I'm a runner, and I will always be a runner. Yet, after my dad told me all the cardio was making me lose some of the muscles I had developed while practicing Tae Kwon Do, I began to re-evaluate my workout routine.  While doing research on fun ways to switch up my daily running schedule, I stumbled across Pure Barre, so I went out on a limb and bought a semester package.

Spoiler alert: It's been one of the most worthwhile decisions I've ever made.

It's an Hour Completely Dedicated to You

Photo courtesy of Amanda Mae Photography

I was told that Pure Barre would be the "best hour of my day" when I signed up. While I first received it skeptically, four months later, I can confidently say that I fully support the statement. As students, it's hard enough to balance your genetics practice problems with your history readings, let alone take a moment for yourself. At Pure Barre, the teachers are there to keep you consciously in touch with your body for a full 60 minutes.

To quote Dani Silverstein, a Michigan student and teacher at Pure Barre in Ann Arbor, "Finishing strong is very empowering for me — when I teach, I want to remind everyone in class how strong they are during the exercises, so they come out of my class feeling empowered, in addition to having had a great workout."

This empowerment that Dani talks about creates a positive energy in the studio, which is a mental breath of fresh air after six or so hours of lectures. You always walk out of a Pure Barre class feeling good about yourself, as compared to the mediocrity you feel when exiting an organic chemistry class.

It's a Full Body Workout

coffee, tea, beer
Photo courtesy of Amanda Mae Photography

An hour may seem like the blink of an eye for a student, which means that a Pure Barre class can easily fit into your schedule. Nevertheless, that hour will contain one of the best workouts you've ever experienced. Each class works your arms, legs, and butt ("seat") with stretching in between. This combination of exercises results in long, toned muscles and increased flexibility. I can finally touch my toes — hollah! 

Much of the class is comprised of small isometric movements, which are familiar to dancers, but felt weird and awkward for me, someone who is used to sports and running. After a couple of classes, I got used to it, but I was surprised, at first, to feel that my legs, which have been conditioned to run 10 miles a day, were actually shaking.

It Is Always Challenging

wine, tea, beer, coffee
Photo courtesy of Amanda Mae Photography

No matter if it's your first class or your 500th, Pure Barre never gets easier. That is one of the unique parts of it —every second depends on how hard you push yourself. The structure of class also changes. New routines, movements, and workouts leave you guessing what your next class will be like. Each teacher also has their own style, so it's fun to switch up your classes based on who's teaching.

All in all, Pure Barre is a great complement to any workout routine or just a fun activity to pick up in general. The community surrounding it and the empowerment you gain from every class adds some meaning and fun to a stressful student life.