Well, it's been two months since I started at Barre. And I am a bona fide convert.
1. I do not work out in full hair and makeup; these were taken after church.
2. My house is messy. I just decided to #letitgo.
3. Aside from color-correction, none of these photos have been edited (not that you'd think that because I'm not in any sort of crazy shape...okay I'm going to just stop disclaiming now.)
Here are some things I love about Pure Barre:
- They tell you "all your stress will melt away," and it does. The music pumping through the class is so loud and inspiring, it barely feels like it's 55 minutes.
- The instructors are really positive and encouraging. They will come correct your form (which I love!) and they shout you out on the mic when you're doing well!
- I said this last time, but PB is so gentle on your joints. If you read this blog regularly, you'll know I had a bit of an ankle trauma last fall, and running is challenging for me these days. Barre gives me the same great, high-intensity workout, just without the stress to my joints.
- It is REALLY HARD. "Barre" sounds like it would be a workout for ninnies, but y'all - I am pouring sweat every time I leave. Though every workout covers arms, thighs, seat, and abs, each class includes different exercises, making it damn near impossible to ever plateau.
- I go between 3 and 4 times a week, and that has been enough.
- I have not been dieting at all - this is all the result of exercise. I believe that diet shapes 3/4 of what you look like, and exercise 1/4; I've been actively working against PB because of what I've been eating. And even still, I see clear differences in my body.
Where I've noticed physical changes:
- My arms are definitely more sculpted. I have noticeable definition in my triceps, shoulders, and biceps that I didn't have before I started taking classes. But they aren't bulky, which is important to me.
- My "seat" has started lifting off the backs of my thighs and becoming more toned. They call the area between your booty and your thighs your "Pure Barre ledge;" I call it your "thass" -- po-tay-to, po-tah-to. Either way, I've never seen my rear end be this high off my legs.
- My thighs - quads and hamstrings - are becoming stronger. Interesting note: since I had a background in (very, very slow) running and have more muscular thighs naturally, I thought the "thigh" portion of the program would be the easiest. WRONG. So, so wrong. Thighs are my most challenging section every single time. I'm definitely a little self conscious about my convex thigh muscles (very, very round and protruding and always have been), and PB is helping them slim down a bit, both from a side and front view.
- Definition in my abs - this is the first time I've ever felt like I've even gotten close to a "flat" stomach.
There are certainly things I still struggle with about the class: it is a bit expensive, and I can understand how it's a little intimidating to walk into the studio for the first time. Heck, I did that - I get it!
Though the money part of it is not going to change, I have really been thrilled to see how welcoming the women in my class are. From the first time I walked through the door to now, the women in my 8:30 class are absolutely ALWAYS smiling and glad to see me. I've tried to extend that same courtesy to newcomers to the class. Between the poses you've never done, the lingo, the gear, and the fast-pace of the class, it's easy to get discouraged if you don't have some women around you saying things like, "Girl, trust me. It gets easier!!" And the Asheville studio is absolutely slam-packed with teachers and clients alike who are so encouraging, positive, and uplifting whether you've been coming for 2 days or 2 years.
All told, Barre has definitely changed my body in a major way. The only thing I'm interested in now is whether or not I'm getting enough of a cardio workout (I'll have to borrow someone's Fit Bit!) for it to count as heart-healthy.
But my overall review? GLOWING. I love my class and I feel proud of my body right now. Obviously I don't think I look perfect -- I'm under no illusions that I'm Giselle - but knowing what my best body looks like makes me feel strong and proud of my progress. I'm interested to see how things will shape up after a couple of weeks of me not actively undoing everything I work so hard to do in class by eating half a bag of pretzels every night.
More updates to come!