Stepping Up to the Barre 2

One Woman’s Journey, Part 1

Let’s start out with a confession. For the past couple of years, my idea of working out has been doing a 20-minute yoga video in my living room a few times a week, tops. If life got busy, as it so often does, that was the first thing to get cut.

Then I signed up to do Pure Barre for a year–an actual commitment to working out, with other people. To say that I was nervous before my first class would be a tremendous understatement.

I walked into the building–an impeccably decorated studio in Norman’s University Town Center–and was instantly greeted by the adorable ball of fluff that is Behr, Pure Barre owners Brett and Tiffany Tatum’s Shih Tzu puppy. That helped a little bit.

I nodded along as Tiffany explained the Pure-Barre-specific terminology to me before class and kindly tried to ease my nerves. She described the first workout as a “whirlwind,” and within the first few minutes I understood why.

The class is 55 minutes long and very fast-paced. After a warm-up in the center of the room, the trainer directs you through a series of moves focused on strengthening different muscle groups– arms, thighs, seat and abs–using light weights, a small rubber ball and the ballet barre.

The exercises are small and focused, using isometric movements to isolate different muscle groups and work them to fatigue. The class was definitely harder than anything I’d push myself to do in a solo trip to the gym, and had muscle groups burning that I didn’t even know existed. I remember thinking, if that was working out, what had I been doing for the past 20 years?

In no way, shape or form was I able to keep up in my first class. But that was OK.

I’ve always shied away from class workouts because I can’t help comparing myself to others, especially when it’s been a while since my last visit to the gym. I think that’s why I enjoyed the “whirlwind” so much. There simply wasn’t time for me to worry about how I compared to the rest of the class.

The Pure Barre workout is designed to force you to be mindful of the specific muscle groups that you’re exercising. No one in the class was judging me for not lifting my leg as high as theirs, or for needing to take a break from the thigh sprints, because they were just as immersed in their workout as I was in mine.

Yes, I was incredibly sore the day after that first class, but I was also incredibly proud of myself. And, to my surprise, I was impatient to go back!

Tatum told me that it usually takes about four classes for someone to get the hang of the workout. It probably took about five or six for me to feel like I really understood what Pure Barre was all about, but it only took one for me to recognize something special in the Norman Pure Barre family (and it really is a family of friendly, supportive women), and to decide that I wanted to stick around.

At the time of writing this, I’ve been going to Pure Barre for almost a month, and I can already see myself changing. I’m not talking just about losing weight–although I have lost a few pounds– but about the way that I look at myself.

In class today, Tatum told everyone, “you’re stronger than you think you are!” That is Pure Barre boiled down to seven words. You are stronger than you think you are, and so am I. In this first month, I have already learned that I am capable of so much more than I thought.

Now, when I look in the mirror at my “problem areas,” I can’t judge myself too harshly because I know the strength of the muscles that lie beneath the surface. That’s a pretty empowering feeling.

My journey with Pure Barre is just beginning. I’ll write updates as I continue to lift, tone and burn, but you don’t have to wait for more words from me to learn more. Right now, Pure Barre is offering one week free for anyone interested in seeing for themselves what all the talk is about.

Hope to see you there!

For more information on Pure Barre, visit or call 310.2118.