Pure Barre Pure Madness Challenge: What 20 Classes in 1 Month Taught Me

Pure Barre Pure Madness Challenge

Instead of March Madness, Pure Barre puts on Pure Madness – an insane challenge to take 20 classes in the 31 days of March. Like an idiot, I totally did it. Here are some lessons I learned from challenging myself and my own body.

If you’re not familiar with Pure Barre, or want to know the reason behind why I started Pure Barre – check out one of my popular articles on the subject – An Out of Shape Celiac vs. Pure Barre.

Pure Barre Pure Madness Badge of Honor

Pure Barre Pure Madness Badge of Honor


1. 20 days of anything is difficult. 

When I first saw the challenge, I’m like “no sweat – 20 classes of Pure Barre isn’t that big of a deal, I can totally make that in one month.” Now, you can’t double-dip and take two classes a day, so this meant 20 days out of the month during Pure Barre. Have you ever done 20 days of anything? 20 days without a Target run? 20 days of making your own meals from scratch? Hell, even 20 days of taking all of your daily vitamins and supplements that you’re supposed to? 20 days of anything is difficult. Even though class only takes an hour and a half (an hour class, and travel time) out of my day, it’s still a lot. While the first 10 were a breeze, I found myself unable to skip the days I really wanted to skip out on just to make sure I achieved 20 classes in 31 days. There were days I woke up and my body screamed to stay in bed. But I went – I went 20 days out of the month.

2. But the clothes help.

Honestly, I got myself super psyched up for the challenge by laying out my workout outfits for the week. I matched tops and bottoms with sticky socks and had my outfits ready to go for the week ahead. Getting in the zone by putting on leggings was one of my keys to success for getting it done. I love love love Athleta chaturanga leggings and live in them outside of “real clothes” (which honestly don’t happen as much as you think since I work from home and no one sees me outside of working out or trips to Whole Foods). Putting my proverbial big-girl workout pants helps me fit the part and get mentally ready for class. Invest in good clothes to make you feel like a champion.

3. 20 classes is enough to show progress. 

Oh my god Becky, look at her ledge. It’s so big. I bet she goes to Pure Barre. 

But seriously I can really tell a definition in my booty. I used to work out with Brazil Butt Lift and really got results from their videos, but many of their moves were too intense for my lack-of-cartilage knee. Pure Barre works the same areas as BBL, but with tighter, controlled movements that, for a hypermobile person, is less likely to dislocate something doing some crazy fast move. Also, my arms – MY ARMS! Girl, look at them guns! My arms look great, and I can do push-ups, and side planks, and sometimes I can even do normal plank without getting on my knees! I can actually life my legs during barre ab work instead of just pull-drag! 20 classes is enough for you to make small changes in your body that you can actually feel and see during class (and outside of class in tank tops and booty shorts). I have got a long way to go before I reach the caliber of these other ladies in class, but I’m on the right track. (BONUS Lesson 3.5: Stop comparing yourself to others at Pure Barre – WE HAVE DIFFERENT GENETICS FOR A REASON. I will not look like that adorable blonde girl with a perky chest, no waist, and arms defined for days. She has abs, I have a gluten-free muffin top that I have earned from years of product testing. I am different for a reason. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO SOMEONE ELSE).

4. A support system is key!

People have told me that it seems like I’m a very strong-willed lady that doesn’t need help from anyone, and totally has it all together. If that’s what you think, then I put on a very good show! I’m just as fragile and needy as the next person. While I’m an advocate for the celiac/autoimmune/gluten-free/food allergy community, and I can speak up to anyone talking crap to anyone in those communities – I’m not like that with everything. I’m shy at group events that are outside of the food industry world. I hate hate hate group classes, especially group fitness classes. I’ve been known to cry and run out of class – no joke. I’ve been told that I’m awful at group fitness classes – and for a perfectionist, that is a hard statement to get over and get back into class. I am so thankful that the Pure Barre instructors learn your name, and call you out for all the good things you’re doing in class. Even when I’m modifying things, I still get a huge smile when an instructor says “great job Erica.” It’s what keeps me going. Marking off another class on the chart was motivating. Seeing the same folks in class day-after-day is motivating. Having brands, friends, and family liking my Pure Barre photos on Instagram and encouraging me on – those are what get me through the hard days where everything hurts, or the physical therapy I have to take in order to get my limbs actually functioning again. Although now I feel physically strong, it was because of you that I feel emotionally strong and ready to take on the next challenge.

Every time an instructor said, “you are so much stronger than you think,” I got the motivation for one extra second. One extra day. One extra part of me that really believed in myself. Yes, that sounds super cheesy, but when you’re sweating in a room thinking you might die, vomit, or shart your pants – you need to hear that.

Pure Barre Pure Madness Challenge

Thanks again to Pure Barre Phoenix for the great challenge!

Pure Barre Pure Madness Challenge

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Comments: 4

  1. Whitney April 2, 2015 at 2:18 pm Reply

    GO ERICA!!!!!!! I am so proud of you. I have to admit we had a similar challenge at my yoga studio and I did not commit or meet the goal :/ Looking great, but I am sure you feel great to which is what matters <3

  2. Mary Fran April 13, 2015 at 8:46 am Reply

    I am so proud of you. Kicking ass and taking names.

  3. Julia M. October 1, 2015 at 8:31 am Reply

    Hi Erica! I did Pure Barre for a month about a year ago and I did notice some changes in my body, I did get obsessed for a little bit. But it was soooo expensive I have not done it again. Now I am signed up for a month because I need a jump start on getting back in shape and I was curious if you had ever experienced any lower back issues from PB? I only notice it after the parts where you are trying to keep tucked while lifting your leg back behind you and up. I know there are mods I can try, just curious if you had experienced this?

    Also since you have been doing it for several months what changes have you noticed compared to just one month?

    Thanks! Just found this blog today and love it!

    • Erica Dermer October 1, 2015 at 8:47 am Reply

      YES! You can easily hurt ANYTHING in Pure Barre. It’s really easy to overextend and do some damage. Make sure you only lift to where you can feel the knot in your bum or hamstring and don’t overlift. Ask to talk to an instructor about it before or after class and learn the proper form. It’s hard to find it yourself. But yes, after several months I am so toned in areas that I am working on. My arms, my quads, and my bum! But ALWAYS ask for modification if something hurts or doesn’t feel right. I’ve found great instructors, which is awesome. I would keep on keeping on and stay strong – but never be afraid to ask for help!

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