HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR FIRST PURE BARRE CLASS

I'm going to keep it real with you; I'm anything but graceful and coordinated. I could walk a flat surface, and still manage to trip and fall. Clumsy is my middle name. Dancing? Don't even get me started! I was born with two left feet. While everyone is going right, I'm going left. Even in boxing class, I can't seem to get my combos right, even after two years of practice.

When it comes to barre classes, I'm always slightly nervous to try them out. So, when Pure Barre Pearl District invited myself and the Fit Life PDX crew to come try out their class and check out their studio, I was excited yet nervous!

If you've never taken a barre class, I know it can feel slightly intimidating with not knowing what to expect or what to wear. Sound familiar? Keep reading, girlfriend!

HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR FIRST PURE BARRE CLASS
HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR FIRST PURE BARRE CLASS
HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR FIRST PURE BARRE CLASS

What is Pure Barre exactly? Like most barre classes, it integrates a fat-burning format of interval training with the elongating and shaping techniques of dance conditioning for a full-body workout. Through a series of one-inch movements, you’ll work muscles you never knew existed. With all small movements that focus on toning and tightening your body, you are sure to feel the burn. And the best part of this workout is that it will help you to build lean muscle, making your body a fat burning machine.

What to wear. Yoga or pilates wear is recommended. Something that you'll be comfortable in moving around. There isn’t any high impact jumping around, so a heavy duty sports bra isn’t necessary. During class, participants wear grip socks or studio wraps.

Arrive early. Like with any other new class you take, arrive 10-15 minutes before it begins. Once you fill out a short waiver, the teacher will show you where you can leave your belongings and help you get set up with any equipment You might be using in class. This is typically a set of light weights, a ball, and a resistance band tube. Once you’ve got everything you need, you'll find a spot in the studio where you feel comfortable, facing the front mirror.

The equipment. A pair of lightweights (very light weights - 3-2 lbs) were provided, along with a resistance cord, ball, and mat. I got a little cocky when I saw the light weights. I shouldn’t have.

The moves. I’m not sure what I expected. Well, yes I did. I expected ballet class, and because I had taken numerous BarMethod classes nearly seven years ago, I thought it'd be the same. It’s nothing like ballet class. It's similar but nothing like Bar Method. The entire class centers around small, repetitive movements with little to no weights. That description makes it sound easy, but let me tell you, it isn’t. We started with a "warm up" that felt like the workout. And after 5 minutes I feared I wouldn’t make it through the class. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what it was that made it so challenging, but I imagine the isolated movements, the number of reps and the focus on squeezing individual muscles made it, unlike any workout I’ve ever done. 

Embrace the tremble. Squatting and flexing and ‘tucking’ my way through class made my muscles tremble. By the end, I couldn’t keep my legs from vibrating when trying to straighten them.

There's a Tucking learning curve. There is a learning curve. The famous tucking that Pure Barre is known for takes some time to learn. It took some real focus and positioning trial and error for me to do moves correctly so I could feel my muscles working. 

I won’t pretend I didn’t love it; I did. Leaving class, my muscles felt fatigued. The next day I could feel it in my thighs and my lower butt. You know, the part of the butt that connects to the leg. Who doesn’t want to tighten and tone that area? 

Pure Barre Pearl District1124 NW 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97209; (503) 894-8623; purebarre.com/or-pearldistrict/. Want to try Pure Barre? Join me on ClassPass  and you'll get $30 off your first month on a 5-class or 10-class plan!

Thanks, Pure Barre-Pearl District for hosting! As always, all opinions are my own. 

FRIDAY-FIVE: 5 Fav Gym Bag Essentials To Make You Feel Fab

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There are some essential items to have in your gym bag for a great workout and also post workout. More importantly, putting certain staples in your gym bag can prevent common mishaps from happening. For example, if you suddenly realize you need to go out after the gym, only to find yourself without a change of clothes. That’s where the fully-stocked gym bag comes in. These are my favorite gym bag essentials that will keep you prepared at all times.

1. DRY SHAMPOO ≫ ENJOY

If you don't have time to take a full shower after your workout, you should bring along some dry shampoo. It only takes a few minutes to apply, and you'll feel better about how your hair looks. You've probably never used the product before, but you can find it pretty much anywhere, so don't forget to add it to your list. I personally LOVE Enjoy Volumizing Dry Shampoo Spray($22)..it works wonders!

2. TOOTHBRUSH + MOUTHWASH ≫ QUIP,

Sometimes, a piece of gum just won't do the trick. If you're worried about the smell of your breath, bring along a toothbrush that you can use. You'll be able to go through the rest of your day without being self-conscious about what you smell like when you open your beautiful lips. I LOVE Quip ($45) for this very reason. It's a great portable toothbrush! I also carry with me Fettle Gum & Teeth Rinse ($28) and Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps Toothpaste ($9).

3. WATER BOTTLE ≫ BKR

The fact is you are going to sweat when you work out. That means you need to rehydrate due to this loss. It is absolutely essential to bring a water bottle (or two, unless you can fill it up at your gym) to the gym. If you don’t, your workouts might suffer and you may pass out from dehydration. This can all be avoided if you simply pack a water bottle! I personally love my bkr 1L water bottle ($45). It's cute, trendy and its vibrant color reminds me to keep hydrated! It's also glass and BPA-free.

4. PORTABLE FOOD ≫ SKOUT BACKCOUNTRY, MRM, & VITAL PROTEINS

Depending on the duration of your workout, you are going to need to replenish your glycogen stores afterward. This means getting in carbs and protein in a 4:1 ratio. To accomplish this, I like packing an extra insulated water bottle filled with protein powder and almond milk or a smoothie. Some other portable food options I like include Skout Backcountry Trail Bars  ($22, box of 8), Vital Proteins Grass-Fed Collagen Peptide Stick Packs ($34, box of 20 )with Harmless Harmless Harvest Coconut Water, MRM Veggie Elite Protein Powder ($27), bananas, trail mix of pistachios, cashews, and dried cherries or blueberries. In general, I like having the protein shake and MRM BCAA ($27) after my workout, and the others before my workout.

5. EXTRA CLOTHES ≫ PLUS DEODERANT!

As far as items to have in your gym bag go, a change of clothes is a must. Even if you think you aren’t going out afterward, you never know if someone will text you to pick up something. Deodorant is also a must! I don’t know about you, but I most certainly don't want to smell when I’m out and about. This includes another pair of shorts or pants, sports bra, shirt, and don’t forget socks! It’s also a good idea to bring a jacket with you, especially if you get cold all the time like I do. Jackets are especially nice for keeping your muscles warmed up after yoga class as well.

WHAT'S IN YOUR GYM BAG? COMMENT HERE!

A Balanced, Motivated Life

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I often get asked how I stay motivated to live a healthy life? Boxing, circuit training, kickboxing, Megaformer, and spin... my fitness activities keep me busy. But, let's be real, guys. Between work, life, blogging and keeping up on social media, sticking to a healthy routine can be a daunting task at times. And, digging for that motivation can be a challenge, especially when the weather is cold out.

I'm normally up by 5am, drink my coffee and eat breakfast, check work emails and out the door by 6:30am for a morning workout. But sometimes, when I've lost motivation, I find myself dragging and making up any sort of "excuses" and finding distractions until I finally just pushed myself out the door. Sound familiar?

Motivation comes and goes. But even when you're fully disciplined, there are moments and days that are off. You feel blah. And sitting on the couch watching Bravo marathons of trashy reality television sounds so much more appealing than hitting the gym. But it's knowing how much you want something that makes the difference. It creates determination, which keeps you disciplined. Like with work, you go in day after day because it's your priority. With health and wellness, workouts should be treated the same. Sometimes you just gotta push through... Put your shoes on and get out the door. And remember that you've got this!

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Fortunately, Amazfit has got you covered making tracking your daily activity simple, straightforward and stylish. Sleek, minimal design... this is one gorgeous fit tracker! Sometimes, it takes an amazingly awesome wearable tech to get us motivated! My Amazfit Moon Beam style helps keep me accountable for my fitness goals, ultimately paving the way towards a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

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The content of the smartwatch is comprised of ceramic. Yes! Ceramic! Making it the 1st ceramic core tracking unit, ever! So along with the resistance to dirt and water, it should also be quite difficult to scratch or otherwise damage. The band part, meanwhile, is removable, and the device can apparently be attached to any other 22-millimeter band. Ultimately, this is a beautiful fitness statement piece that you can wear all day. It's minimalistic design, and a comfortable band is designed to fit into your everyday life.

Amazfit's Moon Beam is extremely comfortable. Probably the most comfortable wearable ever I've worn and owned, which is saying a lot. Plus, it fits really well on my tiny wrist. That's due in part to the band which actually is able to notch at the right place and the flat, ceramic disc that sits very close to the wrist.

As for tracking, the Amazfit is able to track steps and figure out calories burned, monitor sleep and buzz for alarms or incoming phone calls. It's as basic as you can find, which isn't a bad thing if you want a pretty fitness tracker without the bells and whistles. Step tracking has been pretty accurate compared with the Fitbit.

How do you stay motivated? Want to stay motivated with Amazfit? Of course, you do! Get 40% off your purchase at checkout by entering this promo code: MYAMAZFIT.

This post is in partnership with Amazfit. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Let's Regale cooking.