Hello, my name is Korie, and I’m an addict. I’m not an addict in the traditional sense- I’m not addicted to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or even food. No, instead I have joined the new craze that is sweeping the nation and become a certified barre addict. “What is this crazy thing called barre,” you might ask? It is a hardcore mixture of ballet, yoga, and pilates all rolled in one. Some people even call it “Crossfit for Ballerinas.” While at first description this may not sound like much, trust me, you will leave your first class drenched in sweat with your muscles twitching like they never have before. However; let me back-track a minute, and I will tell you how my journey first began.
My exercise journey began not in childhood, but at the age of 22 when I finally decided to quit smoking. I was never an athletic child, nor did I ever set foot in a gym until my early 20’s. How I stayed thin throughout college on a steady diet of McDonalds and coffee I will never know. Likewise, I decided to quit smoking, and began working at a gym when I turned 22 in fear that my unhealthy lifestyle would one day catch up to me (and I’m sure it would have). I began my exercise journey with half-hearted 20 minute stints on the elliptical that would leave me gasping for air and sore for days. Eventually, I graduated to running on the treadmill, and this slowly became a passion of mine that would last for years. Over the years, I ran 5K, 10K, and even a couple of half-marathon races. I looked great, and never felt better. Best of all, I never gained one pound from quitting smoking thanks to my new healthy habits. However, gradually I began to get a bit bored with my running, and I started to seek new ways of getting those endorphins. Enter Part 2 of my journey: LA Fitness and Body Works Classes.
I was immediately hooked after my first Body Works Plus Abs class at LA Fitness as I drove home with arms that were shaking so uncontrollably that it made it difficult for me to drive. After that first class, I craved more, and I began stalking my LA Fitness phone app on a daily basis to better plan my life around these classes. The class consists of lots of squats, lunges, and bicep curls involving 5-12 lb weights, and I began to quickly see the effects of these classes in my arms and legs. I took these classes 3-4 times per week for approximately 3 years with the same instructors every week dutifully following every move the instructors told us to complete. I was a “star student,” always in the very front of the class, and never stopping to take a break. Then something funny began to happen- I noticed that my arms were looking a bit bulky, and that one of my knees was starting to bother me from my constant squats and lunges. I began to pay attention to the way all my instructors looked, and while they were attractive women, they all had large bulging muscles that they had gained from repetitively lifting the heavier weights, that I did not desire to acquire. I also began listening to the women in my classes chat amongst themselves, and I noticed many of them complaining of strained muscles and aching joints. Suddenly, I knew it was time for a change. Enter Part 3 of my journey: Pure Barre
I tried my first Pure Barre class at 5:30 am on a workday after repeatedly reading about this “magical” workout that would give me long and lean ballerina-like muscles, and that its small isometric movements would be easy on my joints. I could not sleep the night before my first class because I was literally twitching with excitement the entire night. As I entered the studio, a very in-shape (and not in the huge muscular way) instructor greeted me and showed me around the studio. She instructed me to take my shoes off and take a seat on the plushly carpeted floor (the studio sure looked a heck of a lot different than LA Fitness). As I glanced around the studio I noticed about 20 other women, all dressed fashionably in Lululemon and Splits 59, complete with ballet-like socks and leg warmers, and I felt a bit out of place in my worn out Target brand dryfit gym clothes. I quickly made a mental note to purchase some new gym clothes, and forced myself to focus on the workout at hand. We began our workout with some stretches, and exercises with 2 lb dumbbells, and quickly moved into a 90 second long plank. We then moved on to more ab work, thigh work, “seat” work, followed by lots more ab work, and then stretching. While 2 lb weights do not sound like much, I definitely found out that they can be torturous if used the right way. Despite the fact that I thought I was in shape from Body Works, it took everything I had to get through my first Pure Barre class, and my body was sore for days.
Fast forward 6 months later, and I truly live and breathe Pure Barre. Never have I felt healthier, more in shape, and more grounded. Despite me paying a whopping $175 per month for my membership (and that’s with a teacher discount), I know it is worth every single penny. Since I have begun taking the classes, my muscles have definitely leaned out, I have become much more flexible, I feel more graceful, and I have noticed a very rewarding change in the shape of my body. Best of all, any of the knee pain that I had before has completely vanished. I look forward to the 55 minutes of “me” time that Pure Barre brings me, the fun music, and the positive energy from the teachers and other students in the studio. I am sure that I would see even bigger results from Pure Barre if I were to change my eating habits, but that is another story. 🙂
As a result of my new-found love for Barre classes, I have also signed up for something called Classpass, where I can try out classes at other types of barre studios. So far I have tried Barre Method and Pink Barre. In my next couple of blog entries, I will begin writing about these other studios I have been visiting, and the pros and cons of each.
Until next time,