My journey with Pure Barre started just over two years ago. My best childhood friend had been going to Pure Barre back home in California for about six months and had been trying to get me to try it. I had been curious, but, fearing the unknown, I had been hesitant. I finally mustered up the courage on the last day of December 2015. I arrived 25 minutes early for class, so anxious and excited. I was immediately put at ease when the teacher peaked her head out of the course she was teaching, and, with the biggest smile on her face said, “Are you new? Welcome!” She showed me the forms to fill out, and jumped back in to class to keep going. I was touched that she would make sure I was taken care of, even while she was busy teaching! I was already encouraged and class hadn’t even started! The second class began, though, I could tell: this was something special. The upbeat rhythm of the music, the clear set up of where to go and what to do, and the routine of the way we worked our muscles made me feel so in control. I was not only challenged physically, but I also loved how civilized it all was! I was so disappointed when it was over! I ran up to the teacher after class and asked, “can I take class again tomorrow? Do you need a rest day with barre or can I come every day?” Needless to say, I was HOOKED.
As my attendance increased and I fell into a routine I experienced a newfound love for exercise. Barre was more than just my necessary daily workout; it was more than just a way to burn calories for vanity purposes. Barre made me have a new relationship with my body. As my classes tallied higher and higher, so too did the seconds I could hold the plank that every class begins with. The day I finally held it for all 90 seconds I believe I actually yelled out a “woo hoo!” when the teacher reached “1” in her countdown! After that, I began to look forward to all kinds of milestones: the first time I could push up to straight arms after the plank (rather than coming out of it to take a rest before pushups!), the first time I could get through arms without dropping the weights, the first time I could last all the way through thighs without coming out of any of the positions even once. My confidence in my barre abilities grew, and along with it, my confidence in myself. When I looked in the mirror I stopped seeing imperfections, and instead I saw my growing strength. The more I achieved, the more I wanted to achieve!
I set a goal: 250 classes within the one year of joining. This meant walking to class in the snow, walking to class in the rain, going to class at 5:50 in the morning and rushing to get to work by 7:15, whatever it took! I shared my goal with Autumn, who was working the desk back in those days, and she gave me the best news: she was on the same mission! Having a friend to check in with, to keep me going, to remind me that this goal was within our reach was just what I needed for the final stretch. On the day of our 250th we wore matching shirts, toasted to each other, and set our next goal: reaching the 500 club within the next 365 days.
Pure Barre Arlington has become a place where I am both so very comfortable, and yet, am also so willing to be pushed outside of my comfort zone. Each teacher makes me feel so capable, so brave, and so ready to face challenges. As the familiar faces of my fellow clients have become faces of friends, the studio has become a second home. The Cheers theme song talked about a place where everyone knows your name. Barre is that place for me.
I marvel at how some things stay so steady, like your workout routine, while the world continues to march on. It doesn’t feel like that much time has passed since my first day, but when I think of the wonderful things I have been witness to since then, I realize that the world kept on turning while I was so busy shaking in those darn planks! I have watched sweet girls come to class with tears in their eyes, not wanting to do anything after a bad breakup, but knowing that Pure Barre is something in their control. Alternatively, I have had the joy of being asked for the “bride to be” special sticky socks when a client walks in with a diamond ring on her hand for the first time. I have spoken to women who come to class as their one hour escape from the heartbreak of ailing parents, sick husbands, or difficult teenage children. I have watched beloved teachers leave for new jobs and hang up their sticky socks in exchange for baby booties. I have been at the studio to congratulate women the day they finished their MBA, the day they were offered a promotion, the day they drove the first car they purchased by themselves to class. Pure Barre has witnessed so many enormous life changes, and ever steadily it stands, the “circle P,” our lighthouse, our therapy. Throughout class all Pure Barre teachers tell clients that “you are stronger than you know.” Each class we are given an opportunity to remind ourselves that we are stronger than we know, and not just when it comes to our workout.
Today was my 500th class. It took 26 months to get there. By the numbers, that is 25,000 minutes of class time, 45,000 seconds of planks, countless calories burned, one pulled hamstring, dozens of pairs of yoga pants, and a million smiles. The best part about Barre is that the better you get at it, the better you realize you can be at it. It only gets harder as you get better. Because of this, no goal is ever truly the end. On the wall is the 100 Club bar I signed in May of 2016. The day I signed it all I could see was the 250 Club bar hanging above it. The day I signed that one, I looked up to the 500th. Today, I signed the 500th, but my eyes were on 750.
With each bar you reach you can’t help but notice the amount of names on it. While there is no space left on the 100, there are only a dozen names written on the 500, a handful on the 750, and not yet one on the 1000th. This isn’t surprising. If you workout 4 out of 5 days it would still take you 4 years to reach that bar. Not everyone wants to stick around for that long. I know that Pure Barre isn’t the end-all-be-all for everyone. I am just so grateful that I have found something so wonderful that I want to keep coming back 1000 times. My hope for everyone is that they find a place that would make 1000 hours go by in a flash.
During a particularly hard class, which just so happened to be my friend Erin’s 250th, the instructor told us to twist to the right “towards the 250 barre,” in Erin’s honor. Ever since, I have used that as my visual when I want to give up. With each movement I keep my eyes on the concrete, measurable prize: the 1000 bar, all the while knowing that the true prize I have gained since my first class is something that cannot be measured: Pure love, for pure barre.