September 2016

Pure Barre Hilton Head Island: Challenge your Body, Change your Life

Author: Linda S. Hopkins | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Breaking news: Shrinking waistlines, lifted seats and toned thighs have been sighted in the vicinity of Shelter Cove Towne Centre on Hilton Head Island. An investigation has determined that Pure Barre Hilton Head Island is the organization responsible. Eye witnesses report a close-knit group with bodies showing signs of increased physical strength and flexibility; additional evidence indicates mysterious side effects including high levels of confidence and unusually positive outlooks. Stay tuned for the latest updates….

“There are two kinds of people: the ones who are at Pure Barre class and those who are talking about it and want to know more,” said 56-year-old Candace Klimpel. “I can’t believe how many people ask me about it.”

What’s behind the curiosity? Visible results. “I’ve lost inches in areas where I never expected to lose inches,” Klimpel said. And she’s not alone.

Like most first-timers, Kathi Plomin was skeptical, but she joined for the $100 introductory month and saw changes within four weeks. Three pants sizes smaller since she began taking classes 18 months ago, she has whittled a good six inches from her waistline.

“I used to close my eyes when I got out of the shower so I wouldn’t see myself in the mirror,” Plomin said. “At menopause, my mid-section ballooned and I didn’t know what to do about it. I tried everything. I went to yoga; I went to Pilates. Neither helped. I haven’t changed my lifestyle in any other way except that I go almost every day to Pure Barre. I am living proof that it works.”

Lest you think that Pure Barre is for mid-lifers only, just ask eighteen-year-old Megan Weldy. The recent Hilton Head Island High School graduate has lost 30 pounds since discovering Pure Barre two years ago. “I had really been struggling to get in shape,” she said. “I did change my eating habits, but I started realizing a difference within a few weeks of starting Pure Barre.” Weldy is headed to the University of South Carolina in Columbia this fall and has already scoped out the nearest Pure Barre so that she can continue her practice.

The draw
Klimpel was searching for a safe, low-impact workout that she could modify according to her individual needs. Pure Barre came highly recommended by several medical professionals, and now she knows why. “The instructors are really well-trained,” she said. “This is what you’re paying for. It’s a big deal to have instructors who are looking to see that you are doing the exercises properly.” Yet adjustments and corrections are done quietly, personally and professionally. “No one is embarrassed or feels called out.”

Already active on the local fitness scene, 50-year-old Kathleen Mayers, owner of KPM Flooring and mother of three, said it was her past participation in ballet that initially piqued her interest. “I saw the grand opening and went for the free class. I was hooked after that—absolutely hooked,” she said. “Ironically, it’s not very ballet-like. Some people may be turned off by the fact that there is ‘barre’ in the name; they think it’s ballet, but it’s not.”

Believe it or not, we are toning and tightening our abs.

While Mayers has continued weight training, she said, “No matter how many squats or lunges or whatever else I do at the gym, Pure Barre does these good things for my body that those don’t seem to do. I am far more flexible than I have been in years, and my clothes fit differently—in a good way.”

While Mayers goes to Pure Barre every day and even books her hotels when traveling based on the nearest Pure Barre location, she emphasized that you don’t have to take class seven days a week to reap the benefits. “My life is such that I don’t get a lot of down time. It has to be structured, and that’s my structured down time. It forces me to shut out everything else.”

The magic
Pure Barre members agree that the 55-minute full body workout is much more physically demanding than it looks, and good technique is key. The exercises are based on tiny, isometric movements and focused contractions that strengthen, tone and tighten muscles.

“I think people don’t understand the concept at first,” Plomin said. “Every single time I’ve taken a class, it’s like a new light bulb has come on. I understand something in a deeper way. It took me three months to find my ‘Pure Barre ledge’ [the little crease that connects the top of your thigh and the bottom of your seat]. Finally, one day it dawned on me.”

“My first class was so hard. I kept going and it was still hard. It didn’t get easier, but I understood more. That’s why I fell in love with it. You can always challenge yourself,” Weldy said.
“Pure Barre is so challenging that it makes you focus on you. Nobody is talking. You’re just trying to breathe,” Klimpel added. “You may look at your neighbor and go, ‘Oh my Lord,’ but you are focused on you. And the music moves you along.”

The difference
While there are many ways to get fit, including other barre methods, fitness enthusiasts who have tried the rest are quick to point out benefits that truly set Pure Barre Hilton Head Island apart.
“What’s unusual about Pure Barre is that, although you rarely talk in class—maybe a few minutes before and a few minutes after—it’s an odd mix of feeling supported, not just by the teacher, but by the people in the room,” Mayers said. “I take classes other places and they are good workouts, but I don’t feel the same as I do at Pure Barre. They have created an atmosphere that is nurturing and pushes you to work harder and be better.”

“I definitely have a more toned body,” Klimpel said, “but it’s also good for my mental well-being. I think it helps managing stress. I’ve also met a lot of really lovely women, and that’s been good for me.”

The social aspect and personal bonds are strengthened by an infectious energy that members attribute to local franchise owner Kara Raehn’s ability to connect in a sincere way with every client. That’s no accident.

“We make a point to ensure that no new client walks through our doors without being escorted into the studio, making sure that they feel comfortable, know where everything is and what equipment to grab,” Raehn said. “We do our very best to introduce newcomers to our veteran clients so no one feels alone. We are a family! We want everyone to have a great experience.”

“The people who work there and all of the teachers care so much about you. It’s like a second home for me,” Weldy said. “They keep you on track and make sure you’re doing well; they make me want to come back every day.”

The bottom line
Clearly, Pure Barre is much more than a workout. “It’s been a life-changer for me,” Weldy said. “Before, I was really self-conscious. Pure Barre helped me open up and find myself. I’ve made great friends through it, and the confidence that I carry is a lot more than I ever imagined. I love to share the joy that I’ve found, and I want to let others know that this can change you.”

“Not everybody is built like a ballerina. I’m certainly not,” Klimpel said. “But I look and feel better. I’m the best me.” 

Pure Barre Hilton Head Island is located at 38 Shelter Cove Lane, Suite 129, at the Shelter Cove Towne Centre. Stay tuned for a Bluffton location, coming soon. For more information, call 843-785-7888 or visit online at

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