A Pure Barre Perspective

Picture from Pure Barre LinkedIn

So, I’m in the process of a whole lifestyle change/weight loss/exercise/back-to-running moment in life.  I have a membership to a local (very nice) gym with numerous fitness classes, indoor pools, indoor track, etc.  I pay about $50 a month for this.  I also have access to several local parks and a nice residential area in which to run. You’d think that would be enough to get me all into this workout craze, right?  Nope, I never do anything in a simple way lately.  So….enter Pure Barre.

If you live in a larger city, a college town, etc., I bet you’ve heard of this place.  Or at least some sort of Barre exercise venue, right?  In our travels and from following so many other bloggers, Instagrammers, Youtubers, etc., I had heard of Pure Barre many times and had always wanted to try it out.  Earlier this summer (May, I think), one opened in the semi-larger town close to where I live and where I work.  They ran a $99 special for unlimited classes for one month.  This was a steal as normally a month unlimited is $199.  Yes, $200. Every month. For one type of class. But I’d heard fantastic things from friends who’d gone to this one or to another one somewhere.

As part of my lifestyle change, I was looking to add more to my running in order to get more toned, cross-train, etc.  This seemed perfect.  But there was one catch…well, in my case this was a catch.  I’m fat.  Yep, I said it.  Yes, I’ve been running for about a year.  But I also struggle with my weight, especially running long distances because I have trouble balancing running fuel and what I should and shouldn’t actually eat.  So, I had lost and gained back about 40 pounds over that year.  But I had started losing again, so I purchased the $99 membership thinking, “What a great idea!”  So, here’s my Pure Barre experience.  Disclaimer: This is MY experience. No one else’s.  Mine.  Yours may be different, better, worse, etc.

So it took a while for me to muster up the courage to go.  Finally, in July I did.  The ladies (girls, really) who were employees and instructors, were very nice…and thin. That was actually the first thing I noticed.  THIN.  They were thin, and I noticed that everyone else who

Picture from Pure Barre corporate blog.

Picture from Pure Barre corporate blog.

came after me to the class was also thin.  Ladies who were anywhere from 18-50 years old.  I’d read up on Pure Barre, and the limited number of blog posts about fat girls and Pure Barre, so I knew this would be normal, but I secretly hoped there would be one other chunkier girl there.  But, alas, no.  I easily WELL outweighed the next largest lady, who looked to be about a size 8.  Also, none of the other ladies spoke to me.  In other classes I’ve been to at my gym, or just working out, everyone is usually nice.  These ladies may have been nice, but when they don’t even speak to you, you don’t know.  But I thought, “Ok.  You knew it would be that way.  The instructor is nice and said you could do it.  So do it.”  And I did.

Here’s how it goes.  You start with a several minute “warm-up” that is very intense.  You move to using weights, resistance bands, a ball (that you hold between your legs while doing exercises), a mat, etc.  It depends on the actual workout which order, but there are no rest breaks unless you take them yourself.  It’s a constant workout for 55 straight minutes.  And it is tough.  I tried to do every move at least 50%.  Most I was able to do.  I didn’t have the form quite right on some, partly because I didn’t know what to do (fast-paced so not much time to watch) and partly because of my size and where I carry my weight.  Also, I found that on moves where we were on our backs, my boobs got in the way, majorly–even choking me partially.  That was extremely uncomfortable.  Given how insecure I was already since the other ladies weren’t the friendliest and because I was unable to do what I thoought I could, I did want to cry several times and leave.  I didn’t.  I stayed for the entire class and burned about 600 calories or so according to my heart rate. But I did not like it, nor did I get “hooked” on it like others say they have.  So, I’ve done some pros and cons of why I did and didn’t like it.  I’m being brutally honest about it and how I felt, so here we go.

I like “bad news” first, so here are the cons of being a fat girl (or just out of shape) at Pure Barre.

  • Many (not always all) of the ladies in the class will be thin, mostly fit-looking, Lululemon dressed ladies.
  • The clientele either are or at least look like they have money (see Lululemon comment above).  Almost every storage slot held a Louis Vuitton or Tory Burch bag.  I include this because I know this may make you uncomfortable if you don’t feel like you “fit” this clientele.  This didn’t bother me at all since I carry LV bags and such, but I know it would bother some.
  • If it’s your first time, you may feel like the most out of shape and fat one there.  I did.
  • This is a Pro and a Con.  It is HARD.  I mean HARD.  Harder than any half marathon or more that I’ve done. I did every move but had to stop some of them because I wasn’t as strong as I thought.  The moves depend a lot on lifting your own body weight, so if you weigh more, it may be harder.  BUT the pro is also that it’s hard.  You get a fabulous workout.
  • There are moves where you face the mirror AND each other.  I did not like this part.  Facing others when your a big girl and attempting a workout for the first time is an insecurity of mine, especially when the other ladies were standoff-ish to begin with.
  • It is VERY expensive.  $199 or thereabouts for unlimited classes for only one month.

Ok, so now for the really good things about Pure Barre.

  • It’s a really great workout.  You FEEL it.  I felt that I was getting a good workout and working muscles I forgot I had.
  • The instructors are nice and make you feel comfortable.  They come around and quietly correct moves, tell you to rest if needed, etc.
  • It seems to get results.  I’ve seen pics of ladies who go to this particular Pure Barre, and you see the toning and changes in their bodies.
  • It’s fun…sorta.  Great playlist, instructors are up-beat (scripted, but up-beat.)
  • It’s a trendy workout place/class.  If you’re into that sort of thing, it’s perfect for you.

So, what’s the ultimate verdict for Pure Barre and me?  I went twice to make sure I gave it a good try, but I didn’t go back.  Yes, I wasted the rest of my $99 special, but I was ok with it and so was my husband.  Will I ever try barre the workout again?  Yes.  My gym now offers barre classes on Monday evenings, and it is not any extra money in addition to my monthly membership, so I will be trying those at some point.  BUT I am working on training for a marathon and weight training, so I want to actually get in better shape before I go.  Although, I have a co-worker/friend who goes, and says that the body types are much more varied and it’s a bit more of a comfortable feeling class, which is great.  What would I recommend to anyone wanting to try it no matter if you’re fat, skinny, in shape, out of shape, or whatever?  Pay for a week’s worth or for a few individual classes before you buy a month unlimited.  You may hate it or you may love it. It wasn’t for me at this moment, but I definitely recommend it as a fantastic workout!