While I am no veteran Pure Barre client like @surgeoninkicks who is already well past her first 100 classes, I do have her to, ummm, thank for introducing me Pure Barre and I have returned time and time again (having tested out some of the competition) whenever I can.
So today, my barre hopping brought me back to PB River North in Chicago.
I felt good heading into today’s class. I was joined by a friend who lives nearby (and was originally inspired to try Pure Barre by this very blog); I always enjoy workouts with friends better than solo endeavors. I was still on an endorphin high from the two road races I ran over the weekend. And, though I sometimes go months between Pure Barre classes, I had squeezed in a class at PB Boston just one week earlier during yet another work trip. You see, the moves and the music change about every 4-6 weeks or so (the flow of the class from warmup to abs, to upper body, to seat and thigh, back to abs, and then finally to cool down, back work, and stretching stays the same); so I find that having been to a recent class (even if it is in a totally different part of the country) prepares me to be a much better Pure Barre pupil.
So yes, I was feeling really ready when I headed to PB River North this morning, warming up with a brisk half mile walk from my hotel.
But you know, I still always feel pretty pathetic at Pure Barre as I compare myself to those who attend more often than I do. They hold their planks with precision while I am biting through my lower lip to keep from buckling, thinking “Ugh, my abs are sooooooo weak!.” They wield the 5lb weights while making their triceps jump while I am examining my arms lifting 2lb weights wondering “Is that my tricep?” They have just the right amount of shake without stepping away from the barre during the seat and thigh work but this is when I start audibly cursing, question myself “What the F… possessed me to do this again?!” Their abs snap back so efficiently that their gracefully straightened legs rise up to the ceiling; meanwhile my stupid tight hamstrings make my legs look like giant claws and no matter how much harder I squeeze my abs nothing seems to happen. At this point, I am praying “Dear lord please let it end.” I somehow fake my way through the floor based ab work with my legs once again entirely unable to cooperate with being straight thus exacerbating my abdominal failings. And then, finally, we get to the back work and (thanks to all the pilates I have also done) I am a back dancing queen so I start to feel good about myself again, “Woot, I rock!” But then we get to the stretching. The time has come to “bend yourself in half” says the Pure Barre teacher and all I can think of with my still nearly upright torso despite my maximally stretched legs and back is “Well at least it’s over. Bring on the disinfecting wipe.”
I am thinking “Holy $#!% That Barre Class Was Waaaay Harder Than Running 10 Miles!” but you know what I felt great (and was soaked in like 5 times as much sweat as any run I have ever done even in warm weather). This is a fact about every Pure Barre class I have ever taken. No matter how inadequate I feel during class, no matter how much I curse through the lift, tuck, and burn, no matter how much I ache in parts of my body that I didn’t even know could ache, I always feel fantastic after the class.
I am already lamenting the fact that I may not be able to get to another Pure Barre class for quite some time. I would laugh at myself for all the self-deprecation during class except, well….., my abs still hurt too much to do that.