Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pure Barre Class Review

Honestly, when did it become December?  Anyway..

My latest kick on my quest to become bigger and better...(...er...smaller and better?) is to improve my core and overall fitness/strength in general.  I need to improve my core muscles.  I need to help my lower back muscles.  My lower back still bothers me sometimes since I hurt it at the end of August.  It's definitely tolerable and manageable but it's there.  And I notice it most when I'm trying to do core work.  But it's there when I'm running and it's there when I'm sleeping.  Also, it's no secret that a stronger core improves your running. 

Enter Pure Barre.  It's the new latest craze.  It's not so much a craze in Chicago yet as they are just starting to pop up.  What is Pure Barre?  You can go to their website and read all about it.  But in short...it uses a ballet bar and incorporates moves from ballet and pilates into their classes focusing on small isometric moves to target the areas you are working.

They built a studio in Orland Park about 20 minutes from my house.  The classes are pretty expensive and even though I wanted to try it, I'm cheap and hate paying "up the butt" (um...) to workout when I can do it for free or go to the gym that I pay monthly for.  They offered 2 free classes in November but it was the day after my Ultra Marathon and I didn't sign up for it because I really wasn't sure how I would be feeling.  Disappointed at missing my opportunity for a free class, they offered another one on December 1st!  However, this wasn't the traditional class.  It was an "Intro to the bar" type class.  Even though I wasn't really sure what to expect with this class or how much hands on work I would actually be doing, I decided to go and give it a try. 

My main concerns were that some of the moves would hurt my knees (which hurt all the time anyway) or that I wouldn't be able to do stuff due to my shoulder injuries and my back.  I know there are modifications to most things but honestly, if I have to modify more than 1 or 2 things, I get frustrated and think...what's the point! 

I was pretty nervous to go to this class.  I knew people would be wearing all these cute clothes and looking all good and I'd be in a run shirt looking all shabby. (Yes, this is a fear of mine!).  I was also nervous that I wouldn't be able to do it.  But I need to get toned and stronger so ... in I went!

Since it was a free class for first timers, about 1/2 the class was new which put me slightly at ease.  There were also some repeat members.  The owner was there and also 2 other instructors.  Normally there will only be 1 instructor but they wanted to make sure we would get enough attention and make sure our form was good.

She spent about 10 minutes talking about the class and what we should expect. Then we got right into it.  The first thing we did was some pilates/ab work.  I was slightly uncomfortable in my back doing one of the moves but I did it anyway (knowing it was something I used to do).  Maybe that wasn't the right thing for me to do but I didn't want to make a spectacle on one of the first moves!  And the ab work was challenging.  But I did most of it and my abs were sore!  We went by the bare next but she had us remain on the floor sitting on our knees.  Well there is no way I can do that with my knees so I asked for a modification and luckily she had one. 

Anyway, we did all of the moves, some of it was difficult.  Some of it was easy.  Some of it was difficult to figure out what we were working and exactly what to squeeze but the instructors were pretty good and trying to help everyone out.  My shoulder was never really an issue except a little with the side planks and I'm so weak, I can barely do push ups anymore.  My back was only an issue that one time.  My knees were so-so, I could feel them but usually they were ok.  The squats aren't really deep so I think that saves my knees a bit.

I didn't take any photos and it's a bit difficult to run through the moves.  Like I said, some of it was pilates and push ups and planks, etc.  Some of it was on the barre with moves that resembled the slight ballet squat and leg back thingies (technical term), some of it was using your arms and a small round ball or light weights. 

The verdict:  The next day every piece of muscle we worked on (mostly) was sore.  I felt my abs, my obliques, my butt, and my triceps, so much so that I didn't want to get up from my desk at work.  I think that's a success!  All areas I need to target. 

My problem: I'm cheap. I have a gym membership.  I run outside.  Maybe I can google a video and do the moves at home?  Maybe.  But I probably won't be as successful.  They offer a first time client special of 1 month unlimited for $99.  Actually a really good price considering 1 class is about $20.  They have 2 night classes available and weekend class (and early morning classes) that I am able to attend.  If I ordered the month, I would like to go 3 times a week for the entire month. 

I think I might look online this week and see what I can find.  Otherwise, I think I might cough up the $99 for the unlimited month and get my money's worth.

Have you heard of Pure Barre?  What do you think?  And would you spend the money?


  1. I did the $99 new member unlimited special when it came to my area. I then purchased an additional package when they offered a coupon and then I ran out of sessions and didn't go back because of the cost...with that said though, I truly loved the classes.

  2. My sis-in-law offers a "ballet fit" workout class at her studio that I assume is similar to these classes. I took it a few times when I was still living in the burbs. But I'm cheap too, so since moving to the city, I've been snapping up a lot of deals via Groupon, LivingSocial, etc, for pilates and yoga studios either near my office, my apartment or on my commute home. I can usually find deals that work out to $4 or so per class.