Sweat Seattle: Pure Barre for Preggos

Michelle Strub/Pure Barre Inner Thigh and Low Back Stretch

“Well you sure have a type, don’t you?”

Brandon, the devilishly handsome husband of Sami, co-owner and sometimes-front desk substitute of Pure Barre Seattle, is checking me in. It took me a second to realize what he was referring to.

“Oh yeah, I guess I do!”

Michelle Strub/Pure Barre
Sami Sweeney, co-owner of Pure Barre Seattle, and Kisha Vaughan, instructor at Pure Barre Seattle

Upon looking at my class history during check-in Brandon instantly noticed that I’m a fan of Nance and Kristen, two instructors who I see often at the Bellevue location. And, since I became pregnant, more often than not. (He’s right, I’m a complete fan. Fan club member, right here.) Call me vain but being pregnant was never something I looked forward to. As an avid gym-goer, the idea of blowing up for a baby didn’t seem like fun. Plus, I’m a young professional – can we even have babies? Is that part of the under-30 years of age career plan?

But then it happened. And between figuring out what “having it all” really means and realizing that I’ve never changed a diaper in my entire life, it also meant understanding the changes that were about to hit my usually-fit physique.

Early on I had to give up my beloved running and CrossFit — a lot due to morning sickness, but also because my body — and baby — just couldn’t handle it. Not all women have to give up running and CrossFit or any of their regular gym jams (this is where a “consult your physician” is important) but for me it was a must-do. When I initially discovered I was pregnant I was scheduled to run a Half Marathon. My typical time of 1 hour and 35 minutes eluded me as I ended up stopping for a breather around mile 5. Mile 5! That was usually nothing for me — and especially on this course which was entirely flat! That stop for a breather turned into walking the remaining Half and I ended up finishing somewhere around 2 hours. Not bad, but not what I was used to. After that I came home and continued to try to keep up with light jogs but a quarter mile into it in each time, I was kaput. Baby was sucking up all the oxygen I needed for these kinds of workouts! That’s when I knew I was done. Well, that and also because I came down with pregnancy-induced PGP which rendered me unable to walk for a while.

As I was admitted into physical therapy for my PGP, I started recognizing that many of the exercises my therapist wanted me to do were similar to those I had been doing at Pure Barre. Barre had always been a part of my exercise mix and now I had a compelling reason to go more often. I needed a way to get my sweat on — practically craved it — and barre was it. Baby agreed. If you don’t know what barre is, you can read this and this for background – but essentially, it’s a low-impact full-body workout that incorporates a “mind, body connection” as Sami, the it’s-not-fair-how-gorgeous-she-is co-owner of Pure Barre Seattle, likes to say.

Sure, there are some prenatal modifications that I have to do and I’m shaking much sooner than I did before given the extra weight, but otherwise it has everything I need to feel that lift, tone and burn while allowing me and baby to breathe. (Thanks to Nance and Kristen, I’ve learned not to fear the shake anyway. The shake has nothing on me.)

If that wasn’t enough to convince me that Pure Barre is perfect for preggos, Kisha Vaughan, one of the original Pure Barre instructors is pregnant too and still teaching and tucking. You may have heard Kisha’s name before. She’s not a stranger to the Seattle scene having been a part of Breaking Point Dance Company, In Effect Hip Hop, Seattle Storm Hip Hop Squad and as a back up dancer for local celebrities Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

Michelle Strub/Pure Barre
Pregnant Pure Barre Seattle instructor Kisha Vaughan and son, Archie

Kisha is mother to 2-year old holy-crap-adorable Archie, and expecting a baby girl in December 2013. Throughout both pregnancies Pure Barre has been an important part of strengthening her mind and body.

“I found myself in labor with my son, and keeping with that mind set that we use in Pure Barre. That method of coping to get through discomfort. Thinking of the result, what my goals were. Remember that the discomfort was not going to last forever, but the results and reward were worth it,” says Kisha. She was teaching and taking class two days before giving birth to her son.

Need to see it to believe it? Take a look at these prenatal Pure Barre positions, compiled just for Seattleite readers and demonstrated by Kisha herself!

Michelle Strub/Pure Barre
Wide Second

Wide Second*: While holding onto a support, stand with your legs wider than shoulder distance and with your toes turned out slightly. Bend knees, bringing your hips low while keeping your spine long. Lower down two inches and up two inches 20 times, then pulse down 30 times keeping your hips low. Repeat position for a total of two minutes.

Knee Dancing: Sit on your heels, bringing knees hip-distance apart. Lift your seat off your heels a few inches, then tuck your hips repeatedly. Then, lower and tap your seat lightly to your heels. As your hips lift, tuck the hips under for a total of two minutes.

Michelle Strub/Pure Barre
Knee Dancing

Tabletop*: Come to hands and knees. Extend your left leg straight, in light with your hips. Flex your foot and press up and up, using your glutes to lift. Do this for 90 seconds. Bend your leg and repeat for another 90 seconds. Switch legs to complete the series.

Pretzel: Sit with knees bent, right leg in front and left leg behind your hip. Place hands either on the ground or extend in front of you for more of a challenge. Rotate left hip forward, attempt to lift your ankle higher than your knee. Rotate for 90 seconds. Lift leg up an inch and down an inch for 90 seconds for a total of three minutes in this position. Switch sides to complete series.

Michelle Strub/Pure Barre
Michelle Strub/Pure Barre
“C” Curve With a Ball

“C” Curve With a Ball: Sit with feet hip width apart and hands behind your thighs. Round back, lowering your lower back to the ground. Lower back for two counts, then back up for two counts. Repeat for 3 minutes. Rotate towards one side; lower and curl for another two minutes. Swith sides to complete series.

Back Extension: Come to all fours with hands below shoulders and knees below the hips. Extend one leg straight back then extend the opposite arm straight forward. Lift your arm and leg up three times using the back muscles to lift while maintaining a long back. Lift for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

Michelle Strub/Pure Barre
Back Extension

Inner Thigh and Low Back Stretch: Sit with legs in a straddle. Place one elbow in front of the knee and lift the opposite arm overhead. Hold for 20 seconds. Turn to face your leg, reaching both arms for your foot. Hold for 20 seconds. Switch sides and repeat. Bring legs shoulder-distance apart and reach towards your toes. Allow your neck and shoulders to relax, stretching the backside of the body. Hold for 30 seconds.

Michelle Strub/Pure Barre
Inner Thigh and Low Back Stretch

*According to Kisha, these are AMAZING for when you’re in “labor mode.”

Want to try Pure Barre in person? There are three locations in Western Washington including in Queen Anne, University Village and Bellevue, with a fourth opening soon on Capitol Hill.

If you’re too far into your pregnancy and therefore shouldn’t be starting a new workout, Pure Barre has a “Baby Bounce Back” special for after you give birth: 3 months of unlimited classes for $375!

Pure Barre | 500 Mercer Street, Seattle, WA | (206) 535 – 8910