First, the good news: ClassPass has already proven to be amazing and I can barely move without feeling a sore muscle after my Pure Barre class (yes, that’s a good thing). Thank you to ClassPass for providing me with a month of their amazing service! I couldn’t be more thrilled that they have finally launched in Denver and that I’ll be able to hit up all those hot spots I’ve been dying to try.
And the bad news: the cozy mood lighting at Pure Barre is great for working out, but bad for taking iPhone pictures. Lesson learned, bring a real camera next time. Hopefully you’ll still get the point.
On to the real review! My first ClassPass class was the barre class at Pure Barre Highlands. I’ve actually been to this Pure Barre location once before for one of our Local Levo Denver “NetWorkout” events – which is lucky because the traffic was pretty bad and the entrance is a little tricky to find. If you’re heading there for the first time, you have to go around to the back of the building into the alley, behind Little White Dress. There is a sign that points you in the right direction, but the first time I didn’t walk far enough into the alley to actually see the entrance (below).
TIP: When you see the Pure Barre sign on the brick wall of the building, keep walking down the alley looking to your right! I promise you will see the door eventually.
Once you get inside, it is so adorable! There were cubbies to place my belongings, cushy chairs for slipping my shoes on and off, a rack of spandex-y apparel to peruse, and a super friendly front desk person to check me in. It is very non-intimidating and comfortable. And I wish you could see the great chandeliers…
TIP: You need to wear socks to these classes! Unlike yoga, you must wear them in the studio so bring an extra pair if you’re rocking sandals. However, if you do forget, they do have cute little socks with grippy bottoms available for purchase.
When I checked-in the instructor told me which implements I needed. Both times I grabbed hand weights, a ball, and a double looped band (think two interlocked circles). The first time I wasn’t sure that the 2lb weights would be enough, but boy was I wrong. This time I learned my lesson, grabbed the 2lb weights, and even did part of arms with no weights at all.
TIP: Do NOT, I repeat do NOT think that the 2lb weights are going to be too light! Unless you are in amazing shape and often do workouts with a lot of reps with little weight and no rest (kind of like Pilates), I would start with the lightest weights.
After grabbing implements I walked into the studio and took a spot in the middle towards the front. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from attending a lot of different classes it’s that even if I look stupid, it’s better to be able to see the instructor and have other people see me struggle than to be in the back struggling to see what’s going on.
The workout that followed was intense, but enjoyable and the time flew by. It started off with a 5min or so warmup that included high knee running in place, push-ups, and 90seconds of plank. Right from the beginning I was shaking! The warmup really fatigues all of your muscles so that you’re pretty much going to failure the entire class. I’m sure this effect lessens once you go regularly, but I was dying the entire class both times.
After that we did a series of arm exercises – tricep extensions, bicep curls, overhead press – with either no weights, your light weights, or your heavy weights (which I think only go up to 5lbs). It is non-stop and involves a million reps and little pulses.
Then we moved on to work at the barre. This involved holding a plie (like a knees-out squat), toes raised forEVER and pulsing up and down, in and out, back and forth, and then doing it all again with the band around my thighs. It was hard, but I really feel like my booty got a little higher and tighter.
After that we continued with pilates-like floor work that involved a variety of mini leg lifts and crunches in the middle of the room and then isolation work that was done sitting with our backs against the mirror and hands on the barre. This section was especially about getting those deep down abs. The “corset” muscles as they’re sometimes called.
TIP: Try to keep your hips tucked under! The instructor came over a few times and reminded me not to have a sway back. This helps to really engage your entire core.
Finally, we ended with MORE ab work – I think it was 7min long (she said the time, I wasn’t watching the clock I promise). This meant boat pose crunches and oblique twists with the ball between our thighs, swimmers (literally lying face down pretending to swim), and bridges, among other things that I was too tired to remember. However I was actually surprised I could still do so many of the moves after dying for the entire first 50min.
I really enjoyed that we ended class with a nice long stretch – which is actually incorporated throughout class as well – and with the feeling that a workout was definitely had. Again, if you don’t like to work, sweat, and shake, this might be one to skip. However, if you really want a tight little booty and toned arms (and of course to be super strong), I would highly recommend the Pure Barre Highlands location! If you want to give it a go but aren’t in great shape, just make sure to communicate with the instructor and she will gladly give you modifications to help you get the most out of your experience.
Overall I had a great experience, got in a darn good workout, and will definitely put this class into regular rotation on my ClassPass schedule!