Weekly Workout Wind Up (7/11-17/13)

My week goes SOOO much better when I have training plans to follow than when I try "winging it!"  

Thursday, July 11: Rest Day


Friday, July 12: 5-Mile Run

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Saturday, July 13: 2-Hour Bike Ride ... cut short because of a flat tire

july 13

Sunday, July 14: VERT Race Series Sasquatch Trail Race

july 14

Monday, July 15: Pure Barre class and 50-Min Spinning

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Tuesday, July 16: Pure Barre class and 4-Mile Run

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Wednesday, July 17: 4-Mile Run, 1400-Meter Swim and Pure Barre

july 17

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This has been one tough week with high temperatures and tons of humidity in Boston, but you just have to keep pushing through. Why? Because you never know what weather conditions will be like on race day!

Pure Barre 2.0

Lift. Tone.


That is the motto of Pure Barre.

Not sure what Pure Barre is? Simply put on the website:

Using small isometric movements at the ballet barre set to motivating music, Pure Barre lifts your seat, tones your thighs, abs and arms and burns fat in record breaking time. Clients see results in just 10 classes, lose inches in weeks and have fun doing it!

And BOY is it true. Pure Barre really works on tiny tiny movements. Move your straight leg just one inch up and one inch out and your butt feels the work.

For those that are new to my blog (HHEEEYYY!!) or don't remember, I did a month stint at Pure Barre Burlington in November-December 2012. I documented my time there here.

I'll wait while you check it out. No seriously, I have coffee I can drink in the meantime.

La la la la. Oohh piece of candy.

Okay, you all up to speed?


Pure Barre Burlington is owned by my friend Jess, someone I have known and has been a fitness inspiration to me since college. Jess was gracious enough to offer me a free month of classes at Pure Barre back when she opened the studio in November to share with you all what Pure Barre is really about.

Once the month ended, I wished I could continue, but unfortunately it wasn't in my budget. But, in June, Jess and I were chatting and she once again graciously offered up another free month of classes at Pure Barre Burlington.

So I offered to again share my thoughts and even pictures of me with you all. :)

I walked back into Pure Barre on July 8th and I immediately got nerve pangs just like the first time I walked in there.

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But, this time around I KNEW I could tweak the exercises if I needed to. I also remembered I could stop and stretch at any point in time if my body needed it.

Also, the classes truly are made up of people of all shapes, sizes, athletic abilities, ages ... and even some gentlemen!!

(Note: cell phones are not allowed inside the class - which I love - but I have special permission for this series)

After my first class, I was happy to report that I felt stronger than when I ended the first series. Woo!

Each class is broken down into segments to work on different areas of the body: arms, abs, seat, thigh, etc.

I could tell those Jillian Michaels DVDs really helped my upper body strength.

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Even my surgically repaired back can handle the ab movements. I love that you can work the lower abs without having to do a bunch of crunches.

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The thigh work pictured above is where the SHAKING comes into play. Jess and her amazing staff keep reminding me that shaking is good so I let it happen. Ha!

One of the biggest thing Pure Barre does is combines the work - thigh, seat (aka butt), etc - while having you stand on your tip toes.

"Act like you are wearing six-inch stilettos"

I'm someone that rarely wears heels and after pretending I have heels on for a good portion of this class, I know why I don't. ;) It increases the burn ... but in a good way. Of course. :P

I am happy to be getting back to Pure Barre and adding it into my rotation. It is a total body workout, which I find will be SUPER helpful in my triathlon training.

Plus, my body can use the extra stretching as well...

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Have you ever tried Pure Barre before? Will I see you at Pure Barre Burlington?

Weekly Workout Wind Up (7/4-10/13)

The week started off poorly, but rebounded once I recommitted and actually found a training plan to follow for the upcoming triathlon AND the Dopey Challenge (Janury 9-12 ... 4 races ... 4 days ... 48.6 miles)!  

Thursday, July 4: Rest Day


Friday, July 5: Rest Day


Saturday, July 6: Travel Day to Maine/Rest Day


Sunday, July 7: 4.5-Mile Trail Run with Sarah in Maine :)


Monday, July 8: Pure Barre class, 4-Mile Run and 50-Min Spinning




Tuesday, July 9: Pure Barre class, 35-Min Stairmaster and 25-Min Elliptical



Wednesday, July 10: 1000 meter Swim and 5-Mile Run




I am sooooo happy to be following a training plan again - it just makes life easier!! :)

A Month At Pure Barre

Lift. Tone. Burn. The mottos behind Pure Barre.

"Pure Barre is a total body workout that lifts your seat, tones your thighs and burns fat in record-breaking time. Utilizing the ballet barre to perform small isometric movements set to fantastic music, Pure Barre is the fastest, most effective, yet safest way to change your body. Students see results in just 10 classes."

And exactly how you will feel after a Pure Barre Burlington class.

I went into Pure Barre with absolutely no idea what a class truly entailed, but with the guidance of my friend and Pure Bare Burlington owner Jess I gave it a whirl. Jess and I have known each other since college and she had yet to steer me wrong so I knew I could trust her.

Since losing over 60 lbs through Weight Watchers, I have been working on breaking out of my comfort zone and trying new workout/classes I wouldn't normally try.

So on November 16, I walked into Pure Barre Burlington for the first time and kept an open mind! :)

Well, I was nicely asked to leave ballet when younger for my lack of grace so a workout that revolved around a ballet barre seemed out of my element. :P

But Jess, Danielle, Becca and Dana really make every person that walked through the studio door feel welcome!

Also, in every class I attended I was surrounded by women of all shapes, sizes, athletic abilities and backgrounds. Everyone was there to have a good time and make their muscles shake.

Yes your muscles will truly SHAKE each and every class.

As someone who had a back injury and subsequent back surgery in January 2011, I am always weary of unknown workouts, but Pure Barre is prepared:

"Pure Barre is intelligent exercise. The technique protects your joints as it does not involve any bouncing or jumping."

There was absolutely no point in any of the classes, where my back felt too strained and if it needed extra support during the 7 minutes of abs at the end of class (yes 7 minutes) Pure Barre provides balls to place behind you back for extra support.

The personal attention shown by each instructor towards every individual in the classes is unmatched and makes the experience that much more personal.

I thank Dana for one Monday morning in particular when a simple "perfect form Dani" settled my nerves of doing every single move incorrectly!

During my month at Pure Barre Burlington I even got to share the experience with a contest winner, who happened to also be a fellow Weight Watchers Leader Heather (who has lost over 75 lbs).

It was the second to last class where I finally made it through the whole thing without stopping during any of the segments. I like to refer to that day as Pure Barre Perfection! ;) I was beyond ecstatic when it happened. A day that will live in infamy.

What I truly loved about the classes were the consistency in the areas of the body worked, but the exercises themselves varied by class and instructor.

You normally start a class with:

*warmup - abs and arms

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*thigh work

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*seat work

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*7 minutes of abs & 2.5 minutes of bridge work

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"The workout launches a full blown attack on the areas of the body all women struggle with: abs, hips, seat and arms. It defies gravity by tapering everything in and lifting it up."


But my entire time at Pure Barre Burlington could be summed up in just one picture


and just one blog post - here!

If anyone has any of those qualities, you will LOVE this technique.

And if you are thinking, I could NEVER do this.

Yes, yes you can! Give it a try!

Pure Barre Perfection

On Friday (December 14) the stars aligned and the Pure Barre gods shined down on me as I went through my second-to-last Pure Barre Burlington class and I was able to complete every single move Jess had us do. Oh yes folks!

My smile after leaving class that night couldn't be bigger!

I couldn't - and still can't - believe it...

I went into the class having had two horrible days of back pain - overall soreness with some sharp pain mixed in for fun.

So I reluctantly went to Jess' 5:20pm class on Friday, but I knew I would be able to make it through since the class is geared to keep people injury-free and to work around existing injuries/impairments.

I think taking the two days off before class made the difference. I truly listened to my body and tried to rest as much as possible.

Jess was ready to work on Friday from the get go...

I love how in Pure Barre they keep the warmup the same each time, but the remainder of the class changes each and every time.

Now the areas you are working are the same - thighs, seat, lower abs/back then the class ends with 7 minutes of abs/bridge work.

I like the consistency in the beginning as it lets you - as it is so aptly called - warm up without wondering what the heck is coming next.

I got the groove down of knee lifts with folded arms, arm pull downs and twists before heading into the 90 second varied plank (forearm with leg lifts, straight arm with knee pull-ins and side planks on both sides before breaking out some pushups and tricep pushups).

Then comes the arms work! Oh man, I love a day where I can make it through the entire arms section without putting my 3 lb weights down or taking a break.

And on that fateful Friday night, I didn't! I can see a tiny muscle starting to form and it bring me SUCH delight!! I don't want to be all big and bulky but I would like some definition ... which is what I am really working on now. So the arms section is a great help.

The thigh burning, the seat lifting and the abs toning is truly life-changing. "Tucking the tailbone," while simultaneously squeezing the Pure Bare ball between your upper thighs and standing on your tippy toes "like you're wearing your highest pairs of high heels" truly works EVERY SINGLE part of your body.

If you leave this class without your muscles shaking, you must be doing something wrong OR you are the most toned/in shape person in the world. :P

It was sad to walk out of Friday's class and know I had just one class remaining - Sunday at Noon - before my month at Pure Barre Burlington would be up.

But I was riding a high so I was really looking forward to Sunday's class ... even though I would be taking it right after back-to-back Spin and Body Pump classes.


Pure Barre With My Contest Winner

On Wednesday, my contest winner Heather was able to join me for Jess' 5:20pm Pure Barre class.


I wasn't totally sure how to prep her for the experience. I made sure she read up on all my blog posts about my previous Pure Barre classes and that she brought socks. :)

Heather, our winner, also happens to be a fellow Weight Watchers Leader in Boston - who lost over 75 lbs with the program.

"I took my first pure barre class and LOVED it!!"  - Heather

She is always open to try new classes at the gym so I knew she would be a perfect newbie for Pure Barre!

We got to class early and I made sure she was all set up. I grabbed my normal 3 lb weights, while Heather went big with 5 lb weights for the opening arm workout.

The class was full, but I was able to grab us a spot together in the back. ;)

Class started right on time and we were off. It kicked off by warming up the legs, abs and arms.

I love a good plank as many of you may know. I actually take part of the #plankaday challenge so one of my favorite parts of the abs warmup at Pure Barre is the 90 second varied plank - which includes a front forearm plank with leg lifts, straightarm plank, left side straightarm plank, right side straightarm plank then right into pushups (real and modified) and tricep pushups.

And wow are my arms burning by the end of that.

Then we lead right into arms - biceps, triceps and shoulders - which is a true burn. I am happy that I can now make it through the whole arm portion without putting down my 3lb weights (yay!). So as I looked over Heather was rocking the 5 lb weights, but taking the breaks when she needed to.

"Within the first few min my arm's were on fire.. and that was just the warm up!!" - Heather

I tried to let Heather know that the shaking in the muscles was normal and about to ramp up as we headed to thigh work... ;)

Jess was ready to kick our Pure Barre ledges (the area between your butt and your upper thigh area) and I could tell that Heather was loving these exercises. She was smiling, which is all that matters.

All of a sudden it was time for seven minutes of abs and the final 2.5 minutes of class, which is all squeezing and tucking while in a bridge. The lights are off during this time and the music gets nice and low. A perfect way to end the class.

As we were cleaning up, Heather let me know that she loved the experience so much that she would be back. She and a couple other Weight Watchers employees were looking for a way to celebrate the Holiday in a new way - instead of just going out to dinner - and she was going to suggest taking a Pure Barre Burlington class together.

YAY! Another Pure Barre convert... ;)

"This work out truly works your WHOLE body!! Not sure how much I will love it tomorrow when I can't hold my toothbrush..." - Heather

A Monday Morning At Pure Barre

Intimate class. Extra attention from the instructor.

Start the day out on the right foot.


Just a few of the many reasons why I enjoy taking a Pure Barre Burlington class in the morning!

With just a few days remaining in my month at Pure Barre, I took my normal Monday 7:10am class with Dana this morning and loved it - as usual.

She even noticed that I moved from my normal position in the right back corner of the room (near the clock/music) to the left front corner of the room. What can I say I was feeling wild. :0)

I highly recommend a morning class to anyone that can fit it into their schedule. The group is more intimate (in my opinion) and you can have more instruction from the instructor, while in the moment.

Dana does a great job of helping everyone out to make sure your form is spot on - which a newbie like me really needs.

She also does a great job of acknowledging and motivating each person in the room, which I always love ... but for some reason I especially appreciated it today.

Not sure if :

a) I needed the confirmation that after seven Pure Barre classes I actually looked like everyone else in the class - ie doing the correct move at the correct time ;)


b) I needed reassurance that the tuck I felt was strong/deep/right - was in fact strong/deep/right and I wasn't making things up in my head. :P

So despite having some back soreness from this weekend, I found with a proper tuck today I felt supported and able to hold all of the moves deeper than in previous classes. I did alter the "crunches" portion of the 7 minutes of ab as my neck had a twinge in it from a bad night of sleep.

(Wow, in this post I sound like I'm falling apart ... I promise I'm not - I hope!)

There is something to this practice makes perfect and those extra "tucks" while sitting in the car paying off.

I can't wait to see how class goes on Wednesday at 5:20pm with Jess at the helm and my contest winner Heather by my side.

Just 9 Days Left With Pure Barre...

How does a month pass so freakin' quickly? During Dana's 7:10am class on Thursday I realized I had just 10 days remaining in my time with Pure Barre Burlington.

Ahhh ... 2/3 of the way through the month ALREADY.

Each class is still as tough as the next, but I can really feel a difference in my body. 

I think this photo sums up my whole time at Pure Barre thus far.









Yes, shaking definitely is one of the adjectives I have felt from Pure Barre. But I know when you are shaking, it's working. ;)

What I have enjoyed the most from the experience thus far is pushing myself past the point of comfort and trying exercises I never thought I could possibly do. And they are exercises I can incorporate into my daily routine. Really!

I found myself "tucking the tailbone," which is a staple saying at Pure Barre Burlington, in the car while driving around the other day. ;)


Jess snagged this action shot of me the other morning during class and I loved it because ...

... at first I was so self-conscious of how I looked in class, but then I realized I look just like everyone else. :) It is such a safe space, where I'm just one of the gang and I thank Jess and her whole staff for making that feeling for all their customers!


Once I realized just 10 days remained I got down to business and started registering for as many classes as I could between now and then so here it goes:

Monday, December 10 - 7:10am

Wednesday, December 12 - 5:20pm with Contest Winner Heather :)

Friday, December 14 - 5:20pm

Sunday, December 16 - Noon

*Still need one more class with the other Contest Winner Robin!


Will I see you at Pure Barre Burlington before December 16??

Thunder Thighs No More...

On November 16 I went to Lululemon to purchase a pair of Wunder Under pants I had promised myself after completing the marathon. Well I tried them on and all I could look at were my thighs and I said out loud to myself: "Hello! Thunder Thighs." I'm sure the people in the other dressing rooms were thoroughly confused by this little outburst.

After posting the picture on Social Media...

... friends far and wide commented and said they had no idea what I was seeing.

How could they not?? I mean look at those thighs jumping out of the pants! I had gone out of my comfort zone and tried on a blue/grey pattern instead of going with the normal slimming black option.

But as the responses came in one after another, friends continuously used the words - lean, strong, muscular and fit - to describe the thighs above.


While sitting in my car in the mall parking lot reading the comments (see don't Tweet, Facebook or Instagram while driving!), I asked myself: "What legs were they looking at?" I really just didn't see it!

So I put the phone away, headed to my first Pure Barre class and let the comments/compliments from Twitter and Instagram resonate. But in my subconscious I was coming to grips with the fact that those Wunder Under Pants I pined for just weren't for me.


Over the next 10 days or so, things changed.

Ever so slightly.

With each activity I did, another one of those pesky compliments from my friends/followers jumped back out.

* I took the stairs to one of my Weight Watchers meetings a little bit faster than usual. My mind thought: "Wow, this seems easier than the last time I made this trek. Those Pure Barre classes are really paying off.


* I set a PR in The 18th Annual Framingham Turkey Trot Classic 5k on a course I found rather challenging. Okay, I wasn't ready for any hills and there were some. :P I thought to myself: "Something is changing in my body. Those Spin classes are really working to strengthen my legs. Go cross training."


* With each Pure Barre class, the exercises were getting slightly more doable. But since the exercises were being done in front of a mirror, I could actually catch a glimpse of their transformation. The "burning" in my legs was paying off. The Brain said to me: "Look at those strong legs in the mirror. THOSE belong to you."



My girl Nazalee on Twitter immediately pulled out the big guns. A campaign that Nike featured about how the phrase Thunder Thighs is actually a compliment.

(Feel free to click on the image above for a better look or check out the ad here)


So over those two weeks, the little tweets/instagram messages from November 16 were breaking out of my subconscious and starting to break down through the self-negativity!

But the tweet I got that finally made the mental change was short and simple: "I see a pair of strong legs that just dominated a marathon."

Truth ... but I had to change my mindset to see that!

On November 28 I went back to the store and purchased those pants and now wear them proudly!!

Even in public! :)


So moral of this little story?


We need to be as positive with ourselves as we are with others!!

And of course wipe the phrase "Thunder Thighs" from the vocabulary! ;)

*WINNER ANNOUNCED* I Got My #SparkleOn At Pure Barre!


Thanks to Random.org, the winner of the giveaway is #32:

Congrats to Marisol!!!

Thanks to everyone who participated and keep your eyes out for the next giveaway...


Lifting. Toning. Burning. Sparkling.

Sparking you say?


For those that follow me at all through Social Media or this blog know I have a slight love obsession with Sparkly Soul headbands. ;)

So last night like most Pure Barre Burlington classes, I wore one of my many Sparkly Soul headbands...

... and I was finally able to snap a few action shots of me during class. For all of your enjoyment of course!


I was nervous heading to class last night because I hadn't been since Friday due to some back/hip soreness over the weekend.

But, I was pleasantly surprised that I actually felt stronger and more comfortable in the class than in any of the previous three classes.

Okay, yes, we tend to get more comfortable as we attend/work on any sport/exercise, but I didn't know if the time off would set me back.

But, folks - I felt STRONG tonight.


Yes - me!


My girl Jess (owner  extraordinaire) taught last night's 5:20pm class and I was looking forward to seeing what she had to offer ... and boy did she bring it.

We kicked it off with the normal warmup of arms (biceps, triceps, etc) and core (90 second varied plank/additional ab exercises on the floor).

I was wicked excited because for the first time to date I was able to hold the 3 lb weights throughout the entire warmup! YES!

Normally I have to stop halfway through or put them down and then pick them back up later in the workout. But not last night, I actually was able to hold them the entire time.

That must mean I have some baby muscles in there somewhere, right? :)


I was feeling confident making it through the first section of class without having to alter the moves...

...then we headed into "thigh" work!

Can you tell I knew the camera was on me here? ;)

This is one tough portion of class where you have to be up on your tip toes, bend your knees, squeeze the ball and tuck your tailbone - sometimes all at the same time. Woo, the tops of your thighs definitely burn!

Then Jess instructed us to get higher up on our toes and deeper into a squat at the same time - hence my smile disappearing. ;) Note the concentration on my face.

Another successful section of the class where I didn't have to pause (another first). I did slightly lessen my squat while on my toes, but I kept tucking and squeezing the ball the whole time. :)


After shaking out the legs a little and some light yoga stretching, it was on to seat work (aka booty work ;)) at the barre facing the center of the room.

It is fascinating how such tiny movements of the leg can work so many areas of your body.

With a slight bend in the standing leg, it was time to work the seat of the lifted leg through slight lifts, circling the leg, pointing the toe and straightening the leg. We did additional seat work on the lifted leg side on the floor (think tabletop position) before doing the whole segment again for the other side of the seat. :)

Woo! Three for three in making it through a section.


And then came seat work in chair position at the barre ... and my streak ended. :P

Jess upped her game to a whole new level during this section.

We got into a chair position at the barre with straight back - like sitting in a chair - and we went on our left foot on tippy toes before doing dips and pulsing in this position ... then doing the same with the right foot on tippy toes ... the finally with both on tippy toes.

And here is where the burn got a little too much for me. So I did stop once to shake out the legs, but I made sure to get right back into the position as soon as I felt ready.

I didn't think I would make it through that section, but Jess' calming voice and constant reassurance to all of us that we could do it helped me out!


Before I knew it, it was time to wrap the class up with 7 minutes of abs and 2.5 minutes of bridge work.

Thankfully for the ab work, Pure Barre wants everything to be done injury free so they have red balls available to tuck under your back and offer that extra support. Jess even suggested for my back to use two so I did that last night and the back survived the 7 minutes of core work without any pain. :)

I did a TON of bridge work in PT after my back surgery so I love this portion of class ... I got this. :P

We were able to snap a pic of pre-tuck...

...and post-tuck!

Can you spot the difference in the pelvic/hip area?


Well I entered last night's class unsure and nervous, but left feeling confident and realizing that I am already feeling a difference after just four classes.

My inner sparkle now matches the outer sparkle of my headband...

... so now comes the giveaway!! :)

Sparkly Soul has agreed to give one lucky reader of my blog one wide and one thin Sparkly Soul band of their own.

Here is how to enter:

*Please answer the following question on the blog below: “How will a Sparkly Soul headband help you sparkle?” … I will take responses until 9am ET Monday (December 3).

The winner will be picked at random … Good luck! :)


Feel free to follow Sparkly Soul on Facebook (www.facebook.com/sparklysoulinc), Twitter (@SPARKLYSOULINC) and Instagram/Pinterest/Tumblr (SPARKLYSOULINC), Google + (Sparkly Soul) and LinkedIn (Sparkly Soul, Inc.). And here is the link to their press release for more information on their headbands: http://sparklysoulinc.word press.com/about-2/press-release/