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!


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; 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.