Somewhere out there is a picture of four year old me trying to keep up in a ballet class full of seven year olds.
Fast forward to today when I was the newbie in Pure Barre among eight lean, strong women who understood all the key words that I could have looked up on the website the night before had I not chosen to pig out on Chinese food instead.
I had been a dancer from age four to fourteen. A class with a barre? That sounded right up my alley. My butt had finally recovered from last weeks SoulCycle. I was ready.
For people like me, who don't know their work schedule or when they'll be able to do much more than run on the elliptical in their buildings gym, classes are $27 a pop. Otherwise, they have this cool new client special that gives you a month of unlimited classes for $99.
So here we are, first Pure Barre class. Instructor Kathleen, who is very cheerful at 9am, gives me the low down of what's to come. I get two sets of weights, a tube and a ball. She sits me near the front and goes through two key phrases that I immediately forget as soon as class starts.
This class moves fast, between the music, the Pure Barre lingo I don't know and the constant switch of positions I find myself looking over at the other women in class and trying to mimic their movement. When I really don't get it, Kathleen is always there to maneuver my hips and legs into place.
The warm up is a plank (and this is when I realize that I have no idea what I just got myself in to and that my prior dance experience will not help me here).
Then we move to weights, first the lighter ones, for some stuff my husband taught me how to do when I wanted to go backless for our engagement photos; and then heavier ones that left me feeling like a noodle as I sit here writing this.
She tells us to put a ball between our legs. Here comes the thigh workouts, then the butt lifting, then the abs.
Tuck. Hold. Pulse. Pressback. Hold. Heavy Tailbone.
I am shaking. I look down at my quivering legs and I am embarrassed at the amount of shaking that is happening.
We're at the barre. We're on the floor. Suddenly mats appear and we're on the floor at the barre. All these tiny little movements over the course of 55 minutes and I can feel it from the tip of my fingers to the bottom of my pointed toes.
The class ends in several stretches on the floor that still work every muscle down to the very last minute in class. Kathleen assures me I caught on quickly and I pretend to believe her as I leave to find the shoes I left outside the door.
There's a reason I've never gotten into pilates and yoga, even though they use many of the same isolated movements and it's the same reason that Pure Barre works. Pure Barre has found a way to, essentially, pump yoga and boring old crunches full of energy. While sustaining the low impact movement and combining it with a very targeted full body work out Pure Barre has you shaking well before the class is over.
I could feel it working. In just one class I could feel myself getting stronger (even though I also grew more fatigued) as the time went by.
I promise to come back and I mean it, because for whatever reason, it seems I've become somewhat of fitness class junkie -- and it feels really good feeling this good...at least for now.