Shaking and burning are two things most people don’t care to experience, especially at the same time. But according to Pure Barre Zona Rosa owner Michelle Keraus, shaking and burning is exactly what her clients aim for.
Pure Barre is a mix of pilates, yoga and ballet that focuses on small or “isometric” movements, Keraus said. In 2001, dancer Carrie Rezabek Dorr opened the first Pure Barre studio in Birmingham, Mich. In 2009, Pure Barre became a franchise and now has more than 375 studios nationwide. Each class is 55 minutes long. Although each class is different, it always follows a routine: a warm up, followed by arm work, thigh work, seat work and ab work, with stretching in between each.
Having a background in dance, Pure Barre appealed to Kereaus who took her first class in October 2013, and went every day for the rest of the month. The mother of three realized she couldn’t afford to continue classes, but she still wanted to do the workouts. She decided to become an instructor. She has taught classes in Naples, Fla., since.
“In the back of my head I knew I wanted to do something more,” Kereaus said. “I wanted to own my own business, and I jumped on the opportunity.”
An Iowa native, Keraus wanted to raise her kids in the Midwest. In January, Keraus opened a studio in Zona Rosa, the second Pure Barre in the area. The other location is in Overland Park. Keraus just celebrated the Zona Rosa studio’s sixth month anniversary. She promotes the franchise motto — “lift, tone and burn.”
“The goal is to use the isometric movements to make the muscles burn and shake,” Keraus said. “The shaking comes from exhaustion, it’s done. Then it’s time to stretch, form and lengthen.”
Unlike some fitness programs, Keraus tells clients that the goal isn’t to lose weight, it’s to get stronger. She said first the inches come off, and then the muscle builds.
One of those clients is Amanda DeBerg of Gladstone. She started taking classes when the Zona Rona location opened. She’s tried workouts from boot camps to zumba, but likes Pure Barre because of the uplifting community and supporting instructors. She said it is common to hear instructors compliment and encourage clients by first name.
“I love that I feel healthier, stronger and more confident after each class,” DeBerg said. “I’m always looking forward to going and I don’t get bored at all. And I get to work out in my socks, which is a bonus.”
DeBerg was nervous to go to her first class, but it isn’t just the fitness-obsessed that go to Pure Barre, she said. She’s seen moms, young professionals and grandmas who take the classes — from people who are just beginning to others that have been doing Pure Barre for years.
Kim Coleman, from Weatherby Lake, is one of the beginners. She started take classes in Zona Rosa on July 2 when her sister-in-law was visiting and convinced her to try a class.
With kids and a full time job, Coleman tries to take classes three times a week. Coleman and her sister-in-law work on keeping each other accountable, although they live across the country. She said they encourage each other to eat well, stay active and brainstorm ideas to keep on track.
“I’m not a morning person, but I might need to become one,” Coleman said. “The early classes at 5 or 6 in the morning sound like nails on a chalkboard to me, but Dana (her sister-in-law) doesn’t mind them. I am hoping she can convince me to peel myself from bed and get to a class before work.”
Keraus said new clients are walking through the door every day since the opening. The anniversary celebration had free classes and raffles, and Keraus hopes to have more events to bring in new customers. She tells clients the longer you do it, the better it gets.
“As long as you’re pushing yourself, it will never be easy.”
Jennifer Aldrich: 816-234-4765, @jenni_aldrich