I’ve never really been into working out, but over the years my genes, having babies and eating habits have collided into an unfortunate circumstances that require SOME sort of workout. I started with CrossFit after my first kid – and LOVED it. Fell head over heels for it. I was a huge evangelist, very happy with my body, and even happier with my fitness levels. Fast forward to kid 2 and my energy levels, cortisol levels and schedule were completely different. I had been considering Pure Barre since a studio opened literally a mile away from my house. I’m the type of person that will think of any excuse NOT to exercise, so this was pretty key. My first class was awful. I hated it. I had the weirdest look on my face trying to figure out what the hell was going on, my complete lack of rhythm combined with lack of strength made me a total mess. That said – after 70+ classes in the last 3 months, I’m 100% addicted. I have a few tips for those of you that are considering it that might prepare you better for that first class and eliminate some of the intimidation.
- Embrace the mirror.
After Baby 2 I avoided mirrors like the plague. I was good on seeing my new curves and fluff and staring at myself for 55 straight minutes sounded the opposite of exciting. The problem is that unless you get used to looking at yourself in the mirror, you can’t perfect your form. So you need to get over yourself and pop a squat front and center, as close to the instructor as you can get. If you’re worried about grabbing a good spot – get there 15 minutes early.
- Go shopping.
This is by no means a requirement, but there’s something to be said for buying workout clothes that aren’t an old T-shirt and whatever junky workout pants you happened to unearth from the bottom of your drawer. Even if it’s just the Active racks at Old Navy, grab some workout clothes that fit and that you feel good in. I’m not saying that Barre is all about appearances, but let’s face it – being the frumpy fat chick sitting in a sea of tiny women in Lululemon isn’t exactly something that’s going to make you feel good. And buy a pair of sticky socks on Amazon. The prices are great and you’ll find that if you’re as addicted as I’ve become, that having a quite a few pairs will come in handy.
- Come to terms with sucking.
I’m the type of person that catches on to things pretty quick AND I’m an utter perfectionist, so you can imagine how I felt when I not only couldn’t keep up with half the girls in Pure Barre, but also couldn’t hold my form to save my life. Give yourself time and don’t write it off after the first few classes. You’ll be amazed at how strong you get in just a few classes and how exponential the improvement is over time.
- Don’t expect it to work miracles on its own.
What is it they say? Weight loss happens in the kitchen? It’s true. Pure Barre is a GREAT burn, but it’s a muscle building burn and just like any other workout that focuses on building muscle, you’re not going to see a ton of weight loss from doing Pure Barre alone. That means you need to clean up your eating habits or add cardio to the mix. While they’re introducing a new class called Platform that’s supposed to be more high-energy and cardio-focused, you can’t eat garbage and expect to see results or blame Barre class when you binged on milkshakes and burgers after going. Health and wellness is a comprehensive category, so make sure you have some kind of plan.
- Watch videos on technique.
Pure Barre’s website has an entire section dedicated to technique that you should spend some time on before you head to your first class. There are TONS of tutorial videos that will prove helpful as you learn more about technique and hone your skills on their blog. You can also do a Live Master Trainer Q&A (which was totally not out when I started, so this is kind of amazing), which is basically a webinar where you can ask a Master Trainer questions.
- Find a great chiropractor and PAY ATTENTION TO FORM.
If there’s one less-than-ideal aspect of Pure Barre, it’s that for those of us that are REALLY out of shape, the modifications aren’t clear when you first start. The classes are only 55 minutes and the instructors pack a TON in, so you’ll only hear them mention modifications here and there. While you should always listen to your body when it comes to form, realize that a lot of these movements are much more difficult for a beginner to maintain form because the muscles that help support holding those movements haven’t really been used in quite some time. SO – two pieces of advice here: 1. Pay more attention to form than height or quantity. That will ensure that you don’t hurt yourself. 2. Find a great chiropractor. To be honest, I don’t think I would continue Barre class (or any workout regimen) if I didn’t have a chiropractor. Every now and then I end up lifting too high or failing to tuck my hips in order to protect my back – and I’ll find that as a result, my hips or back subluxate (that’s chiropractic terminology for falling out of alignment) and then my knees will become tender or my shoulders will hurt or something. Your entire posture is predicated on your body being in alignment – just like every other athlete. When your body is continually out of alignment and you keep working it out and wearing on it or ignore the pain you’re experiencing, that’s when you can really do some damage. Find a chiropractor, take it easy if you don’t have one, and stretch like crazy after everything you do.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Before you start your first class your instructor is going to give you a (very) brief rundown of some terminology. PAY ATTENTION. This will help you to be less clueless when you’re in the thick of it. You can also use the time after class to ask questions about form for different moves.
Probably the most important thing to remember? Have fun. You don’t have to be perfect. Give yourself some time, but do yourself a favor and don’t talk yourself out of going back. Working out while you’re sore is a great way to see those muscles change. I can say, without a doubt, that Pure Barre has become one of my favorite parts of my daily routine. Use these tips, arm yourself with a great attitude and some kickass workout clothes and head over to Pure Barre. You won’t regret it!!