In the spring of 2016, I was lost in a season of grief. The previous year, I lost my grandparents unexpectedly, one right after the other. I had just finished months of grief counseling and knew I had a tough road ahead. Most days, I found myself riddled with anxiety and trying to adapt to my new reality. Amidst the chaos, I desperately wanted to find ways to take care of my body and mind.
The hardest part about grieving is that it’s an individualized and unique journey. Grieving forced me to feel siloed and alone. I learned to accept that there were certain aspects of grief that I would have to navigate on my own, but I craved a sense of belonging at the same time. I knew I needed a support system to help me heal. Fortunately, I stumbled upon a fitness community that altered the course of my journey for the better.
I was never much of an exercise enthusiast. The mere idea of exercising, let alone in a structured group setting, was not an idea that often crossed my mind. But while scrolling through my Instagram feed, I saw a post from my local Pure Barre studio about an upcoming open house. All classes were free during the open house, and even though group exercise classes had never appealed to me before, I was intrigued.
On a whim, I signed up to attend a class during the open house. When I arrived at the studio, I was intimidated and nervous. As I walked through the front doors, I was greeted warmly by the staff, took a quick tour around the studio, and prepared for a 55-minute workout that, unbeknownst to me, would change my life. The studio was inviting, the staff was welcoming, and members of the studio were friendly.
My first Pure Barre class was far from glamorous. I didn’t understand most of the terms used, techniques referred to, or how to position my body appropriately. Even though I didn’t understand most of my first class, it didn’t matter. When my first class ended, I knew I had found a missing puzzle piece and the sense of community I needed to aid in my grieving process. I envisioned myself coming back to the studio, so I committed to attending a few more classes and eventually purchased a full-fledged membership.
I quickly fell in love with the studio, the workouts, the staff, and the community. I felt empowered being surrounded by so many incredible women. Every woman in the Pure Barre community was at a different stage in her life, but our differences never mattered. I built new friendships with many of the other members. I felt a sense of belonging during every class I attended. I became obsessed with Pure Barre and all it had to offer.
In one year, I attended 100 classes, pop-up events, post-class breakfast dates, and happy hours. My body was lean, muscular, and stronger overall. The anxiety and constant state of sadness I felt when I first started had diminished. Most importantly, I found a community to help carry me through one of the most trying seasons of my life.
I’m proud to share the story of how working out and Pure Barre changed my life. What may seem like a trendy workout is much more than what it appears to be on the surface. The community helped me grow and get my life back on track, and I am eternally thankful for that.
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