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Workout Week: Pure Barre

Welcome to Seattle Refined Workout Week! This week we are trying a new boutique workout every day, and we're being filmed doing it (see video above). With so many gyms and classes popping up left and right in this wonderful city of ours, it can be incredibly intimidating to actually walk in and try them. So...we did it for you! Editor Britt Thorson and writer Gena Wynkoop are heading to Orangetheory, Pure Barre, Ian Fitness and SoulCycle this week; and as long as you promise not to judge their sweatiness, they promise to tell you honestly how they felt about each workout!

Day 1, done - on to Day 2! Still sore on the heels of Orangetheory, we were excited about the 'relief' that we guessed would come from Pure Barre. After all, it's a class based on ballet - how hard could it be, right? Another plus? Their website boasts that 'Pure Barre is the fastest, most effective way to change your body'. Sign us up!


OH. MY. GOSH. EVERYTHING HURTS. I'm writing this after doing all four workouts for #RefinedWorkoutWeek and I can easily say that for me, Pure Barre was the hardest. I had done it once before but I think my mind blacked out the memory of the incident. I went into the class thinking it was going to be a lower intensity exercise class, I watched some YouTube videos and the movements were all super small, no larger scale burpees or running in place, etc. I was assuming I wouldn't break a sweat. Well - watch the video about and look at me folks, things got reeeeeally sweaty in there. Pure Barre is all about micro-movements, so on the outside it doesn't look that exerting, but on the inside whatever muscle you're using over and over and over again is having the workout of its life. And then you repeat again for another muscle. And then again for another muscle. By the end of the class I was already sore, and felt muscles in my body I had never felt before.

I don't tend to like things that I'm not good at (a flaw, for sure), so Pure Barre was hard for me. I felt awkward and incapable and silly - and the other ladies in my class all looked like ballerinas while I felt like a fish flopping around on dry land. But again, that was only my first (in a while) barre class. I know people who swear by them - my sister, for example - and all you need to do is lok at Sammi to see that it works. I can easily say that even thought PB was the hardest of all the workouts, I also firmly believe you'd get more toned, quicker in this workout than anywhere else.


Okay so I need to be really honest. I think I have a love-hate relationship with Pure Barre, and I’m not entirely certain whether I love it or hate it more. (Hate is a strong word - let’s go with, not my favorite). So now that I’ve thoroughly confused you, let’s work through this together. Pure Barre was probably one of the more tough workouts that I have ever done. It’s not difficult in an obvious or conventional way in that it is heavy cardio, but the muscles that I worked are ones that I have never felt in my entire life. Scratch that – never knew EXISTED. In fact, I woke up the next morning and it practically hurt to blink my eyes.

Pros: It is a killer workout. I think if I signed up and kept going for a long time I would see some serious muscle definition. I also really liked the vibe of the gym. Yes, it was a little intimidating because the patrons were professionals. Or, at least it seemed that way! However, it was nice to go to a gym that is predominately female. Our instructor, Sammi, did mention that men do come to classes but there weren’t any men in our class.

Now for the cons – There were several moments where I felt like I couldn’t keep up, which isn’t a bad thing by any means! I just couldn’t fathom how such small and intricate movements made me feel like I was absolutely falling apart. But I was, undeniably so. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?! Personally, I prefer workouts that are fast paced and the tempo of Pure Barre was a bit slow for me. That being said, I can definitely appreciate it for what it is – a legit and tough workout. If you are put off by heavy cardio workouts, I think you’ve met your match.