Towards the end of last summer, I was feeling really frustrated with exercising. No matter how often I went, or how long I stayed, I was simply seeing zero results. Having played team sports all of my life, after high school ended I struggled to find a workout routine that genuinely worked for me and my lifestyle (rather than just going through the motions).
Group fitness classes never truly appealed to me - I always found them really intimidating, often insanely difficult to the point that one class was enough to scare me off, and nothing ever stuck. A lot of my friends in Louisville are HUGE fans of Pure Barre (a lot of them are actually instructors!) but those intimidated me as well.
Finally I decided it was time to suck it up and try again. I found a Gilt coupon for a month of unlimited classes at the Pure Barre Old Town location, and gave it a shot. The first day...I was sore the minute I walked out of class. In the best way. I felt like I had really accomplished something. Since then, I've purchased an annual membership, and it is the most consistently I've ever stuck with a workout since high school - and the best part is, I only dread it about 1% of the time!
I've had a lot of friends ask me whether or not Pure Barre is really worth it, and I always reply with a very strong, "Absolutely!" Given how many people seem to wonder about this though, I thought it might be helpful to do a quick pros/cons list for all of you now that I've been attending for about 7 months!
1. You can see & feel the difference in your body very quickly.
It wasn't anything to brag about, but I could definitely tell within about two weeks of consistently attending that there were subtle changes in the shape and tone of my body - and I could feel myself getting stronger too! The more I went, the stronger I got - and it was the biggest motivator I've had in years! Important note: It takes at least 5 classes to truly get the hang of it. You will feel confused, the pace is fast, and it won't be perfect. But you will get there, and it's such a satisfying feeling when you do!
2. The Class Length & Convenience
Class only takes an hour, but you use that hour to the absolute fullest. I always walk out feeling accomplished (and already sore), but I never feel as if I didn't get a good enough workout in. Time well spent, without taking up your entire evening.
3. The Instructors
Obviously, every location has different instructors, but from what I've gathered, they're all amazing. They do such a great job of motivating you, helping you adjust certain moves if you have an injury that needs accommodating, and they actually get to know you personally - which ends up being very motivating!
4. It Tones Body Areas that Women Typically Dislike
Pure Barre targets five core areas: Your Arms, Abs, Thighs, Back, & Seat (aka your booty). You can run all day long on a treadmill, but until you do movements that isolate and target those pesky love handles or the side of your butt that just won't burn fat...you won't see results. The movements are designed to really isolate very specific muscles to the point of total fatigue - and that's where you really see a change!
It's no secret that Pure Barre is definitely pricey. There are a lot of different memberships to choose from, but the unlimited class pass is by far the best deal. I signed up for an annual contract to wiggle my price even lower, but it's still an investment. The way I justify it? My friend and I agree it is the best we have felt about our bodies in literally years. I personally don't want to put a price on my own self-esteem. Besides, gyms in Chicago are hardly affordable as it is!
2. You Get What You Put Into It
The instructors are great at motivating, but I hit a point about two months into attending where I felt like I wasn't being as challenged. At first I thought I must just be super strong (kidding..that's hilarious) but then I realized it's because I had gotten stronger, and wasn't pushing myself to my limits anymore. If you aren't willing to put the work in, you won't get the rewards.
3. Schedules & Waitlists
It varies between every studio, but sometimes it can be difficult to find one with a location and class times that are perfect for you. I personally don't love morning workouts, and don't have time to go before I head to work in the morning. Luckily for me, there is a class immediately after work that I go to nearly every day. Problem #2? Sometimes, if you don't sign up soon enough, the class becomes full and you get put on the waitlist. I usually get off of the waitlist, but it's still a bit of a nuisance!
Hopefully this has helped give you a better idea of whether or not Pure Barre might be worth a try. If you're still hesitant about dropping the $99 new-member fee to try a month of something you've never done - try checking out Groupon and Gilt City like I did to find a deal to get you started! You can also watch this page that explains the process in a little bit more detail.
PS - for my Chicago friends, there is a coupon right now for a Chicago location here!