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Aaptiv’s Maya Hutchinson on Why More Men Should Try Barre

Our Community Manager leads Pure Barre classes in addition to her work at Aaptiv.

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On a long list of misconceptions about barre, the idea that it’s not challenging or particularly intense sits at the top. Aaptiv community manager and Pure Barre instructor, Maya Hutchinson, begs to differ. “I wasn’t really into the idea of barre classes until my friend dragged me once in college,” she says. “I took one class and it completely kicked my ass. I was obsessed.” And Hutchinson knows hard workouts.

The San Francisco-native grew up playing every sport under the sun before choosing to focus on lacrosse and soccer in what was a highly competitive high school atmosphere. “My high school took sports and fitness really seriously,” she explains. “We had personal trainers and weight rooms. So, I got into a groove of going to practice and then staying after to work with a trainer.”

That groove followed her to college where she passed on sports and channeled her competitive itch into various group fitness classes, including a dedicated daily indoor cycling practice. Her introduction to barre changed that. Here, Hutchinson shares how she skipped sorority recruitment to become an instructor, what teaching barre and managing Aaptiv’s community have in common, and why more men should practice barre.

How did you go from barre student to barre instructor?

“I loved barre the moment I did it, but my classes were adding up to $150 a month, which was way too much when I was in college. So, I got a job at the front desk of my studio. A couple months in the owner approached me and asked if I ever considered becoming a Pure Barre instructor and I always had, but figured it would come later in life. She told me there was a spot open for training in Denver and I dropped everything, including sorority recruitment, and went.”

What about barre made you fall in love with it so immediately?

“It’s so funny now because I was really hesitant to try that first class. They were so trendy and it just honestly didn’t seem like it was going to be a good workout. But I felt it working right away. I left my first few classes feeling sore in areas I didn’t even know I had muscles. It’s weird because I didn’t necessarily feel like I was doing very much, but my arms and legs were shaking. It’s really fast transitions and actually kind of boot camp-like. I actually saw changes in my body within a month.”

What kind of changes?

“I enjoyed cycling for a long time, but didn’t necessarily love what it was doing to my body. Some things just don’t work for certain body types. With barre, my body went the complete other way. I was building strength, but leaning out. I was targeting specific muscle groups I hadn’t before with other methods.”

You weren’t sure about barre before you started. What other misconceptions do you think exist about it?

“I think a lot of people view barre as a dance-based, ballet, or Pilates-style workout. And some barre styles do use actual terms like plié and relevé. It can come off as all about flexibility or like it’s easy, which I think deters a lot of men. But it’s actually really intense and we use weights and we do really sweat.”

Do you think more men should take barre classes?

“Yes! It’s definitely geared toward the female body, but we have men come to Pure Barre and they see results in half the time women do just because male bodies seem to shape easier than female bodies. I think it may intimidate men because, first, they’ll likely be one of the only males in the class and, second, there is a flexibility component, which may be a little more difficult for a guy who doesn’t focus as much on flexibility. The male clients I do have, though, absolutely love it.”

It sounds like the perfect cross-train.

“I always recommend barre as a cross-train. You can, obviously, see amazing results by just doing barre classes, but you’re going to miss that endurance component. I say the perfect trifecta is to build muscle with barre, get your cardio in with running, and stretch it all out in yoga.”

What’s your favorite thing about teaching a fitness class?

“I teach about five classes per week, plus any I pick up for other people, and it never feels like work. I was always captain on my sports teams and I really love motivating people. With Pure Barre, it changed my body, it changed the way I think about working out, and now I get to give that to other people. I like being the person who makes sure people are working hard for themselves. It’s also just so much fun. The music is all electronic and dance so the energy is incredible. It’s kind of a release.”

How do you manage your barre schedule with your full-time job here at Aaptiv and still maintain some semblance of a social life?

“It’s definitely hard, but I think I’m a very self-aware person and I know that if I don’t make time to exercise, I get stressed. So, I’m happy to sacrifice an hour of sleep to get my workout in or teach a class before work. I’m really structured with my schedule. I write something in my calendar and I just make it happen. My friends make fun of me because I’m not very good at just going with the flow.”

That organization must help you here at work.

“It really does. I schedule my workday with the same attention I schedule my barre and social lives. I’m still figuring it out, though. This is still my first full-time job.”

Do you see any similarities between your job teaching barre and your job as Community Manager?

“Definitely. I look at my job at Aaptiv as I’m half cheerleader and half instructor. I’m here to support and cheer on our community, as well as offer real fitness advice and direct members to information and blog posts that can help them make progress. It’s the exact same with my barre classes and students. There’s this motivational side and then the actual educational component.”

What do you love about working at Aaptiv?

“Everything. I love that everyone has their job and you’re trusted to own your portion. I feel like my ideas are being listened to and considered and that’s empowering. It’s fun, it’s fast. Everyone takes their jobs seriously without taking themselves seriously and that’s amazing.”

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