Thursday, July 31, 2014

pure barre class recap

Hello guys and gals! As some of you know, I tried out my first Pure Barre class last night. Let me tell you, it was a doozy! 

Pure Barre

Here's a little bit of info about Pure Barre (from their website):

Pure Barre is the fastest, most effective, yet safest way to change your body. 

In just 55 minutes you will achieve a full-body workout concentrating on the areas women struggle with the most: hips, thighs, seat, abdominals and arms. The Pure Barre technique is low-impact, protecting your joints by avoiding any bouncing or jumping. Each strength section of the workout is followed by a stretching section in order to create long, lean muscles without bulk. The technique works to defy gravity by tapering everything in and lifting it up!

The concentration involved while taking Pure Barre allows you to block "life" out for the hour, creating the mental benefits similarly obtained by the practice of yoga or meditation. A transformed body and a clear head in just one hour—it doesn't get much better than this.

I met with a friend to try it out together, so after work we met at the River North location. About 15 minutes before class, we went inside and filled out a waiver. The woman working the front desk explained to use that if we wanted to get the special new client package, we could do so after class or within 24 hours online. She also let us know where the lockers were and how to set the locks. There was one bathroom, a small changing area, and a water bottle filling station (I thought that was pretty neat). She also let us know which pieces of equipment we would need to start out with and where to find it.

Grip Sticky Sock

When we walked into the studio, it was already pretty packed (we were two of the last people to enter), and not knowing how much space we needed, we kind of walked around like idiots trying to figure out where we should go. Luckily, one nice gal said she could move over so we could squeeze in together. 

When I read it was ballet-inspired, I was expecting to work on some core muscles and do some toning by using some ballet-esque moves. WRONG. For the most part, when they say 'ballet-inspired', it seemed mostly like they meant the studio – mirrors and barres along all of the walls. I don't feel like any of the moves we did were inspired by ballet itself, though. However, I never took any ballet classes, so maybe I'm wrong? I guess I should have known better from watching the video and reading the descriptions haha. Oops. I was also expecting a bit less intense. The ladies in the video made the moves look easy
! Haha. That was not the case for this girl. I feel like there should have been a few more sweaty, red faced, hard breathing people in the video ;)

It was definitely one tough workout! They mean it when they say 'Lift, Tone, Burn'. Ouch. I feel like I am relatively in shape. I run 3–4 times a week, getting faster each year (though not fast by any means), and I've begun to do some strength training more frequently. However, this class kicked my butt and made me feel completely out of shape! I was using muscles I apparently have not been using, like, at all. Honestly, 15 minutes in I felt like I might pass out or vomit, so I stepped outside for a few minutes to cool down. Talk about pathetic haha. The women that were working at the front desk area came over the check if I was ok and needed anything. They were super sweet, but I just needed a bit of cooler air and to take some deep breaths. After a few minutes I felt better and returned to class to sweat some more.

It was super intense the first 20 minutes – which was using the hand weights (I only used the 2lb set), working on arms. I was dripping sweat 5 minutes in. I was obviously the only newbie, as everyone else new and anticipated the changes in movements and transitions from one thing to the next. 

After that it calmed down a bit, though the class was still working it hard. We used small balls, stretch tubes, and a mat for the rest of the exercised. During leg exercises I was shaking so much, as well as with the abs. I took a few breaks here and there to regain composure and to fix my form. When I get tired, form goes out the window. The barre was used for abs, legs, seat, and then we did floor exercises for more seat, hips, and thighs. It's amazing how tiring such small movements can be! I also had to skip some of the exercises, because the position we had to take on the floor bothered my hip a LOT. As in, sharp pangs each time I tried. I was ok with it on the other side, but I felt like a lazy bum just sitting there waiting for the next moves.

The class was fun, but it really wore me out. I was happy that the time went quick—no dragging. Even though it's a bit pricey, I'd say it's definitely worth the money. You could tell everyone in the class was working hard, evident by the sweat (though not as much as me haha) and shaking legs/arms/abs. I was sore when we left—it was tough to carry my bag haha—and I woke up with sore muscles just about everywhere (though my legs feel ok... does that mean they are the strongest part of my body? Most likely). I'd say from the pains, I need to work on my core and arms/back the most.

Online I had read that it can take up to 10 classes to get the hang of it – I can definitely see that being the case for me. Obviously with each class, you'd understand more of the movements, plus you'd be building up your endurance and strength with each one. Our teacher was very friendly, and you could see her going around the room helping people with their form. A couple times she came by us to push my back a bit, or give us a tip about what we should be doing (I couldn't always understand the lingo, or when it was a bit faster paced, so I often just took a quick break to check out what everyone else was doing). She was also around after class to answer questions, if anyone had any.

They have a deal for new customers, a cheaper unlimited package, however, the class times were a bit limited and a lot of the days we were interesting in going were already booked (only wait list available). That's a bit of a bummer. 

A little more about Pure Barre if you are interested:

What is Pure Barre? 

Utilizing the ballet barre to perform small isometric movements set to fantastic music, Pure Barre is a total body workout that lifts your seat, tones your thighs, abs, and arms, and burns fat in record- breaking time. 

What does Pure Barre do for my body? 

By taking Pure Barre classes, you will burn calories and gain lean muscle. Its low-impact, isometric movements target and tone certain areas of your body, and your heart rate will go up and down depending on how hard you work. 

How soon will I see results? 

You can see results in just 10 classes! For optimal results, classes should be taken at least 3-4 times per week. Your actual results will vary, as it depends on how often you are coming and what you are eating! 

Do you have different levels of Pure Barre classes? 

All classes are the same level as the technique was designed to work for people at all levels of fitness. That way, you can choose the class that suits your schedule, rather than being forced to work out at a specific time based on the level of class. The positions and movements are basic - it’s how deep you work in them that makes the difference. We are constantly changing our music and moves to keep each class fresh and exciting. In fact, you should never experience the exact same class twice! Studios periodically offer a few specialty classes, as well as intensives. 

Why does my body shake? 

When your body shakes, it means your muscles are reaching the point of fatigue, which is a good thing! Your goal is to have the muscle group you are targeting during a specific section of class shake every time. After the shake, you will stretch, to elongate the muscles while they are warm and malleable. This leads to long, lean muscles!
Beer flight = YUM. Great for post-workout, right?

I forgot to take any pictures with my pal, and since phones aren't allowed in the studio itself, I didn't get any of the inside. BUT... we did go out for drinks afterwards, so here's a picture of the flight we shared :)

Anyone else try a class like this? Was it hard for you? Does it get a little easier, the more you do it? Did you use sticky socks?

*Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post in any form. I paid for my own class. I was not asked to review it, but wanted to for any one that might be interested. I also like to document my own experiences – it's one of the reasons why I started the blog, after all.*


  1. great review! i've been going to pure barre for about 5 months and try to go 2 - 3 times a week. it's always hard, which is both good and bad :) it does get a bit "easier" meaning more comfortable but the moves are tough and the instructors always switch it up w/new moves so it never gets boring! it definitely is intense. since i've started i've gotten MUCH faster as a runner -- that core work pays off!

    1. Thanks Courtney! Yes, I would hope that after a few classes I'd at least understand the lingo, but I believe you are right – it would never be 'easy'! Glad to hear that it's helped you build your core and become a faster runner! Sounds like just what I need :)

  2. Oh my god! This looks awesome/terrifying/amazing! I'd love to try something like this- strength training is my downfall!

    1. Haha yes – it was all of the above! It was a great workout and I really hope I am able to budget the cost in somehow so I can keep going :)


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