Baltimore has no shortage of things to do: sporting events, cultural festivals, farmers’ markets and more. This “and more” includes sources of physical exercise and activity.
Although Hopkins has a great Recreation Center, with facilities and staff that can assist with all of one’s exercise-based needs, there are ample opportunities off campus to satisfy whatever endorphin rush you crave.
One such place is Pure Barre. The studio brings in clients from a range of backgrounds and helps encourage healthy living practices, providing important resources in the community both through their classes as an outlet for exercise and their blog which outlines health and fitness tips.
As for the classes themselves, I found that they could be a really great way to get a workout into a busy schedule. I was able to take a class for free at the studio when I went to a group class with my sorority for a sisterhood event.
About 20 of us walked together to Hampden and met with the Pure Barre staff members, who were super friendly and helpful with getting our group registered and ready for the class.
I had never taken a barre class before and had no idea what to expect. I knew there was a connection to ballet, a sport I courted very briefly at the ripe age of six before realizing I was nowhere near graceful enough to be a dancer. Instead, I joined the soccer team — where a lack of grace is almost required.
When I had thought about barre classes in the past, I didn’t think of them as being difficult. At the time, I was exercising regularly and considered myself rather fit. I thought, “Oh, it’s just like ballet. That shouldn’t be too bad. I’ll probably do some pliés and then some body weight or dance exercises, it’ll be a breeze.”
That turned out to be very false.
I discovered quickly that I was flat out wrong to assume barre would be a walk in the park. The difficulty made itself apparent almost immediately after the warm-up, providing challenging exercises that pushed the limits of my strength, flexibility and endurance.
Over the course of the hour-long class, I often found my muscles shaking from fatigue. I later learned that shaking is perfectly normal and even encouraged for working your muscles effectively, so it ended up being a good thing.
I would look around and find solace in the fact that everyone seemed to be struggling a little, but they were still all having a great time and getting a great workout.
Finally getting to the cool-down made us feel triumphant, and we all finished by saying how awesome our class had been.
I have since taken barre classes offered at the Rec Center, and the classes are actually pretty different. While the Hopkins class heavily utilizes balls and weighted bars, the Pure Barre class largely just included a literal ballet barre with one section for using handheld weights.
I really loved the class I took, and their instructors are so friendly and encouraging. I also appreciate the fact that there are multiple classes every day, which means that even busy Hopkins people can squeeze in a workout.
On a related note, the location of Pure Barre is super convenient: It’s located right in the nearby neighborhood of Hampden (although it’s called the Roland Park location on their website).
A short 10-15 minute walk from campus, you can find their closest location in the Rotunda, a “shopping center” of sorts that also has establishments like a Rite Aid drug store, a Starbucks, a CinéBistro and a MOM’s Organic Market.
This is really nice, because that way, after you finish your barre class you can grab a cup of coffee, catch a movie or shop for groceries. Plus, the market has a chandelier and a café.
Going to the gym is an underrated form of self-care, but exercise can reduce stress and improve your mood. Group classes have the added bonus of a social element, of providing a place where you don’t have to struggle through the sweat alone.
So abandon your cubicle on C-level and check out Pure Barre. You’ll be glad you did.