Review: Pure Barre

This is my first Tuesday morning not waking up at the crack of dawn to write a Bach-cap in 9 weeks. RIP Bachelor Ben. Hope you and The Bee are having a grand old time. 

Despite my sadness at not having a Bachelor episode to review, I'm up. I'm coffee-d. I'm ready to review my experience yesterday. 

Pure Barre. 

Dun dun dun. 

Boy Meets World, anyone? 

Boy Meets World, anyone? 

Only joking. I actually had a really good time! I had some concerns going in, so I thought I'd tell you what my hesitations were initially vs. how I ended the class feeling. 

Concern: I don't have the right thing to wear. 
This may seem shallow, but to me, Pure Barre has always seemed like the "cool girl" workout class. There's a lingo and a dress code that everyone seems to intrinsically know before going. I had seen pictures of women in Pure Barre workout clothes, and most of them had on some version of long, dark pants and a tank top. I was worried that I would look weird in what I had on (Lululemon High Times pants and a Nike racerback workout top), but that ended up being just fine. The reality is that once you begin the class, you're way too worried about staying alive to look around the room at outfits. 

I bought the "sticky socks" there, and I really did feel like I fit in. The major thing they want you to do is cover your legs and midriff so that your whole body stays warm throughout the workout.  

Concern: I'm not a ballerina.
A few months ago, I had a terrible experience at a yoga studio here in Asheville. I have a yoga background (not a crazy-intense one, but enough), so I was surprised when the instructor introduced a move I'd not only never seen, but never heard of. When I attempted it, she walked over to me and LOUDLY corrected my posture. Then, when I recoiled a little at being called out in front of the entire class, she said, "Well, if you can't laugh at your own mistakes, you have bigger problems." basically what I'm saying is that I wanted the floor to swallow me whole. 

Needless to say, I was a little skeptical of group classes after that horror of an experience. 

When I walked in yesterday, I was very nervous that I'd be super behind (and that I also may or may not be publicly shamed for it). I didn't grow up dancing, so the concept of barre is really 100% new to me. 

Thankfully, right when I got there, the instructor (Christina) welcomed me, walked me through all the gear, and explained the terminology she would use. Once the class started, she shouted me out on the mic (Haaaaay!) and encouraged me the whole class. She did correct some of my movements, which I found really helpful since, as I mentioned, I'm about as comfortable at the barre as I am skydiving. But when she corrected me, it was quietly, with a smile, and she always found something to praise me for later. I'm a sucker for a compliment sandwich! 

Concern: It's going to be too challenging.
Everyone I know who's ever taken a barre class (including Jordan, who took one when they had a "Bring On The Men" class and he was DATING A PURE BARRE TEACHER. I know. Holy inferiority complex, you guys. It's cool, I have other talents.) has said that it is extremely difficult. 

The concept of barre is that you're making tiny movements, as opposed to big sweeping exercises or pounding a treadmill. The theory is that by working muscle groups in very focused, intentional ways, either using your own body weight or very light hand weights (like 1 - 2 lbs.), you'll not only strengthen, but you'll get long, lean muscles. 

I will admit, the class was very fast-paced. Once it got started, it was a non-stop 55 minute ride. The instructor uses a Britney Spears mic to talk through the movements and to be heard over the pop music that's pumping through the studio. The class advertises that your "personal life will melt away," and it definitely did. 

While in the beginning it seemed like I was the only one who wasn't sure what was going on, before long I realized that every class is different, so all the women there were picking up the moves along with me. 

The class is broken into four parts, with a warm-up and a cool-down at the either end: arms, "seat" (meaning your butt), thighs, and abs. I found the arms and the seat sections to be the most challenging - the arms because there was a lot of tricep work, which I don't normally do, and the seat because there was a lot of side-butt/hip work, which, again, is not part of my workout normally. Lately, I've been doing cardio 3-4 times a week in an online workout class, so I'm not out of shape, but I'm certainly not in THAT kind of shape. I definitely "found my shake" as Pure Barre likes to say, which means holding a position that makes your muscles tremble. 

This morning? The soreness. Is. Real. 

I'm hobbling around my house with new muscle groups that are sore springing to life with every movement: triceps screaming when I reach for the coffee, side body aching when I try to pick something up, butt and thighs on fire when I sit down or stand up. 

But this tells me that I got a killer workout yesterday. So I'm all for it. 

Concern: This is expensive.
Well, sorry to say, this one is just true. 

Right now, I'm in the middle of a new member package in which I get a month of unlimited classes at $100. I'm taking 4 this week, then I'll set my schedule for next week. 

As far as normal memberships go, the classes only get more expensive from there. If I continue with barre, it'll definitely be something Jordan and I would have to budget for. But, as my friend Meredith says, "Money is a tool." Where you put your money should be a reflection of where your priorities are, and one of my priorities is definitely living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Healthy meaning I take care of myself and balanced meaning I ate a package of Cadbury Mini Eggs last night for dessert. 

...that's what healthy and balanced means, right? 

So. In summary, I will admit, Pure Barre is a little bit on the pricier side of the workout classes I've done. But I also have to acknowledge that they're on to something, and I am really hooked. As a (very slow) runner, I appreciate that Pure Barre is zero-impact on my joints, but that I still feel like I got an incredibly intense workout when I left. I think a huge part of my good experience was my teacher, and I'm rotating through a few teachers this week. Hopefully all of them will be as encouraging and awesome as Christina! 

Have you guys tried it? I'm very curious about what other people's experiences are. 

Gonna go pop some Advil and stare at my newly sculpted arms.