Barre Fitness: Birmingham’s new cup of tea

Wide-eyed, bubbly, and on the edge of her seat, 30-year-old Kate Lourie resembled an excited little girl anxiously waiting for the revealing of a surprise. “I’m an addict,” she confessed. “There’s no doubt. It’s my panacea.” Though the toned, beautiful brunette works in medical sales for a living, it is not a prescription drug that has her raging. “I’ve never felt or looked this great in my entire life,” she revealed. “I don’t think I’ll ever stop taking [barre] classes.”

Over the last three years, Barre Fitness studios have enthralled the women of Birmingham, already with four established studios within a 15-mile radius. The Barre Fitness technique is composed of repetitious, isometric movements done on a ballet barre, which are designated to strengthen, lengthen, and sculpt the female physique. Nonetheless, toning the body is only one of the many benefits from the workout.

Pure Barre Homewood co-owner and instructor, Lindsay Lancaster, raves about the success of the exercise. “It’s a full-body workout in 55 minutes that is innovative, evolving, changing, and prevents your body from ‘plateauing,’ it just works, it’s as simple as that.” Lancaster proceeded to go into the importance of the mind in Barre Fitness. “We call it an ‘intelligent exercise,’ meaning you put all of your effort and concentration into working that muscle. This is the time for clients to separate themselves from the world for 55 minutes and solely focus on themselves and their body.” Having taken classes at Lancaster’s studio for over a year and a half, Lourie claims she has never been so passionate about a workout. “The results prove themselves. There’s no other work out that has trimmed me in this way or that has given me the mental endorphin release that I need to ease my stress.”

Laura Amistead, owner and founder of Grand Jeté Studio and Boutique in Mountain Brook, says she went into owning her own studio so that she could serve others and share her gift from God with those around her. “The workout itself is completely effective in every way,” she began. “But I try to go beyond effective and more toward enjoyable.” Amistead asserts that to create a comfortable, intimate atmosphere, she tries keeping in touch with her clients and really takes to heart what they want out of the classes.

Alongside Amistead, Lancaster insists that the clients’ needs trump all other matters. “This is their haven, their safe environment. Women can come in here and not feel judged or uncomfortable, rather unified and empowered,” she continues. “It allows them to work their hardest without feeling vulnerable.” Lourie asserts that amidst the inviting atmosphere, she has been able to get close to the staff and fellow clients, claiming they have become a second family to her. “I love that it’s all women. We instantly have that special bond because we’re all there enduring the same pain for similar reasons. Not to mention I love seeing where they all got their workout clothes,” she joked. Lancaster admits that her relationship with the clients and their positive attitudes is what keeps her going everyday. “As instructors, we create professional relationships with clients to let them know that they are important and that they belong to something huge and amazing.”

Clients of barre fitness studios agree that the technique has proven to be successful not only in the physical health of the body, but the mental and emotional health as well. Lourie claims that in all of her life of looking for an effective stress releasing method, she has never felt such ease, relaxation, and confidence all at the same time.“I could never go without [barre fitness] again,” she insists. “It is just so beneficial to my life in every way; I progress physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.” Lourie is only one of the many women that have been inspired by barre fitness in Birmingham, let alone across the country. This innovative way of working out utilizes more than simply the body’s muscles; rather it regenerates the mind and the soul to truly create a “full body workout.”

While gushing about the benefits of the barre fitness technique, Lourie suddenly paused as a mischievous expression came across her face. “Well, there is one bad thing about barre fitness,” she said with a playful grin, “all of my jeans look so good that I don’t even have a favorite pair anymore. It makes it really difficult to pick out something to wear in the morning.” With a twinkle in her eye and a strut in her step, she then proceeded out the door, passing a group of men whose heads turned violently as they gazed after her. Noticing their hardly subtle reaction, Kate giggled as she got a glimpse of herself in the reflection of the window and continued on her way with a brilliant smile.