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Bonita & Estero Magazine

Burning at the Barre

Jun 17, 2015 08:16AM ● By Corinne Moore
Build strength, lengthen muscles and burn fat at Pure Barre studios

By Alex Crosbie


Pure Barre is a fitness sensation that is sweeping the nation, and this popular form of exercise can now be experienced in Fort Myers. A Pure Barre studio opened up on College Parkway in March.

“Pure Barre is a 55-minute total body workout that focuses on the areas that many women tend to have trouble with,” explains studio owner Jennifer Hissam. The workouts emphasize toning and tightening the arms, abs, thighs, hips and seat. A typical workout starts with a warm-up and then moves into some floor work that targets the arms; participants use free weights, usually from two to five pounds, during this part of the routine. After the floor work, the class shifts gears and focuses on the seat and thighs. This work is typically done at the ballet barre, which can be used as an aid for balance. The class finishes with some abdominals work that is done with a yoga mat on the floor. “It’s all set to different music and we have several different teachers, so there are always a variety of classes available,” Hissam says.

Although often compared to other fitness regimens such as yoga or Pilates, Pure Barre is unique. It gives its clients a total body workout designed to help build strength, lengthen the muscles and burn fat. The movements are small and controlled, involving a lot of pulsing, which really gets the muscles burning. “We recommend coming a few times a week for three to four weeks in order to start seeing results,” says Hissam. Pure Barre can achieve results on its own, but many participants use it to supplement other fitness routines.

InfowallThe Fort Myers studio is part of a national company founded by Carrie Dorr, a dancer who opened the first studio in Birmingham, Michigan, in 2001. It now has more than 200 locations nationwide, and countless more are slated to open in 2015. The Fort Myers location is the newest of three studios in Southwest Florida, with one in Naples and one in Estero. The first to open in this area was the Naples studio, and since its opening in September 2013, it has been very popular. Olga Metzler, who is a part owner in all three locations, says, “We were busy from day one after opening our location in Naples. We saw the need for more studios, so we expanded to both Estero and Fort Myers.” Both the Fort Myers and Estero locations are expected to be just as popular.

Each studio is set up as a boutique where clients can purchase Pure Barre clothing and other merchandise. “It’s kind of like a lifestyle,” says Hissam. “It’s a community of like-minded women, and the boutique aspect is a large part of the feeling we are trying to create.” Pure Barre is not just for women, however. It’s definitely a fitness regimen and lifestyle that men can get into as well. “There are a lot of men that attend in Naples, as well as all around the world,” Hissam says. She adds that runners often find Pure Barre to be a great way to strengthen their muscles.

The Pure Barre technique is low impact and focuses on small controlled movement designed to tone and lengthen the muscles, so it’s safe for anyone. “People who have had injury or joint damage often find Pure Barre an effective way to build back their strength and stay in shape,” says Hissam. There are also ways to modify the movements so that people who have some difficulty with it can still get in a great workout. “We also have pregnancy modifications for pregnant women who want to keep up with their exercise routines,” Hissam adds.

Pure Barre clients have many good things to say about the workouts. “You can definitely tell it’s working,” says Pure Barre newbie Andrea Hall. “I felt like I had instant results.”

Pure Barre Fort Myers offers classes seven days a week at several different times in the morning and evening. Clients can sign up for classes online or join a class as a walk-in. Each class has a 25-person cap, however, and once the workout begins, no late entry is allowed.

Alex Crosbie is a graduate of the University of South Florida. She is a life enthusiast with a passion for writing and encouraging confidence and positivity in others.

Pure Barre Fort Myers 7381 College Parkway, Suite 100 239-240-7777;

Pure Barre Estero 21740 S. Tamiami Trail, Suite 113 239-789-6900;

Pure Barre Naples 1410 Pine Ridge Road, #10 239-384-9684;

The Pure Barre technique is low impact and focuses on small controlled movement designed to tone and lengthen the muscles, so it’s safe for anyone.