So far 2015 has been a year of re-focusing on my health and fitness. I’ve started to reform the way I eat, both the type of food and the number of calories, as well as finally focusing on adding fitness back into my life. Like most people with a desk job I’ve let my weight creep up over the years and with a busy life I let exercise fall off my calendar in favor of other priorities. I realize now how big of a mistake this was as I work to get myself back on track.
A couple of months ago I started logging everything I ate and slowly added goals for myself (stay below a certain number of calories, eat a higher percentage of protein, etc). It’s been a slow process but that’s how I want it to be. I’m not trying to drop a lot of weight quickly. I’m trying to reform the way I eat in order to make changes to my habits that will hopefully stay with me for the rest of my life.
Today I thought I’d share with you guys the one thing that’s completely changed how I feel about working out…Pure Barre!
How I Got Started
To give you a little background, I was a total couch potato before starting Pure Barre. Every once in a blue moon I’d go to the gym and feel really proud of myself for going but then I’d take forever to go back again. Sometimes I’d go for walks around my neighborhood in the evening but it was mild cardio at best. My only real workouts came when I would occasionally go hiking but even that was sporadic.
I’d heard about Pure Barre from another blogger but after realizing how expensive it is I never ended up pursuing it. But then in January while I was visiting a friend on the east coast she asked me if I wanted to go to a Pure Barre class with her. I jumped on the opportunity to have someone to try it with. That class totally kicked my couch potato butt! But at the same time I knew instantly that I liked it and that it was an incredibly effective workout. It was a couple of months before I ended up trying a Pure Barre studio here in Phoenix but now I just finished up my first month and I’m signed up for another three months!
But wait…what is Pure Barre?
For anyone not familiar with PB here’s their own description of it: “Utilizing the ballet barre to perform small isometric movements set to fantastic music, Pure Barre is a total body workout that lifts your seat, tones your thighs, abs, and arms, and burns fat in record- breaking time.”
The video on their New to Pure Barre page will give you a good idea of what it’s like.
Pure Barre locations are usually in shopping centers and consist of the workout room (think full length mirrors and a ballet bar), the check-in area and a bathroom. It’s a really simple setup and not like a gym at all. If you’ve ever been to a yoga studio I’d say the feel is probably similar. The attire that people wear is definitely the same as yoga – but the workout is totally different! It’s a bit pricey and the best deal is definitely an unlimited membership. You can sometimes find Groupon deals for new studios when they open and there’s usually a discount being offered from the studio itself. My studio offered $20 off each month with a three month subscription this summer. You can also try your first class for a discounted price – check your individual studio for their offer.
What A Class Is Like
The gear used for every class is really simple. Each class you’ll use small weights (I was skeptical at first), a small ball (think mini dodgeball), resistance bands (single or double) and a mat. That’s it! The simplicity of the equipment is something I really enjoy about Pure Barre. No big machines needed to create these muscles!
Something that’s also different than most types of workouts is that Pure Barre is all about small movements. Really small movements. It makes the moves look ridiculously easy but you’d be surprised how much harder it is to control your muscles to do small movements than it is to do larger ones.
The format of the class is always the same but the moves within each section change so it’s never a dull experience. I really like that they use the same format for each class because it makes it easier to set goals for myself for each class and to know when to push through because we’re almost done with a section.
Here’s the normal 55 minute class format:
+ “Warm-Up” – PB’s warm-up is the most intense warm-up I’ve ever done! Don’t be intimidated by this during your first class. Let’s just say that there are planks and push-ups involved
+ Arms – You’d think that small weights would be a piece of cake but this section is killer even with 2 lb weights
+ Seat – PB’s term for your glutes
+ Cool down & final stretching on the mat
It took me a couple of weeks to get familiar with the format of class. And since there are always new moves, especially in the seat and thigh sections, I’m usually still working on figuring things out during classes.
One Month In – My Results
You may be wondering what my results have been after one month of going. I took at least three classes a week for the first month and I can already feel a noticeable difference. If you’re looking for numbers such as pounds lost or inches gone I don’t have those as I didn’t measure myself beforehand but… I can see a change in my body. And even more importantly I can feel a change in my muscles. I feel stronger now and I can complete portions of the abs section that I could barely get through 10 seconds of during my first class.
I was also recently able to wear a jean skirt that was previously too tight to button up! It’s still a tad bit tighter than I’d prefer but I was able to wear it! For me this is a big deal because it’s proof that something is changing even if it’s only a small change. If I can keep up with going to classes throughout my hectic summer schedule I’m guessing I’ll start to see bigger results by the end of month two or three.
Why I Like PB
PB is one of the only workouts that I’ve stuck with and continued to stay excited about doing. I love the atmosphere, the friendliness of the teachers (most of whom I know by name now), the way that each class can be as easy or challenging as you make it, how it’s familiar yet fresh at the same time, the cute yoga type apparel, and how I can feel my body changing. In the past I’ve always been better at doing cardio and I’ve never been able to push myself to do strength training. PB helps me to gain strength without hating the process.
PB & Weight Loss Goals
One thing I do want to re-iterate is this: while PB will help people lose weight I think that the bigger advantage is the strength training aspect of it. I wouldn’t categorize PB as cardio so if your ultimate goal is weight loss I’d say that you’d want to do PB mixed in with some cardio. I can however say that PB has had a huge impact on my cardio. I went hiking this past weekend and could feel a difference in my strength and endurance because of doing PB for the last month. I can also see my body changing shape already even if the weight is coming off slowly.
Stayed tuned for another post coming soon where I’ll be giving my top tips for taking Pure Barre classes! And I’ll post another update later in the summer about how my results have been with PB.
I’d love to hear from you guys! Anyone else tried Pure Barre? Or do you have a workout routine that works for you? Do you prefer strength training over cardio or vice versa? Leave a comment below and let me know what’s worked for you!