Pure Barre: The Inside Scoop for Beginners

Kicking off 2016 with a new guest post, my friend Nicole Cleary gives us the scoop on getting started at Pure Barre!

Hello fit friends! My name is Nicole and Iʼm a Pure Barre instructor at Pure Barre in Bronxville, New York. I am also the Studio Coordinator. Iʼm here today to share the inside scoop on Pure Barre for beginners!

Moving to a new area?  Looking to try a new gym? Iʼm sure a lot of us can relate to these situations. I found Pure Barre when I moved to Eastchester, New York in August of 2014, right before my wedding. I wanted something different and searched for low impact activity because I had hurt my knee in the spring. Pure Barre was just opening in Bronxville (which was a few minutes away) so I bought the New Client Special. After that first class I was left with a million different thoughts and feelings– Beginning with, “Wow, why was that so hard?!” I was a dancer all my life and fitness enthusiast after all! Well, let me tell you none of that matters at your first Pure Barre class. Whether you have prior experience or none at all, you will still start as a beginner, and thatʼs okay! I can guarantee you, youʼve never tried a workout like Pure Barre before. Listen to that little voice and step out of your comfort zone. Give Pure Barre a try with these helpful hints!

1. The beginning: Set a goal–The class is challenging. You begin on the floor doing Pilates inspired moves, there is a 90 second plank and weight work. The weights may be light (2, 3 and 5 lb.) but the moves will exhaust your muscles. Maybe your goal will be to get your form perfect in tricep extension before choosing to pick up weights. The next time you come your goal may be to hold your plank 5 seconds longer than you did last time. Eventually, making it the whole 90 seconds on your toes! Think about smaller goals overall so the whole class doesnʼt seem like a long, tiring 55 minutes. It can be fun with small goals!


Improper Tricep Extension


Proper Tricep Extension


Improper Plank Form

Proper Plank Form

Proper Plank Form

2. The middle: Find your working zone–Three thigh sprints come after warm-up. These will engage the top of your thigh, as well as the inner and outer thigh. You want to find the point where your muscle shakes. Thatʼs when the change happens! Beautifully sculpted, lean thighs are in reach my friends. It may be difficult to feel the thighs engaged if you are not in correct form. As an instructor, we come over to adjust and help you find your deepest working zone but you should be able to feel it on your own after coming to a few classes! Here is the thigh position called “Chair.”


Improper Chair


Proper Chair

3. The climax: Contract your seat muscles–During seat work in Pure Barre, you are in two positions. One of them is a “turned out” position, which works your side seat and outer hip. The other is “parallel” where your hips are squared off and you are working the base of your seat. We like to call that your “Pure Barre Ledge.” Sounds prettier than butt, right? 🙂 It is hard to sometimes find the working zone and contract these muscles around the seat. Always look in the mirror to see your form and make sure your hips are tucked under. When you work against your tucked hips, you can get deeper into the muscle contractions. The more you come, the more you will continue to push yourself and find your best form.

Improper Ledge

Improper Position for Ledge


Proper Position for Ledge




4. The end: Rounding through your abs–You made it! Almost at the end! Arenʼt you sad? Well, we still have some work to go ladies! Underneath the barre, you work your abs in two different sections. Again, this is not your typical ab work so it can sometimes feel like the work is coming from your legs or arms. First, you create a “C” curve with the spine and there are slow movements in the abs here with a relaxing song playing. You want to continuously keep your abs in tight and pressing down toward the mat. Second, there is an upbeat song playing and your black is completely flat against the wall. You may not be rounding your abs here, but you still want to contract the abs against the wall so you feel this work. There is an abs series at the end as well in the center of the room, where once again we will remind you to round your waistband down toward the mat. Beginnerʼs tip: Using a ball behind your back can help relieve tension as you work!

Remember, Pure Barre is fun! Even though it is challenging, your teacher is there to support and encourage you. We want you to modify exercises if you donʼt feel ready to try them, that is why we are always walking around and checking out everyoneʼs form (and ledges! :)) Now that you have a nice understanding of how the class is laid out, you should come and try it! Scaling back workouts is all apart of the learning process so donʼt feel frustrated at first if you didnʼt stay in every move for all the counts. Our community of women (and a few men!) is so strong and inspiring, you can just feel the energy in the room. That is one of the main reasons I would encourage you to try Pure Barre. It is a place to come where you can challenge yourself for 55 minutes and forget everything going on in the outside world. Sometimes, itʼs just what you need to do for yourself.

To try a Pure Barre class at a location near you, please visit www.purebarre.com.

To try a class at Pure Barre Bronxville with Nicole or any of the other outstanding teachers please visit http://purebarre.com/ny-bronxville/.

Pure Barre Bronxville is offers a “New Client” special where you can take unlimited classes for an entire month for just $99 as well as a “Extended New Client” for 9 weeks of classes for $199 (valid through January). 

Chiropractic Care 101

Guest Blogger,  Dr. Jordan Wolff of Sutton Place Chiropractic shares the benefits of chiropractic care for all of us– including pregnant women!

Teaching Ergonomics

Chiropractic 101

Many people think that true health just means feeling good and not having any symptoms. The truth is that health is not how your body feels, but it is how your body heals. Your body is constantly changing and adapting to your external environment, and everyday you either get a little stronger or a little weaker. In order to make sure you are getting stronger each day, you must have a clear connection in the nerves between your brain and all parts of your body. In order to make sure you have this clear brain-body connection and grow stronger each day, you need an optimally aligned and functioning spine. This allows you to adapt to stressors in your daily life more efficiently so they do not build up in your nervous system and cause problems. Chiropractors specialize in helping you to maintain your optimal spinal and nervous system alignment and function to have an optimally functioning body so that you can keep moving toward being your absolute best.

Sutton Place Chiropractic (300 East 57th, New York, NY 10022)

Sutton Place Chiropractic is not your average Chiropractic office; we are a holistic office, which means we treat your body as a whole. We are not only concerned with the symptoms you are coming in with, but we strive to improve how your entire body is functioning. We do this by using the most advanced techniques in chiropractic including Applied Kinesiology, which is only done by a few doctors in the city. What is special about Applied Kinesiology is that not only do we make sure your spine is in the proper alignment and the nerves are functioning optimally, but we also balance all the muscles in the body using a very specific muscle testing and balancing system.  This is only one of the many Chiropractic techniques that we use in addition to other therapeutic techniques that allow us to treat a wide range of patients from newborns to geriatrics. Getting adjusted is safe, effective, and feels amazing, and we pride ourselves on being specific, gentle, and delicate in our office.

Pregnancy and Chiropractic  

Besides being pediatric specialists, we take care of many new moms during pregnancy and after the delivery. Many pregnant woman experience lower back pain and leg pain during pregnancy from carrying around the extra weight. Keeping your low back and hips in alignment not only helps keep you feeling good, but also keeps your pelvis in alignment for a less problematic and smoother delivery. It is important to keep your body functioning at its optimum because you have another human being developing within your body, and all the amazing processes that are going on are controlled through your nervous system. Many pregnant moms always tell us how much better they feel after being adjusted, and that they wished they knew about the benefits of Chiropractic sooner!   

Dr. Jordan Wolff  Dr. Jordan 1Dr. Jordan Wolff received his first Chiropractic adjustment on the day he was born from his father, Dr. Michael Wolff. Growing up, Dr. Jordan watched his father bring joy to people’s lives by helping them to reach their full health potential through Chiropractic. Dr. Jordan graduated from University of Vermont, receiving a Bachelor of Arts & Science degree, majoring in Sociology and minoring in Music. After college, he earned his Doctorate of Chiropractic degree at Life University in Atlanta, GA. During his time at Chiropractic school, Dr. Jordan was the president of his class and was honored to be on staff with a world-renowned Chiropractor, teaching adjusting techniques to students and doctors. Also, during his time at Life University, Dr. Jordan and Dr. Mike served together on a Chiropractic mission trip in the Dominican Republic. They were part of a team of Chiropractors providing care to thousands of people. Dr. Jordan is proficient in some of the most advanced techniques in Chiropractic, including Upper Cervical, Applied Kinesiology, Sacro-Occipital Technique, Diversified, Toggle Recoil, Network, Bio Geometric Integration, and Activator. He also specializes in Pregnancy and Pediatric Care.

Dr. Jordan also speaks about many topics in health and wellness at places all over the city including corporate offices, gyms, and schools. He is available to speak and loves spreading the word about living a healthy life.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Jordan or to learn more about Sutton Place Chiropractic, please visit www.suttonplacechiropractic.com

Zumba with a Bun in the Oven!

Guest Post: Teaching Zumba® during Pregnancy by Eva Geier

Zumba® is a dance-based fitness workout class that is designed to be for everyone; that is, choreography and routines made simple enough that anyone at any level could follow. Granted, some people pick it up quicker than others, and it is certainly not everyone’s “thing”. But, what I love about it is that you don’t feel like you are working out – you feel like you are shakin’ it like Britney Spears (Kidding! Well, not really)! For classes I teach,  I incorporate fitness (squats, lunges, abs) and dance moves in an effort to give good balance and a good workout to my participants. I want them to feel like it is a dance class but at the same time burning and toning their muscles. It is said that one can burn 500-1000 calories during a given Zumba class. That’s not so bad is it? I have worn a heart rate monitor and I average 500-600 calories per class I teach. Pretty awesome if you ask me for a workout that is FUN!


Fast forward a few years and many exciting life changes occurred. I was married in April of 2014 and almost immediately my husband and I knew we wanted to start a family. Four months later, I became pregnant in August of 2014 with a due date of May 19, 2015. I also knew, no doubt, I would continue teaching while I was pregnant. My doctors were on board with me continuing to teach, and it is often advised that anything you did before getting pregnant, you could continue with while pregnant. **Please always consult your doctor with anything fitness related in pregnancy.

Pre-pregancy, I taught Zumba with every ounce of energy and every inch of my soul that I could possibly give to each class. My husband would argue I put Zumba before him, and he may be right (kidding, but that’s how much it means to me!). I rehearsed routines for hours before each class every week, and playlists took time and creativity to put together. I wanted a good balance of high intensity dance routines with low intensity routines to catch your breath, as well as fitness and toning songs to strengthen muscles and the core. I gave the class 500% because as I was taught in training, that the more you give, the more your students will give back. If you only teach at 50%, your students will only give you back 25%. You have to really push yourself harder if you want the participants in class to pick up the intensity, as well. So that was the teaching philosophy I instilled into every class.


After getting pregnant, I knew I wanted to take the intensity down just to be safe. My doctors never said I needed to, but it was something my intuition told me to do. Pregnancy is scary, especially the beginning. I had the constant fear of miscarriage. The hardest part was trying to tone it down without sacrificing the workout my participants would get from class. Zumba is funny like that – when I, the instructor, take it down a notch, so does the class. It can take away from the energy and charisma of the room. So for that reason, I learned how to teach smarter; not harder. I always felt like I was taking it down, but my participants told me after class they could never tell!

At around 10 weeks, I just couldn’t hide it anymore, and told the class I was pregnant. This way they could understand if I wasn’t going as “full out” as they were used to. So teaching while pregnant honestly wasn’t too different from pre-pregnancy, UNTIL around 20 weeks or so. That was a huge turning point for me as I was definitely showing. It was also when I also felt my daughter move for the first time. I wanted to be safe while teaching such an intense class so I tried to watch my breathing and to pace myself. I was teaching 2 classes per week so this was manageable. At 28 weeks, I taught in a masterclass, which was an event for charity. This was an awesome time and I pushed myself. There was no doubt about that. The only thing that felt different teaching at 28 weeks was obviously the belly, and the out of breath feeling that started to happen easily and constantly. Something as simple as walking up the stairs was hard! Again, this far along, I just wanted to be mindful of my breathing while teaching and to make sure I was drinking plenty of water.

Here I am at the masterclass at 28 weeks pregnant with my pregnant twin, Vanessa, an instructor who was due on the same date as me (also with a baby girl!).eva


I continued to teach Zumba until I was 33 weeks pregnant. I felt about done at that point and was looking forward to the break. Teaching at almost 8.5 months with over 25 extra pounds on my body was no longer possible – it was so hard to “shake it” Zumba style with that belly! The most basic moves, like the salsa, were really hard, since those moves are almost all core and it was so hard for me to move with that belly. Definitely no more ab thrusting!


My last Zumba class at 33 weeks.

With all of that said, I truly think staying active during my pregnancy helped with labor and delivery. May 10th, Mother’s day of 2015, I went into labor, 9 days early. Labor was intensely painful but also quick. Caroline was here in 6.5 hours, and I only pushed for 6 minutes. All the nurses and doctors said working out and staying active throughout those 10 months definitely helped and contributed to my labor progressing the way it did. My epidural failed (!), so it was the most painful thing of my entire life, but I got through it and was walking immediately after delivery. And, of course, I’d do it all again!

Fast forward to 6 weeks postpartum, I felt great and was ready to get back into working out (although I started doing my own home workouts 4 weeks postpartum). At 8 weeks after Caroline’s birth, I taught my first class, and felt pretty good. The body is an amazing thing and truly has muscle memory. It was awesome not being out of breath while teaching (like I was at 33 weeks pregnant), and awesome to be able to move my abs again. Zumba involves using your core almost 100% of the time. I admit, I definitely lost some stamina about half way through, but I expected that. The next morning after teaching my entire body was sore from head to toe! It felt so good to work all those muscles again.  Each week I expect to get back into my “groove” more and more. New routines will also take me more time to come up with as I am now a mom and will be heading back to work full-time this August.

So to all those who think you can’t do Zumba or workout while pregnant, that is just not the case! If you did it before you got pregnant, you can do it while you are pregnant (but as always, be sure to check with your doctor and get approval). Funny thing – my daughter loves music and being bounced constantly, so it must be from the Zumba!

Me at my first class back teaching 7.7.15 with my cousin Dawn, who is my biggest supporter. eva3

Of course, had to include a picture of my Zumba baby! Here is Caroline at 1 week old.caroline

Any Zumba questions for Eva? Feel free to contact her at c2nwitheva@gmail.com or visit her website www.committed2nutrition.com

Value Your Health

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how lucky I am to have my health. It seems that we’re constantly being told upsetting news about people we know and care about in regards to their health. Of course our primary reaction is to do whatever we can to help that person, and we should. Yet, we should also consider the message that is being sent. We shouldn’t take our health for granted and so we must ask ourselves, “What I can do better?” I’m posting this raw and open video of myself discussing this very topic. I would love to hear back from you. Perhaps you have a story or something to share with me and the other Mind Body Bespoke followers.

Just a heads up, this video is roughly 5 minutes long ;0)



Gardening with the Tower Garden

The Preggers Pantry Fit Mama, Carly Zuffinetti, discusses the benefits of the Tower Garden

CarlyandRioI was so honored when Frances asked me to do a guest piece for her amazing blog! She and I have such similar ideas and desires when it comes to living the healthiest and happiest life possible. I have an Instagram blog that is all about having a healthy pregnancy and raising a healthy baby. It is ever evolving and I have met some amazing people through social media. I love that you can find like minded individuals at your fingertips! We can all learn so much from one another, which is one of the reasons I decided to start my blog.

I taught special education for 12 years and I knew when I had my baby that I wanted to take some time off of my career to focus on my son. I’ve always been interested in health, wellness and nutrition and thought this would be a great time in my life to learn more about how to do the best things possible for the growing baby inside of me. There is so much information out there about what to eat, vitamins to take, how to exercise, what type of birth you want, etc. Research can be very overwhelming for a pregnant mama! I decided to find the things I love the most and share them with my followers. Thus, The Preggers Pantry was born!

CarlyTowerGardenOne of the things I really wanted to do when I found out I was pregnant was start an organic garden. I had no idea how I would have time for this though, as my husband and I travel quite often. So I continued to talk about this garden I dreamed about week after week, every time I bought vegetables or went to a farmers market. Then on my birthday in April my husband surprised me with a Tower Garden! This has been the best investment my family has made since having our baby. The Tower Garden is a vertical garden that uses a process called aeroponics to grow plants in an air/mist environment without the use of soil. I watched the video and checked out the website and immediately started putting my garden together. I ordered seedlings right away from Montecito Farms and went to a Tower Garden training at Socal Urban Farms in San Diego to learn everything I needed to know. It’s been about 2 months since I planted my seedlings and my garden is growing like crazy! I have been harvesting herbs, lettuces, and greens everyday for cooking and my daily green smoothies. I also chop spinach and put it in my baby’s avocado every morning. I decided to do mostly herbs, greens and lettuces in my garden because that’s what I use the most. I planted basil, cilantro, parsley, oregano, thyme, romaine, butter lettuce, red lettuce, arugula, 2 types of kale, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, cherry and heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, and squash. A few of my tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini just popped up and I’m so excited!

Check out @thepreggerspantry on Instagram for my green smoothie and salad recipes and for other healthy pregger, mama, and baby ideas! I would also love to hear about any recipes or products you used and loved during pregnancy, too! If you would like more information on how to get your own Tower Garden, email me at thepreggerspantry@gmail.com