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03 February, 2016

You Are Stronger Than You Think - My 100 Pure Barre Class Journey

It is beyond my wildest dreams that tonight I hit a milestone of 100 Pure Barre classes (at my home studio). I was hoping to have reached this goal about 6 weeks ago, but life happens.  And that's the biggest lesson I have learned this year:  just because life happens doesn't mean that your fitness routine is toast. Get up and keep trying.

I was 8 months postpartum and really struggling with my back and hips hurting.  My chiropractor said my core was probably horribly out of shape from having two kids and not really exercising.  She got me back on my feet with a daily walking challenge of one mile, two miles, and then three miles.  Once I was able to do that she suggested adding yoga or pilates classes to my weekly regimen to start building my core while protecting my back.  I liked those well enough but I was hesitant to invest that kind of money into something I only liked okay.  Providence had me leave the Target parking lot via a different exit one day. That's where I discovered the sign for Pure Barre.  I wasn't even to the traffic light and I was already asking Siri about Pure Barre.  I pulled over and devoured the website. Before I was home I was calling Eric to ask if I could try my first class.

I watched all the what to expect videos on the website, donned the prescribed leggings and fitted top and headed in for my first class. I was greeting with enthusiasm and treated like I was part of a family from the get-go.  I had no idea what I was doing, but the instructor kept quietly correcting my form and loudly praising my accomplishments. So refreshing.  I loved the personalized attention that was so different than any other group fitness I had participated in before.

Before I left I committed to my first month's package.  Each class made me more excited for the next. Something I had never experienced before. I loved that I could wear comfortable workout clothes, that I didn't need a super binding sports bra, and that I didn't need any special shoes.  I loved that I left feeling totally and completely worked out, but not out of breath or exhausted. I got the workout high without all the overly gross sweating (don't get me wrong, I certainly sweat!).  And best of all I was started to see my body change shape faster than I ever had before.

When I started I couldn't do a full body plank, and could barely manage the 90 second plank series even with modifications.  I couldn't do the sit-up series without a ball behind my lower back.  And I couldn't do the tricep work with any weights.  After a few months (before I got pregnant) I could hold the whole 90 second plank series, I could rock the whole abs series AND boost my heart rate while doing it, and was able to do the entire weight works series with 2 lb weights (the standard at PB) and barely drop my arms.  Of course, things are a bit different now that I have a baby belly.

The slow improvements, the welcoming environment, the encouragement, and the Pure Barre Family (they're not kidding, it's a family!) have kept me coming back even after the flu, pulled muscles, and some pregnancy complications. It's also why for the first time in my life I actually sought out a place to workout while on vacation.  Pure Barre has become such a part of my life that last spring I went to the Savannah studio, this summer I went to the 30-A studio and the Charleston studio (none of these classes count towards my 100 either!).  Normally I'd find any excuse to give up on working out, or throw in the towel at the onset of injury.  Not now. Now, I cried when the doctor said I needed to take some time off in early pregnancy while my body was adjusting....BUT MY 99 and 100 classes!!!! They just had to wait.

Besides the 2 pants & dress sizes lost, the firm arms, the definition in my core, and my solid legs, the BEST benefit I've found of my 100+ Pure Barre classes is what they call the "mind + body connection".  Through their coaching I've strengthened my mind and willpower.  Their motto of "You are stronger than you think" has become my personal mantra.  I never thought I could stick with someone or become so confident in myself or my abilities (who knew I could climb Stone Mountain with Maggie on my back and not get super winded?)

Thanks Pure Barre Family.  You've really changed me -- mind and body!  And thanks to my friends and family who have come to classes with me.  And a big thank you to my husband who has encouraged me, come home early from work so I could make a special class or meet a monthly challenge goal, tucked the girls in bed while I was "tucking" at the barre, and pushed me out the door on days when I wanted to give up.

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