Ask any “barre beauty” about her first experience at B Present and chances are, she remembers those first few classes in vivid detail…excruciating, sweaty, shaky, vivid detail. I’ve been a “barre addict” at B Present for almost a year now, but still remember my first class like it was yesterday. If I could go back in time and tell myself what I know now, here’s what I would say…

  1. The towel is not optional. I’m just going to level with you: it’s hot in there. The best A/C in the world is no match for the heat that emanates from 30+ women busting their booties in the same place, at the same time. Maybe some of you get that ladylike “glow,” a barely there sheen of sweat after an hour of exercise in a 73º room. For you delicate flowers, I suppose a little hand towel is purely optional. For this sweaty beast, though, the towel is barely sufficient let alone optional–I’d prefer a squeegee mop, but it doesn’t fit in my purse. I would slip and fall in puddles of my own sweat if I happened to forget to bring my towel. I would turn around and run back into the house if I forgot to bring my towel. I would rather forget to wear pants than forget to bring a towel (though I’m sure everyone else appreciates that I generally manage to remember both). Bring a towel.
  2. Don’t bother putting on makeup… Look, I’ll admit it. I used to wear makeup to the gym. It makes sense: you’re about to go stare at yourself in the mirror for an hour. But when you’re working this hard and sweating this much, there’s just no point. Plus, the mirrors will be so steamed up within 20 minutes that you won’t be able to see your reflection anyway. It’s a literal waste of makeup, unless you really like your sweat towel to wear makeup. Why am I talking about sweat so much…? I guess I mainly wish someone had told me how much I was going to sweat. I’m not going to say sweat anymore after this. SWEAT.
  3. …but DO get a pedicure. Forward folds. Runners lunges. Downward facing dog. That’s a LOT of time spent staring at your little piggies, if you’re going barefoot as most do. I think I spent half of my first class trying to contort my toes in such a way that no one else would be able to see how raggedy they looked. Honestly, no one really cares what your feet look like–they are busy trying to not die*–but if you can’t stand chipped toenail polish, go get yourself some TLC for those tootsies. Think of how much money you’re saving on shoes by working out barefoot! There, I just justified regular pedicures for you. You’re welcome. 🙂
  4. No one here knows how to count. Here is how normal counting goes: “8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.” And then you’re done. Here is how B Present counting goes: “8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, another set! 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 5, 4, 5, 6, 13, just kidding! 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, one more set! 8, 7, 6, 5, HEY IT’S SOMEONE’S BIRTHDAY! 43 more! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5….” You will hear “one more set!” and “last set!” a lot. DO NOT BELIEVE THEM. IT’S A TRAP. (They do it out of love–the barre tenders know that you can do more than you think. You can do anything for eight more seconds.)
  5. You have a lot of little muscles that you didn’t know about. Did you know that you actually have like 27 different muscles in your rear end? Well, you’re about to get acquainted with all of them. The day after your first class at B Present, those aching little butt muscles will have organized into an angry mob that revolts anytime you want to go up and down stairs, or stand up from a chair, or stoop to pick something up. The upside? All those little muscles are going to look goooooood in your skinny jeans. Don’t worry–you won’t be trust falling onto the toilet forever.
  6. It’s okay to take breaks. I left my first class feeling pretty bad about my fitness level. I had worked out 4-5 times a week for years and thought I was in pretty good shape, but I felt like I could barely get through most of the workout that first time. I kind of beat myself up a little over how many breaks I had to take. <— PLEASE DON’T DO THAT. The B Present method is working your muscles to the point of fatigue. By very definition, that means that at some point, if you’re giving it everything you’ve got, your muscles are going to give out. So stop, regroup, drink some water, and come back to the move when you’re ready. It’s okay. Really.
  7. Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. Group fitness definitely brings out the competitive nature in us. It’s natural to want to keep up with your neighbor, have the highest leg lifts, do the most pushups, or hold your plank the longest. Competitiveness can be good if it’s fueling your efforts in a positive direction. It’s not so good if you’re using it to mentally berate yourself for not measuring up to someone else. Remember: comparison is the thief of joy. You do you.

*You are not going to die. That’s what this all boils down to. If I could go back and tell myself one thing before my first barre class, it would be that: you’re not going to die. I promise.