Differences Between Barre3 and Pure Barre

You’ve probably heard of Portland, Oregon. This coastal Pacific Northwest city is known for a few things.

  1. Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, was born in Portland over 60 years ago.
  2. Put(ting) a bird on it“.
  3. In 2008, Sadie Lincoln and her hubby Chris started a killer brand of fitness called Barre3 that, in February 2017, finally opened in Center City, Philadelphia!

Barre3 has been around for a while, but, as they’re new in town, you might be wondering: What makes it different from other barre classes? Maybe you’re a Pure Barre fan, or you’ve never tried any barre classes and just want a crash course. Either way, let’s get down to brass tacks.


The Studio & Equipment


Wide open space in Barre3’s GIANT studio!

Barre3, unlike many barre classes I’ve taken (and I’ve taken quite a few in my day), takes place on a hard wood floor. Bright lighting for sure, and I noticed the instructor will dim the lights and turn up the music during certain points (like when you’re repeating a move for a little longer). You’ll use the barre around the room for leg/thigh work.

The only equipment you’ll use is a super squishy ball and a set of hand weights (ranging from 1-5lbs). Your instructor will bring you a mat when it’s time for that.

Pure Barrelike most other barre classes I’ve attended, is on a carpeted floor. The lighting starts bright and gradually gets darker, and I felt as though you used the barre much more often, for more than just leg work.

You use a ball, small hand weights, and a resistance band during class. The instructors bring over mats.

What to Wear


Barre3’s gorgeous retail section

Barre3 – While there’s no required attire (officially), the “unofficial outfit” of the ladies of Barre3 is typically leggings or crops and tank tops. I don’t think I’d personally enjoy wearing anything with sleeves due to the larger movements of arms, but that’s just me. Barefoot in the studio!

Pure Barre – I believe they require socks (you can buy at studio if you always forget, like me. Note: this can get pricey.) Leggings were “strongly suggested” at my studio. I felt silly in crops, as I was the only one wearing them.

The Class Itself

Barre3 – These were my first few Barre3 classes, and I gotta admit, I liked them more than most barre classes I’ve taken. This is probably due to the addition of large, dynamic movements in addition to the teeny-tiny pulses that most barre classes highlight. The class went:

  • Warm-up – In the center of the room, no equipment at first. Lots of movements to stretch you out, open you up, and get the blood pumping. Eventually you’ll use the hand weights.
  • Barre Work – Leg-centric, this portion of class was pretty similar to many barre classes I’ve tried before. Squats, tiny pulses, raising of the heels. My inner thighs were burning.
  • Mat work – Here’s where the balls come into play. Your abs are gonna be ACHING after this set, but it’s totally manageable and instructors offer modifications when necessary!

Pure Barre – Format is always the same so you know what you’re in for (they do have a “Platform” Class I’ve never done, so I can’t speak to that)

  • Warm-up – Center of the room. Lots of marching.
  • Arm work – Here’s where their weights come in, with a systematic pumping of biceps, triceps, and shoulders.
  • Barre Work – Focuses on “Seat” (read: tush) and thighs. They love the term “Tuck” and you’ll hear it a lot during this portion of class, as you tuck your backside in and tighten your core.
  • Ab work – on the mat, sometimes leaning against the barre. This was always tough for me as the barre isn’t meant for someone over 6′ tall…
  • Cool down – Stretching, pretty similar to Barre3


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Keep in mind the UNLIMITED cost of Barre3 is ONLY for the Barre3 Rittenhouse location, and only for a limited time. SO if you’re gunning for that unlimited membership, you gotta strike while the iron is hot (if you go 4x/week, that’s $8.06/class!) (Bonus at Barre3: $5 gets you childcare during your class!)

I don’t know if I could do either of these methods EXCLUSIVELY, but I think they both make a challenging and unique addition to any workout regime. I’d lean towards Barre3, personally, but I’m a big fan of those LARGE dynamic, explosive moments, and I know that’s not for everyone.

Welcome to Philly Barre3!

Have you ever done a barre class? 

What did you LOVE?! What did you HATE?!

(I can’t stand the marching portion… ugh.)


Things I Wish I’d Hear in the “Healthy Living” Sphere

It’s essential that everyone living, healthily or otherwise, doesn’t take themselves too seriously. And this post is about just that.

This is super serial, y'all.

This is super serial, y’all.

I came to this gym to flirt with muscly dudes and drink my Jamba Juice… and I’m all outta Jamba Juice.


Lemme tell you a secret about this smoothie bowl… it may LOOK like a disgusting swamp monster’s damp lair…. but it also tastes terrible.

Just get pancakes.

Just get pancakes.

There is a WRONG and a RIGHT way to do Zumba. If you can’t figure out the choreography, just leave now. Don’t waste my time.


Here’s a fun trick with lifting weights: form doesn’t matter half as much as how well your Wunder Unders fit. Just go for quick jerky motions to get it over with, try to use as much of your back as possible. What season are those crops, seriously?


When do you think they’ll start doing ‘Cold Yoga’? I’m not really into sweating.


I can’t f*cking stand protein. Real talk: I want nothing to do with it.


I think I’m just going to wear sweats to Pure Barre today. Do you think anyone will notice?



I know that endorphins are supposed to be released when you run but I think all that comes out of my brain is acetylcholine…


I kinda like yoga pants that are sheer. When I’m in down dog, they are a seamless transition from the studio to the street corner.


I’m pretty sure that the 25 minutes you spent on the elliptical didn’t ‘earn you that froyo’, Jordan. That thing cost you $10.59. What’s that, like… 2 pounds of froyo? Jesus Christ. Is that an entire slice of cheesecake in there?

Walked up the stairs instead of taking the elevator... #earnedit

Walked up the stairs instead of taking the elevator… #earnedit

Got any good ones? (This was TOO fun to write.)

Ode to the Awkward

This post is very near and dear to my heart.

On Tuesday evening, I went to my third Pure Barre class (to see what I thought about my first one, check out my Pure Barre Breakdown).  As I mentioned before, the class may not be means for the tall people, the people who aren’t flexible, or the people without rock hard abs. But it’s a workout to kick your butt. You’ll leave drenched in sweat (or dripping actively on the barre all throughout. It takes all kinds, right?)

Something that I couldn’t help but notice, though, is it’s also a workout for the fashionistas. When you head over to the Pure Barre website, you’ll be treated to images like this one:

And they look so happy, right? (source is Pure Barre site)

Not surprisingly, when I attended my first class, everyone that joined me in the class was wearing…. well, they were wearing this. And I don’t just mean the compression black leggings, the signature purebarre socks and the slim-fitting tank tops. I mean the stone-cold looks on their faces as they tucked their hips, squeezed their fannies, and extended their elbows. I felt like the first class, as well as the one I took on Tuesday, was an hour long photo shoot that we were all supposed to have dressed for.  For comfort reasons, I wore this:

What? Not appropriate for the class? You all don't want celebratory Irish kisses as you squeeze a small ball between your thighs?

I caught myself huffing, puffing, dripping, and grunting, as I do in all group fitness classes. I’ve spoken before on group fitness etiquette and, as a huge fan of group fitness classes, I wanted to write an ode, a thank you of sorts. Not to the classes themselves, but to the people who take them. The people who take them that may not be wearing the right outfit, the folks who give me high fives when I run past them, the ones who can’t kick up to their heads like a rockette and the ones who haven’t the foggiest idea what this whole “rhythm” is.

The one thing I noticed in fitness classes, namely Zumba, BodyJam, Sh’Bam or any class related to rhythm and matching your bodies to the sweet beats blasting from the sound system, is that I have no dancing skills in my body. While other people were trying out contemporary jazz classes at their local dance studios, I spent my time doing lunge suicides and practicing soccer kicks [to no avail, as I sucked and continue to suck at soccer].

I’m not saying that this makes me unique.

But it does make my “dancing” look a lot less like the moves on Dancing with the Stars and a lot more like a jerky, athletic seizure.

Dance move or volleyball block? Now you don't have to choose.

So here’s to us, ladies and gents. The ones who work it out in class despite the fact that our hips do, in fact, lie. They lie and pretend they’re Shakira’s hips and, for a few brief minutes, we can pretend they are.

Waka Waka, nice moves, lady. (click for source)

Here’s to the silent awkward majority. When we go to BodyJam or Sh’Bam and they ask us to arabesque, our poses look something like this:

Is this what you meant? No? Well, I'll just keep doing it.

We won’t be able to do a 480 spin midair while we’re perspiring and rocking out to some new Pitbull remix, but we will work just as hard as any of you who can. When instructors ask me to pony step, chances are they assume that my kicking is an attempt at squishing some spider on the gym floor. 99% of the time, it’s not.

There was the great spider invasion of the YMCA Zumbathon Against Prostate Cancer in 2004, but we’ll forget that ever happened.

As a big thank you to all my fellow awkward weirdos out there, I want to promise you something.  As many overpriced exercise classes I go to, I will always dress in part-neon colors, part inappropriate shirts. They might even have a picture of me on them.

Ok, it's hard to tell, but this is ACTUALLY a shirt I own with a picture of myself on it.

If you feel like flailing like a lunatic in a class, I won’t make fun of you. I will be right there, matching you flail for flail. Whatever.  We’re getting our fitness on, and we’re having a blast doing it.

I just wanted to say this for the sake of anyone who might be nervous to go to their first group fitness class. Every single person in that class was a newbie at one point, and if you’re not sure about it, just do it! Get out there, flail that body, shake it like a polaroid picture, and maybe one day our paths will cross.

Chances are, though, it’ll be as I high kick you in the face in the middle of BodyJam.

I apologize in advance, I still don’t know how to control these long legs of mine.

Pure Barre: A Breakdown (by a First Timer)

Good morning folks!

You’re probably here because you’re interested in this:

(Click for source)

Yup, I tried my very first Pure Barre class yesterday!!

Pure Barre in Chapel Hill, NC recently had a Groupon-esque deal through OurLocalDeal based in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Orange County in general. For $36, I got 4 Pure Barre classes and, after asking around, this is one heck of a deal!!

I’ve been looking for a new exercise method to get me excited about working out again. Well… look no further.  I look excited, right?

Excited, nervous, they’re all the same.

Ok, I’ll shoot you straight: I was actually totally nervous! I’d go so far as to say there were butterflies in my tummy. After reading an INTENSE review of Pure Barre from Lauren of Raw is Sexy, I was ready for the worst. I walked in the studio, accompanied by my buddy, Anne, and, as expected, the studio entrance was chock-full of Lululemon attire for sale, as well as some fancy shmancy Pure Barre socks.  Luckily, I brought my own.

This little piggy went to Pure Barre

I was honestly more nervous, initially, as to what to wear than anything else. Luckily, my ToeSox have little grippy dots on the bottom that are perfect for not slipping and sliding, considering the floor is carpet!!  For some reason, I definitely wasn’t expecting that.

As for what else to wear:

  • Most women were rocking yoga pants, with the occasional legging/crop legging mixed in there (I went for the crop legging). I would NOT recommend wearing shorts, as they could ride up during the seated portion
  • Tank top/tshirt that breathes. You’re going to be sweating a lot, don’t make it worse by over-dressing. Again, I’d recommend a longer length, as there are portions that could lead to riding up.
  • Socks – Grippy dots are helpful, if you’ve got em or have access to them

My instructor asked us to grab some equipment, and I picked up what I needed.

All the Accoutrements for a Pure Barre class!

What you need:

  • Resistance band
  • Mat
  • Ball
  • Weights (2lb set and 3lb set…. but I only ended up using the 2lbs!!)
What I wish I’d brought:
  • Water bottle
  • Towel
  • Another towel (seriously, I was drenched in sweat)
But I managed to make due.
The class started out promptly (which I LOVED) and, honestly, the music was much less irritating than most workout classes I’ve taken part of (like, for instance, the BodyPump track featuring none other than…. Nickelback. Blech.)  Within the initial five minutes, I was sweating.
Within the first set of pushups, I was straining.
After the first set of squats at the barre, I was burning.
Not just a little burn.  A burn that felt like the insides of my thighs were literally being hit with a cold blue flame.
We started with some small weight lifting and a few leg actions that were very reminiscent of that time I hated tried pilates. We did pushups, we straightened our legs, and, without fail, I was the first person who was approached by the instructor who fixed my form.

You want me to do what with my butt?

There was a lot to think about, much like pilates. You were tucking your hips in, you were straightening your leg, flexing your foot, pointing your toes, and squeezing balls between your legs (in the least sexual way possible). Despite all the well-dressed ladies looking fierce in their form fitting Lulu gear, I’ll admit, there was NOTHING about this class that looked sexy. That’s not to say that the women didn’t all look gorgeous. But when they’re drenched in sweat, standing on their tiptoes, thrusting their hips back and forth, it’s a lot less sexy than you’d think (who bets someone finds my blog in the future searching “Lulu hip thrust”?)

My thighs and butt definitely felt the most worked out, with my abs feeling the least. The thigh set at the bar was AMAZING! Literal burning, like Icy Hot minus the sexy rubbing that goes on beforehand. Just Pure Burn. The portions where we were squatting and on our tiptoes, working in tiny little thrusts and tucks, I felt like my legs were about to reject the rest of my body and walk away.

They didn’t.

I think, however, I have figured out why the abs weren’t getting their full workout.

Oh, don’t mind me, giant wooden bar. Just trying to workout.

An entire ab set was supposed to be set with us sitting against the wall, and your head/back against the wall. Only, when you’re 6’1″ with a torso that goes on for days, well…. apparently the studio wasn’t ready for that.

My head was literally jammed against the wood of the bar and I couldn’t even turn it straight. It was…. ridiculous. Anne looked over at me and chuckled as I strained to turn and face the instructor (which required a bit of bobbing/weaving around the wood.) It was hilarious, it was distracting, and it was REALLY difficult to adjust accordingly.

Oh well, I guess there aren’t too many tall ballerinas, right?

The tail end of the class focused on…. our tail end.  Lots of booty work including lifts and bridges that pushed the burn out to the last moment of class.  I felt worked the entire time. There were very few breaks, very little arm work, and LOADS of sweat (I think my perspiration may have left watermarks on the bar.)  I felt worked out the whole time.  I feel like the lifting at the beginning was kind of silly and put in there just to make use of those fancy looking weights.  However, the aspect of the ball was CRUCIAL and I think a core part of this Pure Barre method.  The resistance band was best for stretching.

My fanny is sore, my thighs still feel like there’s some creep who’s lighting small fires on them now and then, and I honestly can’t even wait to go back.

Pure Barre Virgin, NO MORE!

What’s been an exercise that’s gotten you excited lately?

Have you ever tried Pure Barre? If so, what do you think? If not, would you want to?