January 2020

Pure Barre Hilton Head Island: The exercise you need, the connection you crave

Author: Linda S. Hopkins | Photographer: Celia G Photographie

When you discover something you love, it’s natural to want to share it with others. And so it was and is for Jenna Irvin, owner of Pure Barre Hilton Head Island, who came across the exercise technique while attending college. Little did she know that her newfound fitness routine would not only steer her career path but lead her to a place of connection and belonging like she had never experienced before.

Irvin, who graduated from High Point University with a BA in communications and a focus in sports management and health, applied for Pure Barre franchise ownership while finishing her senior year in college. The plan was to build a studio in Frederick, Maryland, which she did. But during construction, she came to Hilton Head Island to teach; that’s when she fell in love with the Lowcountry, making it a no-brainer to return here when the opportunity arose to purchase the local studio. “Opening Maryland from the ground up gave me a lot of experience, so when I came here, it was a community and a place that I loved, and I was able to do my job from my heart again,” she said.

Ready, set, begin!
For the uninitiated, explaining the Pure Barre philosophy and technique is like trying to tell someone what a first kiss feels like or what it means to fall in love. The only way to understand is to experience it yourself.
Maybe you’ve heard about Pure Barre but haven’t yet taken that first step into the studio yet. What better way to begin than to grant yourself permission to be a beginner?

“I was terrible at it to start, but I was determined to figure it out,” Irvin, a six-foot-one former basketball player confessed. I didn’t have a graceful bone in my body.”

She soon learned that the workout, while incorporating a ballet barre, didn’t require dance experience or any other special skills or natural abilities. “It was the first fitness activity I found where I wasn’t in competition with anybody or where I wasn’t hyper-focused on my body. I was able to tune out the world and connect my mind to my muscles,” she said.

The allure, she explained, is not only in the technique, but in the welcoming environment. “Sometimes the Pure Barre brand can seem intimidating. But when you walk through the doors and you’re met with kindness and smiles, you’re no longer afraid to be here. You may not know what you’re doing, but you know that you’re welcome, and that’s all that matters when you’re trying something for the first time.

“We have clients who have been with us since the doors opened five years ago, and they still swear that Pure Barre is that magical piece of their fitness routine,” she continued. “They’ve also made lifelong friendships by making the decision to walk through our doors. Veterans welcome newcomers like they are their best friends. It’s this open space to come as you are, and I think that helps new clients.”

The workout
Now that you’re curious, you’re probably wondering what to expect. The workout routines are for everybody—no matter your size, age, or current fitness level. Taught by highly trained instructors, Pure Barre Hilton Head Island features three group class formats that deliver an effective total body workout focused on low-impact, high-intensity movements that lift and tone muscles and improve strength, agility and flexibility:

Classic. The original barre class and the foundation of the proprietary technique is a 50-minute routine that guides you through a series of low-impact high-intensity movements designed to strengthen and tone your body in ways that no other technique can.

Empower. This class blends Pure Barre Classic with cardio-centric movements using ankle weights and a small step bench to elevate your heart rate and improve cardiorespiratory fitness.

Reform. This class marries Pure Barre Classic technique with strength, coordination and balance movements using resistance bands, sliders and the barre.

It is recommended that you begin with Pure Barre Classic in order to understand some basic moves and lingo, and it generally takes a few visits to catch on. Once you do, you are encouraged to incorporate all three class formats, in a rotation based on your goals, for a complete and balanced fitness program.

When combined, the three workout routines give you all the elements of fitness (strength, endurance, and flexibility), while preventing the plateaus that typically occur when you perform the same exercise routine over time. “That plateau doesn’t ever really happen because you are constantly switching up and keeping your muscles guessing,” Irvin explained.

The workouts are also modify-able, so you can work to your level but still be challenged every day. “I love that it’s not a competition,” Irvin said. “Everybody else is there to support you, but it’s all about what you want that day, and you are given the opportunity to create that.” 

Pure Barre Hilton Head Island is located at 28 Shelter Cove Lane, Suite 105, in Shelter Cove Towne Centre. For more information, visit www.purebarre.com/location/hilton-head-sc or call (843) 785-7888.

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