No Experience Necessary at These Local Fitness Spots

Three niche fitness studios cater to their clients’ needs, coaching them on the journey to wellness.
Urban Iron Fitness owner Dena Smith (right) with client Kelsie Hensley.

Woodbury has grown into a city with many options for fitness and wellness. Here are three unique offerings to check out in town.

Pure Barre

Sweat dripping off her face, water bottle in hand, Kara Rowan limped out to her car following her first Pure Barre class. She describes it as one of the hardest workouts she’s ever done. She could barely move two days later. And she was absolutely hooked.

So were Woodbury Pure Barre owners and sisters Jess Hunt and Katie Engelby. Hunt, a marriage and family therapist, and Engelby, an interior designer for a commercial architecture firm, were both itching for a career change. That’s when Hunt found Pure Barre. “I walked into the Edina location and decided to see what the buzz was all about,” she says. “I immediately told Katie to try it. We both fell in love with it.”

Hunt and Engelby describe Pure Barre as small, isometric movements focused on building strength and muscle without bulk. A 55-minute class consists of a warmup and resistance training, followed by time at the barre for seat and thighs. The class ends with abdominal work and a cooldown.

One of Rowan’s favorite parts about Pure Barre and why she keeps coming is the one-on-one attention she gets from the instructors. And because she wasn’t a dancer before trying this (no dance experience is necessary), she was grateful for the extra attention. “The instructors really take time to teach you the movements,” she says. “I felt empowered, which is probably why I wake up early twice a week to attend the 5:30 a.m. class.”

Blissful Balance

Amanda Riley is cultivating wellness at her natural health center in Woodbury called Blissful Balance. Here, she focuses on healing and strengthening the mind, body and spirit. In her 700-foot studio, she teaches more than just strength training, yoga and resistance training. She teaches her clients how to love and accept themselves from day one.

“The energy inside the studio is palpable,” Riley says of the eight-week Commit to Fit classes she offers, which begin at 5:30 a.m. “The class becomes a tight community, lifting each other up through the journey to wellness.”

Blissful Balance also offers a class for moms of young kids called Balanced Body. Unable to find a child-friendly class after her daughter was born, she wanted to offer something to moms in Woodbury that would meet their needs.

Urban Iron Fitness

Dena Smith had one goal: lose the baby weight. She found kettlebells and achieved that and much more at RAD Boot Camp. She was hooked, began teaching classes and eight years later, would end up purchasing the gym, which recently moved to a new location.

Now called Urban Iron Fitness, Smith teaches 12 classes a week. Although the gym has a strong kettlebell foundation, other classes like circuit training, yoga and TRX (suspension training using gravity and body weight to build strength and balance) are also offered.