If you have ever struggled with getting results when it comes to toning your body, this post is for you. That was me. Until I discovered Pure Barre. If you’ve ever wondered what a class is like and if it’s worth it, keep reading. And come take a class with me!
What is Pure Barre?
So what is it? If you haven’t heard of the barre craze, let me introduce you to the best thing ever. The workout is centered around repetitive small movements that get your muscles to shake. This shaking is when change happens (as they say in class). You’re not battling anyone else. You’re not trying to lift the most weight. Best of all, you’re not running. Anyone else hate running? I do! You essentially fatigue each muscle group to make it long and lean. It’s tough but not to the point where it should deter anyone from trying it. I’ve taken classes with all shapes, sizes, genders, and ages. It’s a workout that anyone can do and there are modifications your instructor can show you if you’re injured or unable to do anything.
I started taking Pure Barre to get in shape for my wedding back in 2013. I religiously went to class and was in the best shape of my life for our wedding. It was the only workout that I enjoyed AND saw results from. That’s the single best reason why I love it. We all want results, right? That’s why we put in all the effort! Would I recommend it? 100%. Especially to anyone struggling to slim down.
I’ll be completely honest with you. I’ve tried so many different workouts and types of classes (more on that here). I did 6 months of Orange Theory last year while I was taking a break from Pure Barre. What I found is that I bulked up and built muscle in a way that wasn’t cute. The instructors would strongly encourage us to use more weight (sometimes even confronting me individually). My arms were bigger, my thighs were bigger, I lost my ab definition, and my back fat increased. It just didn’t work for my body type. I know some people that swear by it and I think it’s a great workout if you’re mixing with other things or if you are trying to improve your heart rate. However, as a relatively fit person, it just wasn’t what I needed.
I’ve also been adding ClassPass lately to my routine in addition to Pure Barre 3-4 times a week and cardio on off days. The ClasssPass entry package is a great way to add variety without overcommitting and it’s more cost effective that some class packages. For example, I love taking Lagree a few times a month through ClassPass because the Lagree class packages are insanely expensive! I’m not sure it’s the only thing I would do (there’s a point where that becomes more costly) but it’s perfect for a little sprinkle of workouts every month.
Why I love Pure Barre.
Here are a few reasons why I love Pure Barre.
- It’s low impact but that doesn’t mean you sacrifice results. If you have bad knees, Pure Barre lets you tone without the excess pressure of weight lifting. The smaller, repetitive movements with lighter weights will slim muscle groups leaving behind that long, lean look. I carry most of my weight in my thighs and my booty and Pure Barre has been the only workout that visibly slims my thighs. I noticed this when I first started years ago and when I stopped last year (which is why I started again)!
- Variety. This allows you to cross train without having to go to different studios. There are 3 completely different types of Pure Barre classes (I’ll get into the details below) and they are all challenging in their own way. Not only that but each Pure Barre instructor mixes up the exercises every week so that you’re not doing the same thing every time, working your muscles more completely.
- Accountability. I love that the teachers are there to hold you accountable in your exercises. If you’re one of those people that doesn’t need that and has success working out in the gym on your own, I’m jealous. I’m not one of them. I tried that for the last year and noticed my body gaining weight and losing tone even though I was lifting regularly and doing cardio. That’s why I ultimately decided to go back to Pure Barre.
- It’s fun. I love the music. I love that it’s mostly female (although I do see the occasional male and Matt has been which he wrote about here). I feel like I’m part of something. I love connecting with the instructors. And I just feel good (and toned) afterward.
- You go at your own pace. The first few classes are a whirlwind but what I love about it is that you go at your own pace. You’re not being compared to others and you become very aware of your body (both strengths and weaknesses) by going to class. What one exercise looks like on you might not look like the person next to you.
3 Different Workouts, 1 Studio.
What most people don’t know is that each studio (at least the downtown Chicago locations) offers 3 different types of classes. They are very different workouts that can all be taken within the same location. I love that this variety allows you to cross train without having to double up on memberships at various studios. It also means that your muscles are constantly challenged so you see results faster. So what types of classes are there?
Who is this for: everyone!
This is the original, barre workout that people usually think of when they think of Pure Barre. It’s incredibly challenging and is an amazing workout that targets every muscle group in your body. It’s high intensity yet low impact. On a more practical note, I love that I leave feeling like I got a great workout in but my hair isn’t drenched in sweat so I don’t necessarily have to wash it after every workout. My body feels tight and toned and don’t have to worry about damaging my hair with over-washing it!
Who is this for: the cardio and HIIT lover.
Empower is more fast paced than the Classic Pure Barre class. Each segment of class is broken up with a short interval set that elevates your heart rate and increases your metabolism. This class uses ankle weights and a platform. This class definitely makes me sweat the most!
Who is this for: the weight lifter.
This is the newest addition and my second favorite class. It uses two sets of resistance bands to target your muscles for strength and definition. You can make each exercise harder or easier depending on where you are in your progress (this is true of every Pure Barre class). They also use sliders in class which are killer for your abs!
Even More Variety with Pure Barre Downtown Chicago.
On top of these 3 classes which they offer every week, they are always mixing it up. They have Foundations classes every Saturday at 11AM here in Chicago to go over the basics of Pure Barre if you’re new. If you give them a call and come into one of their Foundations classes, they will buy your first class for you. This is specific to the downtown Chicago locations! They have a nutritionist come in regularly if you’re looking for insights into what you eat as well. Every month, they have “intensives” to target one area of the body which I also love. They’re just always doing something fun here in downtown Chicago!
Overall, I can’t say enough about how amazing Pure Barre has been for me. I’ve only been back at it for a month and my abs are already firmer than they’ve been in the past year despite the million different ab exercises I did on my own at the gym. I can’t wait to get back into shape and watch my body progress!
Want to try it? Come lift, tone, and burn with me at a class here in Chicago!