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Blog

A fashion blog about weekend style

 

How I Have My First 6 Pack At Age 32

Jessica Wagner

Top & Bottoms: Pure Barre Perrysburg & Toledo studio boutique.

Pure Barre - Finding Balance

Strengthen your body. Empower your mind.
— Pure Barre

You know that feeling of giddy delight? Like a little kid discovering ice-cream for the first time? Surprise - mingled with great satisfaction. Something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable. I have finally found that feeling in a fitness routine. I know it might sound a little - dramatic - but guys hear me out! I have found THE ONE that works for me. Pure Barre has done absolute wonders for my mind, body, and soul the last 8 months. (And has allowed me to indulge in seconds of ice cream!) I am stronger than ever and actually excited about sweating it out every week! 

So here it is - finding balance. I have been looking to get healthy. I wanted to be toned and in shape. Last fall I tried to cut out all sugar. I was miserable. Like the crankiest person ever. So I decided, like most things in life - everything in moderation. Balance is key. No sugar is great and kudos to you, you freak of nature, if you can do it! But I am happiest  in no particular order, eating my ice cream, at the beach, and at now at Pure Barre! You heard me right! Pure Barre is IT and  it's on ice-cream-on the-beach-level and I am pumped to share all about it with you. Maybe you have heard of it? Tried it? Already love it? Either way, I am addicted and want to share my journey so far. 

When I say I am addicted, I mean am addicted to the challenge. The Pure Barre gurus are always switching up the routines, moves, the music - so you never experience the same class twice! They push you to beat you personal best. Which is great for someone like me who gets bored easily, has a mind that wanders, and doesn't generally enjoy working out. I am going to break this down for those of you who may be like me, and have struggled - and are looking to truly enjoying exercise and making time for physical health. 


What is Pure Barre?

There is a barre involved - it's connected to the wall like in ballet. They also have wine-down Wednesdays, which I haven't been to yet, but answers any other "bar" related questions ;)

In all seriousness, Pure Barre is "intelligent exercise." Straight from the source, here's the best explanation of the technique!


"Pure Barre is the fastest, most effective, yet safest way to change your body. In less than an hour you will achieve a full-body workout concentrating on the areas women struggle with the most: hips, thighs, seat, abdominals and arms. The Pure Barre technique is low-impact, protecting your joints by avoiding any bouncing or jumping. Each strength section of the workout is followed by a stretching section in order to create long, lean muscles without bulk. The technique works to defy gravity by tapering everything in and lifting it up!

The concentration involved while taking Pure Barre allows you to block "life" out during class, creating the mental benefits similarly obtained by the practice of yoga or meditation. A transformed body and a clear head in under an hour—it doesn't get much better than this."
 -Pure Barre


Ok so that's the text book explanation. But man do they deliver. What I love about it is, it's all true! I have experienced all that Pure Barre promises first-hand. PLUS I love the awesome instructors, and the other important factors, like the fact that they sell amazing work out gear in the studio (you know shopping is my other favorite physical activity) which I am sporting in all of these looks.

For locals, here are the two locations I go to {Perrysburg and Toledo} or you can search for one near you here. PLUS the flexible class hours are amazing. They have classes starting as early as 5:30am! I am a 6:30am frequenter. I like to go first thing in the morning or sometimes go right after work. Evenings get tricky for me with the kids and family time but they offer classes almost every hour throughout the day, as late at 7:30pm. The only gear you need are the sticky socks! Which are super cute. They provide the rest.

Since going back to work full time back in March, I struggle to make it to class more than twice a week, but I would honestly go everyday if I could! (Maybe I will someday -  but also, sleep lol!) They say if you go at least 3 times a week you will see quick results, keeping in mind a healthy diet. They have a great site, which can answer your questions here. You can read their full story here.


How soon will you see results from Pure Barre?

It really depends on how often you attend class and a healthy balanced diet. All I know is eight months in and going to class 2-3 times per week, I am toned, energized, confident, and happy. And I am rocking my first 6 pack of my life. My booty is back. I feel good. I feel double scoop ice-cream good.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Here's a little more personal insight as to why this boutique style class works and kicks butt.


I am not an athlete... {story of my life}

Here it is, plain and simple. I have never been an athlete. I was never picked first in sports, I "played" right field in softball and I would close my eyes at bat because I was scared to swing at the ball, I didn't make the volleyball team in high school, I can't run and I have asthma. Really, I am rather a victorian couch-fainter.

Ok maybe I am exaggerating a little. I was a dancer growing up. I took tap, ballet, jazz and gymnastics from age 3-12. I lived for dance. Then the amazing company I danced with at moved to Florida (SOB! I am still bitter to this fact*.) I did cheerleading in high school. It felt like the closest thing to what I loved about dance/gymnastics. I was never a strong candidate for typical sports, but had flexibility and balance. (Or that's what my mom always told me.) I am a petite build, but I have never been especially "fit." Like I said, I am a terrible runner. (Phoebe from FRIENDS, but on steroids.)

I have always liked Yoga, but wanted to see results. It was great for flexibility, and mental relaxation but I wasn't getting any toner. In high school I would usually exercise in my room and strive for those Brittney Spears abs, following a little circuit routine I ripped out of my Cosmopolitan magazine (wow.) In college I drank and ate (and ate and drank) and joined a  gym during the summer to walk on the elliptical. I was in peak poor physical health. Then I got pregnant at 23 and thought all hope was lost for ever having a toned core or the time to dedicate to any type of physical maintenance. 


I had kids young.... {and felt like I lost my identity & body}

So part two. I had Noah at 24. I was young-ish. I was about a year out of college and it rocked my world in the best way possible, but it also gave me a sense of "lost identity." In so many ways I was not prepared for the balance you need to find when raising a little one, and over the last 8 years (yikes) I have put my physical well-being close to last. Babies stretch out your belly and your heart <3 They might make your boobs sag and hips stretch. It's a big change. Change can be hard. I know some of you mamas out there might understand. I know some you who are not mamas might understand. I am in no way blaming having kids on my not staying in shape. This whole self-care revolution must mean I am not the only one (kids or no kids) who struggles to make the time. To find something that really makes me feel good and excited to set that 6am alarm for getting my heart rate up and getting underboob sweaty is no small feat. The intention is always there, right? That "I will start tomorrow" type of mind-set. The excuses are limitless. Not enough time. Too busy. Something always comes up. I'm tired. It's too late. I need sleep. I will loose those extra 10 pounds or baby weight tomorrow. That swinging pendulum of searching for balance. 

I'd like to think I kept my heart rate and metabolism up chasing my little ones around. Walking them to school. Playing tag on the playground. Lifting them up. Scrubbing the floors. Power walking around the mall in the winter. I have always been a busy bee and like to be on-the-move (usually moving around Target, let's be real.) But the occasional walk to the ice cream shop or bike ride to the park are great and active and but in no way shape or form did I have a regular fitness routine. I would buy some weights. I would download a yoga video  off Amazon and promise I would get up everyday at 6am and do it, and never would.


Is it like Yoga? Ballet? 

I fell in love with Yoga while at my full-time job when Noah was 2. They would bring in a Yoga instructor for lunch breaks on Tuesdays. It was sweet! I had tried Yoga before (we had a YMCA membership again when Noah was little) but I rarely made it to the class. I don't know why. I think I struggled to carve out the "me" time. But I loved Yoga and still do!

I signed up with a Yoga studio for while, but they had limited class times. It's tough when you have to find someone to babysit your kids for an hour. I know. In my mind it shouldn't be but I could rarely make the class schedule and our schedule work.

What I love about Pure Barre is the way the classes are ballet-inspired, incorporating the ballet barre and some plies and pirouettes here and there into the workout. Essentially, barre classes mix elements of Yoga, Pilates, dance, and functional training, and the moves are choreographed to upbeat and motivating music. It's fun ya'll. It's my cup of tea. 


Why Pure Barre and why now?

So back in November I had hit a wall. I was burnt out. Emotionally, physically and spiritually. We had a number of things going on, so some of those feeling I was experiencing made sense. Some of them didn't. Rob happened to book a job with Pure Barre in Perrysburg, and convinced me to give it a try. I am one of those weirdos who gets really intimidated the first time going to something new, especially a class on something I was completely in the dark on. (Am I going to make a fool of myself? Will they be nice? What if I fail?) So my man came with me to my first class. He's the best. It was a day or two after Thanksgiving. We walked in and were met with smiles. We found our spot in the room, and immediately the sweetest instructor (who is also a bad ass) came over, gave us a rundown and eased those fears. 

Feeling intimidated? It's ok (come to a class with me!) or do your research. Bring a friend. I know I would have never gone without the encouragement from Rob and another LTB (LIFT TONE BURN)  friend who loves going and had told me about it. (Learn the Pure Barre lingo here.) So let me be that person for you. If it sounds like it might be a good fit, do it! Do it for you. And let me know how it goes, and when we can, we will cheers over a glass of rosé because you are awesome for giving it a try!


A renewed sense of self - I AM STRONG

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I have never felt "strong." I want to tell you guys, today, I feel strong. I am 32. I'm not getting any younger folks! I have kids, I want to be a "cool grandma" someday! I a feeling stronger than I ever have before. Not just in the classic sense of strength, but in a way that I am able. These classes challenge you every time. They are never exactly the same. You walk into a room and it's usually full of all kinds of women, women who are just like you and me, showing up and working hard. No fuss.  Once class starts everything and everyone disappears and I envision a jaguar. I am sweating. I am staring myself down. Not just in the mirror, but in the heart and saying you can do this. Be healthy for yourself. Live a long life. Be better for your husband so you can enjoy the days after the kids are grown. Take care of yourself so you can continue to care for your family and others. Build that confidence in your ability to be the best you can be. I guarantee you will achieve the results you’re looking for through Pure Barre.  If not, I want to encourage you to find what you love. Boxing, hiking, running, swimming, yoga, dance. Get out there and find it!

Now, I am not a perfect student, or teacher so take from this what you will. I wish I could tell you I never miss a class. I do. Life is busy. I work full time now. My husband travels A LOT. I travel now too. We get colds. We get tired by the end of the day. It's always going to be a work in progress, but to know I am making progress feels awesome. To see the progress and get approached by a beautiful mama who complements me on how fit I look while walking with my babies on the beach (my babies who my body once held - and can still hold) - feels great! To be able to encourage anyone out there searching to make a change - you can do it! I believe in you! To have those stretch marks and scars and have a stranger say wow - you look amazing brought me to tears. NO ONE had ever told me I look fit and asked what I do. I've been told wow you're short/small... which is part of my genetics. Not something I earned.  I worked on it and it's something you can see, but what you can't see how it has changed me on the inside, but it has.


My Testimony - EMPOWERED

Guys - here's my testimony. I am sort of a wimp. LOL. Ok, that's a terrible testimony, but here is what I want to say. I no longer believe that. I am strong. I am strong physically, mentally and spiritually. Pure Barre has done that for me. Getting up before the sun and hitting a Pure Barre class makes me feel like an amazon warrior. My body has become lean. I have seen it change. I've watched it change and better yet felt it change. My stamina is up. The first class I was heaving. I probably stopped each move halfway through. Now I push through the feeling of "I can't" because now I can. The instructors are more than a coach -  they are that inner voice saying you can do this! I have abs for the first time in my LIFE! My legs feel solid. My arms are taught. The boosted energy is an extension of the power and adrenalin that lasts long after class ends.


The Promise

So wherever you are at on your own journey, know that you are not alone, you can do it. It's taken me 32 years to get here! I hope my passion has shown through, because I have struggled with finding a happy balance for a long time. The hard work will pay off. Take it day by day and keep at it! You can have you cake and eat it too - or have your abs and eat your ice cream too (or something like that.) 

Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful, be you!

Have you tried Pure Barre? How do you make time to keep in shape? What is your favorite way to work out? Any fit tips to share? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!  


Outfit Details:
Pure Barre PerrysburgPure Barre Toledo Studio Boutique c/o