It looks so unassuming. It’s a rectangular room with mirrors and a ballet barre along three walls. No fancy equipment. No jocks grunting as they lift 200 lb weights. Just a bunch of ladies chatting quietly waiting for class to begin. Our instructor walks in and tells us to grab 2 or 3 lb weights (the 5 lb weights will probably be too heavy, she says), a band and a ball. I’ve been a runner most of life and have lifted weights for years. This will be cake.
The music starts pumping and we begin a warm up. Easy enough. Then all of a sudden, we hit the floor, begin a “Pilates Hundred” series and continue with a (oh geez!) 90-second plank, side planks, continuous push ups, and isometric arm exercises. Suddenly the 3 lb dumb bells weigh about 100 lbs, and my ego has officially been checked at the door. And we’re just 10 minutes in.
Welcome to Pure Barre.
Have you heard of it yet? It’s like a pumped up fusion of yoga, Pilates and sculpting. For 55 minutes you focus on isometric movements in four main areas: arms, thighs, seat, and abs (in that order). By “isometric” I mean “just an inch movements.” Hardly anything you say? Well, there’s something about doing “just an inch” movements that will have you shaking uncontrollably halfway through the first thigh exercise. Trust me.
Portions of the class are done at a ballet barre but don’t worry, you don’t have to have an ounce of dance talent to do any of it. It just makes for a super effective and unique way to isolate some of the most stubborn muscle groups (especially for us moms!) – thighs, butt, and stomach.
After I made it through that first class (about a year ago now!), I became hooked. I love the music, the method behind the Pure Barre madness (long, lean and strong muscles), and the challenge of working “through the shake” (yes, I still shake almost every class – I’ve been told to “embrace the shake” as the instructors say its your muscles changing). It’s similar to yoga or Pilates where you “practice” – it takes several classes to really figure out the style and get strong enough to do them right.
I’m not alone – there are many more of us who are addicted. We all laugh when we’re still shaking through a seat exercise or look at each other in terror when we realize what the instructor is telling us to do – nothing like bonding over pain.
Yes, there are other barre method classes out there but Pure Barre is unique: it’s fast paced, athletic, and challenging without jarring cardio movements. The instructors and fellow classmates are so welcoming, and the music is killer. Plus, major bonus, I see results (my husband recently said, “You’re literally working your butt off.” Yes!!!).
I only wish it had been in Charlotte when I was pregnant. It’d make a great pregnancy workout (with a few modifications) because of the low-impact technique and would really jump-start a baby weight-loss plan.
If you’re looking for a new workout to shake up your routine and kick off the New Year, this is definitely one to try. Fair warning: its addictive!
Studios are located in Myers Park and Ballantyne. And, like many of the yoga places around town, you can play per class, buy a package of classes (10% off right now!), or take advantage of the special they’re running for the New Year*:
1 year – $155/mo
6 mo – $175/mo
3 mo – $195/mo
(*Automatically drafted on your credit card every month)
Check out their web site for scheduling and pricing details. You can also reserve your spot online. The planner in me LOVES this!