Pure Barre

By on 26 September, 2016 in Fun, Kate and Stephen, Municipal business with 0 Comments

IMG_2846Plenty of things go out of fashion for perfectly good reasons: congealed salads, legwarmers, Foreigner. But there are other customs that genuinely deserve reaffirmation and renewal. Chief among these, for my money, is the hand-written thank you note. A few weeks ago I found one in my mailbox. It wasn’t for receipt of a gift or a charitable donation; instead, it was from the proprietors of a local exercise studio. Honestly, it made me smile – the idea that they’d taken a few minutes to write a personalized note after my first visit and dropped it into the mail with an actual stamp!

It speaks volumes of the kindness and community atmosphere I found at my local Pure Barre studio, over in the A&P loft development in Old Cloverdale. I wasn’t sure what to expect on my first visit, but a trusted professional had told me that it might meet my fitness needs. The website told me to wear pants and “sticky socks.” I had pants, but no sticky socks. It turned out they sold those at the studio. I didn’t buy them my first time, but would before I go again. More on the need for sticky socks shortly.

A veritable gaggle of friendly smiles greeted me on arrival. I struggled to remember all the names of people who introduced themselves as I filled out the intake paperwork, shelved my purse and shoes, and went into the studio. The place is small and intimate, with a carpeted floor and bars lining the periphery. There’s one mirrored wall. I guess I’m glad I sat next to the wall so I could see up close all the ways I was struggling to keep up with the fast-paced routine.

IMG_2847When I say the pace is fast, that’s an understatement. The class begins with a riot of motion, the instructor wired for sound with one of those Britney-type headsets. She’s got a card that specifies the sequence of exercises for the class, but barely consults it, so good is her grasp of the flow of things. Everyone besides me seemed to be familiar with sequence, pace and motion, but nobody made me feel bad for floundering. On the contrary, the instructor came often to help me with adjustments and even complimented me occasionally. This positive reinforcement (“Awesome, Kate!”) really helped me to survive the 55 minute class.

Which, let me say, is no joke. Several times during the class I found myself oddly grateful that there were no clocks in the room – otherwise I might have been marking desperate time toward the end, so out of shape was I. Instead, I focused around the very loud music to hear the instructor’s voice telling us that there were 30 seconds left in a particular sequence, thinking: “I can do this! What’s 30 seconds?”

This culminated, I’m not going to lie, in considerable pain. Not because I injured myself, but because this was a very strenuous workout, something I had not done in a while. My quads burned for two days afterward, and although my body was incredulous at the possibility, I’d already started thinking about going back.

Midtown’s lucky to have this little studio available for coordinated exercise. It’s all well and good to say you’re going to work out; it’s another thing to have a group motivating you and a place to go that’s friendly and supportive. Plus, it’s hard to get this kind of workout on your own: core, legs, arms, seat – really, it’s a comprehensive 55 minutes at a reasonable price. You may squeal afterwards, but at least they send you a thank you card!

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