It’s January and the gyms are packed full of the “resolutioners.” You know, everyone who makes a new year’s resolution to go to the gym. I don’t mind these people, in fact, everyone should celebrate people wanting to make a change, work out, and feel better about themselves!
January is also the time that people head to the barre. They’re looking for new, fun, exciting ways to get fit – and barre class is incredibly popular right now. But if you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering – “Is barre really for me? It sounds terrifying.” And I’m here to help you out with that. I’m now almost at 350 classes, and I haven’t died at one of those classes yet. I’ve learned a lot over the years, so I hope to pass on these barre words of wisdom – Pure Barre 101 – so you can go to class prepared! BE UN-TUCKING BELIEVABLE!
Pure Barre 101
Yes, it’s expensive.
Brace yourself, credit card bills are coming. Pure Barre is $1860 for a year – and that’s if you purchase an entire year in advance. But it’s worth it. If Pure Barre is your jam, and you’re going enough to justify that pricing – if you go once a week, it’s a very expensive class, but if you go 4-5 times a week, it’s a great value.
WILL ANYONE LOOK LIKE ME?
Yes, there are lots of pretty in-shape girls there with expensive outfits and big engagement rings. I’m a little rough around the edges right now, but I try not to let these ladies intimidate me. Obviously they are hard workers, and while I don’t even have an engagement ring – I’m going to put away my catty jealousy and just be proud to be in the same room, working so hard together. These women are all working their butts off in class! But yes, if you’re worried, there are people of all shapes and sizes in class. It doesn’t matter what you look like anyways – you can’t see them with beads of sweat running into your eyes…
WHAT TO WEAR TO CLASS
I am a Lululemon and Athleta fanatic. But damn, it’s worth it when you see your new butt in Lululemon pants. There is just something about them. But I also buy off of their clearance racks and my sports bras are all from Target. It does NOT matter what brand you wear to the barre. However, the most important thing about clothing is to buy the right kind of clothes.
You must wear at least capri pants, with long leggings preferred. Not only is this for warming up and keeping your leg muscles warm while you work them, but it’s probably more sanitary too. We use small balls to train our inner thighs – and yes, it goes right up there, hanging out in your crotch. No part of me wants to put a rubber ball near my crotch if it’s been near someone else’s sweaty, non-covered crotch. We lay down on mats that get all sweaty. Please, no shorts.
Tops are a free-for-all, but most wear tank tops. While you may not need a sports bra because we won’t be running anywhere, there’s still some bouncing happening, so you might want to keep the girls tamed. Most importantly, tight fitting clothes help the instructor evaluate your form with Pure Barre’s small movements.
You should also get some Pure Barre socks. Regular socks just won’t cut it – you need the sticky socks. Lucky for you, a pair of socks is the least expensive thing you could probably buy with the Pure Barre logo on it! Cover your toes too – toes are gross. Plus, the studios I have been too have banned toe-less socks.
Some people can take a class with any instructor and still love it. However, I think so much of Pure Barre is connecting with an instructor. I think this is especially true for me because there are three instructors that I’ve informed in-depth about my knee injury, and therefore feel safe that they won’t push me to the point of re-injury or intense pain during class (although they do push me an appropriate amount).
New to the barre? Take a few classes and you’ll find out what regular instructor you like. You’ll be able to find out who teaches what class on Pure Barre’s online booking system that is unique to each studio/studio franchise. When I renew my contract each month, I swiftly book my classes with my favorite instructor so I don’t have to go on a waiting list.
Is there a class time or instructor you love? Book it ASAP! Classes fill up, especially the early mornings and post-work classes and weekends are always full.
YES, IT’S HARD
Let’s be honest. After the first class, you will probably not want to come back. It’s not easy, and some of the moves are complicated.
WHAT THE HELL IS A TUCK? HOW AND WHY AM I GOING DOWN AN INCH AND THEN BACK UP AN INCH? HOW DO I TIE THIS TUBE ON THE BARRE? PULSE? PRESS?
Pure Barre is not easy. It burns, it works every muscle, even the ones you didn’t know you had. But, after a few classes you start to notice. The “Pure Barre Shake” is infamous and addictive. When you’re targeting very specific muscles, and doing very small movements repeatedly, you’re going to start shaking. Your muscles start to fatigue very quickly, but that’s the point at how quick you’ll start to build those muscles. Everyone shakes, even instructors. But you’ll see those lean muscles soon enough, and you’re going to want to come back over and over again. I’ve seen my butt grow (in the good way), my quads gain, and my legs lean out. My arms make me feel like I’m practically a body builder now – even though I’m only using 2 lb. weights every day. You will see a change, it just takes commitment.
LOOK AND LISTEN
If you come to a new class, and you don’t know what you’re doing, watch other people doing it. Pay close attention to the instructor, so pick a spot where you can easily see her/him. Can’t see the instructor or did she get up to walk around and check out forms? Watch the people who look like they know what they’re doing. I hate seeing newbies flail around because they’re not watching anyone or even attempting to learn what others are doing. That’s also how you injure yourself!
Pure Barre is a game of inches – don’t overdo it! The small movements mean small – an inch or so. You might be able to feel the exercise more than you’ll see it. I see people come into class thinking it’s a cross-fit class, trying to out-do everyone by making the movements bigger (to the point of it being comical), when in reality, it should be much smaller. If you are doing small movements and can’t feel it, ask for help on your form. Seriously, you should feel the muscle that you’re working for every single movement, so if you can’t feel it – you’re doing it wrong.
Because I have hypermobility syndrome (possibly ehlers-danlos, as my orthopedic surgeon thinks), I consistently dislocate and sublax. I have had major dislocations of my knees and ankle, and hips. However, I’ve only had surgery on one of my knees. Which I guess is a good thing, because recovering from that one surgery has been a bitch. I modify many of the moves in class. Was it weird at first to do one thing while everyone else in class was doing the original exercise? Yeah, but some classes – I’m not the only one. And that makes me feel good too. I run into many others who have had surgery, have injuries, are pregnant, that have to modify based on limitations. There ain’t no shame in your game – you’ve got to do you! Recovering from a shoulder surgery? Modify at the bar during push-ups and the floor work for arms and abs. Recovering from knee injury? It’s okay not to pull of the bar into chair. Work with an instructor and they can show you modifications based on injury or immobility.
I know this was a lot to take in, but honestly, it’s stuff I wish I would have read before my first class. Remember that it’s also important to have fun. If you don’t have fun, you won’t come back. Dance like no one is watching during back dancing. Pretend like you’re in a tutu and in a tiara when you’re at the barre. Stare yourself down in the mirror and keep telling yourself you’re a beautiful badass – because you are. I’ll see YOU at the barre!