Stay Comfortable or Reach Your Potential: The Story of My First Pure Barre Intensive Class

Everyone in the Pure Barre world has their “first class” story.  It usually includes the following:

You walked into the studio.

Didn’t know anyone.

Thought class couldn’t be “that” hard.

Was in shell-shock during what the teacher claimed was the “warmup.”

Felt like a complete idiot with arms and legs flailing while everyone else seemed to anticipate the next move.

Finished class, red-faced, wrecked, and hardly able to hobble out to your car.

Meanwhile, everyone else smiled, glistened, and looked fabulous as they effortlessly moved onto the next part of their day.

But … you still came back to your second class because deep down you couldn’t let Pure Barre defeat you.  You knew you’d be better at it the next class … and the next class … and the class after that.

Eventually class became comfortable.  You knew what to expect.  Maybe you even knew some of the exercises.  But that comfort and feeling of security was crushing your potential.  If you stay in your comfort zone, you’ll never know how good you were meant to be.

It’s so interesting.  First class stories are a dime a dozen.  But what about Intensive Class stories?

At Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons, we offer several Intensive Classes throughout the year including March and April during our Pure Health Challenge.  An Intensive Class is longer, more challenging, and offers an “intensive” focus on a particular muscle group, like upper body, lower body, inner thigh, outer thigh, or abs.  Each Intensive Class run 75-90 minutes while our everyday Empower and Classic classes are completed in 45-50 minutes, respectively.  An Intensive Class is meant to take you out of your comfort zone and show you what your body is truly capable of.  After taking an Intensive Class, you’ll have glimpsed your potential.  And it’s awesome.  Let me explain …

I signed up for my first Intensive Class, Bye Bye Inner Thigh, on a Saturday morning when I lived in Atlanta.  I was excited because my favorite teacher was teaching.  She actually convinced me to pay the extra $35 for the class promising a great experience.  I was told to bring a $1 bill—I only had a $20, so I hoped that was ok.

When I arrived at the studio, the class would have normally been over-full with maybe 25 women ready to shake and lightly perspire.  Not today.  5 of us showed up for the Intensive.  Fuuuuuu$$$$ck.  Why weren’t more people signed up for this class?

I told the teacher I only had a $20 bill and asked if that was ok.  She looked at me funny and said, “Oh sure.  That doesn’t matter.”  Great—but what was it for?  A tip?  I was told to bring my $20 into the studio and grab my normal equipment including a double tube, weights, and a ball.

Soon, I found out why there were only 5 of us in the room.  The class was f$cking hard.

I was shaking and what could only be described as convulsing uncontrollably all while squeezing that $20 between my inner thighs.  “Never let it drop!”, the teacher happily chirped over the mic.

“Or what?!” I thought!

Oh man.  We still had 55 minutes to go.

I wasn’t about to wimp out and drop my $20.  Hell no!  Someone else can have the honor of giving up first.

I’m sure we did some seat exercises in there somewhere, but I think I blacked out.  Next, all I remember was lying on the floor with my legs up in the air squeezing the ball so hard that even my teeth were shaking.  By this point, I had completely sweated through my luon clothes and my hair was sticking to my head like I had just gone swimming.

Oh man.  We still had 30 minutes to go.  How was that f$cking possible?

I was starting to wonder how I was going to get home.  Uber didn’t exist back then.  Would I be able to use my legs to push the pedals of my car?  No time to think.  We were on our sides and somehow I was lifting my legs in a scissor, but by now my lower body was completely numb.  My $20 didn’t look so good.

Eventually we made it to abs.  Yes!  Almost done … not quite … are you kidding?  Knee dancing now?!  This has to be wrong.  I can’t keep my seat hovered over my heels.  Oh wait, somehow I’m hovering.  Last 10!

I don’t really remember stretching.  Honestly, I’m not sure how I got home.  That class wrecked me.  I didn’t want to put that $20 back into my wallet.  Do you think the teacher would notice if I used some disinfectant wipes on my money?

But the funny thing was, I loved it.  That Intensive Class was like taking my first class all over again.  I started pushing myself harder in my regular weekly classes.  Sh$t, if I could last 75 minutes of thigh-shaking terror, I could certainly step it up in a shorter class.  And that’s why getting out of your comfort zone is so important in fitness.  When you show yourself that you can do something incredibly difficult once, what’s to stop you from working just a teeny bit harder every day?  Nothing!

So, if you’ve been hesitant to sign up for an Intensive Class because you like being comfortable, remember, that you’ll never know how great your potential could be by staying in your comfort zone.  Don’t let fear or complacency determine where you are on your fitness journey.  Keep getting stronger.  Reach out for your potential.

I can’t wait to see everyone on Saturday for the Lower Body Intensive!

I Own 2 Fitness Studios and I Don’t Have Time to Workout Either: The Pure Health Challenge Explained

It’s the dirty little secret of the fitness industry.

Before you actually open your fitness studio, you have big dreams of a balanced life, working out every day, and eating clean.  When you actually open, life is nothing like the dream!  Oftentimes you find yourself giving up your spot in class so a client can take.  Maybe a critical last-minute task prevents you from taking class.  Or you’re simply too stressed out from dealing with your employees, finances, and high-maintenance clients to workout.  Did I mention that this is all happening while shoving handfuls of crackers, protein bars, or whatever is easy and portable into your mouth for sustenance.  Fitness studio owners, like most other small business owners, need help prioritizing fitness too!

The struggle is real.  Don’t envy me because I own 2 fitness studios.  I don’t have time to workout either!

She's On Her Toes Pure Health Challenge

2 classes in 2 Days!  That might be a record!  Just kidding–it’s not.

Like the rest of the world, I too have to prioritize working out and eating healthy.  It doesn’t just magically happen.  Damn, if only it did!  This is why I’m such a big proponent of our Pure Health Challenge happening at my studios, Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons, during March and April.  I need this Challenge just as much as you do.  The Pure Health Challenge is a way to practice consistently taking class each week.  It’s also a chance to think about healthy eating (which so many of us don’t do).  And it’s a way to do both of these things in a group setting so we’re all accountable—and hopefully successful!

I always get a lot of questions about what the Pure Health Challenge is and is not.  Here goes … your most burning Challenge questions answered …

What is the Pure Health Challenge?

The Pure Health Challenge starts on March 5th and ends April 29th.  During the Challenge, participants take 4 classes each week and focus on healthy eating and self-care.  Since we’re all taking the Challenge together, the Pure Barre community provides everyone inspiration and strength to keep going and make fitness and health a greater priority during these two months.

What do you get when you pay for the Pure Health Challenge?

The Pure Health Challenge costs $40 and includes the following:

  • 2 Pure Barre Intensive classes—take 1 in March and 1 in April. Intensive classes are 75 minutes long and focus on specific parts of the body for more targeted, intense work
  • 5 recipes for easy, simple, healthy foods each week—as an example, the first week is “5 Smoothies You’ll Want to Wake Up Early For”
  • Self-care tips from your Pure Barre Team
  • Pure Barre community events including a dog walk and Spring Fashion Show

So, why do I have to pay for the Pure Health Challenge?

It does cost the studio money to put on the Pure Health Challenge.  We have to spend extra time organizing the events, learning the Intensive classes, and compiling recipes and self-care tips so you can get the most out of the experience.  I have to pay my employees who get involved for their hard work.  Yes, we could do challenges like other fitness studios and gyms and put minimal effort into how the challenge is organized and have the challenge be free.  But, that wouldn’t benefit our clients in the way that a more involved, Pure Health Challenge actually helps our clients get healthier and more fit.

I will also say this … if you pay for something you tend to take it more seriously and actually do it.  Ahem!

Why is the Pure Health Challenge 2 months, that seems like an eternity?

Did you know that it takes 66 days to create a lasting habit?  This is why the Pure Health Challenge is 2 months—it’s done by design.  After 2 months of taking class 4 times each week, you should have created the habit and will hopefully keep up that habit of consistently working out even after the Challenge is over.  Sneaky.

What if I don’t want to eat healthy?  I already workout, so I don’t see the point.

You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.  However, working out is only half the equation.  Eventually, you will stop seeing results from simply working out and not eating healthy foods.  You will have to change the way you eat to keep getting stronger and more fit.

It’s a lie.  Whoever told you that eating French fries after working out was ok and those calories wouldn’t count, was full of sh$t.  I know, bummer.

But that’s where the Pure Health Challenge comes in.  By making small changes in what you eat, you can eventually see big results.  Each week of the Challenge, you’ll receive 5 easy, simple, healthy recipes.  Try one or work to incorporate all 5 into your weekly meals—the choice is yours.  Curious about each week’s recipes …

5 Smoothies You’ll Want to Wake Up Early For

5 Salads You’ll Actually Want to Eat

5 Treats That Won’t Make You Hate Yourself

5 Sides That Make the Main Course Boring

5 Pestos to Use Beyond Pasta

5 Main Dishes Where Meat is Optional

5 Sauces with Endless Possibilities

5 Beverages for Maximum Sipping & Pic-ing

I love these because by the end of the Challenge, you could literally make one small change at every meal.  And … you’ll have a whole library of choices to keep going back to once the Challenge is over.  It’s all really manageable!

There you have it!  What the Pure Health Challenge is and isn’t.  If you still have questions, please let me know or talk to us at the front desk next time you’re in the studios.  It’s not too late to sign up!  Make sure you get your 4 classes in each week and try one recipe and tag us on Facebook or Instagram—we’ll be rewarding you for your efforts with a drawing for gift cards to local businesses.  Who said being healthy didn’t have its own rewards?!

What’s been Holding You Back? Solve that Problem to Help Your Clients

It’s often said that the best businesses solve problems that matter or that our biggest problems are the source of our biggest opportunities.  What if solving the biggest problem you face personally—I mean, right now—tackling your biggest life problem at this exact moment, was the key to providing an amazing experience for your clients?

Now that I’ve owned my Pure Barre studios for five years, I’ve realized that the best businesses not only solve big problems, but they evolve to continue to be relevant for their clients as new problems surface.  When you first open your business, you’re in the Initial Problem Phase.  You’re solving an identified problem for your new clients.  For me, it was offering an amazing, high-quality barre class since no barre classes of our quality and consistency were available in Winston-Salem, NC.  And that’s been fun.  Building that community of women has been extremely rewarding.

But now, we seem to be entering into the Follow-On Problem Phase—just offering a great barre class isn’t enough.  My clients want to incorporate overall health and wellness into their fitness routine.  They want more variety of classes including cardio and they want to eat and live better.  Basically, they want it ALL.  And come to think of it … so do I.  I want to eat better, have more of a variety of workouts, and live a better life.  Who doesn’t?  What if solving my own problem is the key to moving my business into its next phase?

A few months ago, I came to the realization that most of our studio events were stale and getting boring.  We were in a rut of doing the same events each month and clients were no longer showing the same level of enthusiasm to participate.  What to do?!  If any of you regularly plan events to keep your clients engaged and returning to your business on a regular basis, you know that developing something new can be difficult and time-consuming.  It’s also nerve-racking because you never really know if clients will embrace your ideas until you announce them.  Furthermore, if we were entering into the Follow-On Problem Phase, what exactly was the new problem my team and I were trying to solve?

The biggest problem I am personally trying to overcome is being consistent with my classes and eating better food.  I’ve written how I started the Whole30 and when I finished those grueling 30 days, I felt awesome and didn’t really want to go back to eating like I had been.  Ok, I was totally ready for a Corona or 4, but that was about it.

When you’re single, cooking for one can be less than exciting.  It’s really easy to get into a rut of making the same things or throwing random leftovers together because it seems like a waste of time to prepare a proper meal for just one person.  But that’s so bad—because often time eating for one involves prepared or processed foods that aren’t that great for you and can zap your energy making working out seem like a chore.  It’s a bad cycle to get into—especially for someone trying to lead a fitness community.  Finding Sarah Adler and her website and blog, Simply Real Health (www.simplyrealhealth.com) has been perfect for me.  The blog is full of great ideas, recipes and pictures.  The cookbook of the same name, Simply Real Health is also amazing ($39.95).  I’ve tried almost all the recipes and started eating breakfast more consistently after trying the smoothies.

But what I’m the biggest fan of are the seasonal meal plans.  I just bought Spring and right now, you can download a free 3-day sample meal plan to try out.  The Spring Meal Plan was about $100 and includes 4 weeks of recipes for every single meal.  There are also some great bonus items including healthy snacks, great side dishes to incorporate if you’re having friends over, and a guide to healthy choices in restaurants.  It’s perfect for me because each week I get a complete grocery list, head to the store knowing exactly what I’ll need to make all of my meals each day, and I’m good to go for the week.  Oh, and the best part … everything tastes amazing and is easy to prepare.  Thanks to Sarah Adler and Simply Real Health, my healthy eating problem was solved!  So of course, I had to pass on this gold to all my clients and thus the Pure Health Challenge was born!

As I mentioned before, our events seemed stale and uninspiring. We had just been recycling them from previous years.  It was time to shake things up and drill down to what really mattered most to me and my clients—a total health experience.  Here’s what we came up with and what we’ll be doing in my studios for all of June and July. That’s right!  60 days of Pure Health!

  1. First, we decided that we’d need a baseline to know where we all are with our health. My chiropractor, Dr. Gray, has this body composition analysis machine called, InBody.  We partnered with him to bring InBody to the studios in the beginning of June for every Pure Health Challenge participant to get an assessment including weight, muscle mass, fat mass, water, hydration level and many other indicators to know where they were at the beginning of the Challenge.  After 6 weeks, Dr. Gray will come back to the studio with InBody to measure everyone’s progress.  We’ll literally be able to quantify all of the work completed during the Challenge.  Exciting stuff!
  2. Of course, everyone gets the Simply Real Health cookbook to start planning healthy and tasty meals.
  3. During the Challenge, we’re asking everyone to take 4 classes each week. This seems reasonable and doable.  If you complete 4 classes each week, you’ll earn a small reward from Pure Barre or our other partners, Village Juice and Kleur Shop.  If you don’t complete the 4 classes, just reset the next week.    But, sometimes just starting is the hardest part, so we’re partnering with Kleur Shop to host an evening to talk about what’s holding us back from committing to working out like we know we should.
  4. At Pure Barre, we have special Intensive classes which take our clients further out of their comfort zone to target specific areas of the body and do some exciting new things we wouldn’t normally work in a regular class. Everyone participating in the Pure Health Challenge will have the opportunity to take our Strength & Balance Intensive in June and the Full Body Burn Intensive in July.  Sweat!
  5. And what Challenge calendar wouldn’t be complete with an outdoor Pop Up class?! We’ll have an amazing pop up at Village Juice the morning of Sunday, June 25th and get some great juice and healthy snacks after.
  6. Finally, one of my favorite restaurants in Winston, Spring House, agreed to create a Paleo Happy Hour for all Pure Health Challenge participants at the end of July.  Thanks Chef Tim and Elizabeth for letting us celebrate our good health!

Coordinating all these activities was a huge undertaking, so I’m glad I have my Team to help me.  I’ve never been more excited for anything at the studios!  Figuring out how to solve my own problem of consistently taking class and eating healthy, good food brought about this amazing program of events that will benefit the hundreds of women taking class at the studios this summer.  Going forward all of our events and programming will seek to provide a better understanding of total health—until we reach our next Follow-On Problem Phase.

If you’re local to the area, stop by the studio and learn more about our Pure Health Challenge.  If not, check out the links to Simply Real Health and start the workout you like best in your area.

Tomorrow, I’ll share my newest life hack—how to make a smoothie without bananas or avocados.  I am allergic to bananas and avocados, which makes smoothie consumption pretty difficult—but I finally figured out how to substitute those elusive fruits and now feel like I’m winning at life—or at least breakfast.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Simply Real Health Cookbook ($39.95)

Simply Real Health Free 3-Day Sample Spring Meal Plan