I’m totally addicted to Groupon and Living Social since they introduce me to all kinds of new restaurants, services, shops, etc. I’m especially excited when I see a deal on cool new fitness classes since that really is my favorite way to exercise…
A few weeks ago, I saw an offer for 4 “Pure Barre” classes at Fit for $40… The website describes the workout like this:
|Pure Barre is a total body workout that lifts your seat, tones your thighs and burns fat in record-breaking time. Utilizing the ballet barre to perform small isometric movements set to fantastic music, Pure Barre is the fastest, most effective, yet safest way to change your body.|
I took ballet for about 5 years as a kid and have thought numerous times that it’s really a shame that ballet studios don’t have basic classes for adults who have never quite let go of the “I’ll be a ballerina!” dream. That obviously influenced my selective reading of this class description because I zeroed in on the words “ballet barre”, bought the deal, and started practicing my foot/arm positions (which I still totally rock, mind you).
I got to the studio early to make sure that I had time to sign up, get changed, and get the lay of the land before we started. I brought leggings, a fitness tank, my new low-profile shoes, and a light gauzy top that I was sure would make me feel like a butterfly while twirling on my toes in class. As it turns out, no one was wearing shoes when I walked into the classroom, so I ditched them in my cubby and returned to the classroom to claim a spot on the floor. Going to a new fitness class is always a little intimidating, but as I looked around the room… I realized I *might* have gotten in over my head. I was the only one in the room not stretching in positions most commonly found in the complete kama sutra… for real. This was an INTRO class, for crying out loud! I’m pretty sure that if you can do the splits and bring your ankle up next to your head, you should not be in an intro-class. Am I right?!
And this is when I started to full-on panic. The lady seated next to me gave a small, but kind chuckle and asked if it was my first class. I said “uh, yeah – is the panic written on my face that clearly?”. She was very sweet and said that the class (like most fitness classes) could be whatever I made of it – to just do what I could and it would get better/easier each time I came back. I took a few deep breaths and tried not to fidget too badly while waiting for the class to begin.
So… this is definitely not the fun ballet class I envisioned. It’s even hard to describe what it is, other than to say that you do a lot of small tightly-controlled movements with your arms, legs, and abs… over and over (and over…) again. One of the hardest parts for me was when we stood at the barre and worked one leg/hip/butt muscle for like an hour (give or take 47 minutes). We started out with our back to the barre and lifted our right leg (toes pointed) and then pulsed it up and down in a very small arc (like position 1 is only about 3 inches from position 2) for a few minutes, then switched (without stopping) to pulling our heel back and extending, back and extending…. and then tiny circles with our leg extended… and then switching to face the bar so we could do small-controlled leg extensions to the rear and to the side and lifting up and out, up and out. You probably think this sounds easy, but you would be wrong… so very very wrong.
I’m certainly not the fittest girl around, but this workout had my limbs shaking so badly that I literally had to tell myself to not pass out. I think we’ve established in past posts that I would not make a good Survivor contestant (for a number of reasons, actually), but I think anyone going on that show should prep for challenges by taking some of these classes.
Throughout the hour-long workout, we used small kick balls that we squeezed between our thighs as we worked our abs, small hand-weights for the arms (or nothing if you’re wimpy-girl like me), a single exercise tube for stretching our back and some leg extensions, and a thick exercise mat for some of the floor work and for tucking the end between our thighs for yet more squeezing while we did ab work. Soo, sooo much squeezing the thighs together… seriously.
We actually used the barre very little… did not do any of the feet/hand positions, no pirouettes, no pliés… and never once leapt around the room to the beat of a tambourine (flash-back to my childhood ballet lessons). So while it was a great workout (arguably tougher for me than cross-fit), it did not satisfy my inner-ballerina at all.
I still have three classes left in my deal and I intend to use them all with an open mind… but I am definitely not rushing out to buy toe-shoes any time soon.
p.s. the Fit studio is located directly behind Gigi’s Cupcakes… someone is a genius and deserves a big hug… just as soon as I regain control of my arms.