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Why I’m a Group Fitness Girl

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I’ve been athletic all my life, but I’ve never been one to join teams. Instead, I’ve relished independent sports like skating, skiing, yoga, cycling, hiking and rock climbing. And yet, after I had kids and settled into a life where mountains were far away and hopping on my bike for a long ride was no longer an option, I didn’t do well on my own.Pure-Barre-2014Conference-1087

I found a great gym with state-of-the-art facilities and started with the best of intentions to get back in shape. I showed up on a regular schedule to meet my goals, but as the weeks wore on I found myself walking (not running) on the treadmill and paying more attention to the morning talk shows than pushing myself. Then, after some cursory stretches and sit-ups, I would retreat to the sauna, vaguely hoping to “sweat off” my excess pounds. Needless to say, that didn’t work.

I tried group fitness there, but the classes were hit or miss. The yoga teacher was inexperienced. Pilates was at the wrong time. Zumba cost more.

I just never found the perfect fit.

Enter Pure Barre.

From the moment I walked into my first class and the music started thumping, I was hooked. No matter what time of day I went to class or who was teaching, the workout was consistent yet varied — difficult, challenging, inspiring and fun. Now, with Pure Barre, it’s no longer a matter of trying to rearrange my schedule to get to the one class at the fitness center I kind of like. Instead, it’s about going on with life each day and still being able to get to the barre when it works for me. On any given day, there’s bound to be a class I can squeeze in.

And back to group fitness …

I need someone to push me, motivate me, keep an eye on me and root for my success. But that doesn’t mean I want to hire a personal trainer. I like others around me too, all working toward the same goal.

I love chatting before class until the teacher turns up the volume and tells us to stack our palms and lift our knees for warm-up. Once the burning begins, I don’t look around much. In fact, I often close my eyes. And yet, I feel the energy of everyone around me and it drives me forward.

When I catch glimpses of others working just as hard as I am, it motivates me. When someone gives a groan or whoop, I know I’m not alone in wanting to shake out my excruciating thigh pain. It makes me feel good when I know there’s a beginner behind me drawing inspiration from my form, and it pushes me to work harder when I glimpse a client across the room floating her feet up effortlessly during abs.

Mostly though, I am in my own world, akin to pedaling along a solitary bike path or doing sun salutations on a quiet beach. But when class is over, the small talk begins again and I realize it’s the camaraderie that makes Pure Barre more than a visit to the gym, a walk on a treadmill, and misguided hopes that sitting in a sauna alone will get me to my goals.

Instead, it’s a journey to health, well-being and results shared with a community of people who show up consistently just like me, and work together yet independently to reach a common goal, under the guidance of a trainer who makes it personal. Every day.

That’s why Pure Barre works for me.

Wensdy Von Buskirk is a journalist and new Pure Barre teacher based out of Pure Barre Brighton, MI.

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