Exercising Is Better With Friends



Today was the Friends of Dana Pure Barre class and after my blog yesterday complaining about hating to exercise it is amazing anyone showed up.  But show up they did and we had a full class of mostly virgins.


Our teacher was good at explaining the moves but was not so easy on us so this was not a Pure Barre Light class.  The sweating and groaning started early and that was mostly from me.  I have to say that exercising with friends who are more or less my age is the most fun.  There was no intimidation about not being able to do all the moves correctly or for the full amount of time.


I am happy if I can do 80% of the tucks, lifts and squeezes and you can forget the hovering an out-stretched leg while lifting another.  Someday I hope to be able to pull both my pointed-toe feet into together but for now I will settle for alternating feet.


If you missed this intro class Lynn and Charlotte will do another.  If you came today and want to try again let me know and we can go together.  There is strength in middle-aged numbers.  I guess I really like exercising with my friends who realize it’s not a competition and are happy to laugh along with me.


If our husbands find out what we do with that little red ball we might be in trouble, but for now your secret is safe with me.  Rest and watch the Oscars tonight, we deserve a guilty pleasure and there are no calories in TV watching.


After class we could still hold our arms up, we just couldn’t stand up.

Calling All Pure Barre Neophytes



Three times now I have gone to take a Pure Barre Class.  I think I am getting a little better at it, but I am such a novice I am not quite sure.  What I do know is that I am getting a big time workout because I am dripping in sweat halfway through the class.  I am unable to do every exercise or position the whole time, but I am trying.


Many of my local friends have expressed an interest in trying Pure Barre with me but are afraid to be the new person or the oldest person in the class.  Lynn and Charlotte have come to our rescue.  This Sunday at 4:30 there is a special Friends of Dana “Breaking Down the Barre” intro class at the Durham Studio.


This should be a helpful way to learn exactly what the hell “tucking” is and what all the other PB terminology is and how to do it.  If you have any curiosity about they Pure Barre mystique this will be the best opportunity to figure it out in the company of other understanding middle-aged friends.


Let me know if you want to come and join me.  The class will cost $15 or you can get a package of four classes for $40 or any other number of class packages.  The important thing is to come and have fun.  I need the company of good friends when I exercise.


Lynn says that after class there will be wine as a special treat just for us.   SO let me know if you can make it.  Bring your friends.  Laughing will be required, but not at how you do at the workout.

Does Pain Equal Progress?



In a follow-up to yesterday’s deflowering at Pure Barre I think that the work out was working.  I woke up in the middle of the night to use the room all peri-menopausal women need to visit when we would rather be sleeping and could hardly get out of bed because my cheeks hurt so much.  No I had not been laughing uncontrollably in my sleep, it was the cheeks of a lower region.  After the initial double twinge at the bottom I noticed that my abs also were screaming out, just slightly softer than my backside.


I was able to drag myself to the bathroom where I am lucky enough to have a sink close enough to the thrown that I can hold on to it while lowering when I have taxed lesser used muscles.  Thank goodness the pain was not so bad as to keep me awake the rest of the night.  When I awoke at a good hour I lay still hoping that the rest had been enough to repair the pain I did not myself.  That was wishful thinking.


I have spent the day walking and have gotten about halfway back to normal.  I can at least use a public restroom without screaming out uncontrollably.  I am thankful not to have caused Mall security to have to visit me at the Nordstrom’s ladies lounge.

Now my butt and abs have equalized in pain and when I take very deep breaths and expand my lungs my stomach muscles make that ‘What the hell are you doing?” face at me.


My thought is that if I have taxed myself to the degree of pain it has got to be good for me, No pain no gain right?  I have not pulled anything.  It is not that kind of pain.  What I have learned over the years of having “Trainers” is that repeating the workout, or the hair of the dog, will help alleviate the hurt.  Under that premise I will return to Pure Barre tomorrow afternoon.


I know that adding different types of torture, as my friend Sara calls it, is the best way to keep my body from becoming complacent and adjusting to the level of activity it is getting.  Someday and I hope it is someday soon, I am going to be able to try a new form of torture and not have it compromise my ability to do everyday bodily functions.  Until then it seems like I am in need of these exercises.

Virgin No More



For years my friend Lynn has been addicted to Pure Barre.  If you have not heard of this exercise obsession you might be living under a rock in North Korea or you are a middle-aged man.  The Barre, said like bar and has nothing to do with drinking, stands for the wooden ballet barre attached to the mirrored wall.  I don’t know why it’s called Pure because plenty of the exercises are done in the middle of the room with no bar to hold onto.


Lynn would ask me every once in a while if I wanted to go to class with her.  Since I was emotionally scared by my Russian ballet teacher Martha Kruger when I was ten I tend to stay away from those wooden dowels attached to mirrors.  Fear of being whapped on the back of the knees by a swift yardstick is a strong bad memory not to be repeated.


After years of being a student of Pure Barre Lynn and our friend Charlotte bought not just the existing Chapel Hill studio, but built a new one in Durham.  The craze was spreading and it was time for me to see what all these friends claiming their lifted derrieres was due to this class was all about.


Since I was a Pure Barre virgin and I was not interested in going to a class of well trained, well toned, very young people I asked Lynn to go with me.   Lynn is two of those three things so I knew she would look out for me.


The first thing I really liked about the class was the clothing rules, pants at least Capri length and shirts that covered your middle are required, check and check.  I refuse to put anyone through a class with me that shows my bare stomach.  The third clothing item is socks, but sticky socks are recommended.  Lucky for me Lynn hooked me up with a pair of the branded sticky socks that are supposed to help you stay in place.


As we entered the carpeted room where Rita out instructor was, Lynn staked out the perfect spot and gathered the equipment I would need, hand weights, a small red rubber ball like a grade school four square ball, but just the size of a cantaloupe, and looped stretchy bands.


The class began and clearly I was the only new student.  Rita helped me but there was only so much help I could get when planking.  Most of the exercises were familiar to a point until we got to tucking.  Tucking involved something akin to tilting my pelvis in and pulling my butt under me as much as possible.  I certainly do not have a grasp on exactly how to do it so don’t bank on my description.  I do think that twerking had to evolve out of tucking, but I am not exactly sure what twerking is either.


As others around me could hold one leg in the air, while lying on their back, tuck and lift to a pulsating beat I was just trying not to drown in the sweat pool I was creating around myself.  Perhaps I needed doubly sticky socks for some exercises that involved holding myself in place by one foot on the ground while lifting all my other parts.


When it was all over Rita said I did a good job for a first time student.  What was really nice of her not to say was I did really well for an uncoordinated, non-dancer, non-gymnast, and non-athlete middle-aged woman with no rhythm.  Other students gathered around me as I lay immobilized on the mat after class and told me it takes a little while to master the moves and then it gets harder.


When they said harder I hope they were talking about their backsides and not the class.  It was hard enough.  Like all things exercise I know that it takes a few tries before it should be judged.  I am measuring how low my butt is now and after I do this Pure Barre thing a while I will report if my backside is lifted.  Since I rarely look back there it has not been a big area of concern for me, but that seems awfully selfish to those people who have to walk behind me.

Lynn’s Obsession



Most mornings my friend Lynn can be found in her black workout pants with her ancient black cashmere sweater tied around her hips and a colorful workout shirt.  This is her uniform for her addiction.  Actually Lynn has a couple of addictions and this outfit is not required at her Green Tea Latte spot, but for her Pure Barre workout. Well, the outfit is not required, but Lynn’s appearance at Pure Barre is.


So many early morning calls Lynn has made to me start, “Honey, come to Pure Barre with me.”  Since I have a place I workout I have not gone with Lynn.  I would hear other women talking who are equally addicted to the ballet like program complaining about how crowded the classes were getting, so I always begged off going with Lynn.  I have a lot of ballet traumas from my classes with my Russian ballet torturer, Martha Kruger who could have taught the Nazi’s a thing or two.


Months and years of Lynn’s praising Pure Barre and still I did not go.  So what has Lynn done to get me to try her work out, but bought a Pure Barre franchise with our friend Charlotte Jones and is opening it up in Durham in December.


I’ve started desensitizing sessions for my aversion to anything ballet like by holding a broom handle and looking in a big mirror with happy music playing.  I am counting out first, second and third position, but not in a Russian accent so that when the time comes for me to go to one of Lynn’s classes I don’t break out into a cold sweat and have flash backs of being hit on the back of the knees with a yard stick.


According to Lynn Pure Barre is nothing like my childhood dance class.  I am looking forward to understanding why all these women are addicted, but first I need to go find a black, thread-bare cashmere sweater that fits around my backside so I can look just like Lynn in class.  I’ve already tried her Green Tea Latte and know I will not become addicted to those, but I hope the Pure Barre is one addiction I adopt because it would mean not only would I burn more calories, but I would get to spend time with Lynn.