Pure Barre

28 Nov

I went to a Pure Barre class for the first time since August, and it felt amazing, so I thought I would do a post about it!

Barre classes are sort of all the rage right now, and because I love to try out anything that is “all the rage” I of course jumped on the chance to go with a friend this past summer. At that time, there wasn’t one in my hometown. Here’s the blurb from their website, just to give you a little background:

“Pure Barre is the fastest, most effective way to change the shape of your body. Using small isometric movements at the ballet barre set to motivating music, Pure Barre lifts your seat, tones your thighs, abs and arms and burns fat in record breaking time.”

As a side note, I’ve mentioned before that I grew up dancing. As a result, as an adult, I’ve always been fond of Pilates classes, but disliked yoga. (Sacrilege, I know, since yoga also tends to be all the rage.) I used to go to this spin/yogalates class in college that was awesome. We would spin for 40 minutes, then do a mix of yoga and Pilates for 30 minutes. It was great because the spin part was really intense and burned a lot of calories, but I felt so relaxed and stretched after the yogalates that I forgot out hard and intense the spin part was and kept going back for more! Anyway, I could always tell which moves were yoga-inspired and which were Pilates-inspired because Pilates feels natural and graceful to me, but yoga feels awkward and uncomfortable. Basically Pure Barre was right up my alley because it uses moves I am familiar with from dancing and Pilates.

Basically I was hooked from my first class! For those who are unfamiliar, the classes I’ve been to start out with a “warm up” that is no joke. It starts with some marching, then moves on to a forever plank hold where you move different legs and arms, then push ups (!) and on to arm work. The focus is very minimal movements that cause a deeep burning sensation. One thing I like is that the arm moves are very difficult and leave my arms shaking, but there is no need to save anything for later because you don’t use your arms again after that at all, so I have no fear of fatiguing them completely.

After warming up, you do a few thigh exercises at the bar (these make my thighs burn so much that towards the end they are almost numb with pain), then a few “seat” exercises either at the bar or in the center, then some very intense ab work. Finally you do what I have heard called “glute raises.” At Pure Barre they are called “back dancing,” which I find hilarious and love. After each session of muscle work, you stretch out that muscle. The hour just flies by and you are left feeling completely spent, but tighter and lighter. 

When a Pure Barre opened in my town they had a new member special where you got a month unlimited for $100. Pure Barre promises that in ten classes you will see results. I probably went around 25 times in the thirty days I had. (I had to get my money’s worth. Also it’s kind of like an addiction.) I didn’t take any official measurements, but I did do a lot of staring at myself in the mirror. I can honestly say that my body has never looked so toned and sleek as it did while I consistently doing Pure Barre. I miss that.

Here are some things to know before your first class. (Luckily I went with someone! I would recommend that, actually, if at all possible.):

1. You must wear socks. You should bring your own. If you don’t bring socks, they will make you buy their socks, and their socks are $12. They are fancy and non-slip, but still pretty hefty for socks. I always just wore regular socks, and never really had a problem with slipping. 

2. There isn’t really a receptionist. Whoever is teaching the class stays at the front desk for awhile, and there are always regulars standing around buying clothes, or just chatting it up, so you need to be sort of assertive about signing in. 

3. There is very little instruction about the moves. There are a few “breaking down the barre” classes where they explain the moves in-depth (I haven’t been to one of these, but I’m told that’s what happens there), and if you have questions you can always ask after class. Try to follow along as best you can. The instructor will correct you if you are way off.

4. The mat work against the mirror is tricky. So there is this part of the class where you put you sit on the floor, grip the bar, and use your abdominal muscles to move your feet. It’s tricky for first-timers, or even 25-timers if they aren’t paying attention. It requires a lot of focus and a lot of loud exhaling. The more you go the better you get at it.

5. If you are sore after a class, go to another one. This is true of all workouts, really, but the best way to get over soreness is to get right back in the saddle. Because you are stretching so much, the best thing you can do if you are extremely sore is to go to another class the next day.

I will say that Pure Barre is a little expensive for me. A month unlimited is normally $200. If I didn’t have my morning boot camp class that costs around the same, I would do it in a heart beat. I can’t justify spending the same amount on workouts that I spend on rent. This is the first time I’ve gone back since my month expired, but I asked for a month from my parents for my birthday, so I will become a regular again soon. (Sunday, actually.)

I should also probably mention that I didn’t exclusively do Pure Barre, I did it on top of my boot camp workout. Basically for that month it was unusual for me not to feel sore. It was kind of awesome, really. However my results were enough to make me a believer, and even if I hadn’t been able to see the results so clearly, I enjoyed the workout enough that I probably would have been enthusiastic about it regardless.

Have you tried Pure Barre or another barre-inspired class? What did you think?

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