By Cheryl Conway
While visiting her family in Indianapolis six years ago, this Denville business owner stumbled across an exercise workout one Saturday morning and ever since has become addicted.
She liked the class so much that when she returned to New Jersey she found the exercise technique in New York “two subway stops” away from her office in the city. She started taking classes there during her lunch hour, until she got certified and opened up her own studio in June 2015.
Located at 20 West Main Street in Denville, Pure Barre is in its third year and owner Beth Billmeier is pumped on how this “high energy fitness center” is changing bodies and lives.
“It’s so rewarding, we are changing people’s bodies in terms of their fitness goals, fitting into their clothes, feeling better, strengthening their joints, seeing tone and definition in their body,” says Billmeier, 47, of Morris Plains.
Healthier, stronger bodies have also led members to greater success “in other parts of their life,” in their daily lives such as “on the job tasks” in their professions like for police officers and school teachers, adds Billmeier, as well as in the community as many members and even her staff have created friendships and a support system.
Pure Barre is a full body workout class equipped with a ballet barre built around the room, explains Billmeier. It is structured to “serve all fitness levels.”
One common complaint she hears from new members is “I can’t put my leg on the barre,” says Billmeier. But, the barre, she explains is used for support and for various exercises.
Exercising her “whole life,” Billmeier explains what it is about Pure Barre that is so great.
“Everything,” she comments. There was “nothing about class I didn’t like. It’s a full body workout, head to toe. You’re going to do the whole body, mental and physical.”
She describes it as “fast paced” with “a lot going on at one time,” allowing students to distress, use mental energy and “focus on what the teacher is telling you to do. The mind doesn’t have time to wander; you are really engaged.”
“You will walk taller; your posture will feel improved; your core will be strengthened,” she says. For members who stick with the program, “clothes are fitting differently.”
Before she started this new technique to exercise, Billmeier says there was “never any definition in my triceps.” That has all changed.
Classes include various moves. There is a pushup series, weight work.
The “entire warm-up is focused on developing upper body strength” and classes are geared toward strengthening core and the back.
West To East
Not necessarily a new technique in the exercise world, Pure Barre is growing especially in the east.
Pure Barre began in 2001when it was founded by its owner in Michigan, says Billmeier, and then expanded west to Denver and California. As it grew, the franchise expanded across the country making its way east.
With a bachelor’s in radio and television from Butler University in Indianapolis, Billmeier had been working for 25 years in advertising and sales in the Midwest and N.Y. for ad agencies, MTV Network and Comcast when she retired in 2015 to switch careers and become a franchise owner.
“I was trained by Pure Barre,” to learn the technique and prepare as the owner of her own studio. It involved a “lengthy training process and program,” what all Pure Barr teachers must attain.
She says they learn how to deliver the best class to a variety of levels. Those taking the class can modify the moves according to their capabilities and strength level, she says.
Billmeier’s connection to Denville is also through her husband, Kyle Krause, as he was born and raised in Denville.
“To have a business in his hometown is kind of cool I think,” she says about her husband who she coins as “a behind the scenes kind of guy” and co-owner. “Kyle and I were able to make it happen.”
Billmeier also serves on the board of directors for Downtown Denville Business Improvement District, helping to work booths during the town’s street festival and other promotional events.
Three Class Styles Offered
Pure Barre Classic is the main class offered. Billmeier has been taking this class for six years and teaching if for the past three years. This signature class offers a low impact full body workout that utilizes small isometric movements that engage all major muscle groups to fatigue using one’s own body weight for resistance to create long, lean muscles without the bulk.
Pure Empower is high-cardio intensity, low impact workout that combines strength training with cardio circuit exercises. Ankle weights and a plyometric platform are used.
Although it is “non-impact,” Billmeier stresses “you will sweat.”
Just launched last week, Pure Reform is the newest class at Pure Barre which involves resistance training, coordination and balance by using resistance bands, sliders and the barre.
It is a total body workout that targets, shapes, and defines all major muscle groups.
All of the classes include contemporary music that is motivating, from dance mixes to popular songs and even some country songs. The music is “definitely something for everyone,” she says.
“Empower is dedicated to elevating heart rate and cardio burn,” says Billmeier. “Reform is probably more of a calorie burn.”
Offered Seven Days A Week
Classes at Pure Barre in Denville are taught throughout the day, offering eight to ten classes, seven days a week from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. There are 47 classes in total offered each week with nine held on the weekend, she says. The 900 sq. ft. facility features a one room carpeted studio with a ballet barre that goes around the room. One class is taught at a time and are rotated between 11 different instructors who are all trained and certified to teach the Pure Barre technique, and more specifically the format of the class whether it is the classic, empower or reform style, notes Billmeier. While all the teachers are women, men are certainly invited to train to become a certified Pure Barre instructor.
In the front lobby, a retail boutique offers some clothing to be worn at class such as legging, tanks and sticky socks with rubber grips required for class.
“No sneakers, no bare feet” are permitted in class, specifies Billmeier.
Since classes are safe and non-impact, shoes are not necessary, even the cardio blast portions and toning segments.
Both men and women take classes at Pure Barre in Denville with just about 20 students per class. Students must be 16 years old and up. No need to “fear of being too old, of being too out of shape,” says Billmeier. “Class is modifiable, even with injury, everything is safe.
“This is completely safe for pregnancy,” she says, adding that clients who were pregnant have claimed to have had a “great pregnancy, great delivery” and stay in shape by the time they return post pregnancy. “Most come back six to eight weeks after and don’t look like they had a baby,” she says.
Clients come from Denville as well as surrounding areas such as Rockaway, Mountain Lakes, Boonton as well as Randolph.
An average student can burn anywhere between 400 to 600 calories per class “depending on how hard you are working,” she says.
Current specials include first week free to new local clients; and an intro month for $45 that includes unlimited classes. Those who join will then be offered unlimited packages, monthly memberships or can pay per class.
“You can really do good work once you are getting in the groove,” says Billmeier. “With Pure Barre, I’m six years in. “I’m not remotely bored. I’m still seeing results and changes; I’m still getting sore; still toning the body. The class is never the same class twice and it works.”
When it comes to exercise, Billmeier says “I may have done it all including running a marathon,” but with Pure Barre “its fun, it works, it’s addictive. You look forward to getting to your Pure Barre class.”
Billmeier says she is “hoping things like Pure Barre are keeping me young;” that it is providing that “mind, body connection” that is “good for the brain.” The Pure Barre technique is “mental and physical.” It is clearly “the fastest, most effective way to change the shape of your body.”
For more information, go to www.purebarre.com or http://purebarre.com/nj-denville/.