These book club friends are getting toned with Pure Barre, a fitness trend designed to strengthen and tone the body to look like a dancer's.

Pure Barre Fitness
Meet the Girls:Darlene Felker, 42; Bridgett Ogle, 30; Danielle Pirkle, 38 The Goal: Get in shape from classes together at least once a week.Results: Darlene loves having stronger core muscles. B
| Credit: Robbie Caponetto

When Chattanooga resident Bridgett Ogle heard about a new workout to help her fit better into her jeans, she wanted in. Not one to go it alone, she brought her entire book club with her. Now the women of the "Reading Between the Wines" book club are hooked on the bar—Pure Barre.

Pure Barre exercises are designed to strengthen and tone a woman's body to look like a dancer's: long, lean, and strong. "I love that the class is designed for women and works every muscle in our bodies," says Bridgett, the owner of a pet grooming and boarding business.

She and her friends meet at the Chattanooga Pure Barre each Sunday afternoon for the intense 55-minute workout. There they follow the lead of an instructor who walks them through a series of precise moves that focus on areas notoriously tough to tone—abs, hips, arms, and bottom.

There's no jumping or cardio. Instead, the instructor leads students through exercises on the floor and at a ballet barre. Each move stretches and then strengthens the targeted areas, which results in long and lean muscles (without adding bulk).

Although Pure Barre draws upon dance moves (as well as Pilates), the students don't have to have any dance experience. Most don't, but instead are like the book club women who simply want to get healthier and feel better.

"We all love to cook and eat—it's a big part of our monthly book club," says Darlene Felker, a paralegal. "So it's only fitting we're balancing it out with our weekly workout together," she says. She also loves to exercise on her own, including indoor cycling.

"Though I exercise on my own, I am not very motivated to push myself. I'm motivated knowing that my friends are going to class—we enjoy spending the time together as well as the healthy competition."

Danielle Pirkle, a marketing manager and mom of two, says that working out with her book club has helped her lose weight she gained during pregnancy. Knowing that she's going to be held accountable if she doesn't show up helps too. "Socializing with an awesome group of women makes you elevate your game personally and professionally," she says.

"They can push you and make you better. It's the ideal support group!"

Try Pure Barre at Home
Although attending a class is ideal, you can benefit from doing Pure Barre moves at home too. Find these products at

  • 45-minute DVDs guide you through a range of Pure Barre moves. 16th Street 1 is for beginners; 16th Street 2 is a tougher workout.
  • Pure Barre double tubing is used in the DVDs and adds resistance.
  • Necessary at the studio and helpful at home (for grip) are Pure Barre socks.