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For fast fitness results, belly up to the barre

(Note: This is the second in a series on alternatives to traditional workout regimes. Aside from preventing boredom, it has been shown that varying one’s workouts improves results. Consult a doctor before starting any workout program.)

Pure Barre New Orleans takes exercise in ballet directions.

In a city known more for imbibing than exercising, you’d be excused if you drove by Pure Barre at 3923 Magazine Street and assumed it was just one more watering hole in a town full of them.

In fact, Pure Barre (pronounced ‘Bar’) is a workout regime that uses the ballet bar and small, isometric movements to “tone in record time,” said manager Anna Aitken.

The 55-minute workout, which focuses on the abs, thighs, and seat area, involve “very small movements — we’re not doing full range of motion — so it’s low impact on your knees,” said Aitken. “And after we work our muscles to exhaustion, we stretch them out to create a long, lean physique.”

“Basically, you hold your lowest, most challenging working zone and from there you only move like one inch in every direction,” said Sarah Winston, who has been coming to Pure Barre since January. “I’ve done a lot of workouts in my life and I still do lots of workouts, but I’ve never been able to really isolate my leg muscles like this. At the end of it my legs are shaking.”

Pure Barre’s clientele are mostly women, who “love it because it isolates muscles that women have a hard time controlling,” said Winston, citing such trouble spots as the “muffin top.” There are also specials available for brides-to-be and new moms.

During the NFL lockout, however, several Saints players tried it out. “They said it was much harder than it looks,” said Aitken.

Each workout at the Magazine Street studio burns 300 to 500 calories (PB NOLA)

Each workout burns 300 to 500 calories, Aitken said, and it’s recommended that one come in three or four times a week to really see results. Mental focus such as that involved in yoga is also a key to the workout.

Carrie Rezabek Dorr, a dancer, choreographer, and fitness guru, founded Pure Barre out of the basement of her Michigan home in 2001, and it has spread to locations across the country.

Along with the Magazine Street location, Pure Barre has also just opened a Mandeville location at 1814 North Causeway Blvd., Unit 8. (985.674.7577, e-mail: The Magazine Street location’s phone number is 504.342.2208, or e-mail

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Brian Friedman writes about New Orleans for NolaVie.


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