Being a Mom is challenging, and being a Mom has made finding time to workout even harder. I’ve made a commitment to myself to workout consistently, but I’m not going to lie, this is tough. I love changing up my workout routines quite often, so that I keep myself interested, committed, and so that my muscles aren’t always doing the same thing. I’ve tried barre workouts before, but only here and there – j and not consistently. When I was presented with the opportunity to try out my local Pure Barre studio, I was thrilled for a couple of reasons. One: I always like supporting local businesses. Two: Barre class makes me feel graceful (and if you don’t know, I’m pretty clumsy). Three: Pure Barre has a reputation for butt-kicking workouts. I was also slightly terrified. I worked out almost exclusively at my local Pure Barre for six weeks and I had such a blast!
My main apprehension with taking Pure Barre classes is that I have never been that good at ballet and I assumed it was going to be another dance class. I took dance for a few years when I was young and then on a whim in college (not a good idea, but that’s a different story for a different post), but it was never a consistent hobby of mine. So, I’ve always thought that I’m not terribly graceful and that I am not a dancer. But, I quickly learned that Pure Barre is not a dance class, it is a workout class and it’s definitely a unique class. It relies a lot on small movements to really isolate and target your different muscle groups. And believe it or not, you do get a very good workout even though you’re not doing intense cardio, or lifting very heavy weights.
What is Barre?
Don’t worry I won’t bore you here, but I thought I’d give you a quick background on how long barre workouts have been around via my brief research on Google. Barre was founded in 1959 by Loretta Berk, a ballerina who injured her back and wanted to continue doing some dance, but also complete physical therapy. Barre workouts evolved out of this, combining small isometric movements, as well as elements of yoga and Pilates. Barre classes do use a ballet type bar and have mirrors, but its quite different from a dance class (thank goodness!).
Pure Barre is one of the several barre studios in the U.S. and it’s definitely the biggest. From the Pure Barre website, “Pure Barre is the largest, most established barre franchise in the nation, with more than 460 studios throughout the U.S. and Canada, and more studios opening each month. Pure Barre is a total body workout that uses the ballet barre to perform small, isometric movements, which burn fat, sculpt muscles and create long, lean physiques.” So if you are going to try barre classes, you may as well try them with the experts. My local studio in Geneva, IL opened in 2013, and is a big part of the Geneva community. I spoke with the owner of my local studio, Natalie Salb, and she is so sweet and quite passionate about barre workouts herself; “I love that Pure Barre is so much more than a workout; it’s a community of strong and supportive women who empower each other. I also love that it never gets easier…you just get stronger.” Amen! Yes, during the six weeks, the classes did not get easier. I thought they would, but I did find myself pushing myself a little bit harder each time.
Breakdown of the Pure Barre Classes:
The class is 50 minutes long and starts off with some light cardio, arm work, leg and seat work, followed by abs. The only props you use are the ball, resistance band, and briefly small weights, but a lot of the time, you are using only body weight. And my description is not doing it justice. It sounds like a typical workout, but trust me: it’s NOT. It is significantly harder.
Typical classic class equipment: grippy socks (trust me you need them), a resistance band, weights, and a ball.
This class is a bit short at 45 minutes, but believe me when I saw that you won’t feel like you have not gotten a good workout. This class is the “bootcamp” of barre, if you will. During the entire class, you are wearing either handweights or ankle weights. You also use a platform to do planks, squats, and other challenging things.
Breaking Down the Barre
This class is not offered all of the time, but I highly recommend it if you are interested in doing barre workouts properly. This class breaks down posture and alignment for all of the sections of the class with hands-on adjustments if needed. It also gives you the opportunity to ask for modifications if needed. I learned how to improve my posture from this class and got some really helpful pointers on how I can do several moves differently, so as to not strain my lower back. Oftentimes during barre class you are only making very small, one-inch movements, and having good form is crucial to having a good workout.
Why I Love Pure Barre
- No two workouts are the same. Yes, the general format is the same – but that’s about it. Each instructor has their own style and comes up with their own leg-shaking workouts.
- The instructors are top-notch. Seriously. They all know their stuff, including the proper form. They are all willing to help you to adjust your posture and form during workouts, in order to get the most out of your workouts.
- People of all fitness levels can do this workout. There are modifications for every move if you have an injury, or if you’re like me and your thigh gets a charley horse at certain angles.
- You will find out that you had muscles in places you never thought possible (my behind has never been this sore!).
- The sense of community you feel with others. Everyone is so welcoming and friendly at this studio!