So I was a dancer growing up. Did you know that about me? Just about 15 years of dance to be exact. From before I could remember, to a month before high school graduation. I was lucky enough to have amazing instructors who, among many other rules, required that all their students be enrolled in ballet before being allowed to take any other classes. Ballet was the foundation and we were all better dancers because of it. Our performances displayed strong technique, self-discipline, and a better ability to stay in sync with each other than some of those *cough* other dance studios in town… *cough* (I kid, I kid. Nothing like healthy competition to push everyone a little more!)
**I wanted to insert a really embarrassing old dance photo here, but
fortunately unfortunately they’re all hiding at my parents house!** ;)
I think all the girls that danced with me growing up would agree – when you go from dancing 2-3 hours a night, 3-4 days a week for years, it’s kind of a shock when you get to college and suddenly…wait….I have to actually work out now? This isn’t nearly as fun! I realized I didn’t really know how to work out because I grew up so active. I can’t even begin to imagine how many calories we burned in one night dancing. Probably more than I’ll ever be able to burn in an hour’s time ever again!! So in my mid-twenties quest to find ways to be active that were more exciting than treadmills, weights and ellipticals, I began to hear rumblings of “The Bar Method” workout. It seemed to be a big city thing though, so my curiosity didn’t go much farther for awhile. But then…what do you know!? Here I am living in a big-ish city and it turns out we’ve just gotten our very own Pure Barre studio! Woohoo!! There was a LivingSocial for four classes a few weeks after it opened and I didn’t hesitate. I was so excited to try this!
For those who aren’t familiar, Pure Barre is very similar to The Bar Method (basically just two different franchises). It’s a floor and barre based workout that borrows strengthening and toning exercises from a traditional Ballet warm-up. There are Bar Method studios in larger cities, but it seems Pure Barre has taken off more recently and is popping up in some smaller towns too. You can check their websites to see where they are: Pure Barre and The Bar Method.
Here are a few pictures from the Pure Barre website and the Greenville studio’s facebook page:
The nice thing about Pure Barre is that all the classes are one level so anyone can attend any class without fear of being overwhelmed or undertrained. They’re also different every time you go. I’ve been to four classes now and we’ve done some of the things in each class, but she’s also added new things to each workout, which keeps me interested. Don’t get me wrong – IT. IS. HARD. Throughout the class the instructor will say to you, “If your legs aren’t twitching or shaking yet, go a little deeper into the stretch.” All of the moves are very subtle and small, focusing on muscle contraction, so when you look around the room it’s actually pretty humorous. You can barely see anyone moving but everyone is sweating bullets and has a look on their face like they’re ready to die. But despite feeling like someone was holding tiny lit matches under my thighs as they trembled… IT IS SO ADDICTIVE. It’s almost like you want to keep going back until you can do it all and keep a smile on your face!
The classes go about like this: You do a series of exercises for each muscle group beginning with arms, then thighs (boy do you feel the burn here!), then seat, then abs, and finally you end with some oblique and back exercises on the floor. The only pieces of equipment you use besides the ballet barre are a resistance tube, two 3 or 5 lb dumbbells, a small ball (similar to the rubber ones you used for Dodgeball in gym class), socks with grippy bottoms (yes like hospital socks) and a floor mat. Check out this video which gives you some tips about good form during the thigh workout. It will give you an idea of the kind of stuff you’ll be doing: Pure Barre Tips Video
The not-so-nice thing about Pure Barre is that classes are about $23 each. You can buy “packages” or bundles and save a little money, but then you’re shelling out hundreds of dollars at a time just to save twenty bucks. Sadly, given that kind of price, I probably won’t be going back too often now that my Living Social coupon has been redeemed because I just have other things that I need to be spending that money on, BUT… There just happened to be a sale on Gilt the other day on all of the Bar Method DVDs and equipment – I have the best luck y’all! So I ordered two of the Bar Method DVDs (Beginner & Sculpting) and I fully plan on continuing this strength training in my apartment!! Given what I’ve seen in the classes, I don’t see any reason at all why you couldn’t do this in an apartment, house, hotel room, etc. I’ll be back in a few weeks to let you know how it’s going!
For more info on the PURE BARRE studio in Greenville, SC here: http://purebarre.com/SC-greenville/index.html
To shop for PURE BARRE equipment and DVDs, go here: http://purebarre.com/shop/dvds-equipment.html
To shop for THE BAR METHOD equipment and DVDs, go here: http://shop.barmethod.com/
If you’re looking for a tough but super effective workout, you should really give Pure Barre a try! Sure the classes are expensive, but if you’re tired of you’re current workout, it’s a fun way to mix it up!!