In honor of a month of celebrating our ‘Pure Barre Family,’ we asked studio owners across the country about their own #PureBarreFamily stories. Today we are sharing a story from Shelly Whitlock Smith, studio owner of Pure Barre Birmingham, Alabama – Riverchase. Follow @pure_barre on Instagram and share your photo today using hashtag #PureBarreFamily for a chance to win a month of free classes for you and a guest! Contest ends on Friday, November 28, 2014.
How many different variations of ‘family’ can you find? Well, I for one have found hundreds of beautiful reasons to call Pure Barre ‘my family.’
Left to Right: Brittany L, Katie T (teacher), Marjorie E (teacher now at Pure Barre Tuscaloosa, AL), and Riverchase Owner, Shelly
I and others have found our ‘family’ and watched amazing things — from personal growth, client’s testimonies, friendships regained and flourishing love to the strength that extends beyond the physical into the mental and emotional levels.
Pure Barre Riverchase IS a family.
It is a beautiful family composed of women and men of all religions, ages and backgrounds from across the world that gather together to make for themselves, and others, a stronger self and better tomorrow. Ultimately finding their #betteratthebarre lifestyles with their individually constructed #PureBarreFamily.
I am 26 years old, graduated from the University of Alabama in 2010, and soon thereafter married my now husband, Ron, in the same year. I then started my full-time job as Manager/Vice President of Mark’s Outdoor Sports in Vestavia, Alabama, where I had worked on and off my whole life. Mark’s Outdoor Sprots is my family’s business, started by my father, Mark, 35 years ago. But after battling lymphoma for two years he sadly lost his life to the disease in 2012. I have run this retail phenomenon since 2010 with my mother stepping in recently as the owner and it is incredibly empowering to see women handle the male dominated world of the outdoor industry. With the experience gained from managing and operating that business, I found it an ideal time in my life, being married and “settled,” to begin exploring my abilities with my own Pure Barre studio in the Birmingham – Riverchase area of Alabama.
While most women that engage in Pure Barre are physically ready and capable of all the moves, I found myself adding many variant moves to the workout to accommodate for an early injury. My injury was incurred during a terrible car wreck on Christmas Eve in 2006. After being pronounced ‘dead on the scene’ and having miraculous occurrences over the next two weeks, I was left with partial right arm paralysis. It was an amazing time of growth for me, and allowed me to see things from a different perspective that still, to this day, affects my daily ‘to-do’s’ and workouts. But realizing that I was given a second chance at life, and then seeing that Pure Barre allowed me to grow in my areas of my life, I focused my energy towards making a stronger ‘family of women,’ by building them up — no matter what type of obstacles that they may face!
Now, I am four months pregnant and it is an amazing thing to watch God’s transformation in my physical body, while I’m able to assist other women concerned with having a fit pregnancy as well.
God has put it on my heart to help women with their view of themselves and empower them to achieve more than their personal limitations try to hold them to. I think that Pure Barre has been the building tool for beautiful transformations — physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally, that more people need in their lives by creating for them, a #PureBarreFamily.
The Pure Barre Riverchase Teacher Family – Left to Right: Whitney, Corrie, Chelsea, Michelle, Shelly, Katie T, Katie R, Kristen and Corrie
When your heart suffers the physical loss of a family member, like my dad, you turn towards your other family for strength. My blood family, friends that are like family and my #PureBarreFamily were, and still are, there to provide me with strength — mental, physical and emotional strength. The family you are able to compile from a daily workout is almost as beautiful as the one that you are blessed to be born with. —Shelly Whitlock Smith
And here are a few additional #PureBarreFamily stories of inspiration from members of Shelly’s own family at Pure Barre Birmingham – Riverchase:
“One of the most rewarding things from Pure Barre is the community you meet and the #PureBarreFamily you become! It’s a combination of others lifting you up, through words of encouragement to higher heels and higher ledges, plus a unique bond that develops through the burning and shaking thighs and seats!” – Kelsey Boswell
“My #PureBarreFamily is always there to hold me accountable, push me to exceed my goals, stand behind me, and uplift me with words of encouragement. There’s something about leaving work to work harder … for me. It’s my “me” time with my other family. Love my Pure Barre Riverchase!” –Abby Gwaltney
“Family comes in many different forms … I have met so many special people at Pure Barre Riverchase. After months of being in class and sweating together, “shaking” together, bonds develop and friendships are made. This type of family grows over time and becomes part of you. So glad to be a part of this family!”- Beth Alexander
“When I walk through the doors of Pure Barre Riverchase I immediately feel the warmth and love I have come to know this past year from my #PureBarreFamily! From the incredible teachers to the wonderful clients we have formed a bond that far exceeds the LTB! I look forward to seeing this family that guides and pushes me to be a better client but most importantly a better and stronger person! Remember … it’s always better at the barre … LTB!” – Michelle Tombrello (Pure Barre Riverchase’s second 250 Club member!)
“I have done many different forms of workouts and gyms and have never established such deep friendships that are like family and honestly didn’t expect it. I have been blown away by the Pure Barre community and continue to build new friendships. I love to hear others’ stories, share in life’s struggles and celebrations, and watch them grow because of Pure Barre. I look forward to experiencing the #PureBarreFamily grow bigger and stronger.” - Heather Spigner
Pure Barre Riverchase owner, Shelly Smith (far right), and her ‘Pure Barre Family! Katie M on the left and Claire O in the middle.
“My Pure Barre Riverchase ‘family’ is family in the true sense of the word, meaning they stick by you in the tough times and keep you moving toward your goals. I am so THANKFUL for all of my fellow clients and instructors!” – Leslie Messick
“Pure Barre Riverchase has become my second home where I spend time with my #PureBarreFamily. The feeling of family starts as soon as you walk through the door and you are greeted by at least one of the amazing instructors, genuinely excited to see you and have you in her class. After 55 minutes of grueling LTB, you leave feeling so positive and uplifted and ready to conquer the world. Like family, time together can really test you mentally and physically, but at the end of my session at the barre, I always leave glad I came, and I cannot wait until the next time, just like I feel when I leave my family. The best part? I got to pick this family of ladies when I joined PBR, and I am so very thankful for each and every one of them!” — Lauren Dempsey
“Joining the Pure Barre Riverchase family has been one of the greatest things I’ve ever done for myself. The love and encouragement that I get every day from my #PureBarreFamily makes me feel like I can do anything! I am so thankful that I get to spend part of my life with a group of women who have inspired me and motivated me to push past my goals. I love these ladies so much, and I look forward to watching our family grow even stronger!” – Casey O’Rear
“My Pure Barre Riverchase family has been invaluable to me this year. To me, this family has been an unending supply of support, encouragement, and joy! To have a group of women from different walks of life sharing common goals creates a truly unique family, and I can’t imagine being a part of something better.” – Meg Ballin
“One of the great things about Pure Barre Riverchase is the people! The teachers are amazing. They are creative, diligent, and excellent. They make every class challenging and fun. The clients are a great group of women. Each is unique, and together they make going to the studio feel like going home. A family is encouraging and supportive. This is what happens every day at PBR. So grateful to be part of the family!” – Beth McCoun (Pure Barre Riverchase’s 250 club member!)
Story compiled by Pure Barre guest blogger, Wensdy Von Buskirk, a journalist and new Pure Barre teacher based out of Pure Barre Brighton, MI.
Pure Barre Riverchase’s first 250 Club Member, Beth McCoun (center) with teachers Katie T (left) and Chelsea (right). Beth McCoun was actually Shelly’s P.E. teacher in elementary school!