for the entire portion, and that each warm up contains a 90-second plank. My first couple classes, I kind of gave up maybe 30 seconds into the planks, not knowing how long we'd be there or really what we were doing. Since the BDTB class, I've held each and every plank the entire 90 seconds, largely because I knew what to expect (I've also successfully done the entire arms section each time for the same reason).

image via here

As far as "results" go, the biggest change is my flexibility. Even compared to doing yoga for years, Pure Barre has made me the most flexible (split stretch here I come!).
original image via here

Also, and this is kind of humorous, I've startled myself twice with my new muscles. Lol, I kid you not. Once I sat up in bed and wondered what had brushed against my arm (it was my abs), and another time I grazed my own bicep with my opposite arm. Both times it literally took seconds to figure out what I was feeling, because the muscles were new!

Have you taken a PB class? I'd love to hear about it! And if you haven't, I say to go for it!

5 comments:

  1. 75 classes is quite the accomplishment! I've heard nothing but great things about Barre classes. Right now our gym doesn't offer it, but I hope they add it to their list of classes! Pilates Fusion is one of my favorites!

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  2. Well you're 74 classes ahead of me! I tried one over the summer and was so sore (aka miserable) afterward that I decided not to pursue it. Since our move, we now live closer to the studio, so I am considering trying another class!! PS, you're a no-reply comment-er! So I can't reply back after you've commented on my blog -- this is how you fix it:
    {1} Log into your blogger account and go to the home page.
    {2} Click on the drop box arrow beside your name on the top righ, then select "blogger profile"
    {3} Select "edit profile" near the top right of the page
    {4} Check "show my email address," which is the second checkbox from the top
    {5} Scroll to the very bottom of the page and hit "save profile"

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  3. I have always wanted to try Pure Barre, but never had the motivation. Now I really want to try it. I need to search for a studio that offers it around here.

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  4. 75 classes!! Girlfriend, I need to get on your level!! I was going for a while to a local spot but they closed - I need to get back on the bandwagon!

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  5. My friend in Chattanooga just took a pure Barre class and said I would like it. Might have to give it a go!

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