I haven't been to an organized fitness program since the 90s except for two instances. I had a brief Zumba stint in 2012, which ended because my son threw endless tantrums at the gym daycare and wasn't allowed back. The second was an Abs & Buns class at Planet Fitness where I faked a coughing attack to get out of the class and never came back. When I was asked to review the brand new Pure Barre studio in Lincoln Park, I was slightly terrified. I envisioned a class full of professional ballerinas clad in chic black and pink attire with perfectly styled ballerina bun hair. I then saw myself in the back, holding on to the bar for dear life. Let me tell you how surprised I was that this was as far from the truth as possible!

I parked on Halsted amidst the hustle and bustle of the vibrant Lincoln Park life. When I stepped into the studio, the calm but upbeat atmosphere was a welcome change: modern and spacious, with soft lighting and invigorating music. The owner, Ashley, is a true young professional- she has her MBA from Northwestern and is passionate about the barre method for the transformative effects it has on women's bodies.

Each class is 55 minutes long, and you will be happy to know that I didn't have to fake any type of respiratory illness to excuse myself early. The instructor, Marguerite, was encouraging and supportive with her comments, gently correcting my less than ideal form in a way that wasn't embarrassing or belittling. The class was full of women of every shape and size- curvy, athletic, willowy.

Pure Barre Lincoln Park with owner Ashley Paro

The moves themselves are completely unlike any form of exercise I have experienced- when you circle the floor with your toe, Marguerite instructed me to pretend I was circling a dime. Yes, the movements are that small and controlled! At first, I thought- really, how effective could small movements like this be? Oh, then I was proved incredibly wrong when my muscles started to burn and shake. I was borderline horrified when my legs started shaking so much that I could barely stand, but Marguerite smiled a beatific smile and complimented me on my shaking (shaking is changing!).

Pure Barre Lincoln Park

There were a few tools involved- a small rubber exercise ball, rubber tubing and a mat, but for the most part it is you trying to control miniscule movements. You receive a total body workout: seat, hips, thighs, abs, and arms. As for the music- no classical or jazzy elevator music here! Artists such as Sam Smith crooned from the speakers as you tried to focus on those last counts of holding a position.

All in all, I truly feel that this is an innovative and incredibly effective form of exercise. You can see changes in your physique in as few as ten classes, which for a results-oriented person like me is a definite plus.

I highly recommend giving Pure Barre in Lincoln Park a whirl- they have some great new client specials that make this an affordable way to burn off those holiday calories! They are located at 2058 N. Halsted, and you can give them a call at 872-206-5154.

Disclosure: I attended a complimentary class for review purposes. All opinions are honest and my own.