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.

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The Studio & Equipment

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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

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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

Cost

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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.)

 

The Lithe Method: A Newbie’s Perspective

Little did I know, back the long days before I officially moved to Philly, how fantastic blogging would be not only for my sanity moving to a new city, but how it could introduce me to new folks, and totally new things. The Philly Geek Awards, a mess of Philly Twitter-users, the glory of Yelp and Yelp Elite, and, most recently Lithe Method and a certain new workout Barbie friend, Julia!

There she is (sorry for the creepy photo… not really.)

Julia, having read my blog a bit when I mentioned I was heading to Philly, commented saying we should meet up sometime. Never one to blow an opportunity for a new friend, I jumped at the chance and, after a few emails and some money exchanged (between me and LivingSocial, not me and Julia), we had a friend date scheduled at none other than Philly’s own Lithe Method for my first ever Lithe 101 class.  For a little less than $40, we got 2 101 classes, 3 other classes, AND some juice!

You know I’ve never been one to turn down juice, so before I knew it, it was time to Lithe.

“What’s the Lithe Method?” you may be wondering…. Well, according to the website:

The Lithe Method® is a revolutionary, fun, multitasking and highly effective (albeit addictive) fitness regime that burns fat, sculpts muscle and puts your butt back where it used to be…in record time.

Our intense, systematic, empowering, cardiovascular workout utilizes our proprietary Cardio-Cheer-Sculpting® Technique, Lithe’s Higher Power Band System®, our signature Barre-work, and strength training with weights and other small equipment.

I’m pretty sure my butt hasn’t strayed too far from where it used to be, but the chance to Cardio-Cheer-Sculpt was intriguing, and so I donned my workout best to meet Julia.

Ok, I’m ready.

As far as what to wear, you don’t need shoes OR socks (bare feet babes!), and I’d suggest leggings or shorts (something form fitted on the bottom) with a comfortable top that allows your arms to move a lot.

The first few steps into the Lithe sanctuary, I heard pumping music, peeked a few slim ladies doing some urban rebounding on tiny trampolines, and was shocked by the amount of Lithe “stuff” they had for sale. From juices to snacks and, more prevalent, “Lithe Gear.”  Which, after a bit of checking, I realized is just dark/black tank tops and leggings with a ridiculously steep price tag.

Lithe Wear’s very own waist band… a stretchy black band for $45!

Tank tops for $105, and a pair of half-leggings, half-fishnet stockings that I’m sure will hit NYFW like a freight train in the near future.

Julia and I got to chatting, a little chit, little chat, but all the other women there were silently reading magazines and sipping on water. Not the most social bunch, but not everyone likes to make conversation pre-workout. No big.

One of the rules of Lithe is that there is no talking in class – at all. Also, no cell phones in the classroom (I like that one), no street shoes (to avoid fecal matter entering the class. Their rules actually state this.) and NO Perfume! Their 9 Rules are taken pretty seriously, it seems, so I was glad I wasn’t late!

The classroom looked like this:

At one point, my eyes were directly under that beam of sun. I felt like Simba, only blinder.

Notice those bands above the mats? Those come into play for the cheer sculpting part… We each got a mat, two 3 lb weights, and one of these great, squishy balls.

Recess? Nah, Lithe.

The first part of the class had us on our backs and, though we didn’t start right on time, we got started off hard with some ab work. Crunches, leg lifts, pilates-type stuff, occasionally utilizing the ball between our knees for bonus squeezing and work.  There was some light weight lifting (but, when you’re also working the rest of your body, those 3lbs feel real heavy, real fast).  Then, we went over to the bar.

Things at the bar definitely felt a lot like Pure Barre classes, squats, ballet-ish leg work, definitely got the heart pumping. However, it was during this portion that I realized, although there was music playing the whole time, it didn’t ever really feel like it “went” with the actions we were doing. This was a little distracting for someone who is fond of the Les Mills classes and Zumba, but I made it work.

The most unique part of Lithe 101 was the use of the resistance bands which hang from the ceiling. Holding onto these things without gloves (which they normally “require” though they seemed pretty lax with this rule for us newbies) was tough, and I felt my hands slipping a number of times as we pulled the bands down and around. This was the only part that felt like “cheer-sculpting” was going on but, as we started a little late, I think that we didn’t really get a full immersion into this portion of the class.  Oh well, maybe next time.

Throughout the class, I wore my HRM and, in the 54 minutes of the workout, burned 468 calories. A little low for this cardio queen, and I was sort of feeling a little jipped at the end.

Then, I woke up this morning and realized how wrong I was. My abs, calves, and booty are sore in the way they haven’t been in some time. I feel a general tightness that makes me wish we’d spent a little more than a few minutes at the end stretching, but that’s probably my own fault as I could’ve done it at home if I’d wanted. You’ll have to pardon me for not rushing home right away to stretch though… See, I just can’t pass up a free pristine white shower with Aveeno products….

Color me clean.

I’ll be back soon, gotta better gauge the rest of these classes. With names like “Skinny Mini”, “Barlesque”, “Waist Not”, “A-List Abs”, “Cinch”, “Arm-istice”, “Hot Legs”, “Super Fly”, and “Tight End”, there’s gotta be a lot left to learn. Maybe I’ll finally get to live out those dreams of cheering, after all.

Wait.

I never had those dreams.

Ever try Lithe?

What’s your favorite class name? I’m thinking Tight End, so far.