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You Want Me to Do What With My Hips?

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As the newest Pure Barre Ambassador, you will be hearing more from me about my struggles, successes, quirky, and at times witty banter about how I have used Pure Barre to help shape me from a lost and confused college student to a moderately successful post-graduate business woman.

My first Pure Barre experience was nothing short of a whirlwind. Whether you’ve just taken your first class or you’ve been to the Barre more times than the newest teacher, we have all had our first Pure Barre experience. And I am sure it was nothing short of a whirlwind of beats, pulsing, tucking and freezing which left you laying on your mat after the final stretching series saying to yourself, “What did I get myself into?” Not to mention the part where you finally come back to reality and you hear the squirt bottle spray because the concierge staff started wiping the mirrors after the rest of the clients left the room, from what feels like 2 minutes ago, but in reality was 45 minutes ago. Okay, maybe that last bit was a little dramatic, but we all know you wanted to lie there after your first class for longer than 45 minutes because, let’s face it, Pure Barre kicks major seat.

I rolled out of bed at around 10:30 am in Charleston, SC on the Friday after Thanksgiving in 2011. My eyes half open, already dragging my feet to the chock-full refrigerator of Thanksgiving left-overs, because after-all, what is the best breakfast day of the year? Black Friday. Who doesn’t like Turkey and stuffing for breakfast? But I digress.

After fixing myself the same meal I had the night before and popping it in the oven for a quick warm up, none other than Sophie, my boyfriend’s sister, dashes down the stairs just finishing up a business call wearing a super cute Lululemon get-up proposing I go to Pure Barre with her. I hummed and hawed looking at the ground desperately thinking of a valid excuse to decline. Besides, who works out the day after Thanksgiving when your body probably isn’t even done digesting last night’s meal?

Since I live in Minnesota and was on vacation in South Carolina, I remembered that I didn’t bring any fitness apparel or tennis shoes, which I thought would be the perfect excuse to decline. Sophie, being the savvy traveler she is, perked up and said, “You can borrow mine. I have an extra set, and you don’t even need shoes!” And at that moment, I was going to Pure Barre, whatever that was.

Both Sophie and I walked in and I was asked to sign a waiver while Sophie put on her special grippy socks. I saw that the socks had grips on the bottom, which I initially thought were totally weird and dumb because you’d have to buy a size up in order to fit them into shoes. Then Sophie took a pair from the basket of socks that were for sale and said, “Put these on, they will help for gripping.” To which I thought, Uh, I guess I’ll add a set of grippy socks to my wardrobe.

We walked into class and the music began. The teacher hurried to the front of the class, facing the group, perfectly on tempo saying, “Begin by stacking the palms, bringing your right knee to your chest…” The way class started, I thought it would be a cake-walk all the way through, after all, this beginning seemed totally doable. Lifting knees, coordinating with music. Easy enough, right? Wrong. Oh how wrong I was. Little did I know, that it wasn’t even the warm-up.

We jumped into hundreds, pushups, arms and then FINALLY a stretch. I was sweating bullets and ready for the teacher to say, “Alright, thanks for joining me for an arms section of Pure Barre, be sure to join me tomorrow for thighs or abs.” And did that ever happen? Nope. Actually she finished warm-up by saying, “Okay, now we are through with warm-up, we are moving onto thighs.” Warm-up? THAT was WARM-UP?!? Beginning to mentally panic, I had to calm myself down by glaring playfully over at Sophie, but ultimately, she and I both knew it wasn’t playful. My body was already aching. The whole time Sophie seemed to be doing it with a keen, focused look on her face. Alright, I thought, if she could do it, I could do it.

My thought process for the thigh series went a little something like this: First thigh, Oh my gosh, when will this end? And you want me to do what with my hips? My thighs have never burned so bad in my life! Moving on to the next exercise, I winced and thought, Okay, this has to be the last one. Seriously, if I shake anymore, I am going to crumble to the ground like the Berlin Wall. Are muscles supposed to do this? And finally, the next thigh exercise, Are you freaking kidding me, She is joking. We JUST did two of these. Nope. Not doing it. I’m done. Nope. Okay fine, one more. And the final 10 was announced and by golly, I was out of thighs. Gasping for a breath and searching for water, we moved into, what seemed like a 15 second stretch, and I thought that this point had to be the stopping point of class.”

Wrong. Moving into the seat work, I really liked these exercises right off the bat, as I could feel my glutes and hamstrings working at all angles. Then I thought to myself, Okay after seat, this has to be over, right? I can’t do anymore. I can feel my muscles are sore already.

Nope. Still not done yet. Once abs hit, the teacher announced “Grab everything that is red-mat, band and ball, and head to the center of the room. Find a spot to finish out class.” She said the glorious words, to finish out class. Again, I thought to myself, To finish out class. We did a killer ab section, as if I had enough energy to struggle through, I found a fourth of fifth wind and rode it all the way to the final stretch series. Phew. I made it. In mostly one piece.

While wiping my mat, ball, band and weights down I couldn’t even keep a decent conversation with Sophie. I was delirious, tired and instantly sore. At that moment, I knew I had to take another class. If my body could be this fatigued after one class, what could this do to my body if I incorporated it into my weekly routine? I had to take another class. Maybe not tomorrow, but for sure again.

Two months later a Pure Barre opened up in Minneapolis and I enrolled with the $99 new client special. Every class I took during the first three months at Pure Barre I had to talk myself into going and say to myself, “No, Michelle, it’s not so bad. It goes by quickly and you did it yesterday, you can do it today, too.” Over and over and after about three months I wasn’t afraid or nervous anymore, I began to look forward to the burn.

So whether you are new to Pure Barre or you’ve just hit your 500th class, there are only two things you need to remember going into class:  your body is stronger than your mind and you can always stick it out for the final ten seconds.

Michelle Conklin

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