Burgundy Leggings (these are my favorite of all time)!
Over the last couple months, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about Pure Barre. Do I like it? What is Pure Barre? What is a class like? So let me take a stab at answering all those because Pure Barre is my favorite workout ever.
A little background on my relationship with Pure Barre first. I’ve been taking classes since the end of 2014. I originally started because I lived a couple blocks away from the Brentwood location back in Los Angeles. I was newly engaged and like every bride on this planet, wanted to tone up before my wedding day. I’ve always worked out a lot. I wasn’t blessed with a naturally thin body. I’d describe it as more “athletic” than anything else. I also like to eat and have terrible self control.
My girlfriend found a Groupon for the Brentwood studio for a 5 pack of classes – it was too good of a deal to pass up. We bought it and started our Pure Barre classes. Just over 3 years later, I’m still going to class 3 times a week so let me break down why I love it so much for you.
What is Pure Barre?
The best way I can describe it is a ballerina inspired workout class focused on tiny movements. Equipment wise, you have light hand weights, a ball, a rubber band, and a mat that you use throughout class. When you first walk in, only grab the first 3. They will distribute mats to you during class. The focus of Pure Barre is to concentrate on control. Hence, the tiny movements. The goal is to get your muscles to the point where they’re shaking. This is the point past burning in case you’re wondering. It sounds a little scary but I promise you, it’s worth it!
I usually use 2 and 3 lb weights although they do have 5 lb weights available too. I will say that you’d be surprised how much of a workout you will get out of light weights. When I first started, I didn’t even need to use any weights to get a good workout. I once convinced Matt to take a class with me and he grabbed the 5 lb weights like it was no problem. Halfway through arms he was dying. Couldn’t even lift up the weights.
What is a class like?
The format of every class is the same. It’s a 55 minute class that starts with a light cardiovascular warm up standing up. Then, you move into an abs warm up on the floor. You end up using your abs throughout the class though. Then, you’ll do the following sections: arms, legs, seat (AKA your butt), and another abs section. There is brief stretching between each section. While the sections of each class don’t change, the exercises and movements within each section do. Sure, they repeat some of the same exercises but it’s at the teacher’s discretion to mix it up. After that, it’s your cool down and you end the class with some more stretching.
They also introduced Pure Empower which is a different kind of class last year. It’s bigger movements and more cardio condensed into a 45 minute session. I try to work this in at least once a week.
The classes are mostly female but there is an occasional male that will attend. They also do “Bring on the Men” nights where girls convince their boyfriends, husbands, or brothers to come take a class. I’ve done two of those and it’s hilarious to see guys doing this class. The playlists are always really good, not repetitive, and upbeat so you don’t get bored during class.
If you walk out of your first class feeling totally lost, that’s normal. I don’t think it was until after my 5th class that I kind of got the hang of the routine and could keep up with the exercises. I also feel like I learn something new in every class still. Whether it’s a way to go deeper into the exercise or a reminder of how to tuck my hips under for a better workout, there’s always a way you can be pushing yourself to the next level. It’s not an overnight thing! Just hang in there and enjoy it (and the killer playlist)!
On Pure Barre instructors.
Teachers are probably the most important part to the class. If you have a great teacher, you’ll continually be pushed and you’ll continue to see results. Some of the teachers are so excited to come to class and try a new exercise. Others are just not as excited. If you’re new to a studio, try a bunch of teachers to find the one(s) you really like. Stick with them!
Also feel free to tell your instructor about any injuries, if you need to be pushed harder, or if you are having an off day. My best classes have been with the instructors I know well enough to say to them ahead of class “make sure I’m shaking in legs and seat”! They will also take feedback if one of the students says a certain exercise was really good/hard. You should also ask for modifications if something is hurting you! Never do something that hurts. Let them know!
You do you.
Pure Barre is extremely personal. Your ability to lift your leg to a certain height, hold a plank, or stay in a pose for a certain amount of time is specific to you. The most insightful part of this type of workout is being able to watch the progress over the years. Yes, I mean years.
One thing that I really struggled with at the beginning was comparing myself to others in the class. The most important thing to remember is that everyone is on their own journey. I found that through Pure Barre, I became way more in touch with my body, what it needed, and what it was capable of. If the girl next to me was able to do the splits but I was still a foot off the ground, it would annoy me. Think of Pure Barre as more of a way to mark progress on your fitness journey. You’ll see improvement week over week and will be impressed with how far you’ve come. The instructors are also there to push you a little harder and help you meet your goals.
I also learned a few other things like that I have a sway back and obnoxiously tight hip flexors. These things will never change to an extent. But it also means that I have to adjust some exercises to make them better for me. Over time, I’ve been able to go harder on exercises and use my knowledge of my body to make sure I’m challenging myself.
Pure Barre was one of the only things I’ve tried that actually helped tone my body. I tend to build mass really easily. Muscular is an understatement. My problem area is my hips, thighs, and butt and it really helped slim through that area. It has also given me some incredible abs but I had a head start from sitting on a medicine ball at work for that. If you go religiously, it will also help lift your butt. One of their mottos is “Lift, Tone, and Burn” if that’s any indication of what it will do for you. I recently was in the elevator with a girl who just started taking classes at my studio. She told me that she’s lost 15 lbs since October which is incredible. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or just tone up, this is a class that offers something for everyone.
Have you ever taken a Pure Barre class? Let me know what your favorite workout is!
PS. If you’re looking for some new workout clothes, Athleta is having a 20% off on all sale items this weekend! I linked to a few items that looked really good. These tights (these run true to size) are my all time favorite and these joggers are too. I literally have worn these joggers at least 5 nights a week (I own two pairs) since I got them in January. They’re so comfortable around the house and the charcoal color is on sale. Size down!