Pure Barre: 5 Tips for Newbies

Happy Friday! I hope you had a great week and are ready for the weekend. This Fit Friday I want to tell you a little bit about my latest workout obsession — Pure Barre.

I have been to barre classes before and was going regularly (once a week) for a while, but Pure Barre just came to Richmond this year and thanks to Alyssa I recently tried it for the first time. I bought the new client special early last week and after only two weeks of going 3-4 times a week, I can see why people rave about it. I’m officially hooked!

Outdoor of a Pure Barre studio - red brick walls and windows.

So what’s so great about Pure Barre?

It’s a 55 minute full-body, low impact workout concentrating on the areas women struggle with the most: hips, thighs, seat, abdominals and arms. The workout is broken into different strength sessions where you focus on tiny isomeric movements using a specific muscle group (arms, thighs, booty, abs). After each strength section, there’s a stretching section which helps create long, lean muscles without bulk. <– Exactly what I’m looking for!

The workout is fast paced and requires focus and concentration, which allows you to block “life” out during class, creating the mental benefits similarly obtained by practicing yoga or meditating.

There’s minimal equipment used — a small pilates ball, a band, a mat and weights ranging from 2-5 pounds. The weights may seem a little on the light side, but if you’ve taken a barre class, you know that they’re plenty when you’re doing isometric movements like those in Pure Barre. I always feel the burn.

Inside of a pure barre studio with workout equipment.

I haven’t seen any major changes in my body yet (it’s only been 2 weeks) but I have high hopes, especially after seeing Alyssa’s before and after photos. I think it’s like most workouts in that if you stay consistent you will see results and my main goals (strengthen my core, build my glute muscles and tone my arms) align perfectly with what Pure Barre is known for. I’m excited to see what Pure Barre does for me!

In the meantime, I thought I would share my top five tips for Pure Barre newbies (like myself).

  1. Bring socks AND wear capris or yoga pants. Grippy socks are best so you’re not sliding all around but any soaks will do. And if you forget them, don’t worry, Pure Barre sells them at the studio. For the first class, I didn’t bring socks because all the other barre studios I’ve been to don’t require it. I was the odd man out in class (a.k.a the only lady not wearing socks). It was weird. A few classes later I made the mistake of wearing shorts. Also, not a great idea. In certain positions you use a ball or wrap a tube around your thighs and if you are wearing shorts you will not get the grip needed to keep the equipment in place — especially if you’re a little sweaty or have lotion on. So slippery!
  2. Sit near the front and listen up. Sitting near the instructor is a good idea so that you can peek over to see her doing the moves but sometimes the movements are so small it will be hard to tell what she’s doing. The best thing to do is listen. The instructor’s cues are really helpful for figuring out how to do each move correctly.
  3. Focus more on the contraction of the muscle you’re working than the actual move the instructor is suggesting. For instance the instructor might cue you to lift the leg, but really you want to be squeezing and contracting your glute muscle. That squeeze is what lifts the leg. And the lift may only be a centimeter to an inch. I like to put my hand on the muscle I’m supposed to be working to make the mind-body connection and make sure it’s contracting. I find that this is really helpful during the seat and ab work.
  4. Don’t focus on the calorie burn. I made this mistake my first few times. I wore my heart rate monitor and realized that I only burned around 200 calories in a class. After a little research I see that many folks say you can burn up to 500 calories in a Pure Barre class but I think it all depends on the choreography, how hard you’re working and your body size/body type. I’m also new and still learning the moves. More advanced folks probably burn more. BUT as I say, the calorie burn shouldn’t be the focus — strength training has so many other benefits!
  5. Have fun with it and don’t get discouraged. It’s like any other workout class —  it takes some time to fully get the moves and keep up with everyone else in class. There’s no need to be embarrassed. Remember, all the other students in class were new at one point too and they are focused on their own workout/form, not watching you. I still have to come out of some positions because the burning or shaking is so intense. I don’t let this discourage me. I just take a break and then get right back into it.

Girl in pink tank top and black pants inside barre studio

And here’s what you’ll look like after class — all smiles! 🙂

If you’re local to RVA and interested in checking out Pure Barre, I’ve been going to the Short Pump location and really like it. Everyone is super friendly, all the instructors I’ve taken class with have been great and your first class is FREE!

Have you taken a Pure Barre class before? Do you have any other tips for newbies?

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  1. Such great advice! Looking forward to trying my first class tonight 🙂 I’ve tried other barre classes before and did ballet growing up so I know I’ll love it 😀

  2. I’m hooked too! I took my first class three month ago and have been going 5-6 times a week ever since. I live in a rural area and I have an hour commute so I have to get up at 4:00 to make a 6:00 class and get to work on time. I look forward to the workout so I actually don’t mind getting out of bed this early! The music and lighting gives it a club-like feel and the instructors are so friendly that I never felt intimidated. And I am 59 years old! I had been working out regularly at the gym but now I feel more toned (my husband says I have a perfect shaped butt now…nice guy). I’m pretty small so no weight problem, but my cloth feel better, I feel stronger and more confident.

  3. I just did my first class today!! I loved it!! I had a serious knee injury and have spent the last 6 months in rehab getting it back to normal. My other tip is don’t be afraid to ask for a modification of you can’t do what they are asking you to do. I did and the instructor was more than happy to oblige. It is a great low impact workout…perfect for me and I’m not in great shape and I still felt like I was able to do mostly everything during class.

  4. I absolutely love Pure Barre, and as a member of the 100 Club, I can confidently say it it the most consistent form of exercise I’ve ever done. One of my favorite things about it is how every class is different and challenging in new ways, even within the arms/thighs/seat/core routine. At class today, they told us that we will be getting a new (and difficult) warm up on Tuesday, so I’m excited and nervous for that. Glad to see that you’re enjoying it!

  5. Awesome!! I’m a Pure Barre teacher in Miami and I love to hear when clients enjoy the class. 🙂 I totally agree about touching the muscle that’s supposed to be contracting to make sure it’s working–I do that all the time!

    You’ll see great results from Pure Barre! I’ve noticed my abs are soo much stronger, my thighs are thinner, and I didn’t know my booty could be tight and lifted like it is. Can’t wait to hear how your progress goes after a few months 🙂

  6. What a fun class! I love your tips. I agree completely. As you said “try to not focus too much on calorie burn.” I say focus on the contacting of the muscle’s and good form as number one. They have a few fun ones here in L.A.

    Wish we could do one together!! xx Moni

  7. This is awesome! I’ve been wanting to try Pure Barre so I totally appreciate this post 🙂

  8. I’m so scared to try this, but it sounds so awesome! I’m still convinced that there is some level that I “should” be at before I go in and take a class because I always am so embarrassing haha

  9. Thank you SO much for posting this! I’ve been dying to try a class since Pure Barre opened a studio next to my job. Guess I know where I’ll be going before work this week 🙂

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