The 7 Things I Learned From 20 Sessions of Pure Barre


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Today, my thighs were shaking. Eyes closed, I was breathing heavily and tiny drops of perspiration began to collect on my brow. No, this isn’t my attempt to write the next book in the Fifty Shades series. (Three is enough, don’t you think?)

Monday at 12 p.m. I completed my final class in Pure Barre’s “20 in 30” challenge. I began the challenge for purely physical reasons. I’m ending it with a resolve to continue Pure Barre classes for reasons besides my substantially stronger arms, my more defined abs, my noticeably leaner legs and my lifted glutes–or seat, as the Pure Barre instructors like to call it.

During my 20 sessions, there were a number of lessons that drifted through my mind (usually during the seven minutes of ab work) that seemed particularly important for anyone considering Pure Barre as well as pertinent to every day life.

Lesson #1: No one is good at everything but everyone can be good at something. The studio is filled with women of varying ages, heights, weights, and fitness levels. Some are very flexible. Some are very thin (not me). Some are trying to lose weight (me) and some are there trying to tone up in preparation for their wedding day (really not me). No matter their motivation, not one person is able to perform every single exercise perfectly. Even the instructors’ legs shake during some exercises.

Lesson #2: This is not supposed to be easy. Speaking of leg shaking, Pure Barre is not an easy workout and it doesn’t get easier. When I’m having a particularly difficult time, normally during the thigh exercises, I repeat this to myself over and over: “This isn’t supposed to be easy.”

Lesson #3: When you compare yourself to others you lose sight of your own progress, your own goals and the focus it requires to do your best. A lesson I may spend my entire life learning and re-learning was best said by Theodore Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” When we compare ourselves to others in any way we lose sight of our own progress. We forget how far we’ve come and the improvements we’ve made to ourselves and to our bodies. We can always see beyond the flaws of our friends or perfect strangers but rarely our own shortcomings. When we lose sight of our own progress we lose faith in ourselves.

With a class as difficult as Pure Barre, your mental fortitude is half of the battle. Instead of looking at the woman next to you who’s able to withstand the thigh exercises without mouthing “fuck”or looking to the sky for divine help, focus on the fact that just a few sessions ago your legs didn’t look this toned.

Lesson #4: Your body hears what your mind says. There’s a direct correlation between the thoughts in your head and the progress you make. Don’t think for a second that you can accomplish a goal of any kind without your own support. Women are notorious for being hard on their bodies. Don’t be that girl.

Lesson #5: “If your legs are shaking it means you’re changing your body.” This is something that you’ll hear frequently during a Pure Barre class. If your legs are shaking it means your muscles have reached a place of fatigue and you’re on your way to getting the physical results you want. As I said, these exercises aren’t meant to be easy and your body hears what your mind says– cheer yourself on, babe!

Lesson #6: Listen. As important as it is to push through negative thoughts when they’re telling you that “you can’t” or “it’s too hard” there are times when those voices are your body letting you know that you’re toeing the line of injury. I started Pure Barre due to a pulled groin muscle. It’s important for me to listen to the small tinges of pain I might get during a particular exercise. Pushing yourself to accomplish a goal is a good thing. Pushing yourself towards injury is plain stupid.

Lesson #7: Little changes bring big results. Don’t fall for the misconception that you need to workout in a BIG way to see BIG changes. Pure Barre is a sequence of small but focused movements that yield results that are lasting. The more Pure Barre sessions you attend the more you’ll realize that small movements have the power to shape your body the same way that small adjustments in your every day routine have the power to shape the rest of your life.

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19 thoughts on “The 7 Things I Learned From 20 Sessions of Pure Barre

  1. This is an excellent, well-written recap of what one can expect after a month of Pure Barre. I completely agree with what you’ve said. Major props to us both for completing the challenge. Excited to tuck with you all next month! 🙂 🙂

    1. I do P90X and have a websight on exercise, nutrition, cooking and healthy lifestyle issues AND pURE bARRE KICKS MY *&%) EVERY TIME I WALK IN THE DOOR (4 days per week). It raises my 47 year old butt and slimmed down my already strong quads. Fun article. Thanks

  2. I love this post! I haven’t tried pure barre, but am familiar with yoga. I often feel the same way during class. It’s incredible how you assume it will get easier, but it never does. Congrats on finishing the challenge!

  3. I just started PB yesterday and had my second class today and I am in LOVE! I am def hoping for the promising results but am so stoked that this is something I look forward to and can see myself continuing on! I do not exercise at all, I will go through spurts of running or hiking here or there, but never have been able to commit to a regular exercise program. I am loving PB and love your post!

    1. Pure Barre is kick-ass — LITERALLY. Stick with it and you’ll be so pleased with your results. Most girls that I know that hate to workout become major Pure Barre converts. Keep it up!

  4. As a Pure Barre instructor, every one of your lessons completely resonated with me! Your passion is infectious! This post made me want to get up and go straight to the studio! Keep it up! LTB for life!

  5. Hi Annabel! I stumbled on your blog through my research for a post over on my site, and I loved this post so much I had to include it with my write-up. In other words, if you end up with a slew of traffic… I’m sorry. (Or maybe you’re welcome?) Columbia isn’t too far up the road… come LBT in the Capital City if you ever get the chance!

    1. Hi Celia! Thank you so much for including my post on Pure Barre on your blog. I am really flattered! My sister lives in Columbia so when I visit I’ll definitely connect with you. Thanks again!

  6. I love this blog because it sums everything up pretty accurately. Especially the part about it not getting easier. I do many classes at the gym (weight training, kickboxing, dance, sculpt & dance together …) and it is so easy for your body to adapt. The only thing that stays the same for a while is the warm up and the fact that you know you are going to do three series of thighs, seat, and abs. I am loving this workout as a compliment to everything else because I can definitely see where I am weak. All those tiny little muscles that tend to get neglected between squats and lunges start screaming at you in this class. I also love the mind-body connection …

  7. Wonderful summary! I love the “thoughts going through your head” section in particular. I will complete my first full month of Pure Barre in two days, and what you have writtten resonates so much! I really like the idea of the mantra “this isn’t supposed to be easy” for when my legs start to shake. I really like your thoughts on comparison to others, as I have noticed the same–some people are good and some portions of the workout, others at other portions. I find it curious that you say that it doesn’t get any easier — maybe as a “newbie” my naive assumption is that all the ladies around me were familiar and they seem to breeze through the workout is not correct, and that gives me hope for my future being equally as challenging as the first month. Thanks again–your complete summary and thoughtful eloquent style are really great for a final product!

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