The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Pure Barre Rocks!

In the less than two years this blog has been around I’ve managed to crank out about 300 or so posts.  In all that time I’ve posted dozens and dozens of recipes, went to countless restaurants, and reviewed close to 50 burritos.  A lot of those meals aren’t exactly what dietitians (or any sane person) would call “healthy.”  And portion control?  HA!  Is that a new word for a government budget-cutting thingy?

The problem is that you can’t just eat whatever you want, whenever you want.  It’s gotta go somewhere and that somewhere is usually in body parts you don’t want that extra weight to go.  For me, that’s the gut.  So what’s my secret for staying relatively healthy?  Two words – Exercise.

But out of all those posts, I’ve only mentioned the word “exercise” less than ten times.  And the latest mention of it was calling something “an exercise in futility”  – not anything about exercise itself. By comparison, I’ve mentioned or posted a picture of Lindsey Lohan eleven times.

lohan mi9com


Make that 12 times.

Over the years, I’ve usually just done some combination of straight up cardio – jogging, walking, cycling – and weight lifting.   The problem is that with all of those, it’s pretty easy to plateau and you end up having to do more and more of the same.  That means tacking on additional miles and time at the gym.  That’s not a problem when you don’t have kids and are living in an apartment.  But anyone who has kids and a house can tell you that all that free time you had makes like those American Idol runners-up.  It just disappears, never to be seen again.

And don’t get me started on the time-suck that is this shining beacon of a blog….

Enter Pure Barre


fitness health

I recently hit my two-year anniversary of going there and I’m still not anywhere near plateau-ing.  Pure Barre started about 12 years ago in Michigan and has spread to over 100 locations in about 30 states.  It’s been featured all over the place and is growing by leaps and bounds.  It’s a one-hour class that features a lot of different moves to build strength, endurance, and bone density.  It’s a total full body workout that combines elements of yoga, pilates, and ballet.  There’s a ballet barre there, hence the name, but there’s no dance choreography or dancing involved.

I think the mere mention of ballet turns off a lot of guys to the workout.  In the time I’ve been doing it, there have been only one or two other guys who do it regularly.  I thought the lack of guys was just an Ann Arbor thing until I took a class in Denver.   At that one, I don’t think they’ve EVER had a guy in there.  I’m really quite surprised that more single guys haven’t joined simply for the opportunity to be in a room full of women.  Many beautiful women.

Not an actual class… (

Of course, it could very well be that guys are afraid of the opposite.  They know that women can handle a helluva lot more pain than guys so they’re afraid of getting their asses kicked by the workout.  And  even worse – getting their asses kicked in front of that same roomful of beautiful women.

How tough is the workout?  There was an article in the Huffington Post  where their fitness writers tried it out.  Here’s what they said:

My abs and hamstrings wobbled so much during some of the exercises — more than I’d ever experienced before — and by the end of the class, I was completely exhausted and sore. I must say, it was the good kind of sore, though — the kind that comes with working out parts of the body that probably don’t get worked out enough.


Ay, chihuahua. My body has never experienced this kind of intensity. I felt a bit disheartened that some measly two-pound weights were murdering my arms and that a flimsy resistance band could make me shake so uncontrollably. Within the first two minutes, I knew there was going to be some soreness in my future. The class made me feel out of shape, something I hadn’t considered previously.


The pain is like having your insides twisted, pulled, and squeezed. If I fought it, the pain became worse. Once I surrendered to and accepted the pain, it was more bearable. It is like getting caught in the undertow of a wave.

Ok, that last one was actually one woman’s description of childbirth.  But it pretty much sums up how I felt in my first class.

But if you can stick with it and go 2-3 times a week, you’re going to see a noticeable difference in less than a month.  I got The Sicilian hooked on it and she said she saw a difference in less than two weeks.   The first change I saw was in my posture, which in itself is a gut-reducer.  Over time, I’ve developed a lot leaner muscle and improved flexibility.  I also have a lot more definition than at any point in my life – even after running a marathon years ago.   I can actually see abs, where before it was just some big mass of  undefined flesh with a few stray hairs.

What’s more important to me is that it’s a great “functional” workout. With running and lifting weights, I found that I didn’t necessarily get better at anything except running and lifting.  With Pure Barre, I’ve gained a ton of lower body strength and overall flexibility which is needed in just about any sport.  It’s given me more power in tennis, but the biggest impact was in my golf game.  The lower body strength has added 20-30 yards onto my drives alone.  And the increased flexibility allows for more control through the swing, which helps in consistency and accuracy.

So thanks, Pure Barre, for the killer workouts!  I’m going to head over there pretty soon because I got big ‘ol slab of pork belly in my immediate future.

Stay tuned – tomorrow’s post is going to feature some of the awesome tunes from PB.  It’s HERE


Have you tried Pure Barre or anything similar?  What do you do for exercise? 

health and wellness

About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

33 comments on “Pure Barre Rocks!

  1. I’ve been meaning to come with Monica for a while, this post has inspired me to actually do something about it. I run and do CrossFire which is the YMCA’s version of CrossFit and I love it. It ALMOST counteracts all the beer

    • Yeah!! Let me know when u do go. I promise not to laugh at u. Can’t say the same for Monica though.

  2. wildbluewonder
    May 2, 2013

    I’ve done Physique 57 at home via their book. P57 is a barre-based fitness facility based in NYC and LA, and they have DVDs (and now a book, obvs.). I liked it, and it was definitely tough and I saw results in just two weeks. I generally prefer more traditional weight training as well as kettlebell workouts, but I like to do a two-week rotation of P57 every so often to shake things up.

    I work out primarily at home, doing yoga, some run/walks (except in winter), and the aforementioned weight training and kettlebell stuff. Right now I’m doing one of dozens of workouts from the Women’s Health Big Book of Abs, and I just ordered some Power Cardio and Power Yoga DVDs from Zuzana (aka Zuzka), a little Russian dynamo of a trainer. Haven’t tried her yoga yet, but it has a flying burpee move that I saw on YouTube that is no joke! And I could only get through one of her (very short!) workouts from the cardio DVDs with a lot of modification and rest!

    • Holy smokes, that’s a lot! Yeah, I forgot to mention that changing things up is a great way to delay plateaus. WIll have to keep some of these in mind.

      • wildbluewonder
        May 2, 2013

        It’s not really that much! I work out 3-6x a week, depending on the time of year, my goals, how I’m feeling, etc. Then lighter yoga, stretching, and foam rolling happen through the week as needed (well, not as often as I probably should). Same with meditation. 🙂

        I agree about shaking things up. It keeps me motivated, too. I like variety!

  3. The Daily Sampler
    May 2, 2013

    I like that you love burritos, have posted 12 pics of Lindsay Lohan, and are a fellow non-runner living in a runner’s world. This is why we’re blogging friends. I’ve always wanted to try Pure Barre, but that same unfortunate problem keeps popping up. I’m poor as shit. It’s a tad pricey, no?

    • Yeah, It can be… But I look at this way – I don’t need to join any other gym because it’s a complete workout. Just add in some walking, cycling, etc outside of it. They also have a bunch of specials – including a teacher discount. For new clients, it’s $20 for the first ten days, which is a steal. And they just started the May challenge – go 20x in May and you get 20% of next package. They do that a few times ayear and occasionally a Groupon. So all that makes it a little better.

      Let me know if you go! Maybe drag Erica?

  4. writingmom2013
    May 2, 2013

    I actually work at a place in Ann Arbor called Barre Bee Fit. It’s slightly less expensive, includes a little bit of cardio into the workouts, and changes up more regularly (as an instructor, I have to learn a new routine every week!). I definitely agree that these barre workouts prevent plateauing, because the routines change often enough that you keep your muscles confused (and also, as a regular exerciser, you remain interested). I think it’s awesome that you are a guy who does barre workouts – more men should be open to them. 🙂

  5. seasonedwithsarcasm
    May 2, 2013

    this is interesting, but the closest location to me is about an hour away with traffic (big deterrent) – any feedback on their dvd/equipment section for at home workouts?

  6. I have one of the DVDs and it’s pretty good. It’s only about 45 minutes, though. There’s no substitute for live class – especially with the music – but it’s definitely worth a try.

  7. BSL1
    May 2, 2013

    It’s funny – I was catching up on your blog yesterday and wondered why you had never mentioned PB. You’ve created a cult of PB followers in our crowd, including, somewhat belatedly, me, a die-hard runner who hates fitness classes.

    • Had to think about who this was… then realized BSL stands for Blood-Sucking Lawyer!!

      • BSL1
        May 2, 2013

        I’m trying to convince BSL2 to give it a try, but I’m not having any luck.

  8. aretailsalmon
    May 2, 2013

    I think we’ve been in class together! I love PB too!!

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  10. Yinzerella
    May 3, 2013

    This post has really made me consider checking out PB. And I am someone who hates gyms and exercise classes. But I really need to do something soon or my ass will be hanging out around the back of my knees. I’ll let you know if I sign up!

  11. Shirley Marquez
    May 9, 2013

    Here in Boston it was the April challenge and it just ended. (The ending was pushed back to May 3 because we lost a couple of days to certain events in the city.) Sadly, I didn’t get in my 20 classes because I hurt my back (no, not by doing PB) and had to take a couple of weeks off for recovery. But aside from that I’ve been a regular since the Boston studio opened in December, and hope to sign the 100 Club barre some time in June.

    The most effective exercise is the one you actually do, and for me Pure Barre has been it. The awesome company, the driving music, and the results have kept me coming back.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      May 10, 2013

      Thats terrific! Too bad you got sidelined. Our challenge is this month and I’m halfway there already. Best of luck for hitting 100 next month!

  12. PinotNinja
    May 29, 2013

    I am completed addicted to Core Fusion Barre, which sounds like essentially the same thing as PB. After years of competitive running and triathlons, I thought I was fit. And then I went to CFB and had my world rocked — my arms, abs, and legs were shaking the entire class and I could barely do anything. A year later and my muscles are more defined than they have ever been — although I still can’t make it through the thighs section without grimacing in pain and feeling like I might actually die at any moment.

    Also, in our class, there are usually a handful of guys that show up and you can definitely see the results for them as well. My favorite is whenever they bring one of their skeptical buddies to the class — there is a whole lot of joking before class begins and then a whole lot of whimpering and groaning once class starts.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      May 29, 2013

      Awesome! What city?

      I have 3-4 female friends now hooked, but haven’t gotten any guys to go. Other guys I’ve seen were dragged in by their significant others looking pretty sheepish. Not sure if they were “forced ” to go or if they didn’t know how they should react in a room full of hotties

      • PinotNinja
        May 29, 2013

        I go to the Exhale in Miami. And, if you have any guys who need convincing, you can let them know that Charles Barkley does CF Barre when he’s in town to work a Heat game.

  13. lovecourtxoxo
    May 30, 2013

    I just went to pure barre this morning…and there was a dude in my class! I always am a little shocked when that happens 😉 Maybe I will see you there sometime!

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      May 30, 2013

      I was there at noon! Going tomorow at 1015

      • lovecourtxoxo
        May 30, 2013

        Noon- as in today noon. That’s when I was there! I was wearing my craziest pink and black polka dot leggings and walked in 5 mins late…So I stood out like a sore thumb 😉 LOL

        • thefoodandwinehedonist
          May 30, 2013

          Hahaha!!! I was right next to u. Those were funky leggings. Say hi next time!

        • thefoodandwinehedonist
          May 30, 2013

          And I’m just glad u didn’t say “yeah, and that one guy was a tool”

  14. lovecourtxoxo
    May 30, 2013

    SMALL WORLD! I’m sure I will see you there in the future and I will make sure to say hi : )

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This entry was posted on May 2, 2013 by in Ann Arbor, Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , .
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