Hey Everyone, I’m Sami, a friend of Kupah’s and this week I am guest posting about a new (to me) fitness trend I’ve tried out – Barre classes. I have been spending a lot of time in the past 9 months really trying out some new areas of fitness to get into a better and more enjoyable routine. Barre seemed like it would be a natural fit for me and so far it’s been AMAZING! There are many different studios and variations of barre; The Bar Method, Physique 57, Figure 4, etc and Pure Barre –
Spotlight on: Pure Barre. The Pure Barre website describes the technique as follows:
Pure Barre is a total body workout that lifts your seat, tones your thighs and burns fat in record-breaking time. Utilizing the ballet barre to perform small isometric movements set to fantastic music, Pure Barre is the fastest, most effective, yet safest way to change your body…. The technique protects your joints as it does not involve any bouncing or jumping. Each strength section of the workout is followed by a stretching section in order to create long, lean muscle without bulk.
The Pure Barre studio in Boston just opened in the winter; I purchased their opening special, 5 weeks unlimited for $100 and you could start anytime. As soon as I signed up I immediately began second guessing what I had just done. Full Disclosure: I get super self-conscious exercising in front of other people and now, not only did I just sign up for this – but on Newbury St everyone is bound to be a size 0, perfect looking specimen right?
I read multiple reviews so I would be fully prepared going in (all of which said the classes were amazing and there was nothing to be worried about.) I walked in RIGHT on time because I couldn’t find parking – stress level through the roof, and BOOM girl at the front desk super welcoming, telling me not to worry, showing me to the lockers, changing room, what gear to pick up (small red ball, resistance band and 2 small hand weights<2-3lbs>) and sent me on my way. Complete calming effect.
The instructor asked if there were any new people in class, I was the only one – score! (eye roll) The class started and just jumps right in! I just started moving and trying to keep up for the first few minutes. She didn’t go over technique specifically, but the beginning was easy enough to follow. While I was a little disoriented, this was actually great for 2 reasons; you’re not wasting time and there’s no time to be worried about if other people are looking at you or if you’re doing horribly.
The first section of abs was REALLY hard for me. I was thinking about just how awkward it would be if I walked out. Then before I could finish that thought, we were switching to arms and I was fine! This was the tone for the class; as it’s getting almost unbearable and you’re ready to quit, you’re doing a change in the movement or on to working the next area of your body.
There are constant changes flexing your foot, going up on your toes, moving to tempo and then you’re moving from abs to arms to legs/thighs to seat to abs and stretching in between each. This made the time FLY!
The instructor, Courtney, could not have been nicer. The instructors walk around and will help you with your form, you can’t hear what they’re saying to someone else, so it’s never embarrassing and she specifically left me alone quite a bit, I’m pretty sure it was because I was new and I think she didn’t want to mortify me; I totally appreciated this. When she did approach me, she would ask if I was feeling it in the part of my body we were working on and I would say yes or no and she’d advise accordingly. I thought this was a great teaching tool, rather than just saying, “you’re doing this wrong!”
Your muscles are supposed to be shaking and burning.. And you may wonder how intense this was.. I think the best way to explain my experience is that it felt like my legs disengaged from my body and Michael Flatley Lord of the Dance took over. But, this felt AMAZING! I enjoy feeling the burn when I exercise, whether or not it’s true, it makes me feel like I’m actually getting something out of my exercise.
I stayed after to ask for some pointers from Courtney who was more than happy to help and very encouraging. I’ve since taken a few other classes and honestly need to stress that the instructors have all been SO NICE! They’re helpful, they’ve shown me modifications and told me that it’s tough in the beginning and you just need to build up strength in certain areas.
I do want to add that they say you’ll start noticing changes in as little as 9 classes. I have finished 6 classes and do already see some small, but measurable changes; some lifting 😉 , I fit into a pair of pants I haven’t been able to wear for a year and my core is stronger – I can now complete ab work without stopping or modification!
Between instructors and other people in the classes, not one person has given off a negative or judgmental vibe. No one has been paying any attention to me; there are women of ALL shapes, sizes and age. I have never felt LESS self-conscious in my life.
I highly recommend Pure Barre for anyone looking to add some variety to their routine, or to ease into fitness. It doesn’t require knowledge of complex fitness moves (ex: Clamshells – what ARE those? Sounds like a sex position to me.) The movements are simple and small, they’re not strenuous but you will burn so good and FEEL your workout. If you’re like me and a million other women who feel self-conscious and insecure, you can check your fears at the door. Everyone is encouraging, positive and kind. Check out a class and let me know what you think!