Your First Pure Barre Class: What To Expect

I rave about Pure Barre here on the blog from time to time, and regularly on social media, but realize that it can be intimidating if you haven’t attended a class before. What do we DO in there, after all? I mean, there’s a ballet barre, and everyone wears yoga pants, but beyond that…WHAT IS PURE BARRE?


So. I thought I’d put together what I hope you’ll find to be a comprehensive guide about your first Pure Barre class, including everything from the flow of class to what to wear, and even tips on what to eat beforehand. I want everyone to feel comfortable and welcome at the studio, and I’m hoping this peek into what to expect might help with those things. (Note: This applies to Pure Barre Classic, and not Empower.)

Okay, here goes!:

  • What is Pure Barre, exactly? It’s a low-impact, full-body workout that uses (usually) small movements and intentional form to isolate certain muscle groups, work them to fatigue, then stretch them to elongate those muscles (rather than bulk them up). It targets the areas women worry about the most: arms, hips, thighs, seat, and abs, and because it’s low impact it’s a workout you can safely do every single day. Plus, it’s great for people who might be suffering from an injury from a more high-impact workout. You can do it on its own or as a complement to a different workout, like spin or running. We also offer an amazing cardio strength class called Empower right in your Pure Barre studio, too, so you can meet all your workout needs in one place!


  • What should I wear? You’ll want to be sure to wear tight-fitting leggings, because that will help with your range of motion, muscle warmth, and comfort level in class. (You want to be sure to wear leggings and NOT shorts — no one wants to see your undies!) As far as a top, that’s up to you, but I prefer something a bit more form fitting as well (as opposed to a t-shirt), and I always opt for a sleeveless option because I feel like I can move so much more freely that way. You won’t need any shoes, but you will want to wear “sticky socks,” as we call them, which are grippy socks that help you keep from slipping and assist with keeping your form in place. You can buy socks at your Pure Barre studio when you arrive (or borrow a pair from a Pure Barre-loving friend if you’re tagging along with her — I guarantee she has at LEAST four pairs!).


  • What should I bring with me to the studio? Bring whatever you need to as far as a purse, jacket, etc., but you’ll leave everything aside from your socks in a cubby during class. I’d recommend bringing a bottle of water, too (you can bring that into the studio with you). They’ll have all the equipment you need in the studio (tube, mat, weights, ball, etc.).
  • What should I eat before class? A light snack tends to be best. You don’t want to be so full that you’re uncomfortable bending/moving, but you also don’t want to be hungry and run the risk of getting lightheaded. Some of my pre-class fuel options include smoothies, trail mix, and Larabars. (Also, make sure you’re well hydrated! Drink a lot of water in the hours leading up to your first class to keep you going strong.)
  • How long will I be there? Since it’s your first class, plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early. You’ll need to fill out some paperwork, you might need to buy a pair of sticky socks, and it’s best if your teacher also has time to get you set up in the studio and go through some of the basics with you before class starts. Class itself will last 50 minutes.
  • Do I need to have a dance background to participate? You most definitely do NOT need to have a dance background to participate! I didn’t (well, unless you call high school show choir “dance experience”), and now I’m a teacher. Regardless of your background, come try a class! (One great benefit of Pure Barre is that it improves your balance and flexibility. In the five years I’ve been taking Pure Barre, my flexibility has improved SO much!)


  • But does everyone LOOK like they have a dance background? NOPE. You’ll find people of all different ages, fitness levels, and body types at the studio.
  • What terminology should I be aware of before I take my first class? You’ll hear a few terms throughout class that might sound a little unfamiliar. “Tuck” is one of those. When your teacher tells you to tuck, think about bringing your hip bones up to meet your rib bones. That’s the motion you should be going for (although they won’t actually touch!). Another thing your teacher will tell you is to “find your shake.” That means just what it sounds like — you want to get the muscle group you’re working to literally shake. It can feel really uncomfortable, but that’s what you’re going for to drive that muscle change. So sink low, come up on those high tippie toes, and shake away! You might have also heard the acronym “LTB.” That stands for “Lift, Tone, and Burn,” which is kind of like Pure Barre’s tagline.


  • So, what happens during class? Class starts with a warm-up followed by weight work in the center of the room. When you choose a spot in the studio, find a place that leaves you with enough room to come down into a plank position. You’ll then move to the barre for thigh work (three sprints), and then move on to seat work (either at the barre or the center of the room). Between each section, you’ll stretch your fatigued muscles. Be sure to work hard at your stretch, just like you do at finding your shake! Then we move to ab work, lower back strengthening, and one last push for your seat before stretching it all out one last time. It’s music driven and fast paced, so the 50 minutes will fly by — promise! The teacher will demo each section as you get set up and some throughout, but it can help to keep an eye on other clients, too, to get a sense for what your form should look like. Concentrate on keeping your core pulled in tightly throughout!


  • What happens after my first class? If you’re like me, you’ll probably leave the studio thinking, “Wait — WHAT just happened?” Pure Barre is a very different workout, and making it through your first class is a huge accomplishment. The dots won’t be connected for you just yet, but I hope you leave that first class with a taste of what Pure Barre is and what it can do for your body. After your first class, you’ll have the opportunity to buy an unlimited New Client Special package, where you can take class as often as you want for four weeks for just $99. It’s a great way to see if Pure Barre is something you want to stick with long term.

If you’re in the Winston area, I’d LOVE to help get you signed up to take your first Pure Barre class at either our Reynolda (Winston-Salem) or Clemmons studio. Leave a comment and we’ll set a date!

(Oh, and fun fact: This photo shoot was from back in 2016, when I was pregnant with Maggie. It was still super early, but it’s fun to think of tiny little Maggie-girl LTBing with me!)

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