This week I challenged myself to start improving my physical health by being more consistent about working out. I may not have gained the dreaded “freshman 15,” but I did notice that I have to shimmy into my skinny jeans a little more than last year. So, I decided to extend my everyday jean dancing routine and take a few fitness classes on and off campus.
This past week, I took classes at a Pure Barre studio located on 1222 East Pine Street. The studio is a 15-minute walk from campus, which is the perfect warmup and cool down after the 60-minute workout. You must be thinking that, if I am willing to walk 15 minutes to go workout, the workout itself must be easy. Unfortunately, or I guess fortunately for your health’s sake, barre class is hard. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate the difficulty of this class a 10.
Megan Florer, one of the Pure Barre instructors, explained the structure of the classes. She said that the first 10-15 minutes are a full body warm-up that then moves into arms and upper body. After that, participants move to the barre and work on thighs, then sit and end with abdominal work. The exercises within each category vary based on the instructor and the time of the class.
“Pure Barre is high intensity, low impact. It incorporates a lot of small movements, high reps, and isometric holding of your core and body,” Florer said.
Don’t worry, I did take another barre class later in the week. I only took one rest day. As much as Pure Barre was building me up physically, I noticed that each class I went to, I was more determined to push my body to that point where change happens.
“It never gets easier,” Florer said. “In the beginning, you do not know what you are doing, and your body is not used to the different positions; but as your body gets stronger, you learn how to push yourself harder, and you mentally become stronger.”
Sara Wyer, a second-year student at Seattle University, is an attendee of Pure Barre. Wyer enjoys the classes because she can work out without hurting herself. Wyer previously shattered her kneecap and had to get surgery to repair the joint. This left Wyer’s body fragile and unable to continue to participate in high impact sports and workouts.
“Pure Barre allows me to safely workout through the low impact and high intensity movements,” Wyer said.
Pure Barre has a one week free trial and a student offer of $108, with tax, for a month of unlimited classes. The studio also emails you a $20 off coupon, once you have attended three classes during your trial period. Although it is pricey, I do think that if you have had an injury before and can no longer do high intensity workouts, Pure Barre is worth the splurge.
To compare off campus options to on campus options, I took a Cardio Dance class at the William F. Eisiminger Fitness Center, located on 14th Avenue. The Cardio Dance class is a 60 minute full body, cardio workout that incorporates strength building through choreography and varied intensities. Cardio Dance is very doable, coming in at a six on my difficulty scale.
The Cardio Dance instructor, Kanani Aken, a fourth-year Seattle U student, takes a fun, energetic and collaborative approach to their Wednesday 6pm Cardio Dance class.
“It’s your space to have fun, be silly and take your mind off of whatever else is going on outside,” Aken said.
Aken recommends cardio dancers bring a positive attitude, energy, a water bottle and shoes to class.
I enjoyed those 60 minutes of nonstop fun. The songs and the atmosphere of the class created a space for me to let loose and dance out all the stresses of the day. Anyone and everyone can join Cardio Dance fitness classes, regardless of experience. Also, if you want to secure a spot in the popular fitness class, you can pre-register with Seattle U for a yearly $5 fee by using the MindBody app or going online. If you are on a budget and do not want to travel too far to work out, I would recommend trying the UREC fitness classes.
In comparing the two classes, I prefer Pure Barre over Cardio Dance because of the impact the class had after it was over. Physically, my body was in pain, but I did find myself to be more energetic and less fatigued throughout my day. And to my surprise, mentally, I have become stronger, growing to be more courageous, determined and daring.
Overall, working out is not as bad as it sounds, but it is still harder than shimming into my jeans.
For information about where to get your jiggy on, visit Seattle University’s recreation and fitness website or Pure Barre online to learn more.
Author may be reached at