Friday, March 15, 2013

My Pure Barre Experience

Since I'm all about stepping out of my comfort zone when it comes to fitness, I decided to try something completely different from my norm.  "Barre" classes have been gaining popularity recently and I had been hearing about Pure Barre fitness classes for a while now... so when I discovered that a complimentary class was being offered at the Boston location to local bloggers, organized by Blog and Tweet Boston, I figured I'd give it a go...

First off, I have to say that Blog and Tweet Boston is such a fun concept!  It was started by Boston Bachelorette and I Take Pictures of My Food... they organize fun monthly events for Boston bloggers relating to food, fitness and everything in between.  This was my first event with them and I definitely look forward to attending more!

I had been down and out with a sinus infection that week and was nervous that I wouldn't feel better in time for the class.  However, I had my energy back by the time Saturday rolled around and a good sweat session was exactly what I needed.

Pure Barre Boston's Newbury Street facade

According to the website, "Pure Barre is the fastest, most effective way to change the shape of your body.  Using small, isometric movements at the ballet barre set to motivating music, Pure Barre lifts your seat, tones your thighs, abs and arms and burns fat in record-breaking time.  Clients see results in just 10 classes, lose inches in weeks and have fun doing it."

Candidly speaking, I was a bit skeptical... based on this definition, Pure Barre goes against my personal fitness philosophy.  As a strength & conditioning specialist, I promote lifting heavy things and utilizing a wide variety of movements.... but I reminded myself that I was trying something NEW (and this class definitely qualified as "different from my norm"!).

However, I will agree that when you stick with a consistent fitness routine (in this case, for at least 10 classes), chances of seeing changes in your body are pretty good.  And of course, I love the fact that it is all set to motivating music.

"Summer bodies are made in Winter" = TRUTH
The hard work you put in today will show on the beach in June!

The location was super easy to find and the space is absolutely adorable.  I checked in with some friendly faces behind the counter and put my coat and bag in a locker.  The lockers have keys already in them, which is perfect for someone like me who has at least 5 different locks but none of the combinations.

There was also a small retail section with clothes and accessories but I resisted the urge to look... since resisting the urge to PURCHASE wouldn't have been quite as successful!

the gorgeous interior of the studio

Class equipment included: a small non-weighted ball, resistance band, mat and light dumbbells.  Unless I missed a heavier stack of dumbbells, the weight choices were 2-, 3- and 5-lbs... I wasn't sure what to make of this but took a couple of options and headed in.

I was one of the last bloggers to arrive (shocking) so I grabbed a space by the door.  I happened to sit next to a Twitter friend of mine, Stephanie... so fun to connect with her in "real life"!  

my class accessories

Fiona, the instructor, walked around to everyone and introduced herself, which I thought was a really nice touch.  After Jen (Boston Bachelorette) thanked us for coming and Lauren, the owner of Pure Barre Boston, welcomed us... we got started!

The class was perfectly choreographed in its format... after warming up, we went right into exercises that focused on various parts of the body... abs, arms, thighs and glutes.  After each segment, we'd stretch the muscles that we had just worked before moving onto the next muscle group.  We weren't at the barre as much as I thought we'd be though... we alternated between being at the barre and on the floor.  

Many of the movements were done to the music and I liked challenging myself to try to stay on the beat even when I was ready to quit at certain moments.  

Random fact that I discovered during class: alternating right and left "glute pulsing" to the beat of "Locked Out Of Heaven" definitely increases the fun factor of that exercise.

In Pure Barre, there is a big focus on "hip tucking", which I kept forgetting to do but Lauren kept remembering to gently remind me ;) and each movement is done at high repetitions, hence the low dumbbell weights.  Very different from my regular routine so I was totally feeling the burn.

Final thoughts
I thought it was a great class with awesome music. (Final cool-down to Bon Iver?  Yes, please!) It was very well-instructed and I felt some good soreness the next day! It was a fun experience and I highly recommend checking out Lauren and her team at Pure Barre Boston if you are looking to change up your workout.

Having said that, there are a few factors that would keep me from attending on a regular basis... 

  1. Although the location IS easy to find (right off the green line), it just isn't the most convenient for ME to get to since it involves a few different modes of public transportation. 
  2. I prefer to mix up the type of workouts I'm doing - running, weightlifting, dancing, stair climbing, circuit training... diversity is what keeps me motivated.  My workouts are also going to be influenced by what my current goals are. 
  3. Finally, I can't see myself not incorporating heavy weightlifting into my workouts on a regular basis (my recent Intro to Strongman Training Workshop definitely confirmed that)... not only because of my personal fitness goals but for the simple fact that I just really like strength training.

I'm glad I tried it though and I know many people who absolutely LOVE Pure Barre classes, which is great. You won't get into a consistent routine by doing something you dislike, right?  Fitness should be FUN!  Luckily, there are a million different ways to get our sweat on... granted, they may not all be up our alley but part of the fun (for me anyway) is trying it out!

The bottom line, as far as exercise goes- if you enjoy something in particular and you are happy with the results you're getting, do whatever your heart desires.  

And if your heart desires alternating right and left glute pulsing but you can't make it to a Pure Barre class... well then hey, download some Bruno Mars, turn it up and have yourself a party :)

Have you ever tried a barre class??  

What's YOUR favorite way to sweat?  


  1. I'm glad you tried a barre class! I like mixing them into my routine of running and boot camp classes. And they always seem to have awesome music, which is a plus!

    1. Thanks Marielle! I'm glad I tried it out too!! The music was SO key at the moments when I thought my legs were going to fall off haha!

  2. I love doing exercises in a portable ballet barre, so I think this kind of "bar method" would be very great :D

    1. Definitely! All you need is about 12 inches of "barre" space! Thanks for reading, Laura! :)

  3. I love this review because I, too, scoff at the idea of those baby weights.. hehe. But yes, we all have different fitness goals and do workout for different reasons, so have to be open minded!

    Sounds like a lot of fun to do something differently anyway!

  4. It really was fun! I'm still learning to keep an open mind and try things first-hand... even if I find it's not for me, chances are I'll still have a good time :)

  5. Without any doubt, the sport I like to practice the most is cycling!

    1. Nice! Cycling is a great way to get outside and get your sweat on :)

  6. I just found your blog, specifically this post, by googling pure barre first experiences!! haha taking my first class tomorrow, actually at this Newbury street location! SO nervous but excited :) And thanks for all the tips and your opinions.

    and who doesn't like jamming to Bruno! :)

    Thanks again!

    1. Thanks so much! Hope you enjoyed your first barre class! :) I'm sure the instructor made you feel completely at ease... they are great over there!

  7. Glad to read this positive report. I moved from New York to Boston a year ago. I loved going to the Pure Barre classes in NYC - so I was excited by the one on Newbury Street. I went to one class and was unfortunately turned off by the instructing. I should give it another shot though. It's a great addition to my normal work outs.

    1. I know what you mean, Janine... even though it's a similar style class that you're used to and enjoy, the instructor can totally make or break your experience. Definitely give it another try! :)

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