Sports, Fitness & Wellness

Keep Fit: Working Out at the Southampton Barre Scene

I often think about how ironic it is to be completely stressed about traffic while on my way to yoga class. I’ll jet eastward on Montauk Highway after work in the hopes of achieving inner peace, but the road to nirvana is anything but tranquil. Why, once I’m in class, am I able to clear my mind, when beforehand I’m a wreck—nothing like someone who is one with nature, stress-free and in tune with what truly matters?

It’s because—no spoiler alert needed—Hamptons summer traffic is awful. Though I’m working on becoming a less high-strung driver, there is an easy solution: Don’t drive to class.

Invited to attend the Grand Opening of Pure Barre Southampton earlier this month, the first thing on my mind was that I could easily make it into the village on bike. The second thing on my mind is that owner Kaitlin Vandura is a fellow Wake Forest University alum. Go Deacs!

Vandura seemed in tune with my driving woes when she chose to open the Windmill Lane location. “There seemed to be a fitness void in Southampton,” says Vandura. “And we thought that Southampton needed a barre scene.” Barre strengthens muscles to give athletes who don’t incorporate lifting into their schedule a more solid base of overall fitness.

I’m slowly realizing that I also need a barre scene. Barre works your core muscles, as you use mostly body weight to strengthen and stretch. Because there is no heavy lifting required, barre classes are appropriate for all ages and fitness levels. I’m enjoying it as a nice antidote to running, which puts a lot of pressure on your joints. Class incorporates tiny isometric movements, helping to sculpt without overworking muscles.

Class begins with a warm-up in the center of the room, followed by arm work using light—anywhere from 2 to 5 lbs.—weights. Then, it’s to the barre to work the glutes and thighs. Finally, it’s onto the abs before ending with a cool down. The pace is fast to keep your cardio rate up, but class is slow enough to accommodate participants of all abilities. Intermittent stretching follows each set, giving muscles time to recover before focusing on the next move. Mirrors surrounding the studio help with instruction, as you can focus on your technique or take a quick double-take at the instructor, who is often walking around to ensure proper form.

“Class is fun because of the music,” says Vandura, who is clearly a Wake Forest girl, as she chose an upbeat tune by country artist Hunter Hayes for us to stretch to.

All Pure Barre classes follow a similar format, sculpting arms, abs and quads, but “we switch up the exercises so you won’t plateau,” says Vandura. Adding to the benefit of Pure Barre is that the studio will be open year-round, providing locals with ample opportunity to have a consistent workout schedule.

On tips for beginners: “Keep an open mind and listen to what the teacher is saying,” says Vandura. “It usually takes about five classes [to get all of the techniques down], and every time you come back, the mental part of the class will seem more clear.”

Lastly, “Enjoy yourself.”

For more information, visit purebarre.com.

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