Finding community through boutique fitness

New studios offer classes, connection, and physical benefits

Rachel Hilton was excited for everything Lee’s Summit offers when she moved here a few years ago, but she felt it was missing opportunities to enjoy boutique fitness. As a result, she is now working to build the boutique fitness community in town by opening Pure Barre and CycleBar studios.

Hilton had previously taken Pure Barre classes in other parts of the country and had enjoyed the sense of camaraderie she found in the studios. In fact, she enjoyed it so much she decided to bring it to Lee’s Summit.

“I felt like I had a responsibility being new to the community to provide a place to come and enjoy,” Hilton says.

To this end, she decided she would open Pure Barre and CycleBar franchise studios. She bought into the franchises at the end of 2019, having no idea what would come in 2020. Despite the shutdowns and restrictions during the year, she was still able to open Pure Barre at the end of August and CycleBar in November.

Pure Barre is a strength workout that seeks to build strength, agility and flexibility while CycleBar offers a cardio cycle workout that incorporates some weight and strength work while riding. Both studios feature high-intensity, low-impact workouts, which are good for those with joint issues or who might be recovering from a surgery.

Both concepts are a part of Xponential Fitness and have various offerings within their studios. Pure Barre is the most established barre franchise with more than 520 studios and 555,000 clients. If the client chooses, CycleBar also offers the ability to measure six key metrics of performance and email the results after each 45-minute ride.

There are currently numerous challenges as they are now operating at reduced capacity, and Rachel said she is sad members are not benefiting from the ideal class environment. Despite the setbacks, the staff is working to make the studio experience look and feel as close to as normal as possible. In fact, she says the staff works hard to build relationships with everyone in order to help them reach their goals.

“You are going to do so much better when you have someone to hold you accountable,” she says.

Because the concepts feature specific class times, members often begin to develop relationships with those who typically attend the same classes as they do, providing another level of accountability.

Hilton says she wants people to know that anyone can try these classes, and they have people of all age and fitness levels participating. Workouts can be modified and tailored to the individual needs of a client.

Jill Underwood began taking Pure Barre classes several years ago when one of her friends invited her to try it out. She says she found the classes have helped her stay lean and build muscle in a way she had not be able to achieve with any of the other workouts she had tried.

She says she enjoys the dynamics of the studio and how everyone is working together when the workouts get tough.

“It’s fair that we get to spend 55 minutes to ourselves to work on our muscles and our mind,” Underwood says. “When you work on your muscles, it affects every other aspect of your life. It clears your mind. It is worth it.”

Overall, Hilton hopes the studios can be somewhere that enriches the lives of clients.

“The studios can be the place where people try something new, empower themselves and others, be completely authentic, and escape from the rest of this crazy world,” she says. 

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