I’ve been asked lately what I do to keep in shape so I thought I would share my fitness journey and a pretty amazing discovery I made. I know it’s a change from my usual content, but I think fitness belongs to the bigger picture that beauty and fashion also tie in to: looking, feeling and living your best self.
I’m not naturally lean. I bordered plus sizes in high school but after gaining the Freshman 15 in college I started running. Over the next several years I kept in shape by lacing up and hitting the pavement. It was great for staying trim, but it didn’t tone my body and bothered my knees at times. In 2013 when I was expecting Juliana exercise took a back seat– something I later regretted. I gained 39 pounds; the first 20 were gone soon after Juliana arrived but the next 10 were slow and required considerable effort. Beyond that, I couldn’t seem to get the scale to budge! I’d plateaued- and most of my old wardrobe didn’t fit. I added interval training to my runs but I started to feel aches in my joints before I saw change anywhere else.
In November of 2015 I caught up with my old co-worker Meredith for lunch. She’d gotten into fantastic shape, so I asked her secret. She said she’d been taking Pure Barre and explained the class uses tiny isometric movements working with a ballet barre to target and tone the muscle groups women struggle with the most–arms, thighs, butt, abs. Meredith said it incorporated elements of ballet and Pilates in a unique and challenging no-impact workout. I was intrigued; she gave me a card to try a free class at Pure Barre Lake Norman and I went.
I’ll never forget my first Pure Barre class! The instructors were very kind and personable from the instant I walked in the studio. During the 55 minute session the instructor came over to correct me what felt like a hundred times, but I’m so glad she did. Because the movements are small it took those pointers over a couple classes to feel confident I was doing the exercises correctly. Walking out of the first class my legs felt like Jello—and the next day my arms and abs were sore. I could tell it was working.
Over the next few weeks I noticed my body getting stronger and stronger. For the first time in my life, my arms and abs got definition–and my butt had never looked better. I was hooked. There was something so infecting about the movements synced to upbeat music, the outgoing and supportive community of women taking classes with me, and most importantly the results.
After a month I tried a new cardio-intensive class that had arrived to Pure Barre studios called “Platform”. Platform has bigger movements and a faster pace to provide additional cardio benefits. It was very challenging but something about the class made me keep coming back for more. By January, my routine was 2 Platform classes and 2-3 regular classes per week.
This year I finally dropped the baby weight without any other changes to my diet or lifestyle. My friends, family, and the lovely ladies at Pure Barre Lake Norman noticed and complimented me. It feels great! I lost 10 lbs in 10 months with Pure Barre. Not only did I finally get into my pre-baby clothes, I now have a strong and toned body I’d never had before.
For those of you living in the Charlotte area, Pure Barre Lake Norman has two locations- one in Huntersville in Birkdale Village and one in Mooresville. These studios are extremely well run and every instructor is well trained and super personable. There are 6 classes/ day most weekdays and 2-3 each Saturday/Sunday, so it’s always easy to find a time that works with my busy schedule. If you live somewhere else, there are Pure Barre studios all over the country, and chances are there’s one near you! I’d love to know if you end up trying it.
A big shout out to Meredith Johnson (the lovely gal in the photo below) for introducing me to Pure Barre, and to Katie Moscovitch, owner of Lake Norman Pure Barre for providing such a fun, friendly and results-oriented place to transform into my strongest self!