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Photo by Bryce Laughlin, Fit Columbus Issue 3

Shaky, sweaty struggles: A first-timer’s Pure Barre experience

As I sit here writing this, my seat is trembling, my arms feel heavy and my body is still drenched in sweat.

I just left my first Pure Barre class.

If you’ve ever spoken to someone who takes barre, they’re sure to tell you just how hard it is. There’s no beating around the bush. They’ll give it to you straight.

“But it’s so fun!” they’ll add.

OK. It’s hard. I get it.

I believed them, but after the short warm up at the beginning of class, I was honestly a little surprised at how many moves I struggled with.

Once I embraced the difficulty and the sweat, it actually became slightly fun to move through the rapid and foreign motions, despite my immense shaking (which they assured me beforehand was a good thing …)

The speed of the class is a plus – it makes the pain, I mean time, go by fast. I couldn’t hear Taylor, our teacher, very well at first as her voice boomed around me through her head mic. But I didn’t mind that I was fumbling around and not in sync with everyone else. PB creates a welcoming and comfortable environment, both in and outside of class time. And I’m grateful for how cognizant Taylor was of every move, often making adjustments to my form and helping me better understand the proper positioning of my body.

Which brings me to my biggest point about barre – form is key. While that’s pretty much true for all forms of exercise, it’s especially true with barre; you have to lift, sift, bend, stretch, tone and tuck. The latter movement, synonymous with PB, is a tiny but mighty movement in your abdomen. And that’s the best I can tell you. I can barely do it let alone describe it.

Every class is different, but the room is cool, the music is loud, and they cycle through arms, thighs, seat and abs.

It honestly didn’t feel like an hour – whatever you expect when they tell you “it goes fast,” multiple by 10 – but it wasn’t until near the end when Taylor told me to think about moving my body as a whole, rather than individual limbs. To which I thought, duh, Chelsea. But really, when you think about it that way, it completely changes your mindset when going through the motions.

By the end of it, I wasn’t mad at my friend Skye who invited me for how hard it was. I was shaky and sweaty and slightly annoyed (with myself) at some moves I was simply unable to do. But I know that’s OK – because really, if it’s not hard, what’s the benefit? And I now understand why many people are so into it. Owner Emily Johnson said it takes about 10 classes to really get the hang of it, and see a difference in form and body. I can’t shake (pun intended) a craving to try it again: to perfect a tuck and improve form.

But maybe I’ll wait for my soreness to subside …

Other notables:

  • PB makes you feel at home: It’s worth noting how friendly and encouraging everyone is, and they provide you with some helpful essentials like hair ties, dry shampoo, etc.
  • In addition to the studio, PB is also a retail space, with fun clothing and accessories from Lululemon, Beyond Yoga, AYO and their own PB line. Might as well be comfortable, confident and cute in your clothing while shaking and sweating!
  • All Columbus PB locations are different, in terms of studio and retail space, clothing selection, supply, etc.

Visit Pure Barre Columbus to learn more.

Update: Day 1 after PB wasn’t too bad – I noticed the soreness in different parts of my body (some places I’ve never been sore before in my life!) throughout the day, but it wasn’t terrible. It was actually a good sore. And it wasn’t any hindrance to bouncing up and down to Matt & Kim at CD102.5’s Summerfest that evening.

Day 2: Eek. My shoulders are sore. My abs are sore. The muscles all along my sides and under my armpits are sore! I’m still not dying … but embracing it. Sore is good right …

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