Working out in Missoula: My First-Timer Experience

As the summer ends and winter creeps up on me, I find myself losing motivation to keep myself healthy and happy. However, I continued to see advertisements for spin and barre classes, two things I did not know anything about before this adventure. In place of my very few days at the gym, I decided to try out the new fad. Here is my experience with these different places in Missoula.

Hype House: Spin Class

What an amazing first official spin class experience. I had been to spin classes at my gym before, but nothing could quite prepare me for this intense workout. Hype-House made my first time ride an easy-breezy experience. They offer a free-ride to all first-timers, and all I had to do was sign up and schedule the class on their website. Within the same day, I was in the studio ready to take my first spin class.

When I arrived, I walked up to the two ladies at the front desk who were extremely welcoming. They recognized from my reservation that I was new and they told me they would show me around. I got a free shoe rental with my first ride (you need special shoes to latch onto the pedals) and waited for my friends. Once my friends arrived, we headed to our reserved bikes and the ladies were nice enough to come show us how to adjust everything correctly to make sure we were protecting our joints. Something I loved about this place was that they turned the lights off for the workout (phew!).

The instructors wear luminescent clothing to make sure you can see them. We started off with a warm-up. Now, just that was enough to kick my butt. You are consistently changing pace and increasing gears to challenge yourself. We then went into some sprints and other choreographed moves which involved moving up and down to work out arms and quads (no matter how fit you are, you have to be coordinated for these moves). Eventually, we slowed down, sat up, and proceeded to complete a 5-minute arm workout with weights; while on the bike. We then finished off with some longer sprints and a nice stretch to calm down our muscles.

There were a couple things I loved about this place. Firstly, they were incredibly welcoming. Although I was lucky enough to have some friends with me, I would have felt comfortable alone. Secondly, I loved the instructor. She spent the class motivating us by encouraging us to push ourselves and get the most from our workout while also respecting the boundaries of those who don’t frequent her classes. She wanted us to push ourselves as long as we felt comfortable.

Overall, this was a great first stop on my fitness journey. I felt motivated and rejuvenated from my workout, but the most important part of the studio was the support given by instructors, employees, and even experienced riders.

Pure Barre

Missoula Pure Barre Studio

I am sure I was not alone in asking myself this question before going to Pure Barre: What the heck is a Barre class? From my experience, I learned that it’s a strength-based workout class that focuses on building and toning all the muscles in your body. A ballet bar is used (yes the one that sits up against all the mirrors) to complete really intense reps that focus on your leg and glute muscles. I have never been quite as sore as I was the day after going to this class.

It all began with me signing up for their free first-timers class on their website. I entered all of my details to create a profile, and they said they would contact me about scheduling my first class. Nowadays, we sign up for things online and receive an automated email about “signing up”. However, someone at the studio personally texted me to help me schedule a time for my trial in a class that would work well for me. As someone who has never done a barre class, their foundations class was my best option. The class is an “easier” version of their alternative ones.

Pure Barre Facebook Advertisement

When I arrived for the class, I was again greeted by two welcoming women who introduced themselves and showed me where I could change and keep my belongings for the class. Once I was all ready, the instructor personally introduced herself and asked about my previous experience to gauge what I needed to know. She then showed me the proper form for their moves and we began class.

The class was just as I thought it might be: intense. We worked out our abs, legs, glutes, arms, back muscles, and anything else you can think of. But it was amazing! The instructor switched between demonstrating and roaming around the room helping people fix their posture and answering any questions. The thing I loved the most was that the instructor knew everyone’s names, even mine. She would use it when she spotted me working hard or having exceptional form. This was encouraging and welcoming.

After class, my instructor thanked me and asked me about my experience. They provided me with information about their different membership packages and sent me on my way. What a great first barre class! The welcoming environment that focused on helping newcomers feel like a part of their family encouraged me to fall in love with the workout.

Barre 406

After Pure Barre, I had to get a sense of another studio to compare. Was it the workout that I loved so much? Or was it the environment of supportive women encouraging me to better myself? Either way, I knew I wanted to try more.

Barre 406 Facebook Advertisement

Barre 406 allows first-timers to try one of their classes for just $5. Their purchase process was slightly hard to follow, but I managed to get signed up and into class all in the same day! Once I signed up, I followed the directions on their website to make it to their studio located by the Sunshine Factory next to the mall. Once I found the studio, the first thing to greet me at their door was two cute dogs! Yay! The cute pups greeted everyone at the door to provide some puppy-therapy before a hard workout.

The ladies at the front desk again helped me to get settled in and showed me around their comfortable studio. Once I was changed, I met my instructor and got settled into the class. Now, comparatively, this class was harder than Pure Barre. Pure Barre worked on functional strength with fewer reps, while Barre 406 focused on repetitive, difficult moves. The class was fun, and by the end of the 50 minutes, my legs were shaking so much I could barely walk back to my car. The aftermath in the next couple of days were some seriously sore muscles!

Overall though, I liked the studio and the instructor. I felt comfortable in my first class, and definitely felt welcomed back for more classes after that. It would be hard to exactly compare Pure Barre and Barre 406, because the moves were not exactly the same, but I would definitely stick with my argument that Barre 406 is a more intense workout, while Pure Barre offers a more accommodating beginner experience.

Sobba Cyle: Spin Class

Like barre class, I also wanted to experience another spin class to know how unique each studio is in their offerings. Luckily at that time, Sobba Cycle of Missoula was offering a free “Stressless” ride for UM students before finals. This worked well for me to experience their studio, and it was also a great way to attract new clients. Normally Sobba Cycle does not offer a free or discounted first ride, so this promotion was great timing.

Their sign up process was, like most all the others, a fairly simple process. I followed their Facebook promotional event to their website and was able to book the class easily.

When I arrived, I once again expressed to the welcoming ladies that I was new and they helped me to get my free rental shoes checked out. The instructor came out of the cycle room and asked me if I would need some help adjusting my bike for my first ride. Once I was all settled in, we began. Similar to Hype House, the room was kept dark (phew!) and only the instructor’s stage was lit up.

Now, there were many similar things about this class to Hype House. Movements and choreography were very similar to each other. However, this class felt as though it were less sporadically intense, but more consistently intense. Of course, it could be that after three other workout classes within a few weeks of each other relative to virtually no exercise, I was actually building resilience. I was able to adjust my gears and push myself a little bit harder than I did at Hype House (yay for self-improvement!). Either way, the class was difficult but fun. I especially felt comfortable in a room full of first-timers.

After-class, as a treat for hard work, they provided us with kombucha and a healthy snack! The studio did a great job of letting its culture shine through to the new-comers during this promotion.

In Review

Overall, this was a super fun project. I got to experience all kinds of studios in Missoula and learn about each one’s offerings and cultures. This helped me to realize my fitness goals, and also helped me to understand the work I need to do to get where I want to be. One of the best things about experiencing these classes was knowing that there are groups of people who are experiencing the same workouts, having the same goals, and wanting to be working towards them in a supportive group environment. Now, while I was focusing on portraying the authentic experiences that each studio offers, I was intentionally not mentioning the costs of keeping up with these workouts. Needless to say, these workouts are not in the average college student’s budget. They range from around $100-$120 a month. Although I find these to be valuable workout methods, I look forward to finally joining the club when I can afford it.