Monday, March 17, 2014

100 Classes Later

On Friday, I took my 100th class at Pure Barre Boulder. At Pure Barre, that's a big deal! I get to sign the special 100 Club barre and I get a pair of special 100 Club sticky socks! Not to mention, I get to know that I have 100 classes under my belt and I'm 1/3 closer to the 300 Club!

For the past few months, I've talked a lot about Pure Barre to friends, family, and total strangers. I'm completely obsessed with it, if you haven't figured out from my Twitter or Instagram. I love ever second of it. Even when my abs are burning and my thighs are shaking. Every second! I figured this milestone would be a great time to talk some more about my love of Pure Barre and maybe even give someone considering trying it out for the first time a few pointers.

Here are 10 things I've learned in my first 100 classes of Pure Barre:

Being early means being on time.
We all have our favorite spots in the studio, so get their early to claim your carpet.  Being late to class is disruptive to the other ladies in class, the instructor, and yourself.  You miss out on completely warming up your muscles while you're putting away your belongings and grabbing your equipment. Stay for the entire class (I've been guilty of leaving early too) because stretching is just as important as working.

Listen carefully to the instructor.
Unlike a lot of fitness classes, the instructor is only there to teach and listening to her queues is the key to your success.  Sure, I've started on the wrong standing leg a time or two because I wasn't listening, but the instructor gives you all your moves, along with helpful tips and encouragement.  She might also adjust your positioning, but that's to make sure you're doing the moves correctly to ensure optimal results and to protect you from injuries.

Stay hydrated. 
I think some people brush off barre workouts because they don't look hard.  But just because you're not sprinting or jumping or lifting heavy weights doesn't mean you're not working hard.  In fact, you're working extremely hard.  I usually go through 32 ounces of water per class (and I sweat most of it out).  Without water, there's no way I could make it through 60 minutes of LTB, so bring some water!

Eat well and do cardio to keep it balanced.
In my opinion, Pure Barre is one of three things needed for major health change.  You've probably heard that no amount of working out with cancel out a bad diet.  Simply eating healthy is the best diet there is and there is no trick to it.  Cardio is important too, for so many reasons.  I mix up my work out routine with walking (sometimes light jogging, but my knees don't love that), spinning, and swimming. 

Use the muscle you want to change to find the movement.
An instructor said that in class recently and it couldn't sum up Pure Barre any better. Pure Barre is all about working a muscle group to fatigue using small movements and isometric holds, then stretching to elongate the muscle. Focus is key because when you're in seat work, you want to movement to stem from your seat, not your legs. When you're in ab work, you want the work to come from your abs and stay in your abs.

Don't compare yourself to others.
Sometimes it's helpful to check out a veteran's form to make sure you're doing it correctly, but the instructor will also help you make the necessary adjustments. Don't get too caught up in what someone else is doing because it may be their 300th class and only your 3rd.

Mix it up with the instructors.
 Each studio has a variety of instructors and I always recommend to anyone new to take them all if they can. I don't have a favorite instructor because they're all great. I try to mix it up as much as possible. Every instructor will offer great tidbits over the microphone to encourage and motivate you, as well as to help you step up your Pure Barre game. They'll also give a variety of helpful tips that you can take with you to every class.

Push yourself. Challenge yourself.
When I first started out, I struggled to keep up the entire class so I started setting small goals for myself. For instance, by the end of class I was wiped out and could hardly make it through the last 2 and a half minutes of class where we work our butts off (and abs and thighs) in a bridge position. I started challenging myself to stay with it the entire time. Once I conquered that, I challenged myself in other positions. "Ten classes without coming out of the position during thighs" or "Ten classes where I really work my abs". And then suddenly you can't remember any other way.

If you need a break, take one.
You can do Pure Barre every day if you want. Heck, you could conquer your first 100 classes in just a 100 days. (It's been done and that woman is my hero!) But if your body is asking for a break, listen to it and take a day or two off. Don't push yourself so hard that you end up hurting yourself and having to take more time to rest than you'd like.

Dress for class.
 They recommend you wear pants or capris and a tee or tank to cover your mid drift because they want you to keep your muscles warm throughout class, so save the shorts and the sports bra look for the gym. If you feel comfortable avoiding baggy clothes, that's good too so the instructor (and you!) can see that you're doing the moves correctly. And definitely wear socks. You don't want to be the barefoot girl during plank when everyone has their faces to the floor. Pure Barre has great sticky socks for sale that will prevent sliding. I've recently purchased sticky fingerless gloves (from Nordstrom Rack) to wear in chair and waterski positions and it's helped me A LOT.



  1. thanks for sharing, hannah! a pure barre place just opened up across the street from my condo in VA, and i've been wanting to check it out. these tips are very helpful, especially what to wear to the first class! haha :)

  2. SUCH great tips!!! I totally agree with these, although I'm obviously only two classes in... thanks for sharing so much advice!

  3. Just found your blog and I love it! Congrats on reaching that milestone! I've been doing Bar Method off and on for the past 8 months and although I love it, my knees don't. Do you ever find your knees hurting you during Pure Barre?