Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A Pure Barre Adventure

Adventure can be defined many ways but when I think of classes at Pure Barre, my definition would be: an exciting or remarkable experience.

Back in June I purchased a Groupon for 20 classes at Pure Barre (Ladue and Central West End) with a 20% off code.  This meant that I paid a total of $79.20 for 20 classes, or $3.96/class.  A single drop-in class at Pure Barre is $22 and the price per class could decrease by a few dollars if you purchase a package, but they will NEVER be as cheap as $3.96/class.  This was such a good deal that I also asked/made my friend purchase the 20 class pack so that we could go to some of the classes together.

We scheduled our first class for Saturday, July 14 at 9:30 a.m. and were told to arrive a few minutes early for a quick overview before class.  As you walk into the Pure Barre - Ladue studio you are greeted by staff, who check you in for class.  A small merchandise area and changing room is also in the lobby.

Pure Barre Ladue

Cute merchandise!

After checking in, the instructor gave us a tour and a brief orientation before class began.  A door separates the lobby from the actual classroom to help control noise.  Adjacent to the door are rows of cubbies for your personal items.  You remove your shoes, leave them in the cubbie, and wear sticky socks for class.  I have a pair of yoga socks that I wore for the first couple classes, then I ended up purchasing a pair of socks from Pure Barre as well.  They had so many cute options that I just could not resist!

Just past the cubbies is all the equipment you will need for class, neatly stacked and organized. 

The classroom itself is a large carpeted room with mirrors on two sides and ballet barres around the entire perimeter of the room. The instructor will display the equipment needed for class on either the front or side barre but you typically need a red ball, the red tubes, and a light set of weights.  The red mats shown in the picture below are brought to the center of the room by staff halfway through class for ab work and cool down.

 Below is information about the class types and Pure Barre Etiquette that I picked up at our first class.

What to wear:
  • Pants, leggings, or capris (no shorts) and a top that covers your midriff
  • Sticky socks

What to bring:
  • Water
  • Sweat towel (I seemed to be the only one, but I needed it)

What I love about Pure Barre is that even if some of the exercises were included in a previous class, every workout is different!  Over the course of my 20 classes I would start to guess what the instructor was doing next, and then I would be wrong.  This forces you to actually be mentally and physically present in class and I was always learning something new and working muscles that I hadn't before.

The class flows like this:
  • Participants are generally stretching and chatting before class while seated throughout the classroom.
  • The instructor walks in, turns on their mic, and everyone automatically stands up at attention.
  • The music starts and the instructor leads the class through a challenging warm up.  Sometimes the warm up includes more floor work than others, but it always involves planks and push ups!
  • Next is arm work with light weights.  Don't be fooled by the light weights because the arm section of class will leave your muscles burning! Before moving on you go through several stretches specifically for the muscles in your arms.  Your weights are picked up by staff as you are stretching since you won't need them for the remainder of class.
  • Up next is thigh and seat work.  Sometimes you use the tubes, sometimes the ball, sometimes just the barre.  Each class varies but once you are done with thigh and seat work, you stretch those muscles as well.
  • The red mats are brought out halfway through class for ab work and cool down.  Ab work utilizes the ball, the tubes, or just your body weight.  Sometimes participants face the instructor with their mats parallel to the front mirror, and other times all participants are facing the center of the room.  Once ab work is complete, you stretch your abs and lower back.
  • The last working section of class includes glute bridges, sometimes with the red tube and sometimes without.  The instructions for this section vary, but it's really your last chance to push yourself.
  • Then it's time to stretch!  You will notice the instructor's tone turning from energetic to quiet and calming as they lead you through a series of deep stretches.  
  • Finally, everyone claps and you wipe down everything red which includes your mat, ball, and tubes.  

The Pure Barre website is a great read if you are new to barre.  Click here to see what I mean.  You can read about some of the lingo you will hear in class by clicking here.  Your instructor will also cover the basics during your orientation. 

What I love about this section of the Pure Barre website is the "What if I am not a teeny tiny ballerina" section.  Let me explain why.  While I loved every class I took at Pure Barre, I did not feel like I fit in at first.  I was the most overweight participant in the room by far, my pants were usually from Target and not a designer brand, and I would wear a baggy t-shirt that I typically earned in exchange for volunteering at a race or an event.  I looked NOTHING like the other people in the room and I could feel that I was comparing myself to others.  At that point, I should have just told those negative thoughts to stop because no one cared what I was wearing or how far from flexible I was.  We were all there for a great workout and to improve ourselves, not judge others.  The instructors were also nothing but kind and discrete with any corrections given.  I don't know why I let myself get so worked up about not looking the part during the first couple classes, but I want to reassure you that no one is judging you and you just need to relax and enjoy the class.  I still get a little intimidated by the warm up section of class but once the class is over, I am so glad I toughed it out!

During the time we were using our 20 classes, Pure Barre - Ladue offered a special "Tuck and Glow" class that we decided not to miss.  I don't have a sufficient supply of neon clothing, but I still had an amazing time sweating under the black lights. 


My friend and I were able to use most of our classes together at the Ladue studio, which made it much more fun.  But don't let the lack of a wing-man/woman deter you.  After our package at Ladue was gone, I purchased a Groupon for five classes at the Chesterfield location.  A five pack through Groupon was $39 which makes each class $7.80....what a deal!  This studio is a bit out of the way for me, so I purchased the smallest package knowing that I would only attend class on the weekends.

The Chesterfield studio still had staff check you in and merchandise in the lobby, but the classroom itself was more rectangular and smaller.  What I really like about their layout (having previously been a space planner at an architecture firm) is that you don't have to walk through the classroom to get to the restroom, there were more cubbies for your personal items, and the hallway was more spacious which decreased congestion before and after class.  ALSO, the Chesterfield classroom has ceiling fans which is much appreciated by those of us that sweat profusely during class (I am still convinced that I am the only one that sweats buckets during class).


Both studios send informative and inspiring emails to keep you motivated and explain the benefits of the workout. 

Between both studios I have over 20 classes under my belt, but I always find the workouts challenging both physically and mentally.  I still can't make it completely through the warm-up without stopping.  I still have to stop and pause throughout class to give my shaking muscles a break.  But all of that is perfectly normal!  Pure Barre is not easy BUT it is A LOT of fun.  You won't believe how your flexibility improves, how you feel after taking a class, and how your body shakes as it improves.   Click here to find your closest studio or try Pure Barre On Demand from the comfort of your own home to see what I mean.

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