I’d mentioned in my smoothie bowl post that I would be trying a new workout routine, and I LOVE it! Last Week I attended my very first Pure Barre class ever, and I’m hooked. At U of M, a lot of my friends and classmates regularly attended Pure Barre, which was founded in Birmingham, Michigan, and they sung it’s praises from the rooftops. They talked about all of the cute things they wore to class, how challenging the workouts were, and how they had each seen great results. One of my classmates was on U of M’s swim team and was a self-proclaimed Pure Barre addict, so if she thought it was a great workout, I thought it must be true. I’d been wanting to check it out for awhile, and after recently moving to a town that has a Pure Barre studio, I decided to give it a try for myself. I love working out, but since most of my job is done from home and is quite time consuming, I have become much more sedentary than I’d like to be. I signed up for a free week trial in the PB app and booked the first class that fit my schedule, which ended up being one of their “empower” classes, aka a high intensity cardio class that I was not prepared for. The app had failed to mention that the class isn’t geared towards beginners, so I thought nothing of whether or not this class was a good first class for me when I strolled in on my first day.
When I arrived at the studio and told the instructor behind the desk that this would be my first barre class ever, her eyes widened and she looked a bit concerned. I think she may have been worried that I’d give up on Pure Barre altogether after such a challenging workout. Since I was the only new person there that day, the owner Renae gave me a tour of the studio, explained how classes typically run and why empower classes were different. She set me up with my equipment for the day (wrist/ankle weights, hand weights, a platform, and a ball) next to her in front of the class right in front of a mirror, which I’ll admit, I was decidedly not stoked about, because I didn’t want people watching me fail, and she asked me to watch what she was doing throughout class.
The class moved quickly and while I was trying not to fall on my face, I noticed a few people were wearing tank tops denoting they’d attended more than 250 classes! When Renae was moving around the room adjusting other people’s forms, I decided to watch the ladies wearing these tank tops and wow were they good! They didn’t seem fazed by such a tiring workout in the slightest, while I was shaking like a leaf in the wind in contrast. I later learned that shaking is a good thing, because it means that you’re digging deep and working muscles to the point of exhaustion, which helps them become stronger in the long run. After learning this, I started watching other people more closely and I realized that just about everyone, regardless of how in shape they look, shakes at least a little during PB workouts.
I would say I was able to actually do about 65% of the workout because I either wasn’t strong enough to do everything the class demanded, or I was lost by how quickly things were moving and I couldn’t keep up or figure out what I was supposed to be doing (I may or may not have worked the same leg twice after realizing I’d started off on the wrong side haha). Despite my lack of endurance and general cluelessness the instructor, Renae, was so supportive and helpful. She helped me improve my form, demonstrated a few moves that weren’t clicking, and she even told me I was doing a great job during a particularly difficult set of side lunges (which I didn’t feel like I was doing them properly, but it was encouraging nonetheless -thanks Renae!). The class was definitely doable for any skill level, and I plan on attending more in the future because it was so fun and fast paced.
Since my first class I’ve taken 3 additional classes, both Pure Barre Classic workouts and a class called “Pure Barre Lite” that moved a bit slower and seemed to focus more on flexibility and accuracy, which I appreciated being a beginner. Each class has the same set pattern beginning with a warmup, moving on to working arms, then thighs, seat, abdominal work, ending with a cool down and some stretching, but no two classes are the same. I’ve been to a couple classic classes and they were completely different from one another, so I know that I won’t get bored. It takes a few classes to really get the hang of things, and even people wearing the 250 classes tank tops need help with their form time to time, so I would highly recommend trying Pure Barre, regardless of your fitness level or experience with barre workouts. The more I understand the proper form for each movement and exercise that we do, the more I feel challenged in the best way possible, because completing each workout with proper form requires strength, balance, and determination. The instructors also give really great options to make moves easier or more challenging, so I’m able to customize my workout to my fitness level and how hard I want to push myself each class. The 55 minute classes go by quickly, and everyone I’ve taken classes with have been so kind and encouraging (shout out to Eva for helping me with my form, making me feel welcome, and being such a great resource during my first classic class – I appreciate it more than you know)!
I’m so excited to continue working out with Pure Barre, because I can already feel myself getting stronger. It may also be related to the fact that I’m choosing better foods and drinking a lot more water so I don’t undo all of my hard barre work, but I’ve already lost 2.5 inches from my hips, and 1.5 inches from my waist since starting last week! I’d love to continue working out through the winter and into the spring (taking 3-5 classes each week), and I plan to update all of you on my progress, measurements, etc. so that you can see how effective Pure Barre is too! I’ll also be creating more posts about working out, my favorite fitness brands, goal setting, healthy recipes I love, and other fitness related posts, so be sure to subscribe to my blog and follow me on Instagram for updates. You can find your nearest Pure Barre studio, or try the workouts in your own home, by clicking here.