In this episode of undercover-fit guy, I once again dig out my fake nose and moustache to infiltrate the workout craze known as Pure Barre. My goal: to find out what Pure Barre is, how it works, and whether or not it is a good way to get fit.
Too Much Sitting
After my first class, I had the opportunity to pick the instructor’s brain and I brought up the fact that we spent a lot more time working the legs, hips, and glutes than any other body parts. She explained to me that each instructor has a slightly different variation of the basic Pure Barre exercises that they put together on their own. She went on to say that she has moved her focus to the lower body due to popular demand. I found this of particular interest and I am torn as to why.
Part of me thinks that this demand was likely due the notion that 99% of Pure Barre attendees are women who generally shy away from upper body exercises (apologies to those of you who don’t), whether because it's human instinct to avoid things we aren’t immediately good at or if it is because of the irrational fear of “bulking up” that many women seem to have.
The other part of me hopes that this demand is because of the growing body of knowledge around the fact that we spend far too much time sitting these days, which is leading to an epidemic or weak hips, glutes, and legs. Giving that part of the body some serious attention at least a couple times per week, for 30-40 minutes, is certainly a move in the right direction.
In the end, I guess it doesn’t matter which reason spurred the change, the end result is that Pure Barre workouts, at least at this location, are helping to keep the good people of Kitsilano’s lower bodies mobile and strong.
My Pure Barre Conclusion
I enjoyed the workout, got pretty stiff and sore, and was forced out of my comfort zone—so I consider that to be a huge win. Unlike some of the other gym fads out there that seem a little repetitious and simple (Orangetheory and BODYPUMP, I am looking at you), Pure Barre engaged new muscle groups, challenged my coordination, my balance, my memory, my listening skills, and poked at some neuromuscular connections that had been on vacation since that Zumba class I took in 2011.
While I wouldn’t suggest that anyone rely solely on Pure Barre for all their exercise needs (for the reasons I listed and more), I believe in the value of throwing your body a curve ball every once in a while and for a guy who primarily lifts, runs, swims, and cycles, this was certainly a curveball. One that opened my mind and my hips!
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