I know you’ve probably seen my instas or multiple check-ins on Facebook, but I started taking Pure Barre in December 2016 and wanted to share my experience with people who may have wanted to try but are a bit hesitant.
Let me start by introducing myself and a little bit of my fitness background. I’m Delaina! I am 5’4″ on a good day. My co-workers tease me for eating salads every day for lunch but I can do some damage on a cheese board & a glass of red wine. I come from a very athletic family – both my parents were college athletes & my dad was a former high school football coach, my sister can dribble circles around me and my twin brothers are good at just about any sport they play. & then there’s me.
I loved sports because I loved the camaraderie of being with friends but I just simply wasn’t good. I ran track and cross country (lol) and I remember my parents would never miss a meet (bless their hearts). One day my dad came to an away track meet and on the drive home he let me know, “Delaina, speed just isn’t your middle name.” Touche, Dad!
After that little nugget of parental advice I didn’t go out for track or cross country senior year & focused on singing and theatre (& honestly I’m so glad I did!).
Without any kind of sports practice after school, I quickly realized I either had to stop eating junk food & drinking Mountain Dew (which was never going to happen at my ripe age of 17), or I had to start working out. From there I began this strange journey of trying literally every kind of workout and trying to figure out what I was good at athletically – if anything! And also going through phases of not working out and trying to find some balance.
When I say I’ve tried it all – I’m not kidding! I swam laps. I tried long distance running and ran a handful of 10k’s + 3 half marathons – only for my knees to be mad at me for three + years. (I literally just ran my first 3 mile run again last summer). I tried bikram yoga and literally sweat out what felt like 5 pounds each class but didn’t lose any weight or gain muscle tone at all. I bought DVDs of at home workouts and meal replacement shake powder only for me to not like the taste of the stuff and never have the drive to work out at home. I took “Vixen Workout” classes and loved it but felt so so silly doing clubby cardio to songs like “shots” & “turn down for what”. I rode Soul Cycle but got frustrated when my arms weren’t seeing any definition. I saw a personal trainer for 6 months and wrote my own workouts. While this was definitely the most helpful of everything I did, after a year of doing this I noticed myself bulking up which just was not the look I was going for.
Then, after wondering for so long what it was like and really wanting to try – I finally decided to take Pure Barre. In case you don’t know, Pure Barre is a 55 minute full-body workout focusing on the most common “problem-areas” for women – thighs, abs, arms, hips & seat. Each area is worked to fatique and then immediately stretched while the muscle is still warm. But even with the stretching the class keeps a good pace so you get a lot done in less than an hour. Commonly described as a combination between ballet and pilates, Pure Barre focuses on body weight exercises to help you tighten and tone your muscles while also strengthening your mind-body connection, similar to what you might find in yoga. It’s very music-driven – similar to Soul Cycle which I love!- and the teachers are very motivating so I always get a great workout.
I’m not going to lie – my first class was really hard. I had no idea what a “tuck” was. I thought I was going to fall over during thigh work and the studio mirrors kind of freaked me out. Like I shared, lifting made me really bulky and although I was really proud of the work I had done, I wasn’t ready to stare at it in all angles. Eek!
After my first class I asked the teacher for some clarification on the moves, just making sure I was getting the most out of the time and money I had invested. She was super helpful and really understanding! And within the next few hours, and especially the next morning, I was SO SORE. The good kind of sore. The kind where you realize just how hard you worked your muscles and know that you’ll see results. And see results I have!
Once I took my second class I was hooked. I knew I wanted to continue Pure Barre as my main workout. In February I cancelled my gym membership and solely went to the Pure Barre West Loop studio. Starting in March, I went every day I was in the city. It became part of my routine. I went almost every day and my first full month at the studio I completed the March 20 in 31 challenge – attending 20+ classes in 31 days!
Not to sound like an infomercial, but I have lost 10 lbs and 2 inches on my waist so far! I’ve also noticed that my hair and skin are a lot healthier, I’m overall a lot more toned and I’ve finally developed some definition on my arms (my main problem area!). Also, for the first time since age 9, I can do the splits! I personally started to notice change right away, but it was really encouraging when friends & co-workers started noticing my progress and how great I looked. Most importantly, all of these results have come without injuries as Pure Barre is low impact and focused on working with good form!
Not only did I realize what a great workout Pure Barre was, but when I checked in at the front desk for the first time, the owner Susan greeted me personally and said “Thank you so much for trying us out. We really appreciate it!” And it felt so so genuine. (& after getting to know her I realize how true this is!) The teachers made an effort to get to know me by name and I’ve made some great #BarreBesties through simply coming to class. All of the girls are super friendly! I’ve brought numerous friends with me and referred many people to try out the studio with confidence because I know that they will have a great experience.
After a long 10 year journey of trying to figure out what workout is best for ME and MY body type – I’ve found it. Pure Barre, I love you & I’m here to stay!
PS – Are you local to Chicago? Come try Pure Barre West Loop with me – free for your first week! Email me for deets! I would love to catch a class with you! Check out the schedule here!