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!

ImproperTricep

Improper Tricep Extension

ProperTricep

Proper Tricep Extension

ImproperPlank

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.”

ImproperChair

Improper Chair

ProperChair

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

ProperLedge

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). 

Resolution Solutions

Out with the old and in with the new! Can you believe I’m writing a post about this during the holidays?? Crazy, I know. Who talks about resolutions before January 1st?

resolution

Ok, listen up. Let this holiday season MOTIVATE you and propel you into the New Year with guns blazin’. You must have a “take no prisoners attitude” this year if you are yet again setting a “get healthy” resolution. Why am I saying this?  Because chances are you are coming back to some of the same resolutions as you’ve set in the past (maybe more than once). Now,  I don’t want us to get hung up on why those past resolutions didn’t stick– that’s counter-productive. We need to forge ahead and focus on the new goal you have in mind and how you will get there.

Here are some solutions to staying the course on your journey to your health-focused resolution:

  1. Shout it out! Let your family, friends, co-workers, Facebook pals, whomever, know about your goal. Own it completely and show confidence in your desire to make self-improvements. By announcing your resolution to others, you’ll likely get a lot more support than trying to keep it to yourself and do it alone. There is no reason be alone in working on your resolution. The more positive encouragement around you, the more likely you will be to stick to it and succeed.
  2. Write it down. Everywhere. In your phone, on your iPad, on your work calendar, on a post-it on your fridge, have that goal all around you. This will serve to remind you that you are on a mission.
  3. Make a plan. This is the tricky one. We can all say we want to “do” something” but if we don’t plan HOW we will do it, it’s a lot less likely to happen. Scheduling time to work on your goal is essential for your success. I suggest using a few quiet minutes on a Sunday to map out your workouts or fitness classes. Put them in your phone as you would a business meeting. Don’t miss a meeting with yourself, you are too important to cancel on.
  4. Be accountable. The familiar quote: “The most important relationship you have is with yourself” is the meat and potatoes of self-accountability. By setting a resolution and making plans to work it, you are essentially making a promise to yourself. Keep your promise and when you find that you’re not sticking to it, own up to it, and the most importantly, REFLECT and RESTART. Do not let a missed workout or a bad meal, or even a bad day, stop you from getting right back at it. You are allowed to give yourself a second chance, you are human after all.
  5. Celebrate victories! Pat yourself on the back, clap for yourself, whatever you need to do to celebrate, do it! Find HEALTHY ways to treat yourself after a great week of working on your goal/resolution. Some ideas would be to have dinner out one night a week, treat yourself to a spa pedicure or sports massage,  or purchase yourself a new piece of workout gear that you want to add to your growing collection!

So now that we’ve covered some tips on how to really commit to your resolution, what do you say? Are you ready for 2016? Don’t wait until January 1st– start RIGHT NOW.

Need help? Working with a Health Coach is that extra support that may be exactly what you need to keep your eyes on the prize. I can help keep you motivated and accountable. Please email me at mindbodybespoke@gmail.com to set up your consultation!

Letting go of your “gym class” past

 

Maybe you were picked last for capture the flag.  Maybe you hated changing into your dreaded gym uniform. Maybe it was performing pull-ups while the ENTIRE class watched. Or, perhaps it was that one kid –a bully — who launched a foam dodgeball at your face when you were tying your laces. Sadly, we can all most certainly remember a moment from our Physical Education experience that wasn’t pleasant. **I promise to share my thoughts in a future post on how the world of physical education pedagogy is changing (thanks goodness!). For now, I’m wondering if some of you are struggling to take a group fitness class, join a recreational team, or simply start working out because you are holding on to a fear of embarassement or bad memory from your early years?

If the answer is “yes”, then let’s take a few minutes to talk about why you simply need to let go and how to do just that.

As we all know, holding onto things, especially traumatic events, never does anyone any good. Eventually, the issue will resurface and rear it’s ugly head in some way. Time and time again that fear can hold us back from participating in social and health-focused events, even fundraisers or charity events that we’d like to be a part of simply because we don’t feel “ready” or fit enough to participate. Now, as gently as I can say this —  If you truly desire to become a more active, healthy, and fit human being, you’re going to have to get over it. I mean that in the nicest way possible. It’s time to take a deep breath, let it out, and give yourself new start. Leave the memory or fear behind you — start fresh!

Here are some thoughts to help you get started.

  1. It’s ok to be a beginner. We all must start somewhere. IMG_6218There will only be one time in a fitness class that is your FIRST time. No one, especially a good instructor, will expect you to know what you are doing. The best thing you can do is tell your instructor that you are new to the class. Most instructors really appreciate knowing this and they will be better able to assist you.
  2. Find a place that’s comfortable. Try out a few gyms, studios, or trainers and see where you feel comfortable. Look for an environment that supports “newbies”. If you are not sure where to look in your area, contact me for a consult.
  3. Surround yourself with supportive people. friends
    Hang out with people who support your desire for self-improvement. These people should be positive influences and positive people. It’s great if you can find a friend or co-worker to buddy up with on a fitness journey.
  4. Think positively. You have no time for negative vibes if you are looking to become a CONFIDENT health-focused person. While it’s completely normal to have bad days, you mustn’t let negative moments or pessimistic people distract your from your goals. Getting a journal can help you to work out any frustrations that crop up and many are filled with positive quotes to help you along the way. You can try barnesandnoble.com for these. If you are interested specifically in running, my friends at Gone for Run make great journals!
  5. Keep track of your progress. Piggy backing off of the previous comment. Journaling is a nice way to keep track of your progress. Specific to weight loss and increasing fitness levels, many people find motivation by taking selfies along their journey (* you do not need to post selfies online for the world to see but some do and this helps them. Different strokes for different folks!). Photo-journaling allows one to see the physical changes as they are happening over time. This may not be for everyone but I do feel that combing these methods (personal journaling and pictures) over time does give people the ressaureance and confidence that they’re working towards.
  6. BONUS: Get involved! I’ve added this last one because it simply cannot be left out. There are an enormous number of incredible charitable and philanthropic fitness related events that are nothing short of AMAZING. By signing up and participating in these events, you are helping others improve their health while also working on your own goals. image1I have participated for many years in Cycle for Survival, an indoor cycling and fundraising event sponsored by Equinox that donates to cancer research for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. This October, I am over the moon to be participating in an incredible event through Movemeant Foundation called Dare to Bare. I will be cycling with some incredible Soul Cycle instructors in the middle of Union Square in New York City. IMG_5852Movemeant Foundation helps young women feel confident about their bodies by empowering them with the tools they need to be active through “positive mentorship, engaging content about health, nutrition and well-being, and grants that make fitness and physical movement a reality.” To learn more about this event and/or sign up, click here.

So now that we’ve talked a little bit about letting go, what will you do to move forward?

 

Need assistance getting started? Contact me for a consultation or email me directly at mindbodybespoke@gmail.com. Personalized wellness coaching may be exactly what you need to get started !

MBB New Cover

 

 

Healthy Snacking Tips

A short youtube video where I share some snacking tips! Don’t let a crazy busy day derail you from your healthy eating goals. Prepare! Bring healthy options to work so that you stay on track. Questions? Email me through the contact page!

MBB New Cover

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)