Every month, a fitness boutique newborn enters the world and typically, they start their lives in New York City. This means that in addition to our staggering (but worth it) monthly gym memberships, we also justify discretionary spending at supplemental classes. We New Yorkers weigh the cost of a good motivational sweat against the cost of two cocktails, and always seem to rationalize our new class addiction with statements like, “Well I didn’t buy that round of shots last weekend so..”. Whatever your excuse, we don’t bat an eye at this $30+ “investment”; instead, we jump on the band wagon.
After a few emphatic reviews from my fit friends, I decided it was time to give Pure Barre a try, and I’m thrilled to be reviewing this class first as I follow and feature the latest boutique trends to hit New York. I settled on the Union Square location, as it’s conveniently situated right near my apartment and on top of my favorite paleo restaurant, Hu Kitchen.
My first question is always “what do I need to wear?” I mentally prepare for jumps vs. handstands vs. goodness knows what else, and plan my outfit accordingly. I made a rookie mistake when I asked one friend if we’d be renting shoes. Her dismissive “no, you wear grippy socks” response snapped me back to boutique reality. It’s important to do the research. No one wants to look like an amateur on day one, even if you feel like one, and these niche gyms offer great instructions and prep. Check out Pure Barre’s 101 video here to see what I mean.
Not realizing that these special “grippy socks” only came in black, I made yet another rookie mistake when I showed up in brand-spanking-new white non-grippy socks. The entire class was clad in black socks, and I sat in the middle of the room wiggling my virgin-Barre-white feet. These details matter.
Despite my faux-pais, I still felt comfortable. I had a false misconception that Pure Barre was just for former dancers, and I was intimidated by the incorporation of a ballet bar. I never thought this type of class was for soccer-playing, Tough Mudder-competing, marathon-runner me. I was quickly put to ease when I realized there was a variety of women of all shapes and sizes, making me less discouraged by the flexible front row regulars who were doing intense warm up stretches.
The instructor, Meaghan, knew I was new to Barre and sat with me for a few minutes before we started, walking me through the basics. It’s so rare to have undivided attention by an instructor, especially in a gym factory of fitness, and I took note that I wasn’t the only person to receive this special treatment during class. I was more comfortable taking risks when I realized that Meaghan wouldn’t be leaving me to fend for myself, and she helped me get to the correct alignment and posture for the entire class. She was fab.
During this 101 before class, the “tuck” was explained to me, which is one of the core moves of Pure Barre. I was glad that it was only women in the class, as this is just a fancy way of saying “mini-hump with posture.” Talk about an effective ab workout..though I’m still not sure I was doing it completely right.
Most of my experience involved making corrections to my body in ways I didn’t think were possible, while performing continuous, low impact isometric movements. Despite being in month two of marathon training and at the peak of athletic shape, my legs were shaking by the end of the warm-up. I’m used to pounding on pavement for miles and miles, and this was the opposite of my typical routine. My body thanked me for days, in a painful-but-I-like-you kind of way.
I get skeptical that group classes are more for the cult following and appearances than the true workout, and Pure Barre proved me wrong. I left after 55 minutes feeling rejuvenated and completely worked from head to toe, minus the sweaty mess that often results from other group classes.
All in, I feel pretty confident that if I went regularly, I’d see immediate results, and I look forward to returning for another Barre burn soon. I highly recommend this class to any of my aspirational fit followers looking to get an intense workout without putting high stress on your body.
multiple locations, NYC, Brooklyn and beyond