Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Barre-ing it All

Catchy post title, right? Baring it all... barre-ing it all, close enough. 
Let's back up - I started out doing Pure Barre through my friend Leslie over at With a Side of Chocolate roughly about a month ago. A new Barre location was getting ready to open up (literally within walking distance of my work, fate?) and the instructors were hosting free intro classes at the neighboring Athleta mall location. I swear Leslie begged me to go with her to every single class but it just didn't seem like my style of working out. I was used to the gym and lifting weights and cardio and this just seemed so, well, easy (not to mention I totally SUCK at coordination and the thought of being graceful and dainty is just terrifying). Holy crap was I wrong. I've always been up for trying new fitness/workout routines (and this one was free) so I finally gave in and went to a few pop-up classes. This was HARD & an added bonus; you didn't even need a dancers background to do the exercises. I was sore in places I didn't even know I could be sore. Long story short, it's now been a full 2 weeks since I signed up for my Opening Special 5-week package and I'm already seeing a difference in my muscle definition ... like, I actually have a small butt now!

I wanted to share with everyone a few takeaways since starting barre and encourage those of you that haven't tried it to do so. Go Lift, Tone, Burn!

  1. It's hard and only gets harder | usually when you do something over and over again it starts to get easier because naturally you get stronger and better. Barre is the quite the exception. As you keep taking classes yes, you get better and stronger but you also learn how to target specific muscle groups and it BURNS. In a good way of course. 
  2. It's addicting | 55 minutes of torture exercise never felt so good. In times past I found it really hard to motivate myself to go to the gym after a long day at work. With Barre, I actually look forward to the classes because it really doesn't feel like you're getting your butt kicked for nearly an hour. It's a fun, challenging, total body workout that leaves you feeling so strong! 
  3. You get what you put in | if you want to dip out of the dreadful 90 second plank hold, go for it. But don't expect to get any better before the next class. I can't say it enough, Barre is HARD. Sometimes you can't make it all the way through a set without taking a time out. What I've learned is that it's okay to take a quick break - just make sure that you jump right back in it and finish strong. 
  4. "Tuck" you, 10 second countdown! | speaking of finishing strong, if you're new to barre then you haven't died during the 10 second countdown. This is the part at the end of the set when the instructor says "These are your last 10!" and starts counting down. Let's just say it feels like it goes "10, 9, 8, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6, 6, 5, 5, omg-i'm-dying-, 4, 3, 2, 2, 2, 1" Dead.
  5. Ask questions | especially if you're new. I was doing a one leg extension exercise and it was killing the opposite hip than what we were working! Leslie gave me some advice on how to shift my weight/move my leg a different way to help alleviate some of the pain and I asked the instructor afterwards if there was anything else I could do. With both of their advice, it was much more comfortable and I felt like I was working the correct part of my body, not just a part of my body. Also, try to take a Breaking Down the Barre class - you'll learn what a tuck is and what it means to #LTB!
  6. Don't forget your sticky socks | first thought? Why on earth would I pay $15 for a pair of socks with little rubber grips on them. But trust me, they're worth it. Not only do they help retain your body heat (equals better workouts) but they also keep you from sliding during sets ... like the aforementioned 90 second plank of death as I've dubbed it.
  7. Embrace the shake | this was my biggest obstacle... which turned out to not even be an obstacle, surprise! During the first few classes I was struggling because I was shaking like no other. I mean like uncontrollable, what is happening to me, make it stop, shaking. Then I found out it was - get this - normal and it means you're actually working your muscles. AND the instructors still shake. SO HA.

I hope this post provided some insight for anyone that may be new/considering trying Pure Barre! I plan on sticking to classes as well as continuing my regular gym/yoga routine #gettingmysummerbod. Any favorite classes you guys would recommend??