RateYourBurn | CLASS REVIEW: Pure Barre with Meaghan Cleary @ Pure Barre

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CLASS REVIEW: Pure Barre with Meaghan Cleary @ Pure Barre

Where: Pure Barre, 78 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

At Least I Am Starting to Get What 'Tuck' Means

I kind of feel like a high school bully beating up on a smaller kid, as I keep posting mediocre reviews of the Pure Barre space and instructor roster, but deep in my heart I think I keep hoping that I will discover someone wonderful there that will redeem my experience (and make the five-pack I bought worth it). Meaghan, though sweet, wasn’t that gal.

meaghan cleary pure barre review

[Review Meaghan's class yourself, or check out her RateYourBurn profile.]

On Meghan

  • Seemed like a super nice person. I feel like an a-hole giving Meghan a crummy review because she was so nice, but the class was just so eh, I would have been pissed if I’d paid full price for it.
  • Delivered a standard Pure Barre start. None of the instructors I have taken at Pure Barre thus far has introduced themselves around the room, asked about injuries, or given any kind of personal touch to the start of her class. It's just ready, set, go, and class begins. The classes are large, but so are some of the classes at the other barre studios, and I have managed to chat with dozens of their instructors before class, even if it was only a few words. That wasn't the case here.
  • Had the voice. I feel like Pure Barre has been recruiting their instructors from a school for newscasters because all of them do this odd announcer-y voice thing when they teach. Meghan didn’t morph into a phone sex operator like Alyssa Bothman did, but she definitely sounded like she was announcing the winning lotto numbers to us instead of instructing us to “tuck.”
  • On the personal corrections. Meghan did come around and do some correcting, but this consisted of touching me on some part of my body without saying what exactly she wanted me to do. So she would touch my back, and I wouldn’t know if I was supposed to be standing up straighter or leaning more forward because there was no accompanying vocal direction.

On the class

  • The easiest barre class I have ever taken. And this is saying a lot because normally I find barre to be challenging no matter what (the fact that a lot of the practice has to do with lifting and supporting your own body weight makes it a challenge for me, as I’m pretty tall and proportioned appropriately). This class was so unchallenging that I was able to re-wear my entire workout outfit to Pilates the next day. I had sweat on it so little I couldn’t justify putting it in the wash (and I was wearing a pair of light-colored pants that normally show every single drop of moisture to the point of grossness).
  • Started off on the right foot (figuratively speaking). Pure Barre has a standard warmup routine that all the instructors seem to use, and it involves planks, so it was challenging enough. I was hopeful that this would be the first Pure Barre class that I would really like.
  • Props. We did a lot of work with double loop resistance bands, and I have used a similar prop in Michelle Mason’s Uplift class and in some classes at Exceed Fitness, so I know how hard it can be to pulse your legs when you have a band around them pushing them together, but either the resistance was too low or the motions just weren’t stretching them enough because this just didn’t make a single one of my muscles burn.
  • Floor work.

Dragging our feet (this time, sorta literally). At one point, we were sitting on the floor with the mats ¾ of the way up the wall, and I thought, “Oh I know what's coming, it's that tough exercise where you lift your legs up off the floor and drag them back and forth on the carpet.” Um, kiiiiinda. Except we lifted only one foot at a time for roughly 2 seconds, and the dragging of the feet was so minute I barely felt it.

• Tensing our stomachs. At another point while sitting on the floor, I felt like I was doing Kegel exercises. I’m pretty sure I could have just gone home after work, put on my spandex, sat on the floor, and tensed my vadge for 6 minutes, and I would have accomplished the same thing (and been able to watch TV at the same time).

The tuck

I think I have kind of figured out what the “tuck” is that the Pure Barre instructors keep referring to. It's basically a tiny pelvic thrust, or tensing of the butt, waist, and abdomen—which took me only three classes to figure out because no one ever explains a thing at this place.

All told

I don’t mean to be a jerk, but there are so many fitness classes to take in NYC I just can’t see my way clear to wasting an hour sitting on the floor and not sweating a drop.

Read more about Pure Barre at www.purebarre.com.


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Comments 4 Comments

Ashley  12/21/2012

Honestly, there are about 100 pure barres around the country and the class and teachers are always consistent with the warmup, exercises and style the teachers have... so hating on Meaghan for having "the voice" or starting class quickly isn't very helpful. It sounds like you are just comparing pure barre with a specific experience elsewhere in NYC but around the country pure barre is the most popular barre class so they must be doing something right.

If you are going to review a workout class, at least come into it with an open mind and willingness to learn, or don't bother.

BeFit 12/21/2012

You are 100% right in assuming that I am not super into the Pure Barre method and I'd definitely say that having tried several other barre studios first is a contributing factor as its conditioned me to expect something different from a barre class (not necessarily "better" just "different").

My issue in part, though, lies in the fact that the instructors I've taken at Pure Barre (not all, mind you, as I have more reviews coming out on classes at the studio that I had a more positive experience in) haven't given much correction, sometimes I can't see them demonstrate from where I am in the room or they don't demonstrate at all. So even if I was completely sold on Pure Barre to begin with, I would still critique the instructors on their method od instructing. Im not yoga's #1 fan either but I can still recognize an awesome yoga instructor when I see one.

I was pleased as punch to take an instructor at Pure Barre recently who I thought did a good job (again, as-yet unpublished review) and I will always be excited to find new instructors who are great. As always these reviews are my own personal opinions... Pure Barre is obviously just the thing for some as the classes are always packed, they just arent my style. If they're yours I hope you write up some reviews and let the rest of the RYB readership know about your experience! Thanks for reading.

Eheartssweat 12/21/2012

I don't think BeFit is wrong in her "tough" review. This is NYC we have a ton of barre classes and while pure barre maybe the thing in Charleston, SC  where there is only one or two barre studios, there method isn'r necessarily going to cut it in NYC where there are 7 or 8 established studios that deliver the same package better.

Who wants to waste their time in a class that isn't challenging? I don't.

I think the general consensus is that while pure barre may flourish else where, they need to up their game in NYC. It's not BeFits biases just the nature of the beast in a NYC fitness scene, you HAVE to be on top of your game.

Samantha 02/06/2013

Pure Barre is a corporate franchise so they want everything to be exactly the same studio to studio. In theory, this is good. In reality, it leaves you with a super generic experience and robot voiced instructors. It wouldn't kill Pure Barre to have teachers start out with a little greeting to begin the class. I've taken about 50 pure barreclasses  at 3 different studios and I agree with you about the sitting on the floor/against the wall sections. Looking around the room, most clients seem clueless during those sections. I'd rather see more seat more than those sections.