Pure Barre On Demand Workout Review

I’m a freelance writer. Which means sometimes I’m commuting to the city and sometimes I’m working at home. When I commute to the city, I spend 3.5 hours a day commuting. And when I work from home, I basically wake up, maybe walk the dog, and start working right away because I can. I never know what type of work situation I’ll be in, so a gym membership is dumb and so is committing to any kind of studio unless I only want to go on Saturdays. Also, my super-affordable, on-the-way-to-daycare bootcamp has moved and become a less-affordable F45 on the other side of town, so… I’ve been classless for a bit.

I needed a new home workout. Yes, I still like the Aaptive training app and my treadmill. But I was hungry for something new, and something that didn’t make me feel like a prisoner sweating alone in my basement. And I need to build strength and get results fast, so I researched on-demand barre classes.

Now, a good little blogger would re-do the research for you and post the costs of different on-demand barre classes here, but I threw away my notes over a month ago and I don’t feel like looking all that shit up again.

All you need to know is the best deal is Pure Barre on demand.

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What you need to know about Pure Barre On Demand:

  • $30/ month
  • Access classes on any device
  • A really good amount of classes in any length you could possibly want: 5 minute, 10-15 minute, 30-40 minute, 40-50 minute and full length 50-60 minute lengths
  • They add new classes all the time

And the classes are taught by a mix of instructors, so if you think one is annoying, you can avoid her. What you can’t avoid is stupid pretzel position, which is incredibly awkward and I really, really, really hate it. But they’re videos, so if you’re a lazy piece of shit like me, you can just say “nope” and skip to a less ridiculous part of the workout.

A lot of the classes are “live” which means recorded live in one of the Pure Barre studios. They look like they’re shot with a nest security cam, which is totally fine by me. I like how it feels like I’m in a real class. There are also more “workout video”-type professionally staged and shot workouts. There’s really a lot of content. It’s pretty great.

Here’s what the two kinds of classes look like:

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A “live” Pure Barre on demand class

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A “legacy DVD” Pure Barre class, available on demand.

 

 

About Barre

Not gonna lie. Barre sucks. It’s painful, awkward, and uncomfortable. And super hard. BUT, I’ve found that it is a really fast way to change your shape and get strong. And that’s what I need right now. I think of it more as physical therapy than a fun workout. Wow, that’s depressing, isn’t it? OK. It’s not that bad. It’s a CHALLENGE. Is that more positive? And I get to do different video every time (so far) so that makes it feel a little more special.

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All barre workouts are based on the same principles from The Lotte Burke Method: proper alignment, a large number of small movements done to failure, then you stretch that muscle group. “Failure” means your legs will not only burn, but they will literally quiver and shake, and that’s the goal. Yup. (“Shake to change” is the mantra in Barre Amped.) And all barre workouts use similar exercises and follow the same patterns (core, arms, legs, butt, abs).

 

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Look at my arm! A result! 

The vibe is a little different from brand to brand, and Pure Barre has the vibe that I like the best, but it’s up to you to see what you like. Pure Barre, for example is a little more casual/city and they work out to a beat. Dailey Method feels slightly more formal, closer to a ballet or yoga studio vibe.

They all have a little bit of equipment involved: light weights, a small inflatable ball, something to use as a “support” (barre substitute), sometimes tubing. Overall, I like doing barre at home better than in the studio because I don’t feel looked at, and most importantly, I don’t have to wear those stupid barre socks that lose their grip and become useless the first time you wash them. I hate working out in socks.

For home workouts you really only need the light weights. A ball is a bonus. I have a barre, which I ordered from Amazon, and it’s fine. But there are some moves where they hold on to the barre and lean back, and for that type of stuff you actually need a counter, so don’t feel like you have to buy a barre. But if you want one, this one’s the one I have. It’s pretty cool except you get a big box on your doorstep that says VITA VIBE. Oh hey neighbors! I promise it’s not a four-foot dildo! Link here, too: https://amzn.to/2qazoQ7

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Vita Vibe 4 foot portable barre

 

Oh, and Pure Barre sells apparel with a lot of good cuts (meaning: long, not skin-tight tanks). I would totally order some if they didn’t have Pure Barre logos on them.

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#2017GoalsAF

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This is a running calendar I bought last year, by I Love To Run. You’re supposed to just X off each day that you ran. And right in the middle it says “You either ran today or you didn’t.” Super simple. Love the idea. Just like Seinfeld and his red Xs on writing days. You either did the thing that gets you what you said you want or you didn’t. You’re either moving towards what you want or you’re not. Do or do not. There is no try.

And there’s nothing like seeing the entire year laid out for you, with the evidence of your effort or lack thereof, for some honesty.

My calendar from last year is pretty pathetic. 55 runs. And it’s filled with many, MANY blank weeks. Vast stretches of nothingness. Now, I didn’t record every workout. Towards the end of the year I started to use a horizontal mark to indicate that I had done some kind of strength training or barre workout. But even if I had been recording those the whole year, it wouldn’t have changed the truth of the year.

The truth of the year was that I didn’t run much. The truth of the year is that there were huge expanses of time when I wasn’t doing anything to work toward my fitness and body goals. The truth of the year was my body was still recovering from carrying a child: my hip hurt, and my lower back got fatigued really quickly, even from walking. I had no core strength anymore to support that back or those hips. And it still felt like all of my organs were going to fall out of my body when I ran or tried to do a jumping jack. And I also had a 1 year old in day care, getting all of the day care colds, which I got, and then combined with allergies to form chronic sinus infections (yay! so cool! you should totally try them!) which meant I was sick for half the year, too.

So I had to take a step back (from where my ego thought I should be) and start where I actually was. Which is completely unAmerican and blows, and was NOT “run most of the days!” I had to do short, easy workouts, and focus on consistency instead of intensity. I did Betty Rocker’s MakeFat Cry challenge, which is all 15 minute workouts. I did the 21 Day Fix workouts, which are around 30 minutes long. (And they were really hard for me! And that made me super sad!) I did one or two segments of barre videos instead of hour long classes. I walked the dog because I couldn’t really run. It was a year of being a beginner even though I’ve been working out for almost 30 years. ARGH! SUCKS!

But you know what? It’s a year later. And now I can run. And now I can go back to bootcamp. And now I can really start building back up to where I was. It’s possible now. And now I can do jumping jacks without feeling like my organs are going to fall out onto the floor. (At least not, like, ALL of them.) And even though I didn’t lose “the baby weight” and actually gained ten pounds on the keto diet (what in the ever loving fuck, right?), I learned from that too. And I’ve pivoted, and I’m losing weight, and I’m probably pretty damn close to knowing exactly how to eat (for me) because now I’ve officially Tried All Of The Things.

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This is my calendar for 2017. It’s blank and I’m excited. I know it’s going to be “better” than last year. And I also know last year WASN’T a failure, because despite the lack of running days, I really did make progress. Invisible, annoying, base-level building progress, but progress nonetheless. And you have to go through progress before you can get to fitness, and you have to go through fitness before you can get to buffness. Which totally sucks and if I was in charge, you would lose 30 pounds every time you ran 3 miles. But I’m not in charge, so 1. progress 2. fitness 3. buffness is the only path there is. ONWARD!

I hope you have a big goal. And have figured out the exact things you need to do to get there. And I hope you get a big calendar. And use it. But I also hope you are kind to yourself, and acknowledge all of the work that happens along the way, you BADASS MOTHER BITCHES!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

Aaptiv App Review (aka Skyfit)

Over the last year, you probably saw ads on your socials for a running app called Skyfit that touted itself as “SoulCycle for running.” Well, I tried it out for you and you’re welcome.

What is Aaptiv?

A crappy new name for Skyfit. It’s supposed to be a combination of the words app, adaptive, and active, which it is, but that doesn’t make it a good name. Maybe there was a trademark issue. Maybe they got bought and had to change it. I don’t know, but I mourn their loss. Anyway.

AAPTIV/ The App Formerly Known As Skyfit is an app that gives you a list of running (treadmill and outdoor), strength, eliptical, cycling, and yoga audio workouts. You can filter the workouts by difficulty (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced) and duration, which is great.

They call(ed) themselves “SoulCycle for running” because the workouts are a music bed/ playlist and a trainer narrating the workout, guiding you throughout (form notes, motivation, form tips, etc.) and sometimes giving you extra motivation tidbits like cueing you to think about a word of the workout or a specific goal. I’m sure SoulCycle is more woo woo / intense than that, but whatever. Great elevator pitch. I bought it.

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Is it just audio, then?

Yep. Just audio. No video of the moves or even photos. Which is fine if you know basic moves (Have you done a burpee? You’re good.) and also takes up less space on your phone and less data on your plan.

Does that work?

Yeah. For the most part. HOWEVER, in the strength training workouts, some of the trainers are not very good at describing moves, and some (the same ones) are not good at setting up the workout in a brief, clear way. At all. It gets really verbose, and then annoying, because this person is still talking and stumbling over her words and the warm up is over and you still don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing. It might actually only be one trainer who’s not so great at the talky talk…I should pay attention to who she is so I stop doing her workouts…

The rest of the trainers are fine. Clear. Fairly motivating. Completely adequate.

One weird thing is once you do one of the workouts, you can’t access it again for a week. I guess that’s to make it feel like studio classes or something? Fleeting? In-the moment? Ever-changing? There are plenty of workouts, though, so it’s not a big deal. And they change them out and add new ones.

They also have monthly challenges and 10k, 1/2 marathon, etc. training programs. For example, in December they had a challenge that was a list of mini strength training workouts (about 13 minutes long) you could squeeze in say, in your in-law’s basement between coffee and the beginning of the day’s activities. Some days I did one. Some days I did three back to back. It was just nice to have something to follow so I felt like I got at least a little bit of a real workout in.

What’s good about it?

I like Aaaptiv because I want to run more often, and it makes going for runs easier and more enjoyable. I like that there’s someone telling me what to do, because usually a run (or any unguided workout) is just 20-40 minutes of me fighting the voice in my head that says  “meh…I feel heavy…meh…I don’t wanna…meh…let’s go eat Quest Bars and stare at a wall instead.” With Aaptiv, there’s a trainer’s voice blocking out the bad voice-in-my-head-voice. And I mostly obey the trainer, because even though it’s a pretend recording, I’m a nice midwestern girl, and I don’t want to disappoint the nice lady or man who’s just trying to help me have a good run.

And am I going to maintain a faster-than-jog pace for three minutes (or ever) without a trainer telling me to do it? Hell no.

It also makes just the idea of going for a run less of a THING, because I just press a button and the decisions are made for me. And it makes me feel like I’m running with someone. It even feels a little bit like running with a group. It’s nice. It works. I like it.

Here are three sweaty, red-faced pics from right after Aaaptiv runs that show how I felt after doing them: Alive, sweaty, and somewhat accomplished.

Do the treadmill workouts suck?

Nope. I did one on a treadmill in a basement, with nothing to look at but a shelf full of books and knickknacks, and I felt plenty engaged. Probably because it was all Britney and Xtina songs on that workout, and I love terrible music, but still. Words and music fill your brain hole just as well as, if not better than TV while you’re running.

How are the other ones? The strength and yoga and whatnot?

AAPTIV’S STRENGTH TRAINING WORKOUTS are body weight workouts. So basically circuits of lunges, squats, planks, sit-ups, push-ups, burpees…stuff like that. They’re all simple. And some of them are SUPER simple. Like, so simple that I say out loud, repeatedly, “I fucking paid you to tell me to alternate squats and lunges for 20 minutes?” But, you know what? I’m not going to spend 20 minutes doing just squats and lunges WITHOUT someone telling me to do them, so yeah, I guess I do have to pay for exactly that.

AAPTIV’S YOGA WORKOUTS: I’ve only done one yoga workout, but it was fine. I think I might like audio only even better than yoga videos. Maybe.

ELIPTICAL and CYCLE:  Can’t speak to those. I don’t have an eliptical machine, stationary bike, or a gym membership, and spin is not something I enjoy a ton. I may have said I like it in the past, but if I did, I was lying to myself and the world. It’s awkward and uncomfortable in most of the ways and people just need to admit that already.

How much?

Free 7 day trial, then $10 a month, $35 for 3 months, or $50 for a year. When I signed up a few months back, I got a year for $40. Current plans are here:  https://www.aaptiv.com/signup

So, yes or no?

Yes. It’s a step above “just going out for a run” or “just doing some planks and push ups for a minute.” You’ll get a better workout in, even if it’s a 15 minute one. And having someone with you, even if it’s a recording of a trainer with one of those annoying sexy baby raspy voices, gives you a little bit of the peer pressure/ class effect: you’ll push yourself a little bit harder than if you were completely on your own.