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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Raising the Barre on Fitness

Workout blends ballet, pilates, strength training By Lisa Moore

Women of all ages and body types are bellying up to the barre to get flatter abs, a tighter tush and sculpted arms. Barre-based workout programs are being embraced by celebrities and grandmas across the country. The intense, hour-long session integrates elements of  ballet, yoga, pilates and isometrics to safely and quickly lose weight, tone the body from head to toe and improve balance and posture. Routines generally consist of pulsing, strengthening movements followed by deep stretches to create long, lean muscles. Participants may use hand weights, a small exercise ball or stretch bands while they strengthen and lengthens muscles to upbeat music.

Bratschi Johnston opened a Pure Barre studio earlier this year in the Myers Park area and is opening a Ballantyne location soon. She says the low impact fitness routine is ideal for any age or fitness level.

“Because it is a zero impact workout it is ideal for those with preexisting injuries or conditions for whom higher impact exercise would be difficult. Our pregnant clients report easier deliveries and a quicker return to pre-body shape after having gone to Pure Barre during their pregnancies.”

For optimum results Johnston recommends people come no less than twice a week if they are doing some other form of exercise and three to five times if they are not.

“Clients report noticeable results after sometimes as few as six sessions - almost all clients report changes after ten sessions.  As with all exercise - diet and consistency are strong contributing factors in how quickly results are achieved.”

Megan Smith says the variety at Pure Barre keeps her challenged and she noticed amazing results after a few weeks.

“The first improvement I noticed was how defined my shoulders and arms became. Before long, I also noticed how long and lean my leg muscles were appearing. My seat area looks better than it has before and I'm now in my thirties. I feel strong and confident and it is incentive to keep going.”

Johnston notes that benefits of this unique cardio/toning workout affect more than the body. “Our clients often talk about the mental benefits of Pure Barre. The intensity of the exercise and the personal fulfillment gained from the challenge produces a more serene mind and spirit.”

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