I’ve always been one to shy away from group fitness classes, but Pure Barre has helped me in so many ways the last month. Today I’m talking about how + the reasons I love the live streaming Pure Barre classes.
Why I Started Taking A Group Fitness Class Online + My Thoughts On Pure Barre
It’s not a secret if you’ve followed me for any length of time that group fitness classes (aside from a periodic spin class at our free on-base gym) are not my thing. I don’t have anything against them, but it’s a combination of preferences and lifestyle for me.
Dane and I share a vehicle, so anything I do outside the house Monday – Friday (in non-coronavirus times) requires a good bit of planning. If I took him to work to have the car for the day, I would have to methodically plan my schedule around island traffic and just pray that things aligned to both get everything I needed to get done (like the commute to/from a class, plus the class itself), done, plus pick him up. Oahu traffic is bonkers, so this is the major piece of the puzzle that is honestly more of a headache than anything else.
Additionally, I always felt inspired by running or walking outside and doing my GlowBodyPT workouts and other free Youtube routines. I’ve never lacked the motivation (aside from occasional lapses) I need to get up and get going before. I scheduled my workouts in like I did meetings and medical appointments, so spending a chunk of change on a gym truly didn’t feel justified.
Boutique fitness gyms in Hawaii are not cheap, so if I was going to make that investment, I would want to feel like I was getting my money’s worth, which without a car would have been difficult. I feel like this is relatable for a lot of people, especially in Hawaii. Further, I have a completely free gym (it’s not state of the art, but it’s nice) that I can walk to from my house, so that factors into the equation, too.
And then coronavirus happened and the world turned upside down for everyone. I was sitting at my desk the first week of April and I felt restless, uninspired, and overall sort of – meh.
I couldn’t figure out what the hell was wrong with me. I normally work from home, so that has stayed the same, but the motivation I normally have for daily walks or runs and YouTube workouts was at a steady zero. It was driving me crazy, but by the time I got to the end of the day, my mental capacity and ability to focus was absolutely shot. I’ve picked up more work for national outlets and pivoted from travel writing to news writing, so it’s not only been an adjustment schedule-wise, it’s also been a mental pivot.
So, I did something I never, ever do and signed up for a virtual class with Pure Barre Honolulu. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, because I’d only ever done barre-type exercises from Youtube videos. Let me just say – 10 minutes in and I was dying. It was exactly what I needed to energize my body and I’ll be straight with you – I was pretty proud of myself for going outside my comfort zone, even if that only meant standing in my office on a Zoom chat.
To be honest, I had every intention of doing that one class, checking the box and never doing another one, but somewhere in the midst of taking breaks, panting and feeling my legs shake like they hadn’t ever before (am I normal? why is this happening?), I sort of had a realization.
I realized that right now, I need the accountability a live Pure Barre class from my local studio offers. I need someone who is live on a camera with me, checking in with me by name, and having that commitment to a specific time slot everyday. I can’t explain why, but that’s where I’m at right now.
I signed up for unlimited for the month ($59 or ~$1.96/class if you took one every day) and can proudly say that I’ve been holding steady at around four classes per week.
So, what are Pure Barre workouts like?
Pure Barre streaming through my studio (Pure Barre Honolulu) is broken down into two main groups – Classic and Empower. Empower is definitely my favorite as it features more of a cardio burn. The best part (for me) is that I don’t need anything except a chair or ledge and my own body weight. I use my office chair and whatever weights I can find (like salsa jars and shampoo bottles). I used these power block weights we have for my first class and I still look back and laugh at myself. There is no way I could continue on with those, because even though I feel myself building muscle I am not at that level, LOL!
The classes themselves are a combination of seat, leg, and arm moves that are built into small moves that ultimately create a larger circuit. For example, you might start doing squats, then it’s squats with an arm movement, then squats with an arm movement and on your toes. It’s all very easy to follow (something that concerned me) and honestly, when I feel smoked I stop and take a break.
By the end of every class, I’m very sweaty. I read a review of barre classes once where the person said they like to take them, because they don’t sweat as much and I was like…what? I’m very sweaty and I feel like I’ve worked my ass off. Anyway…
I have to admit – I really love the classes, but not just for the workout, though they are great, too. For 45-60 minutes during every class, I can completely zone out and focus on myself and my body. This is something I used to find with running/walking/Youtube classes and honestly – I hope I get that back some day – but not something I’ve been able to harness at any other point during coronavirus. It seems no matter what I do, my mind races. Pure Barre has sort of become my escape, if that makes sense. I’ve always believed in fitness as a form of therapy, and this is no different.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have days where I’m in a total funk and maybe a few of you can relate to that? Life as we knew it is gone and that feels weird, but I will be transparent and say that I’m a nicer human being to be around when I have an outlet and that is Pure Barre for me right now.
For Mother’s Day I even got to bring my mom to a class (for free) to join me, which I really loved.
Pure Barre Review
The bottom line is that there is no pandemic playbook. Things that have always worked for us in the past, might not be panning out now, and sometimes exploring a different route is what we need to do to keep going, even if that means doing something you wouldn’t normally gravitate toward. We are all just doing the best we can, right?
I created this post for two reasons:
1. I genuinely love Pure Barre and I’m hoping they continue to do virtual classes, even once gyms are given the go-ahead to re-open, whenever that may be and
2. To encourage anyone who might feel in a similar mental rut that I was in a month ago to move forward in a way that feels new/different. I would normally never go this route (like I said – group fitness isn’t my thing), so trying something like an online fitness class seemed like throwing a dart at a map blindfolded and hoping to land on a specific city. I had low expectations and no one is more surprised than I am that I actually went through with it, let alone loved/love it.
In any case, more than anything, I hope that anyone who is reading is taking care of their mental health right now in a way that works for you. Please know that if you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here, and happy to listen.