There’s a fantastic new workout on the block, and it’s called Pure Barre Platform.

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Pure Barre Platform is a new fast-paced class designed to optimize cardiovascular results and increase total body strength. This heart-pumping class combines quick bursts of high intensity, yet low impact cardio work with periods of lower intensity muscle-sculpting movements. These 55 minutes of high energy, fun and intense interval training at the barre will help you burn calories, jumpstart your metabolism, and increase your overall endurance. It is the perfect cardio complement to your Pure Barre class to help you achieve even greater results, while still holding onto the traditional pieces and parts of a Pure Barre class that we all know and love.


Your Pure Barre studio may have released Platform a few months or weeks ago. Maybe you’ve tried it one or two times. Or maybe you’ve already completely fallen in love with the workout.

Truth be told, the first time I took Platform, I didn’t fall in love. I felt like I was trying to wrap my head around it the whole time, making it hard to just focus on my form and the exercise.

Think back to your first Pure Barre class. Were you confused? Did you feel like you weren’t doing it right?

That’s how I felt in my first Platform class, which is completely normal. I always tell clients to take Platform about 5 times before making a true judgment call.

5 times may seem excessive, but think of it this way: If you take a class 5 times, it’s likely you’ll see a myriad of exercises, experience some different teaching styles, and have the opportunity to take your form to the next level once you understand the class.

platformcorp3I’m completely in love with both teaching and taking Platform. Teaching the high-energy class is my very favorite, and having the opportunity to take the (waitlisted) class is a privilege at my studio.

Thanks to Platform, I feel stronger in regular Pure Barre class and during my runs, I’ve shaved over a minute off my 5K PR, and I’ve seen noteworthy changes in my body (hello, unintentional few pounds lost). Platform delivers serious results.

Here are some helpful Platform FAQs from my clients, assisted by some (LOL) GIFs:

♦ So I need to make BIG motions now?
Yes, your range of motion should be bigger than it is in regular Pure Barre. This will keep your heart rate up to maximize calorie burn.

This handy GIF shows a double-time press back, which you’ll notice is bigger and faster than our tempo press back in regular Pure Barre. That’ll get your heart rate going!

♦ But it’s hard to squeeze from the muscle when the motion is bigger.
That’s true. The more you take Platform, the easier this will become. You want to create bigger ranges of motion, but you should still be squeezing from the muscle your teacher has called out.

Your “squeeze in” and “press back”, as shown above, should be much bigger than the small ones you make in regular Pure Barre class, but you should still be squeezing from the same muscles.

♦ It looks like people are bouncing. Should I be doing that?
You should never feel like you are out of control. Bouncing, waving, or flopping are all things you should avoid. Focus on creating big, controlled ranges of motion. You should never feel like you are being “sloppy” with any motion in Platform.


♦ Is it okay if I move my platform a lot in class?
Yes! I move and adjust my platform a LOT during class. You’ll need to adjust it frequently, especially for seat work. For your safety, stick to sliding the platform rather than picking it up, and always let your teachers and staff handle your platform before and after class.


♦ Why does it look different when you do it?
Since everyone’s body and flexibility level is different, everyone will look different when they do Platform. Try to close your eyes and adjust your body to find your sweet spot. If you’re ever uncomfortable or in doubt you’re doing something correctly, never hesitate to ask your teacher.

I feel like I take too many breaks.
This is a hardcore, fast-paced class. You SHOULD feel very winded! I definitely had to take breaks in my first few classes, and that’s coming from someone who takes Pure Barre regularly and runs 5 miles at least 5 days a week. Work to your personal level, take all the breaks you need, and get water whenever you need it. Listen to your body.


♦ I can’t go any bigger!
Your teacher might be cueing you to make your ranges of motion bigger or to get your leg a little higher, but remember, she means for you to go as far as you can. Think of yourself as your biggest competition. Maybe try to go a little harder than you did last class, or perhaps fight a little harder to get your leg a little higher on the second side. Don’t worry about what anyone else in class is doing. As teachers, we always aim to help you work to your hardest point, and that could differ from day to day.

♦ Why do I need the platform?
The platform helps you dig deeper in every single stretch and exercise. Always think about pressing the foot on the platform down into it while you work. When you stretch, use the platform to dig deeper or reach farther.

♦ What should I eat before platform?
I prefer to work out first thing in the morning, but that can’t always happen. When I wake up and take platform, I grab a Quest bar or a KIND Bar and eat about half of it before class, half of it afterward. A banana and part of a bar is the perfect amount of food for me before taking. If it’s not first thing in the morning, I’d just recommend something light, as if you’re going on a run.

**the barres at our studio are a little bit high, so this might look different on you.

I am SORE. How many days a week should I take Platform? Should I still take Pure Barre?
You will be crazy sore the first few times you take Platform. Listen to your body, and within reason, work through the soreness. If you stick to it, that soreness will become strength. Experiment with taking Pure Barre and Platform interspersed throughout your week and find your happy mix of the two. The two classes are great low/no-impact complements to each other.

If you’re working your very hardest, you will feel exhausted after a Platform class.


I really hope you laughed at this GIFs as hard as I did as I was creating them.

What questions do you have about Platform? Have you tried it? What do you love about it? Have you seen any results yet?

Looking for other Pure Barre technique posts? Check out the below:


Remember last year when Brittany and I ran the Fit Foodie Run in Fairfax, VA?


We’re at it again this weekend!

Last year’s Fit Foodie Run was the most fun race weekend I’ve ever experienced. From the pre-race party the night before, to the events before and after the race, to the finisher’s village, I felt incredibly privileged to be a fit foodie ambassador.

I love the combination of my two favorite things in one event: running and food!

And y’all. This food.


Is GOOD food.

This year, we are looking forward to the pre race party at True Food Kitchen, where we had a meal last year on our own time. I think Brittany and I started simultaneously jumping up and down when we found out they were hosting the party.

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The jury’s still out over whether we will make this a fun run or actually race the event. Last year, we both really enjoyed the party the night before, and I’m thinking our race weekend will be more enjoyable if we make Saturday morning a fun run.

That, combined with a tweaked ankle earlier in the week, makes me think that sprinting on Saturday might not be the best idea. Womp.

Last year, Brittany and I also really enjoyed the Pure Barre demo at the Finisher’s Village.

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Can you tell we were a little sweaty? Ha! Last year’s race was late June.

To make this year’s race even more exciting, I’ll be the face behind the Pure Barre Demo at the Fit Foodie 5K Vitality Village this year!

I’ll be on the fitness stage at Strawberry Park at the Mosaic District at 9:25 on Saturday morning. Come find us there! I’ll be hosting An Introduction to Pure Barre: Tone Your Abs, Thighs, and Seat.

So, join us! We’ll be the chicks in the corner trying *at least* one of everything. And then run with us, lift, tone, burn with us, and come visit all the awesome race sponsor tables with us afterward. We can’t wait!

There’s still time to sign up for the 5K this Saturday. Use code “LIFEOFBLYSS” to sign up and get 10% off your race registration here.

If you can’t make the race, you can follow our adventures on Snapchat. Add me @ ablyssa.

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What was the most fun race you’ve ever attended? What made it stand out against the others? Do you ever make the call to deem some races “fun runs”

[Psst, stay tuned for a post about Pure Barre Platform next week. That post and a few exciting life update posts are coming your way!]


On Saturday, I ran the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure here in Richmond, VA.


As everyone knows, with my sister’s fight, breast cancer is a cause I will support to no end, so it seemed like fate that Alex’s mom used to work for Susan G. Komen and is one of the race organizers.


She signed Alex, his dad, and me up for the event a few months ago, and despite 5Ks admittedly not being my ideal race distance (I’m definitely a slow twitch muscle fiber athlete), I’ve been really excited to race for the cure.

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This was the first year the race was split up into competitive and recreational, so Alex and I laced up early and were at the start line at 7:30 a.m. Since Alex came in third overall last year and has one long stride to about every three of mine, I planned to just chase him and see how closely I could keep up.

Y’all. This 5K went by so freakin’ fast! The last one I ran was the Fit Foodie Run in Fairfax last June (psst, we are running it again in two weeks and you can sign up here with discount code “lifeofblyss”!), and I remember feeling like it might last forever with twists and turns around buildings. For me, it’s hard to keep up my strongest sprint for 3.1 miles, and because it’s so challenging to me, 5Ks seem to drag.

However, this course was beautiful. It goes over bridges with a view of the city, spans across a good amount of land, and has a good amount of uphill/downhill. Since I worked out normally throughout the week with my typical daily 5 miles, took a fair amount of Pure Barre classes, and taught my Pure Barre and Pure Barre Platform classes, I was pretty sore the Friday before the race, which always makes me nervous.

Ultra roller to the rescue!

You know how sometimes you can run a race and perform pretty well, but it feels terrible? I think every 5K has felt like that.

Saturday didn’t feel like that.

I felt strong, I felt capable, and I felt like I wasn’t even working too hard, which is partially why I wasn’t really sure how my finishing time would turn out, despite checking my TomTom Runner Cardio GPS watch stats.

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I finished first for women, 7th overall. My previous best 5K time was back in 2010 with a time of 21:18, so I shaved over a full minute off my time. And it felt good!

I’m still pretty shocked by the outcome of this race, and I attribute it to two things.

One, Pure Barre Platform.
If you haven’t yet tried this class, you need to. And not just once. Just like regular Pure Barre, to get the most out of this class, you need to try it a handful of times and build the strength to really benefit. Platform was so absurdly difficult the first 5(ish) times I took it, and now it’s just another great workout I love to dominate. I feel so much stronger when I’m taking a regular Pure Barre class, and I can definitely tell a difference in my running strength, this race serving as Exhibit A.

Two, the absurd strength I see in my sister.
Her strength and passion are contagious, and it’s been a learning experience. I’ve watched her beat breast cancer twice now, one in her 30s, once in her very early 40s. Not only did she kick it, but she did it while raising three little girls, and with a smile on her face. After witnessing how stalwart she stayed though the entire process, never have I been more thankful for the way our parents raised us, and never have I ever believed more that God gives hurdles to the people who can handle them. Now, in my pretty mundane (by comparison) every day life, I remember that strength and disposition I see in her and I try to mirror it.

Oh, and Alex? He came in fourth place overall, beating me by about 20 seconds.


I’m just lucky he even lets me go on leisurely runs with him. Last year the guy placed third.


After the race, we were interviewed by NBC12 and made friends with the ladies I watch early morning at 6:00 a.m. anytime I hit the treadmill. I told them I felt like they were my training buddies… ha.

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Yesterday morning’s run was probably the most eventful one I’ve had in ages. I almost LOLed off the back of the treadmill as Andrew Frieden spoke to my pace and showed a picture of my finish line cross (if you missed it, follow me @ ablyssa on Snapchat).

This race and this cause means so much to me and my family, and what really matters is the actual race for the cure. I believe in Susan G. Komen’s mission, and I’m so thankful there are other people out there fighting for the many (1 in 8!) women like my sister.


What’s the most meaningful race you’re ever run? Ever tried Pure Barre platform? Notice any results?


Beauty in Bloom at Elements

April 13, 2016

Whose beauty routine needs an overhaul with this crazy, erratic weather? Did you raise your hand? Insert your girly one arm-raised emoji? Me too. And guess what? The ladies at Elements Beauty Shop have read your mind, because Elements is holding a Beauty in Bloom event this Tuesday, April 19 at 5:30 p.m. This event will include Erno Laszlo […]

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Things I’m Loving Thursday

March 17, 2016

I’m taking a page out of Julie‘s book by posting a “Things I’m Loving Thursday”. It’s been too long since I did a round up of my favorite discoveries/favorite things. And I really like alliteration. 1. Topping the list right off the bat? Rage yoga. WHAT? You heard me. It’s rage yoga. It’s for people […]

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Happy Bachelor Finale Monday!

March 14, 2016

To avoid suffering the wrath of all of you, I’ve learned I need to write at least one Bachelor-related post this season. I apologize I haven’t been more on top of things, but y’all. Life be cray. Lately, once I get the time to sit and write something up, I don’t have the inspiration, and I refuse to […]

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Raise the Barre: Tips for Veteran Barre Clients

January 26, 2016

You’re a barre regular. You know the drill so well, you could probably teach a class. Experts say you should keep your body guessing to sustain maximum peak performance, so now that you’re a barre aficionado, what can you do to push yourself a little harder? 1. Now that you’ve got your form down, focus […]

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Beauty & Skin Care Holiday Gift Guide

December 8, 2015

Who else placed about 7 different orders between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and is still Christmas shopping? Insert blonde emoji chick with her arm in the air. I am! I really shouldn’t be that stressed with Christmas gifts this year. My family is doing a no-presents Christmas and instead taking a trip to Mexico […]

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5 Ways To Take Your Barre Form To The Next Level

November 2, 2015

It’s so easy to simply go through the motions of any fitness class. Many clients don’t realize that they can up their results by over 60% by simply adjusting form and intensity. How much you put into a workout might be a case of personal preference, understanding of technique, or a case of just “not […]

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Training & refueling with a heart rate monitor

October 26, 2015

When I was training for my Marine Corps Marathon, an expert recommended heart rate training to me. At the time, I was a stranger to using a heart rate monitor. I was all about keeping running enjoyable, and on top of a regimented schedule of how I’d tackle the high mileage, I ended up ditching […]

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