Fitness Fridays: I Tried Pure Barre

I was contemplating my New Year's Resolutions (see my last post for what they are!) and decided that ClassPass would be a good option to help me fall in love with fitness again. I signed up (in Chicago it's $118/month and gives you access to dozens of studios! Check it out here) and jumped in headfirst, signing up for a Pure Barre class on New Year's Eve and a class at what I consider my "home" studio, Yoga Six, for a Flow Yoga class at 11:30 am on New Year's Day. I'm starting 2016 off feeling good about myself, rather than sluggish and hungover.

Let me start off by saying that Pure Barre is expensive on its own. I loved it so much that I thought I might want to pay for additional classes outside of my class pass, but it's $25 a class. Outrageous. So I'll be sticking to going three days a month for now, until I hit the lottery. 

When I arrived at the studio, I checked in with the instructor at the front desk, where I explained that I was 100% new to barre, period...not just that location or Pure Barre as a brand. She was encouraging (it was labeled an "All Levels" class on ClassPass) and had me sign a waiver and put my things in a cubby in either the lobby (which I did) or one of the additional cubbies in the back of the studio (which I will do next time).

Barre classes (in general, not just Pure Barre) require that you wear socks while practicing. I purchased a pair of their black grippy socks, because I had read online that light colored socks are easily ruined by the carpets in the studio and unfortunately all of my athletic socks are white. They were $14.10 after tax (for one pair) but are the heaviest, best fitting socks I've ever owned. I really wish all of my athletic socks were of the same quality as the Pure Barre socks. I'll likely purchase a couple more pairs so that I don't have to constantly wash the one pair I have for the multiple barre classes I'll take in a week.

This class was the classic Pure Barre class. I needed a resistance "tube" (similar to a resistance band or stretchy yoga strap), a small red ball (basically a dodgeball) and two hand weights in my desired weight. The hand weights went down to half a pound, but as I lift weights I took the middle weight, 2 lbs. All of these items were provided by the studio.

I stretched briefly before the class began, and before I knew it we were on our way. The class starts out with high knees, in tempo at a moderate pace, and gradually builds to adding your arms to get your heart rate up. They play a mix of generic workout songs and Top 40 hits over the speakers, so to me it felt like a normal workout (I listen to music while I lift and run). 

From there it becomes a weird combination of ballet, zumba and yoga. We worked our arms, with the weights, our backs, and heavily our legs and butts. We did plies, squats, arm raises, chair poses (with tucks) and so on. The class was intense, with very little actual instruction, but it's easy to catch on by looking around yourself. Additionally, my instructor Amy not only remembered by name from when I checked in, but she helped me the times I seemed to not get something. As silly as it is, I felt like I was getting the hang of it and it was awesome to hear Amy confirm my thoughts over her microphone.

By the final stretches of the class, I was shaking so hard from the exertion that I could barely complete them. It felt awesome--just like it would had I done a leg day at the gym. As I walked home after class, I realized just how exhausted I was. My endorphin levels were off the charts and I felt confident and energized despite my exhausted muscles. I was feeling sore about three hours post-class.

I woke up this morning and was so sore. My butt hurts, but quads entire lower body hurts and my entire arms hurt. I felt so satisfied and accomplished to be so sore. I managed to drag myself out of bed for yoga, which helped the soreness, albeit temporarily. 

I would highly recommend barre in general, and Pure Barre for sure for anyone looking to shake up their fitness routine. You won't be bored and your results are determined 100% by how hard you push yourself. Overall I give Pure Barre a 9/10 (I docked a point because it's so unaffordable).