Pairing fitness with a glass of wine

Working out every day makes me feel energized and capable, and having a glass of wine at day’s end brings a sense of peace. So, imagine my delight a few weeks ago when my dear friend Bonni Alpert invited me to take a fitness class followed by adult beverages at Black Birch Vineyard in Hatfield.

It was a more winning combination in my mind than Reese’s chocolate and peanut butter. Better than maple ice cream with walnuts. Better even than surf and turf.

It was strength and solace, all in one, and I got to experience it with Bonni. I told her I was in.

The Pure Barre class at the vineyard began at 5:30 in the afternoon on a Wednesday—much later than Bonni and I are accustomed to exercising. We’d both already worked out that day and were far ready-er for the wine portion of the program than we were for the rugged drills that Pure Barre was about to dish out.

But we had our yoga mats. And we were set up in the front row so that we could be sure to see what was going on. We are quinquagenarians after all.

Behind us in the grass at the vineyard was a sea of millennials as well as a few other women our age. It was threatening to rain.

Pure Barre, in Northampton, was founded by a dancer, choreographer, and fitness guru. As a former dancer who likes to run, row, and lift weights, I was psyched to see what the program would look like and also a bit worried about whether I could handle it.

The website says Pure Barre offers a total body workout that employs small, isometric movements that burn fat, sculpt muscles, and create long, lean physiques.

The operative word there was burn, we learned. And those small movements—using your abs, arms, legs, butt muscles—they were killer. But ooh, they hurt so good.

Bonni and I both held our own during the 60 minutes. We followed along, managing to perform at perhaps 85-90 percent. We took microscopic rests when we needed to and dove back in for more because we are both ridiculously competitive and a little obsessed about keeping our aging selves fit.

The sky opened up several times, drizzling on the outdoor classroom of women, but the drops helped cool us down and felt rather good.

At precisely 6:30, the three instructors set us free. Bonni and I gave each other high fives and bellied up to the Black Birch bar for a glass of wine. She had a red Cab blend, and I had the Traminette.

We spent the next few hours engrossed in deep girl conversation. All of it strengthened my soul!

I could feel the Pure Barre workout the next day in my core. It felt like a difference you could see, so I intend to sign up for classes and work Pure Barre into my regular routine.

It’s the Year of Strength after all. So why not?

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