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Here come the lean, toned, poised brides; the workout at Pure Barre.

Brides — and many grooms, too — will go through just about anything to get toned and fit before that walk down the aisle. Most of you are familiar with the whole bridal boot camp thing; the essence of tough drill sergeants and take-no-prisoners workouts seem to work oddly well for pre-wedding day motivation. But how about toe shoes and tutus as inspiration?

Actually, there’s nothing fluffy about Pure Barre a nationwide fitness program that began in 2001 and just made it to West Seattle this past June. The studio there is all ballet bars and floor-to-ceiling mirrors, but the ballet-meets-Pilates-meets-weight training sessions don’t have much else in common with Nutcracker Suites.

We tried it ourselves; an hour’s worth of small isolated movements — some familiar to our dance and yoga days, some not — intended to tone bums, thighs, abs, and arms (just about all of the target areas on a bride’s mind, although not all of Pure Barre’s disciplined students are getting ready for that particular kind of big day). Instructor and studio owner Sami Dinsmore Sweeney promised that the first training session would be the hardest and she wasn’t kidding. Sweeney kicked our butt. Actually, she’s sort of perfected the butt squeeze — that ubiquitous move we’ve all tried in an attempt to firm our seat. If day-after soreness is an indication, the move works. If you decide to give Pure Barre a try, you might consider inviting your bridesmaids along — you might need them to carry you out.

We talked with a Pure Barre regular, too — here’s Nikole Smuck: When the West Seattle location opened in June, I immediately signed up and I found out quickly how challenging the classes were. I was getting married in September and, like most brides-to-be, I wanted to be in the best shape of my life. Pure Barre is tough work, but the results were quicker than anything I had ever tried. The workouts gave me the toned arms and little waist that I desired for my wedding dress. And I never thought I would like my thighs!

Sweeney says most clients see results within just ten classes, and they stress that the mental clarity often achieved through yoga is a part of this practice as well. The focus required to maintain poses and execute lifts, tucks, squeezes, and more for sixty minutes does, as the claim goes, allow you to block out budget concerns and table seating dilemmas.

Sweeney plans to open University District and Bellevue locations this month; check out the above links to the Pure Barre website for pricing and new studio information.

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