Fitness Friday: Pure Barre, Fit4Mom

CHICAGO (WLS) -- You might not think of ballet when you think of workouts. But ballet-inspired workouts have been trendy for years and they're only getting hotter.

We're going to "raise the barre" for this Fitness Friday.

Don't be intimidated by barre exercise's origins. You don't need great rhythm or flexibility to take part. In fact, barre is popular because it's really for everyone.

Barre exercise won't do your body harm in the long run. It's low impact. It's small, deliberate movements. But don't mistake that for being an easy workout.

"You're not going to take the same thing two times, your muscle confusion is going to keep evolving and keep changing, and that's sort of what gets you addicted," said Shelbye Ortale, owner of Pure Barre River North.

The Pure Barre studio in Chicago's River North neighborhood is part of a popular boutique chain that has hundreds of studios nationwide. Its owners insist the workouts are for people of any age. This is 67-year-old Deborah Johnson's first class.

"You know, it was worth it. It challenges you. That's what we need to do. We need to be challenged," Johnson said.

One of the challenges for any workout is finding someone to take care of the kids if you're a parent. But, that's not always necessary.

Fit4Mom offers several different mommy-and-me exercise classes in the city and suburbs, including this stroller barre class in the city's Lincoln Park neighborhood.

"This way they get to bring their kids, their kids get to see them working out. They get to see exercise is a good thing. It's not a burden. It makes it fun for them, for the moms and the kids," said Lisa Wilder, owner of Fit4Mom.

Most classes start out with a little bit of play time. Those are my kids, Addie and Lola. Then, it's into the stroller and off for a few laps.

"It's a great workout and it's interactive with him. So, it's kind of a win-win situation," said Erin Lontai, a mom from the city's Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Lontai is a stay-at-home-mom who can't get to the gym. So, this is how she juggles caring for her son, Leo, with staying fit.

"It's nice to be held accountable and come here. I'm with all these other women and we've got our kids. It's just easier to do it here, as opposed to doing it at home," Lontai said.

There were a lot of babies in this class and they were perfectly content watching mom from the stroller.

Even my kids, who are three and five years old, were entertained. They even hazed me a bit, telling me I needed to work harder!
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