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Pure Barre: One Year Later

I’m no fitness guru and I would hardly call myself a worker-outer (yes, it’s a word, my Instagram followers confirmed it).

But a year ago this week I looked in the mirror and said: Enough.

Enough of putting myself last.

Enough of feeling tired all the time.

Enough of hating all the clothes in my closet.

Enough.

Yes, if you’re doing the math correctly, I made that proclamation on my birthday. What better day to step toward a new you, right? Don’t worry, this post isn’t about the usual cheerleader. Everyone! Can! Be! Jillian! Michaels! Nor is it about convincing all the people they have all the time in the world to workout if only they’ll re-prioritize their life, hire a nanny or wake up at 3am. And, I’m not here to convince you that my workout is the only one that works.

I’m just gonna share with you what I know. How I’ve changed. What modifications I made and why I wish more people believed in themselves.

When I hit my 100th workout, I shared how I healed my diastasis recti. Yes, that’s a real thing for us women. Mine is still healed, praise Jesus, but I think after having six kids my core will always be a little on the weak side. I’m definitely stronger than I was a year ago, but I’m no 20yo. I’m a 43-year-old mom of six who’s just getting up every morning saying, yes. That’s all we can do.

Where I Started
I sat the bench in t-ball…and my dad was the coach. Β In high school, I was the gal who got her P.E. credit because she was in marching band. I was the last one picked in Dodgeball. Hand-eye coordination is not my strong suit. Bottom line? An athlete I am not.Β Second, I feel extremely self-conscious when working out. I hate group classes because the comparison kills me. It’s hard for me to see how awesome everyone looks and works out and how miserably I’m failing. There was a stint when I would run at 5:30am 2-3 days a week just so people wouldn’t see me working out. Such a beautiful picture of my healthy mental health and self-esteem right?

What Changed in Me
Having my sixth baby just weeks before I turned 40 really did a number on my body and my mental health. For a while, I just avoided the mirror, telling myself once I stopped nursing the remaining weight would just melt away (#andotherlieswetellourselves). Then, two friends of mine posted on social media about their commitment to self-care. It wasn’t their results that impressed me – even though they were great – it was their desire to change that motivated me. They weren’t striving for perfection, they were aiming to be better. Every day. And that was my hook. Perfect I could never be, but better? That, I could sink my teeth into.

My Life Now
My eating could definitely be better. Queso gets me everytime. I joke that’s why I work out, but that’s mostly the truth. Four to five days a week, I get myself to Pure Barre. It’s usually the 6am class because that’s what works for me. Every class I push myself a little more and only I know what that looks like. When class gets really hard, I just close my eyes and power through. I also think about slashing my instructors tires from time to time, but once the hour is over, I’m sane again. Ha! I often reflect back on how far I’ve come, rather than comparing myself to the rest of the room of women.Β I’ve found a group of cheerleaders who keep me accountable, namely Mr. Whitaker. He is my biggest fan. God has blessed me with some great friends who have a healthy balance of maintaining physical health with real life. Working out is not my life. It is not my God. I already have a guy for that. Taking care of my physical self is a lifestyle change, but it is not a religion. Praise Jesus for that. Yes, the clothes fit better, but I’ve kept at it because I feel better. And, I finally got serious about purging my closet and said sayonara to the clothes that straight up were making me sad. Ain’t nobody got time for that. It’s a happy place in there now. In total, I’ve lost 10 pounds and lots of inches (I should really measure those) and added some serious muscle. Well, serious for me.

Pure Barre is the answer for me. I absolutely love it. Trust me, the first month I did it, I hated it. I couldn’t get why people were all “I’m a Barre fan for life.” And I was all, you need a margarita and a pep talk because this stinks. Change is hard. Molding your body and stripping away all your bad choices is hard. Sweating and toning and pushing yourself is hard.

You know what else is hard? Being a mom is hard. Having spinal surgery is hard. Breaking your knee cap is hard. Living is hard, but we don’t give up on that, do we? I wanted to live a better life, a stronger life. I am forever grateful that Pure Barre opened up a side of me I didn’t know existed. I don’t know what your Pure Barre is, but I know you have one. Maybe it’s a running club, Camp Gladiator, a YMCA membership, walking in the neighborhood with your bestie or running around the park with your kids – whatever it is, get to it. Today.

Your season of life dictates your commitment level, for sure. Your finances dictate another part, no doubt. Get yourself some cheerleaders and make a small change today. Next week or next month, that change might diminish or it might grow. It’s up to you. All the little things matter. Work with what you have, ladies, just don’t pep talk yourself out of taking care of you. God made you beautiful, and beautiful you remain. Working out doesn’t make me prettier, it draws me closer to Him. It reminds me why I’m thankful for my health, for a body that can move and for a community that lifts me up.

That’s why I do it.

Every day my yes means more than it did the day before.

Get to it, y’all. I’m your biggest fan!

21 Comments

  1. Kelly L on June 16, 2017 at 11:55 am

    I remembered reading your post last year and thinking about how I wanted to help my DR (at 24 πŸ™ˆ). Since then, a fitness studio call Well Mama opened near me. I work a shift there in exchange of free classes and CHILDCARE. I’m 34 weeks with #3 and I’ve been doing barre, yoga and strength classes since the beginning of this pregnancy. I’m very similar to you in that I’ve never exercised regularly but I’m so excited to see how post pardum will be after working out with an extra 40-50 lbs 😭. All this to say, thank you for that post last year and thank you for motivating me to find something that works for my family!

  2. Teresa on June 16, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Kathryn, it feels good to know that someone else shares that same mentality. After having Josh in my late 30’s, it really was easier to drop the weight. 40’s? Not so much. But you know what really took priority in my forties? For me, it was a commitment to myself to improve my health numbers which starts with a better diet (some days are hard) coupled with good old fashioned walking. Lifestyle change – I kept it simple. I found a perfect time in the morning that I can truly dedicate to myself at exercising. No gym membership here. No quick slim fast programs. We have a hand me down treadmill that I use every day – 5 days a week. I’ve stuck with it for over two years and my numbers have been steadily improving. Still have room to improve in other areas but I quit putting my health on the back burner. My motivators? Honestly, my relatives. Some have diabetes, high cholesterol, etc…and even though some of them are well into their golden years, there’s no better time like the present to make good changes. I quit thinking that my usual ‘household’ routine was enough – because it really wasn’t. Not even nearly. I want to live as long as I can to see my kiddos grow up! And really…to just get moving feels great overall! πŸ™‚

  3. Justine Rauch on June 16, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I definitely needed to read this today… I’m 4 months PP with 3 littles in 3 years and it did a number on my body to say the least. It’s hard to keep the motivation when there are so many posting on social media to compare to, but you’re absolutely right: what really matters is that I’m taking care of myself and making better choices that are going to help me in the long run. I’m playing the long game here! I’m jumping off the computer to go work out now… Thank you Kathryn! You look amazing! πŸ™‚

  4. Carrie on June 16, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! I just turned 40, and baby #7 is 7 months old. And I’m tired and heavy and out of shape. I’ve been on the back burner for years…and I’m trying to learn to take care of myself again. Thanks for the pep talk! It’s good to know it’s possible to change even at my “advanced age”! πŸ™‚

  5. Kati on June 16, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    This is so impressive and inspiring. I also think it’s great for moms to consider that physical health is an amazing example for our kids. Even when I go work out before they wake up, I tell them I did it – partly for me because I need words of affirmation πŸ™‚ and partly for them because I want them to know that *I* think that *I* matter. I want them to know that physical health is important. I want them to see that it can be a part of regular life and not a thing I focus on – just a thing I do to take care of our family, like laundry or dishes or cooking or cleaning. Love this for you, Kathryn, AND for your kids!

  6. Micaela on June 16, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Kathryn, you’re an inspiration to me. I bought a Groupon for barre classes near me and I’m hoping that once Kev is on summer break (come. on. next. Tuesday.) I will be able to get into a routine that will stay put when he goes back in the fall. In the meantime I’ve been doing Tracy Anderson videos at home and those have been great, at least as far as getting me moving and feeling a tiny bit stronger. Anyway, thank you for posting this. You’re a rock star. ❀️

    • Kathryn on June 16, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      Barre has DVDs too! So definitely check those out. I’m proud of you Micaela!!

  7. Kay on June 16, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Hello- I am a busy mom of 4, work part time and help take care of my home bound mom. I have had 2 bulging discs that cause me much pain, numbness, and completely limit all activities. I have dealt with this for 8 years and it’s getting to be too much. Just wondering about your back injury and what kind of surgery you had and how recovery and post surgery have been?
    You are an awesome inspiration!!!

    • Kathryn on June 16, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      OUCH!! I have scoliosis, so my surgery corrected my 65-degree curve to 14. I’m fused from T2-L1. Recovery was brutal (it took about a year) and I had the surgery 9 years ago. It took me a lot of walking and massage to get to the point I am now. I just had to be patient which for me, is really really hard. Talk to your doctor about PT options and what he/she suggests as a workout regimen and then go for it. Just go easy on yourself and listen to your body. It knows best!

  8. Andrea on June 16, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    I just started Pure Barre and I love it! I wanted to offer some encouragement on group classes in general – the instructor is not the boss of you, and you don’t have to keep up with your classmates! I’m a larger person (size 18 and actually not trying to lose weight, thank you πŸ˜‰ and I just make my own modifications when I need to. The important thing is just to move your body, don’t feel like you can’t go to a class unless you can do all the moves. Good instructors will also work with you discreetly to modify (instead of calling you out for “slacking”) – my yoga teacher is awesome at this. AND, not all instructors are for everyone. My friend likes ones who will yell at her, I really don’t. Experiment and find a good fit!

  9. Kelly on June 17, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Thank you for this inspirational and informative post! Question….is doing the Pure Barre helping you keep your diastasis recti in check? I have that condition too but I know mine is not completely fixed at this point. Just wondering if doing classes like these would help or make the diastasis recti worse? I know there are some exercises (like sit ups) that you should never do again if you have diastasis recti. Thanks again…..I always love reading your posts. You have a gift Kathryn balancing the “keeping it real” with your writing but also challenging your readers too.

  10. Anne on June 18, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I used to do Body Pump and then moved to doing a bootcamp, and was doing that right around the time my husband of 15 years said sayonara to me and our marriage. I kept doing bootcamp, added running, and between those and the anxiety and stress of dealing with him leaving us, me needing to get back into the workforce after being home for 12 years with our 2 kids, I dropped a TON of weight…and not healthy either. I kept running, right til I started working at my current job…running was my happy place. I could just be and not have to deal with all the crap that life was throwing at me. I would also use that time to pray. Now, I work full time. I work for the CRA (that’s the Canadian version of the IRS) as a collections call centre agent…which means I’m literally sitting on my tush for 7.50 hours per day, working 2 week shifts of 12-8, 1-9, or 2-10 p.m. Sadly running has gone the way of the dodo bird (even though I have a treadmill….ahem…), and I have not gotten my workout groove back. The pounds have crept on, and I don’t like the way I look. I’m trying to get used to this new normal still of being a working single mum and the self care and fitness side of that has just not fit into my matrix. I’m not exactly sure what I can do. I can’t afford a gym membership or classes. I did get myself a Fitbit and FitStar app…but other than tracking steps and what I eat, that’s about it. So, thanks for this because now I’m thinking…about getting my tush in gear and taking care of myself. Suggestions gladly welcomed, eh!

    • Andrea on June 19, 2017 at 11:33 am

      YouTube has a TON of free workout videos/channels. My favorites are Fitness Blender and Yoga with Adriene. Quicker and cheaper than driving to a gym or class! Fitness Blender also has plans/ebooks you can purchase for around $8 that basically organize their free videos into calendars for you so you don’t have spend time choosing a workout each time.

  11. Heidi on June 18, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    You’ve always looked fabulous, in my opinion, but you look like you FEEL awesome too. This post came at a perfect time because I’m struggling with this very thing. Taking care of everyone but myself. Despising how my clothes fit and how I feel about myself. I appreciate the pep talk and I’m proud of your efforts! What a good example for your kids, too. Easy to forget self care πŸ™‚

  12. Colleen on June 19, 2017 at 2:55 am

    Kathryn, Once again you inspire! I really needed to hear this night now. It’s time – well past time – for me to get it back in gear and do a better job of taking care of myself. All of my excuses are gone … I have access to childcare, I have (a little) free time, I have access to good facilities and professionals. What I need is a swift kick in the patoot to get moving and make it a priority. Thanks for the nudge. Pray for me to get going!

  13. Nicole on June 19, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Another fine example of you showing why you blog. You are truly inspirational! Before I became pregnant with baby #3 in 2015 and she was born last year, I was pretty good about going to yoga a couple times per week and walking regularly. Then my physical activity was restricted with the pregnancy… and now I am still nursing (my classic excuse for not exercising). Although my weight is in check, I know that I could be more fit and be in shape. You and I are of similar age, and you have twice as many kids as I do. If you can figure out how to work this into your life, I am sure I can too. You are a shining example to your children of showing that being healthy is a priority. And you are a shining example to your readers, too.

  14. Sandy on June 19, 2017 at 9:03 am

    I really needed to read this today. I have been overweight & putting myself way at the end of the line after my family, work, etc. I’ve just started having issues with my blood pressure & have been borderline diabetic for a while. I too had my last child at 40. I have been telling my husband that I need to start working out for about a year now but something always seems to come up. Well, I have to stop letting things side track me or I’m not going to be much help to my active 3 year old in the future. Thank you so much for sharing this & giving me a swift kick in the rear to get going. I love your blog & instagram. Thank you.

  15. Tamalyn on June 22, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    Thank you. I needed this – big time. My 4th child was born not long before I turned 41. I’m now almost 48 and the baby weight is still there. I work full-time (and at odd hours), my amazing husband works nights and Saturday which means I’m usually solo for my kids after-school stuff. I’ve said too many times “I don’t have time” and I probably don’t to really truly take care of me. But I’m tired of feeling lousy and discouraged about how I just.play.out. It’s time for me to take care of me – time or not. To do something…so every time I hit the closet first thing in the morning I can eliminate the huge sigh that usually goes along with it. This post struck a nerve and I have a renewed sense to find something that will get me moving. You’re a blessing, Kathryn. Thank you again!

    • Kathryn on July 15, 2017 at 2:13 pm

      You can do it Tamalyn. One workout at a time!

  16. Lindsay on September 7, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    I went to Pure Barre today… and hated it. Going again Saturday!

    • Kathryn on September 7, 2017 at 9:50 pm

      For the first two weeks I went, I absolutely hated it. Only reason I went back was because I paid for the month! It took that long for it to grow on me. Now, I love it. BUT, you gotta find your thing. It reminded me to be patient when trying something new. Go get it mama!

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