Last month ballet based training studio Pure Barre announced a fourth Seattle location, and with it a New Year Class Challenge that dared barre-goers to complete 50 classes in just 60 days between February 10 and March 10. Those who cross the finish line will find themselves lifted, toned, and awarded with prize pack that includes a ten-class punch card and a gift certificate to Skoah spa.
I agreed to take on the challenge, and owner Sami Sweeney offered to sweeten the deal with a promise to donate $500 to local nonprofit Get Hitched Give Hope if (when) I hit the 50 mark. Here's what I've learned at the half-way point. Stay tuned for my final results.
1. Sometimes you have to channel your inner Beyoncé. (This is advice for life and Pure Barre.)
Every class—okay, every ten minutes of every class—there comes a point where I cannot, will not do one more squat/crunch/curl/lift/etc. But you know who I'm sure could do it? Beyoncé. And whenever I want to give up I instead think, "WWBeyD?" and Sasha Fierce my way through it.
2. Twenty-one days makes a habit.
I never thought I'd be the type to work out every day, especially since I've been hitting the barre around 7:00a on weekdays (I'm not an early bird). Now after a month of this new routine, class just feels like part of my schedule.
3. It's not a competition, only just a little bit.
In Pure Barre there is no pressure to be the best in class, and everyone is encouraged to work at their personal edge. No one judges you; instructors don't scold you; but even though you aren't supposed to compare yourself to that badass chick mastering the plank position to your left, having her there is good motivation to push yourself a little harder.
4. Slow and steady.
In our world of instant gratification it is often defeating to work so hard and not have lost five pounds and gained Michelle Obama arms after your first week. I mentioned my frustration to a friend and she sent me this quote: "When things don't happen right away, just remember that it takes 13 hours to build a Toyota, and six months to build a Rolls-Royce." Here's to building that Rolls.*
5. Give yourself a hand.
We end every class with a round of applause for the past hour's hard work. That quick moment of acknowledgement has a seriously satisfying impact on my day and reminds me to take time to recognize my achievements outside of class as well.
*Nothing against Toyota. I drive (and love) a Prius, but you get the sentiment.