Activewear stores are the worst. They taunt you with their surprisingly flattering spandex, their eye-popping neon collection, their nylon and their mesh. And then they smack you in the face with price tags that rival those of your regular clothes — you know, the ones you don’t plan on dragging through the mud, drenching with sweat and maybe splattering with a little blood. If you see me at a formal event wearing my compression running pants and strappy singlet, it’s probably because I’m trying to get my money’s worth.
So, why are activewear stores my new best friend? Because they’re offering up free workouts! (Yes, you can buy my love.)
Clothing stores and other fitness retailers are increasingly pairing with local fitness studios or hosting their own workouts to give sticker-shocked customers a chance to get their sweat on, gratis. This week on my agenda: a Barre3 class hosted by Athleta and a Pyrolates class at Firebrand Sports, sponsored by lucy Activewear.
Tuesday evening’s barre class was taught by Barre3′s Bonney and hosted by Athleta after hours in the Pearl District store’s upstairs retail section. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a barre class that lacked, well, a bar. But Barre3 delivered. We did an intense sequence working our arms, legs and core — some of it standing and some of it on the yoga mats we were asked to bring. Bonney also brought barre balls we incorporated into some of the exercises.
Barre is all about those small movements that work to tone and strengthen often-neglected muscles. It had been months since my last class, so I knew my hibernating muscles were in for a rude awakening. In all, the class was worthwhile. We worked all major muscle groups, ogled some pretty Athleta threads and didn’t pay a penny for it.
Interested? Looks like Athleta has barre on the schedule again in a couple weeks and many other classes in between. Check out the store’s calendar here.
Since my muscles were very much awake after Tuesday night’s barre class, I decided to subject them to a little more pain on Wednesday afternoon.* This burn came in the form of Firebrand Sports’ “Pyrolates” class, sponsored by lucy Activewear. (Big thanks to Agatha over at pdXercise for the heads up.)
Pyrolates is similar to a Pilates workout, but with the pace and soundtrack of your average spin class on a contraption called a “Megaformer” — which amazingly succeeds at looking even more intimidating than a Pilates reformer. The machine includes front and back platforms, a middle “carriage” platform that is springloaded and slides back and forth, and a bunch of straps and handles that will probably baffle you.
In class, you are constantly moving. Sliding your foot here, shifting your weight there. 20 more seconds. 10 more seconds. Hold. And if your muscles aren’t trembling, you’re probably doing it wrong.
Pyrolates was, without a doubt, the most intense strength/toning workout I’ve done in a fitness class. One word of warning, though: Many of the movements in the class are based in high plank or other positions that put a lot of weight on your wrists. If you have problematic wrists like mine, this might not be the workout for you. But for the rest of you healthy-wristed folk in search of sweat and muscle definition, Pyrolates is your guy.
Interested? Buy a class at Firebrand Sports in the Pearl District or follow the studio on Facebook for updates about future promotions.
*Normally, I’d wait at least a day between strength training workouts to allow for muscle recovery, but Wednesday’s free class was too good an opportunity to pass up.
- pdXercise guest post: kicking egos and taking numbers (pdxercise.com)