Greenlake Walking

Pure Barre!

Ha and welcome to a crazy world!

Pure Barre is a kind of exercise class. I am not sure if I should call it a crazy exercise class or a fun class. It is both. It reminds me of the blog post one person put up. The post is several reasons she hates pure barre and several reasons she loves pure barre! Ha!

Here is her fifth reason to hate Pure Barre: ". . . instructors says things that make me cringe like, 'Y’all worked hard today! Go ahead and have some fun with it!' while we are in bridge pose for three minutes, pelvic thrusting to techno dance tunes." Ha!

Anyway, Pure Barre is pretty fun and pretty crazy. It is an exercise class in which there are a dozen exercises I can't do very well. I give up on them before the time is up and maybe try more, especially when the teacher says, "Push on. Here are our last, ten, best."

Pure Barre classes are taught by women who are incredibly strong and energetic in some ways. Some of the students are other women like the teachers and some of the students are learning like me. I am not very good at doing a plank or basic forms of pushups, and a lot of women are!

If I understand it correctly, the purpose of pure barre classes is not to bulk a person up, but to tone and strengthen and make some muscles lean and long and create flexibility. Part of the approach is to work a muscle or muscle group to fatigue and then to stretch it shortly after it has gotten fatigued. So, at Pure Barre, they intentionally work you in a way that leads some people to "get fatigued!"

There are some women who are convinced it has given them back a commendable figure. The site has a page with owner stories. One story includes this,

Mom "went from a size 10 (having a personal trainer & running on the treadmill 3 miles every other day) to a size 4 in 2 1/2 months.  She was always fairly confident in herself, but since the results she has seen with Pure Barre her self-esteem has skyrocketed!"

Why would a guy take pure barre classes? Well, a lot of guys don't take these classes. And there are the guys who take one pure barre class . . . then go home and write blog posts about the crazy class or why they hate it!. I don't know if that is good or bad. In fact, I have searched the Net to find out the reactions of other guys to taking barre classes.

I first began to take some generic barre classes cause I walk at Greenlake in skimpy undies. People see my butt, or some of it, depending on the day, and I walk at Greenlake, partly, to let them see my butt. In the summer of 2013, I had some work every day in which I walked on Westlake Ave around noon. Almost every day for a few weeks I walked past the studio of "the Bar Method" filled with barre students. I did not have much extra money at the time to pay for barre classes, but I figured that that kind of class would probably be good for having one's butt look nice. (This is something we think about some dancers, right?)

I mean, after all, people do not bench press to have a nice butt . . . and at least some dancers take this kind of class. It must help somehow!

What a reason to start taking barre classes! Ha!

Now, in November 2014, I tried Pure Barre.


Before I go on, I should mention that the staff and teachers at Pure Barre of Capitol Hill/Seattle have all been super encouraging! They are great! Maybe they are all like this at the other greater Seattle locations, but I have not been to those locations yet. I've been to some generic barre class and I have been to only one other franchise or brand name Barre class. That is the Dailey Method. I have not been to the Bar Method or Barre3. Apparently there are at least 4 major types of brand name barre classes. These are the Bar Method, Barre3, the Dailey Method and Pure Barre. I don't know much about other the Barre method or barre3 barre classes.

One thing fun about the barre classes is that they often tease the gals with photos or sayings that reference their butt and thighs, without using the word butt. Sometimes there is a proverb or motto. Sometimes there is a photo such as this one that was at another barre studio.

gals face down exercising, maybe leaner

Pure Barre is the most intense and challenging fitness class that I have done . . . and the Dailey Method is second. People in these classes actually do a lot of different exercises; I thinkit is worth taking both!

What I do know is that at Pure Barre Capitol Hill, the staff and teachers are quite welcoming, encouraging and gently helpful to you in getting the right form. At times they are actually positively happy to see me there and they are happy to see me making bits of progress. I don't know how "Pure Barre" does this so well. Is it true of all Pure Barre studios? There is positively a feeling of support and caring which is less evident at some generic barre classes, such as one might take at the local gym. All staff and teachers seem to have learned my name. They are happy to see me and at times make it a point to say hello or goodbye! They are happy when I have made progress; we get to rejoice together!

The "pace" of the Pure barre class is fine if you have done some cardio conditioning . . . but some of the exercises are just not possible if you have not been doing them! Ha! You do them and you give up and around you are a dozen women who are doing them. It is crazy. I could barely do a "plank." At the bar we do exercises in which we are leaning back into a seated position and there is no chair there! Oh, boy! At times I think we do other bar exercised with heels off the ground or on a single foot!

Anyway, the Pure Barre exercise varies in intensity from teacher to teacher. The classes range in difficulty from 2 to 8 times harder than what you will experience in a generic barre class at a local gym. What I can't do, I just try for 10 to 60 seconds, rest and I try more again if I can. I wonder how the rest of the class can do the exercise for the 2 to 5 minutes!

I've read some posts by people who "hate pure barre." People have different reasons; some of them are funny. One reason some of them give is that they go to a session and there are exercises they can't do. They say that there should be easy pure barre for beginners!

The difficulty of the class may be one of its advantages. To me, it is kind of fun to be confronted with these exercises that other people can do and you can't do for more than 10 or 15 seconds. And, after one to three weeks, you can do more of the exercise without giving up. And I look forward to the time when I can do these exercises without quitting in the middle.

A Pure Barre class will generally include some time working triceps, biceps, thighs, seat and abs. The "seat" is the pure barre name for your butt. The "pure barre ledge" is how your gluteal crease will look, we hope, after several months of productive classes . . . and maybe also after walking!

There are a dozen exercises they do that I wouldn't do on my own, and which may be good for me. And I gradually see an increase in my ability to do these crazy exercises!

Another thing about Pure Barre classes is that you will do a hundred tucks. A tuck is pulling the pelvis in and upwards, in the front, towards the ribs. I don't know if practicing tucking helps you, but pure barre students do it a hundred times or several dozen times per class. If you practice, after a while you may even do a right tuck and a left tuck.

One of the staff at Capitol Hill Pure Barre believes that doing the tuck helps her posture. I don't know if there has been a direct benefit to my posture . . . but I have researched tucking a bit and learned to properly know and describe posterior pelvic tilt and anterior pelvic tilt. And there are exercises one may do to reduce some forms of bad posture, which at times include a forward head, which I positively have. It would be nice and helpful to have that improved . . . so I will gradually learn some exercises to work on this.

By the way, some people have anterior pelvic tilt and some people have posterior pelvic tilt and some people are more or less neutral. Anterior pelvic tilt is when the the front of the pelvis is lower than it would normally be; posterior pelvic tilt is when the back of the pelvis is lower than it should be.

Some people think that anterior pelvic tilt is sexy on some women, at some times, but it is probably not a good thing on an ongoing basis. Also, anterior pelvic tilt is believed to be shown by some girls or gal with attitude.

Overall, Pure Barre is actually pretty fun. It is a great addition to 90 minutes of walking and running at the gym! Sometimes I jog from Gold's gym downtown to Pure Barre Capitol Hill. Then we are doing our pure barre warm-up and my face gets covered in sweat because I have already been jogging to get to class on time. Then we do these step-ups and one-legged planks or one-legged push-ups. Pure Barre is really, really evil. Ha!

By the way, I have been doing Pure Barre for a little more than 2 months now, as of January 7, 2014. According to the scale at the gym, I seem to weigh the same as when I began. When I began I wore a size 31" waist pants. I still wear the same size pants, but it seems as if the pants are slip more down than they used to. Has Pure Barre slightly thinned me slightly even though I weigh the same?

Suppose you take Pure Barre classes and you get past the first one and come back for more. Surviving the first day basically means it did not discourage you too badly. Anyway, on days when you would enjoy some extra entertainment, you can type in "hate Pure Barre" and search. It is pretty good! Ha!