Believing in Second Chances: A Visit to Pure Barre Virginia Highlands
“My First Pure Barre Experience Didn’t Set the Bar Very High” — that’s how I described my 2012 visit to the barre franchise’s Buckhead location. But, when I had a chance to try a class at the new Virginia Highlands PB, I said, “What the heck?” (What can I say? I’m a sucker for second chances.)
I was invited to a media event on a recent Thursday evening to celebrate the studio’s 100th class. (So, yes, lovelies — my class was a freebie — but a new client trial class is typically $15. Also, this location is currently offering one month of unlimited classes for $99 to new clients.) Going into the class, I had a better feeling than I did before.
I’d gotten to know the owners, Katy and Ashley, when I interviewed them for a piece I was doing for JEZEBEL and really appreciated the way they were trying to build this business by connecting with the Va Hi community. And there’s the fact that they are just two nice, genuine women. (Katy is a former lobbyist and Ashley a former accountant who both decided to pursue their dream of working in fitness.)
The first thing I appreciated about this PB experience was all of the parking available, which is unique in this part of Atlanta. When I walked into the studio, I was greeted by PB’s signature red and white décor and some sweet merchandise ranging from adorable sticky socks (socks with tread on the bottom — a must for any barre class) to gorge athleticwear.
Before class started, my friend, Lindsey (who was brave enough to agree to come to class with me), collected a ball, a resistance tube, and a set of hand weights (if you’re not used to this type of workout, just grab the two pounders). Then we found a spot at the barre and waited for Katy to start the class.
Now, I know that she was probably especially on point because of the “media” in the room (there were also plenty of “regular folks,” too), but I have to say that Katy was an excellent instructor. The 55-minute class included plenty of small movements (and lots of pulsing) that worked the body in stages. For example, we started with core work, then did arms, then came a slew of leg, glute, inner/outer thigh fun — you get the picture.
Katy clearly described what we should be doing throughout the workout and was constantly walking around correcting form to ensure that people were doing the exercises correctly. She also provided modifications to make the exercises more challenging/easier. (Oh, and the music was pretty catchy, too.)
I was challenged (and even had to take breaks here and there) — and felt like I completely deserved the glass of white wine and cupcake I enjoyed post-class as part of the 100th class celebration. A few days after the class, I was still feeling sore in some of the areas that only seem to get attention when I take a barre class.
So there you go: all Pure Barre’s aren’t created equal (and, of course, it’s not really as much about the location as it is about the individual instructor — some are just better than others). A big "thank you" goes out to Katy and Ashley for an experience that I can easily call a “fit.” I can’t wait to get back in to “lift, tone and burn” with y’all again!