Instructor: Shalisa Pouw, of Denver, who co-owns the Boulder franchise with Mish Metz, of Golden. Both women have a background in dance and met dancing for the Denver Nuggets.

Pouw, who taught my class, started teaching Pure Barre October 2009 in Cherry Creek and decided shortly thereafter that she wanted to open a Boulder branch.

What is the workout? Pure Barre is a specific, full-body muscle-toning technique that combines ballet, Pilates and yoga principles, driven by music. Students use the ballet barre to perform small isometric moves that lift your seat (glutes), tone your thighs and burn fat. The moves are no-impact and easy on the joints. Each strength portion of class is following by stretching to lengthen muscles.

"It's the safest, most effective and fastest way to change your body," Pouw says.

In fact, Pure Barre claims that students will see results in 10 classes.

What's different: Pure Barre uses its own technique, distinguishing it from other ballet-barre classes. It was created by a dancer, so the classes have a strong emphasis on music. The instructor carries a remote control and changes the songs to complement each exercise, increasing volume when participants need to push harder. The music is key to getting you through such a challenging hour.

Pure Barre's moves are totally different than standard moves in other toning classes, and seem to have more cardio than a standard Pilates class. The energizing music makes the classes different than yoga or ballet classes.


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Inspiration for class: Pouw and Metz decided to open a Boulder branch after they saw so much change in their own bodies after doing Pure Barre.

"It changed both of our lives," Metz says. "And to see people change in front of you is rewarding. We're extremely passionate about it."

Who does it? Class is capped at 25 students. My class had 17, all women, although men are welcome. Participants have ranged from age 18-65, although my class seemed like a lot of women in their 20s and 30s (or else they use great face cream; I didn't check birth certificates).

Level: Any fitness level, from beginner to advanced, because moves can be modified. But this class is challenging. I thought it was a nine on a 10-point scale. During some exercises my thighs were shaking so hard that I almost fell over. For reals.

Format: Every class uses different exercises, but the general format is as follows: warm-up, three thigh exercises, stretch, right seat work, stretch, left seat work, stretch, wall series (against the wall with a round and then flat back, working the abs), abs away from the wall, stretching and a little more seat and back work at the end.

Equipment: All provided. Tubing, ball, mat (my mat actually smelled good -- never experienced that before), 2-- to 3-pound hand weights (expect to do a lot of reps). Bring a water bottle.

What to wear: Long pants, a shirt that covers your stomach and socks. This is to keep the muscles warm when you're stretching in between working. Also, you burn more calories if you keep the heat in, Pouw says.

Muscles worked: Full body with an emphasis on the areas that women struggle with: abs, hips, seat and arms.

How I felt after the class: Is it possible to already feel stronger after just one class? Even if it's not, that's how I feel.

How I felt later: I feel sore exactly where they said I would be: triceps, abs, hamstrings, glutes. I loathe the stairs. I'm not sure my abs have ever been more sore after a single workout. I want to do another class.