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What the Tuck? Pure Barre Classes 1-10

Pure Barre in Homewood ran a special for a month. If you completed 20 classes out of 30 days, it is free. If not, it's $100. So, naturally, I'm in! Of course, I'm also incredibly cheap so I am determined to go 20 times. The problem: I am going out of town the last week in December so in order to get those 20 classes in, I need to go every.single.day. Good thing I enjoy a nice challenge. Not. I only agreed to it because a coworker Becky was also crazy enough to try it! So, we sat down and compromised a day/night weekly workout schedule. She preferred after work times, I preferred before work times so after a little give and take, and 7 a.m Saturday and Sunday work outs, we are halfway through and completed our 10th class this morning!

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How was it?

The first visit was awkward! No shoes, socks only. A lot of pelvic work and thigh squeezing. I barely broke a sweat although my legs were definitely burning. I'm not going to lie, I definitely had my doubts after the first class. I thought, there is no way this is a sufficient workout. To be honest, it isn't. It is very little cardio so it is important to work cardio into your schedule somewhere. Especially if weight loss is your goal.This is the part that stressed me out- how was I going to go 20 days in a row and still have time for cardio? That's like 1.5-2 hours of exercise. Ain't nobody got time for that! I am more of a cardio, free weights, boy style workout-er and Pure Barre is completely the opposite! Girly, focused on the core and flexibility, and barely breaking a sweat, this girl, who couldn't even touch her toes because of her tight runner hamstrings, felt out of place. Advice: go with a friend, it will help with the awkwardness.

Visit two, still with friends, went a little better. I felt more like I knew what I was doing. I also felt like it was more of a workout. Granted this was a Wednesday and Kathleen and I had just ran 5 miles with our usual Track Shack outing prior to Pure Barre, so I was sweating before the class started.

Visit three and four were taught by a different instructor. The first and second visits, the instructor (same one both times) would not allow us to use the band if we had not been to 20 classed or more. The third and fourth girls let us use the band and wow! What a difference the band makes. Definitely use it if you are able to. I would probably skip it the first time, just to make sure your form is correct. The band provided resistance and support so, in  a way, it helped me keep good form (I am not flexible at all). I was sweaty and tired within the first ten minutes when I used the band. It really made me feel like I was getting a real workout! Visit four was at 6 am and was totally worth it. I got to work early, wiped down, powdered up and had a wonderful morning all because I got my workout out of the way!

Visit 5 was a 7 a.m. Saturday workout so it was tough, but more so because we were both pretty fatigued from going so many days in a row. We decided to skip Sunday and make up for it later since we had one or two extra days to play with.

Visit 6 started on Monday afternoon and I noticed my arms taking more lean and even lengthy shape. Which I am super excited about because, like I said, I am more of a weight lift/cardio exerciser and at 5'3.5 (yes, and a half!), my muscles tend to look short and stocky. I went to my regular gym for cardio and some weight training that morning and I also noticed a little more length in my calf muscles. (Thank you gym mirror! My weight hasn't changed, but by I do feel leaner.

I had two grad school exams this week, so between the 2 hours of sleep I got Monday night and working my full time job, Tuesday's 6 a.m. workout was not what I wanted to be doing. However, I told Becky I would be there so I had to go. See, accountability partners are the best workout technique you can have! Once I got halfway through the class, I was glad we were there. After our morning workouts, we go to work and get ready in the bathroom. Which lead us to the conclusion that any place of exercise should have a locker room and/or any work place should have a locker room. But for now, sink showers will have to do.

I didn't get much sleep Tuesday either because I had my last exam for the semester that night. Fortunately, I forgot about how tired I was because Pure Barre number 8 was Wednesday after our five mile run so I was feeling extra fit and refreshed. Loved it! It's amazing how, even when you get few hours of sleep (like 2 one night and 4 the next), if you can just push through a workout, you actually find more energy!

Visit 9 was a Thursday morning, 6 a.m. again because I had a hair appointment that afternoon. At this point, I had finally gotten sleep Wednesday night so I was feeling halfway normal. The thing about Pure Barre is learning the technique. I never took dance, although I would have loved it, so it's hard for me to learn graceful movements. I can't even touch my toes! Seriously, the v-sit stretch in PE was the reason I never won the presidential fitness award! (still upset about that obvs). However, the more I go, the more flexibility I fell. The Instructor even told us that stretching really well is one of the ways Pure Barre lengthens those muscles.

Visit 10 almost didn't happen this morning. I only got 4 hours of sleep again last night, so 5 a.m. came earlier than usual. I am an 8 hour sleeper. I mean, I go to bed at 9:30 at the latest just to make sure I'll get my sleep in before the gym in the mornings so this week has just exhausted me! Becky was feeling it too, because at 5:15 I got a text that read "So tired". We bantered back and forth for a while before deciding to just go because by the time we had a 5 minute texting convo we were already awake. Plus, if we didn't go today, we would have to go tomorrow morning (Saturday again? No, thanks) in order to still get to 20 workouts.
I was 5 minutes late (per usual) but jumped right in to the arm workout. The arm workout consists of push ups with arms in a 90 degree angle and then with elbows into your ribs. Then holding your arms straight and directly behind you while lifting (way harder than it sounds!). Finally, we grab 3 pound weights and do a few more, arms straight in front with shoulder muscle contractions, elbows by your side with bicep/shoulder blade contractions, and more. The big thing about Pure Barre is the movement. You are actually supposed to move very little because most of the strength training is done by muscle contractions. It's really unique and, so far, effective! Each class ends with "back dancing"...which is pretty much pelvic thrusting and is incredibly awkward at first, but the more you go, the less awkward you feel. And, please, don't look around...just close your eyes and go with it!

I am still getting corrected by the instructors but I enjoy the correction because I don't want to waste any time. If I am exercising, I want to do it right so I can get the results I am working for. So far, my favorite instructor at Pure Barre Homewood is Kristen. I have really enjoyed them all, but Kristen is careful to explain the method and technique throughout the entire class. She explains what muscles you should be working if you're doing it right and which ones you may be feeling it in if you are doing it wrong. The hardest part is learning the lingo. For some reason, tucking is really hard for me. It is supposed to be kind of tucking your tailbone under, keeping it that way for the majority of the exercises, all while keeping your shoulders back, abs engaged, and back straight.

Maybe, it will become easier as I become stronger, but so far, I need some tucking help!
Any Pure Barre-bies out there who can offer some advice?
Check back soon for visits 10-20!

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