Meet Me At The Barre

I haven't spent much time talking about my fitness routine or lack of one right now. I get a lot of questions related to health, fitn...

I haven't spent much time talking about my fitness routine or lack of one right now. I get a lot of questions related to health, fitness, and my figure. I've tried a bit of everything; the past year I was sticking to a routine of running (which I highly dislike), weightlifting, and yoga. The only problem with my usual routine is it took time, quite a bit of it, and a gym membership. Two things I unfortunately didn't have this summer. Between work, switching universities, and planning my move my schedule was all over the place and my budget was tight. Depression is an understatement to describe how I felt canceling my Lifetime Fitness membership--I could've cried, how lame of me. It just wasn't a practical choice for me to continue paying for it. Thankfully I did have a plan and I've been keeping it a secret until I felt like I got the full experience to share with you. Pure Barre opened near my parent's house while I was away at school and I was beyond anxious to try. Let me start by saying group fitness, not my thing. Yoga, Pilates, and TRX being the only exceptions. Pure Barre is a ballet inspired Pilates workout. Don't be fooled by the minimal equipment and small, low-impact movements because you will feel it in the morning... if you don't already. It gets hard; it's effective, addictive, and worth every penny. The price tag may make you want to take your wallet and run, but after the first class or two--you'll get over it.
Before we get into the lifting, toning, burning, and shaking (don't be scared) there are a few things you should know. Every studio is different depending on the area but generally an individual class is $20-25 but if you enjoy your experience they have a variety of class packages to choose from including special options for students, brides-to-be, and new moms. Oh and you'll need socks-they're required! In shop they sell Pure Barre brand sticky/grip socks for $12, I own a couple pairs (I prefer them) but regular socks will do. Not every studio has a specific dress code. I usually follow the general guidelines you see on their website and wear full-length or crop workout pants with a sports bra and a tee or tank. Avoid wearing shorts and sports bras as tops because you do work on the floor and definitely don't want rug burn.
Are you ready to meet me at the barre yet? Class is about to start c'mon! Just kidding it actually just ended, yep I'm writing this after my 11th Pure Barre class. After each 55 minute class I'm left feeling more sculpted than before. Do you want a lifted booty? How about a tight bikini ready core? Or toned legs and arms? If you answered yes to one... or all of the above questions then you need to go to a Pure Barre class now, right now, skip reading the rest of my experience and go. Okay you can finish reading this first; at least you'll know what you're in for. I've had nothing but great experiences at my studio. I usually attend the 9:45a class with either Gabby or Mary as the instructor for the day and it goes a little something like this...
Warm-up: mild cardio (knee raises- regular, arms lifted, and with a twist) followed by Pilates style core strengthening exercises and light resistance or body weight arm exercises, ending with some stretching. Next we usually head up toward the barre. The moves usually get a bit more difficult here and form can be hard to understand your first few times so don't be afraid to ask. Both Mary and Gabby were great about helping us find the right form to make the most of the workout. The first portion of barre work revolves around the thighs and butt with multiple exercise variations getting harder and harder until you switch and start all over on the other side. You'll move back to the floor and continue working those thighs and glutes.
Get to tucking! Find your focus, it'll take some trial and error, it's a learning process. Let the upbeat music help you keep focus push through even the hardest moves. Although you use the infamous Pure Barre "tucking" method (if you're not familiar with the pure barre tuck ask your instructor to demonstrate prior to the start of class) through the entire class it is definitely key for the core exercises. Theres usually a few you'll do on a mat up against the wall with the barre for support then you'll move your mat for the harder ones on the floor. I have a love hate relationship with this part of the class because I love core work and the results I get from it, but man it hurts! Finally you'll do one last bridge-up style move to blast anything you may have missed and follow it up with some deep stretching. Then home with fatigued muscles you go. 
I can't say I don't love it because I do. The class itself, the post workout muscle soreness and the atmosphere. It's modern and inviting. The instructors are encouraging, kind, and supporitve. I am beyond thankful to have the amazing experience I did at Pure Barre. Going to the studio just makes me happy--it's like my little Pure Barre family! There's a thousand more things I can write about my experience at Pure Barre Naperville. This post would and literally could go on forever, but you be the judge and try it for yourself. I tell everyone I know and I'm telling you too--life is better at the barre.
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Pure Barre Naperville - studio page
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Photos are either taken by myself or from the Pure Barre Naperville Facebook page with permission from the studio manager.
Want to read more?
Check out my guest post on Blonde & Something here!

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