My Take on Barre

Over the past few weeks, my friends/family/boyfriend have likely heard the following phrases come out: “had a great morning, hit the barre first thing” or “can’t meet after work, heading to the barre” or “the barre has GREAT music and energy” or …you get the picture. I’m not an alcoholic I swear. Okay okay, jokes old, I’m lame – but sorry, can’t help getting a kick out of it still! Yes, I’ve become completely obsessed with barre class. Particularly, I’ve been hitting up the Pure Barre studio – a chain of boutique barre studio’s across the country. To my luck, one studio is located 5 minutes down the road from my office and is conveniently the same distance to my apartment…how can I say no?

I tried out my first Barre class last winter and LOVED it, however, I was still so stuck on ONLY cardio at that point. I felt that running was the only way to stay in shape. However, lately, I’ve realized that running is not the ONLY answer and quite frankly – I think I just need a long break from running. And coincidentally, this realization could not have come at a better time. Winter hibernation is the perfect time for this! Now don’t get me wrong. I still love running and it is TOTALLY a great workout. I’ll still do 3-4 miles at least 3 times a week. But, I’ve cut back a lot. Honestly, my plan is to take off the winter and then start up training again mid-spring.

Anyway, given this – I’ve found other ways to stay in shape and really work on toning and strengthening my body. Barre has been a fitness routine that I really enjoy and am ACTUALLY seeing results from after just a few weeks, which running has never done that drastically. I loved my first class at Pure Barre so much that I purchased a 1 month unlimited sign up for new clients and jumped on that ASAP. I can tell you I have taken full advantage of this – literally, I go almost every other day possible…
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For those of you who still may be wondering what exactly barre is, let me give you a run down of what a typical class at Pure Barre would be like:

The studio is fairly small, there’s just one large room carpeted and surrounded by mirrors and of course, the barre that wraps around the room. The studio is welcoming and the fitness trainers there are all super upbeat and friendly! One thing I noticed at my first class and all of them following, is how tentative the fitness instructors are. I arrived a few minutes early to my first class and they walked me through some beginner tips. Come in, grab a ball, a strap, and 2 sets of weights. Pick an area close to the mirror, in the front of the room so that you can easily pay attention to your form. Take the class at your own pace, you know your own limit. And most importantly, when in doubt, ALWAYS tuck (essentially, act as though someone is constantly punching you in the stomach!)

On the dot, the instructor comes in – the class room is filled with no more than 15 people. The music starts up – AH – upbeat house and dance music – I could get used to this. Let me tell you – this music is so crucial for a class like this – so many of the moves go exactly to the beat and the music will push you through the pain. We begin right away with the warm up – the fitness instructor coaching us all the way through, whether you’re a regular or brand new to the class, the instructors will coach you through every move. Not only that, but they are really good about paying attention to your name as you arrive to the class. Which is so nice, because throughout the class they’ll say your name with encouraging comments or coaching tips – I find this aspect so important and I really appreciate how personal they are with the class!
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Now after your warm up, you go straight into working your arms. You have the option of using no weights, 2 lbs, 3 lbs, or 5 lbs. Don’t let the amount of the weights fool you! Your arms WILL be shaking by the end, I promise you. Once you are done with arms, you’ll do a quick stretch and move into working your “seat” (the outer part of your bum, aka the Bikini target zone, aka every women’s goal for the best summertime bod) 😉 Again, they will work you until every inch on your body is uncontrollably shaking. After this workout, you’ll then get a really nice stretch in. Another thing to note here is that this brief stretching actually Really pays off. My yoga instructor even commented on how much my splits have improved…wooo!! Progress!!

After your seat and stretching, you’ll then progress into outer/inner thighs, then slow done a bit into core. Then the fun begins as you wrap up the class with a VERY intense core session. Again, the goal here is to get you to the point of shaking for every muscle. So you can bet your core will be worked to the bone!

Quickly, the hour flies by and you’ve made it to your final stretching stages. Lastly, you’ll wrap up the class with a group applause and I can guarantee you’ll never feel more accomplished than after this barre class!

Last bit of advice – drink a lot of water before hand and make sure you dress appropriately! See below for advice on what to wear:
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Similar to yoga attire…

– Long spandex/leggings/capri spandex (don’t suggest wearing shorts as you do moves and stretches that may show a lot…if you get the point…)
– Any type of tank top – highly suggest a tight one for flexibility with movement
– You will need special socks with a grip texture on the bottom – you have the option of purchasing these there for $3

Feel free to leave comments and let me know if you’ve ever tried Barre and if so, what’d you think?!

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