Amazing Human – Adrienne McCarthy

I remember when I met Adrienne. She wasn’t a McCarthy yet, she was a Boss. Literally, that was her last name. Which already made her Britney Spears cool. We were both at the Pure Barre training – I was opening my first (and only) studio and she was quickly opening her second in New Hampshire. Her first had been so successful and popular that she actually NEEDED another one.

I told you she was amazing.

Adrienne was clearly accomplished, successful and seasoned. She knew the formula, she knew the routine and she knew what worked. She was driven, single-minded, very focused and more-than-hard working. No one shook as quickly (it’s a Pure Barre thing), sweated as much or stayed as late as Adrienne. She was dedicated with a pure, concentrated energy.

And. Ready for this? She was kind. Friendly. She laughed a lot, helped others and knew everyone’s name. In a genuine way, not the “I’m selling something and need you to think I care about you” way.

I’ll always remember this about Adrienne: When I taught my first class (still at training, and still with pros like Adrienne), I was mic’d, facing the class, trying to count 8 counts and sound energetic and personable and relaxed and totally confident all while NOT vomiting from sheer anxiety (would have been one of those Pitch Perfect moments I did NOT want to experience). I lost my concentration or my confidence, or both, and Adrienne noticed – in a quiet way that let me keep my diminishing pride, she helped me. She would wink and then start push-ups just a few counts early, so I could see her. She would raise her weights, lift her heels or “pulse down-down-HOLD” (again, a Pure Barre thing) 2 or 4 counts too soon.

And I fell in love with her right then. I was so grateful for her compassion and sensitivity. This was hard for me, and she was there to help. You know, be a friend. I could have cried from sheer happiness and amazement at her little gestures that meant so much.

amazing human
adrienne mccarthy

Since then, Adrienne married Ken McCarthy and they, together, own and operate two very successful and community-oriented Pure Barre studios. They run marathons, travel the world (Ken is a recent American citizen, moving to the USA from Australia years ago.) and take amazing pictures of the life they’re building.

Adrienne is a light. She’s a joyful, positive, charismatic person who takes it all in stride (literally and figuratively) and just does her best.

Case in point.

Ken was diagnosed in 2019 with testicular cancer. He underwent chemotherapy in 2020. Right. Exactly. During COVID. Ken was entirely compromised, immunosuppressed and, for the last half of his four rounds, without Adrienne.

amazing human
adrienne mccarthy
As she so eloquently put it: “‘Only the vulnerable will be at risk.’ But your ‘only’ is my EVERYTHING.  #stayhome”

And then this happened. You should sit down and grab a tissue.

amazing human
adrienne mccarthy

On Ken’s last day of chemo, as he and Adrienne were pulling into their driveway, friends and neighbors and family and, you know, that village Adrienne and Ken have built and nurtured and loved and taken care of. . . they did something so amazing, that even our Amazing Human was surprised and completely overwhelmed.

video footage permission given by Ellen and Adrienne.

Adrienne told me,

“Honestly, I couldn’t believe that we were important enough to people for them to not only go out of their way and wait for over an hour for us at our driveway, but make signs and balloons and get out to jump around and scream for us. I tear up every time I think about it. We had no idea- my sister called earlier in the day to tell me to keep her updated on time because she and her kids would be there to greet us. I cried when she told me that, because I knew Ken would love it so much. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what was actually happening, and I was so astounded that all these people showed up for us. It was a very emotional day, and to see our family, friends, neighbors. . . it’s a pretty indescribable feeling and I couldn’t figure out how they had gotten the word to so many people. We were astounded and overwhelmed and just so incredibly grateful for the people in our life who care enough to be there for us. I think that all these people care so much because we really try our best to be good people, and I think what goes around comes around. We try to do our best, be as genuine as possible, and make people feel good.”

video footage. view from Adrienne and Ken 🙂

I know, right?

I asked Adrienne about her inspirations, what keeps her going, what gives her hope and happiness. Among several things, she said,

“I draw inspiration from a lot of areas. . .First and foremost, our community. For example, right now when I take a virtual class with our [Pure Barre] members, it gives me chills. I feel like I am doing something WITH them, even though we aren’t in the same place. Their comments inspire me, their posts, their excitement. It’s contagious! I take so much inspiration from the communities within the studios and our staff. They make me want to do better and live healthier every day. . .our teachers inspire me every day because they care SO much. Two of our teachers (one being my sister) were the planners behind our big welcome home, and they all go above and beyond every day in so many ways. . .
I draw a ton of inspiration from different informal groups I am a part of. I have a group chat of 5 owners from around the country, and we all excel in different ways. There are so many things that I would not have pushed myself to do if it weren’t for them. . . We share our successes, and we share the days where we can’t stop crying and just want to quit. On days where things were tough with Ken, and I didn’t want to do the hard stuff, they convinced me to keep going. . .
I draw inspiration from my family and Ken. Both of our families have been our personal cheerleaders over the past five years, and they all believe in us so much. . . They drop everything to help us whether it is business related, or otherwise. . . During hard times, that really keeps us going.
Ken. He inspires me because during this entire process of being diagnosed, he has not complained. He has had hard days and frustrating days, but if he can go through that, I can probably get through whatever I am doing, even when I don’t feel like or it feels hard. Our goals together inspire me, and when we talk about our future and get excited – that inspires me!”

Amazing, right? Inspiring, yes? Just great. And her own 12 month high low unexpected? Adrienne said:

“My High was receiving a major award at the yearly Xponential Fitness convention.

My Low was the week Ken was diagnosed with cancer. He had to have surgery 2 days later – the same day as remodeling both PB studios began.

My Unexpected was. . .Ken’s cancer. I suppose it was SO unexpected to find out that it had spread and we had to cancel a 6 week trip home to Australia a week before we were supposed to leave. We were going with my parents, my sister and niece, aunt, uncle, and cousin, and we were both supposed to be in Ken’s sister’s wedding. Everything had seemed so positive that they got all the cancer out after Ken’s surgery that I didn’t even buy trip insurance because I could not have imagined that would happen (but it did, and going forward, I’ll always pay for the insurance!)

I am lucky to know her, and she is lucky to love so many wonderful people. What a great person to add to our Amazing Human Series!

For more information on Ken and Adrienne and their amazing Pure Barre studios and teams, please see: Pure Barre Bedford and Pure Barre Nashua.


4 thoughts on “Amazing Human – Adrienne McCarthy”

  1. I met these two wonderful people through my neighbors and all I can say is that instantly, you could tell that they had kind souls. As sad as it is to say, it’s more rare now a days to meet genuine, kind and loving people. I hold a special place in my heart for them both and know how much they are loved my so many. Ken is a fighter and will get through this. Sending so much love and positivity to these two!

    1. I love that, and you’re right – they have kind (and dare I say old?) souls. Thank you Jen, for reading the piece, and thank you for loving Ken and Adrienne!

  2. Mandi Sue Bleau

    She is truly an inspiration!!! She probably doesn’t even realize how many lives she has changed. Add Ken in and they are unstoppable!!!
    Great article about great people!

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