2nd Annual Pink to Pink Walk

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Congrats to our 2nd Annual PINK TO PINK Walkers! Last Sunday, The Studio (MDR) staff and so many of our amazing clients walked to prevent breast cancer—starting at The Studio (MDR) East and making our way to (MDR) West! All fundraising and contributions were raised and donated to A Vision of Health, a local organization that works to offer free mammograms and preventative nutrition advice to all areas of Los Angeles.

We are still taking donations until 10/31 at the front desks of all (MDR) locations, so if you’re feeling charitable, there’s still time to donate. Every dollar counts!

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A LOVE NOTE FROM LISA

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The owner and CEO of The Studio (MDR), Lisa Hirsch, talks about the power of seeing the familiar through new eyes.

A couple weeks ago, I was sitting on a beach on the beautiful island of Maui and had this moment of feeling almost awe-struck. The water was stunning. The bright, warm sun was on its way toward setting. My love, Andy, was sitting next to me. And I was about to head back to our room to get gussied up to watch one of our friends get married. I had this moment of pure gratefulness—a feeling that this life I’m lucky enough to live is a great one, and that when you really open your eyes to all of the wonderful things around you, it can be almost overwhelming in the best possible way.

Cut to today, and I am so not sitting on a beach in Hawaii. I’m sitting at my computer and as I write this, that e-mail “ding” is going off every other second. Like all of you, I’ve got a to-do list that feels seriously ambitious and a full life that keeps me always on the go. Sometimes, that feeling of fullness puts me on edge a bit. But today, I’m trying something new. Remembering that beautiful trip to Hawaii—and that gorgeous marriage ceremony filled with big love, the most important thing in this world—I’m committing to looking at the everyday “stuff” that fills my life with new eyes. It’s what the Zen Buddhists call Shoshin, and it means having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions.

OK, so I know what you’re thinking. This is so much easier said than done. And I hear you on that front. But think about it for a moment: How many areas of your life do you just kind of go through the motions? I don’t mean that in a negative sense! I know there are times when going through the motions is very beneficial (like all of you amazing new moms out there, who sleepily shuffle into your baby’s room in the middle of the night for a feeding or to soothe your little one). But I challenge you to think of other times, say, when you just plow through your e-mail inbox on autopilot or you show up for a class at The Studio (MDR) and just kind of roll through the 50 moves in 50 minutes, your mind drifting elsewhere.

We’re all culprits. It’s human nature. Which is why today, I’m embracing that new, beginner’s mind attitude. I’m about to leave our house to head to work and I’m going to be more mindful on my drive, really drinking in the view of the gorgeous Pacific Ocean that I’m so blessed to see every day. I’m going to take a class at The Studio (MDR) and pretend it’s my first week on the Megaformer again, when I was filled with equal parts love and fear and awe, which made me concentrate like a champ. I’m going to look at all of you, clients I admire more than I can say, as if it’s opening day again. And my hope is that you all find ways to do the same.

From where I sit, all of you—our amazing clients and friends—are all role models. You’re putting in the work, you’re transforming your bodies, you’re showing up day in and day out with big, open hearts. You often inspire in me the same kind of awe I felt on that Hawaiian beach a few weeks ago, and for that, I’ll forever be grateful.

Big hug,
Lisa

Transformer of the Month: Sue Garber

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When Sue started working out at The Studio (MDR), she wore a size 8 or 10. Now, she’s down to a 4 or 6 and feels better than ever. Here’s her story:

(MDR): Tell us about life pre-The Studio (MDR).

Sue: I started working out here in March 2014 and weighed 138 pounds and went between a size 8 and 10. I had just joined a local gym and used the elliptical machine for cardio work and some free weights for arms twice a week. I also took yoga once a week. But when my son Jacob joined The Studio (MDR), he encouraged me to try it. I physically felt OK—but definitely not as good as I do now! I also spent hours at the gym but never got the results I see in my body these days.

(MDR): Do you remember a specific moment that nudged you to go to class, or decide that it was finally time to make a change?

Sue: I saw a positive change in Jake, including his eating habits, and I wanted to do the same.

(MDR): What were the first changes you noticed after the first few weeks of taking classes at The Studio (MDR)?

Sue: The first few weeks, I wasn’t sure I noticed anything. But as I gave it more time, I noticed my waistline felt tighter, and I started feeling so much more energized. Visible changes started happening a few months later. And while I never imagined I’d ever say this, I definitely love being in a state of constant soreness. After about 6 to 8 months of working out at The Studio (MDR), awareness of what I was eating started to happen organically, and the pounds started to shed off almost effortlessly.

(MDR): OK, so it sounds like you’ve really cleaned up your diet.

Sue: Tremendously! I’ve come to learn that diet is key to maintaining the results these workouts give you. I now practice mindful eating as much as I can, but I also give myself permission to enjoy eating the things I truly love, without the guilt. I can honestly say that I enjoy food more than I’ve enjoyed it before.

(MDR): What’s one pose that you used to hate but love now?

Sue: I used to feel nauseous when we would do the inner thigh exercises! Now my legs have become much stronger and tighter.

(MDR): How far have you come from your starting point, both physically and mentally? And what are some of your new goals?

Sue: Physically, I feel much stronger all around. I love my waistline and I dress differently. I accentuate my arms and waist, even my legs and butt. I love how I feel after a great workout. My posture has improved and I carry myself with more confidence.  I never used to wear sleeveless shirts before. Now I love wearing tank tops to show off my arms. In addition to dropping from a size 8-10 to a size 4-6, I also lost 10 pounds—down to 128. It’s been great when friends notice the change in my appearance. But more importantly, my attitude has changed.

I feel so grateful for Lindsay, who is like a bright, positive light and who makes working out extra enjoyable with her awesome playlists. She shares her great energy consistently in each and every class—so much so that I always look forward to coming to class. Even if I had a bad day, I know The Studio (MDR) will make it all better.

5 Tips to Help You New Mamas (and Mamas-to-Be) Get Your Best Abs Ever

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Seven months ago, teacher Dana Goodman had her first baby and says her workouts at The Studio (MDR) transformed her pregnancy, labor, and how she feels today. “To be honest, since this was my first baby I was super careful with core exercises throughout my entire pregnancy. I didn’t want to take any risks! However, I stayed consistent with my routine at (MDR) with some modifications along the way, and I had an amazing pregnancy. I was not sick one day and I felt energized the entire time, even when I was 10 days late delivering.” In fact, Dana was still teaching 19 classes a week when she was seven months preggers (!!).

Dana gave birth to Saylor, a 7 lb, 14 oz beautiful baby girl, and her labor was 100 percent natural. “I don’t think I would have ever been able to have a natural delivery without the strength I built from the (MDR) classes,” she says. Check out Dana’s best tips on how to get a killer core here.

Tip No. 1: A strong core will make everything feel better. Working your abdominal muscles has so many benefits. A tight tummy will not only help your confidence soar, but it’ll also help easy any low back pain you might be feeling. “Since abs are attached to your back muscles, strengthening your transverse abdominal muscles can help reduce back pain,” says Dana.

Tip No. 2: Strong abs can also make labor easier. Here’s a heads up for all of you moms-to-be: “When you learn how to better control your abs, you may not need to push as much when you’re in labor,” says Dana. “When I had my daughter, I only pushed for 20 minutes, which is pretty fast!”

Tip No. 3: You’ll have an easier time post-baby, too. “The rectus abdominis can split during pregnancy in order to accommodate your growing baby—it’s known as diastasis,” says Dana. “Having tight transverse abs during pregnancy can get your rectus muscles back into place faster and therefore give you a flatter stomach sooner after pregnancy.” After you give birth, make sure to incorporate exercises that target the transverse abs, she says, which will help improve posture, reduce back pain, and create a flatter tummy much faster.

Tip No. 4: Your strength will transfer to your baby, too. “Our daughter is super active and very strong,” says Dana. “At 5 ½ months she started crawling, and at 6 ½ months she started pulling herself up to stand. These are both major milestones she’s doing very early, and her pediatrician has told me that the environment a baby is exposed to in utero can have a big impact on your baby.”

Tip No. 5: Ease back into working out post-baby. First things first: You’ll want to assess if you have diastasis recti before you begin to workout after giving birth. If you have DR, there are several exercises you can do at home to help improve this condition before getting back into your normal workout routine. Remember to start back slowly (six weeks post-baby for vaginal deliveries and eight weeks if you had a c-section), and be cautious for the first several months. “It’s important to give yourself time to heal and rebuild your strength before venturing off to new workout routine,” says Dana.One thing I constantly have to keep reminding myself is to be kind to my body! It took 10 months to create this amazing little baby, and I have to be patient and remember it could take just as long to get back to where I was physically. Whenever I get down on myself, I just look at her bright smile and know that it is all worth it!”

Dana’s MegaMamas class is on hiatus in November but will be back in full swing when we open our Playa Vista studio!  

Step Up Your Fashion Game this Fall with These 5 Fitness Picks

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  1. Bustier Bra Top
    Sexy sports bras are having a major moment, and this one is seriously on point.
  2. VIMMIA Dotty Stirrup Legging
    Pair these with a cute pair of boots when you’re feeling like showing off your (MDR)-toned legs.
  3. Moto Legging
    These are equal parts comfy and stylish, making them great for traveling, running errands, or even casual Fridays at the office.
  4. ChillbyWill Light Tank
    The mesh back on this top is risqué and classy.
  5. Vie Active Chelsea Rainfall White 3/4 Compression Tights
    There’s a reason you want to live in yoga pants, and these super-cute tights are it.

A LOVE NOTE FROM LISA

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The owner and CEO of The Studio (MDR), Lisa Hirsch, talks about the newest way she’s finding happiness … one stroke at a time.

Recently, on my usual walk around the neighborhood with Willie Meatball Nelson and Mabel (my adorable Brussels Griffins), I saw something that was just so sweet: two young girls leaning against a fence, cruiser bikes resting beside them as they ate ice pops. They looked so carefree and happy, and it instantly brought me back to the summers of my childhood, waiting for the Mr. Softee ice cream truck to pass my house while playing with my friends in the pool.
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These days, the demands of work and life tend to keep me so busy that I rarely savor these simple summer joys. Who’s with me? When’s the last time that the thing that mattered most to you was how great your ice pop tasted on a warm summer day?

When I got home from my walk that day I decided to take a plunge—literally. I signed up for swimming lessons, hoping they’d infuse a little fun (and a big challenge) into my every day. I’m loving it more than I thought I would, and struggling as much as I anticipated (but that’s another story for another day!).

For starters, there’s something so meditative about the repetition of breath and movement. There’s so much for the mind to focus on—the strokes, the breathing, the kicking—that it’s almost impossible to let my brain wander to my insanely long list of to-dos. Then, there’s the silence. When you swim, you’re literally suspended under water for about half the time you’re doing it. No music. No talking. No listening to others talk. Diving into that silence after every breath feels like a gift each time, and it has helped me find a lot more peace even when I’m not in the pool.

Hopping back into the pool has also reminded me of an important lesson, and one that I think can help everyone—whether you feel like you’re in a great place or a bad one, whether you’re calm or stressed, feeling happy or sad: When you mix up your usual routine with something new, it can breathe new life into everything.

Each time I show up at the pool in Santa Monica to swim, so many metaphors for life end up presenting themselves. I need to learn how to breathe (master this in the water and you’ll absolutely be more conscious of your inhales and exhales on dry land). I need to slow down (when I first get into the pool, I pop into turbo-speed). And I need to find little moments to have just a little more fun (the amount of laughing at myself that I’ve done re-learning the breaststroke is a good start).

I’m going to wrap this up so I can hop on my beach cruiser and go get some ice cream on this beautiful summer day. But before I do, why not let your mind wander back to your most fun summer ever. Then, think about what you can do to infuse this summer with a little more joy. What are you going to do to remind yourself of how much fun is all around?

Big hug,
Lisa

Transformer of the Month: Karin Michonski

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In just one year, this Warrior dropped 30 pounds and four dresses sizes. Even more remarkable, she’s gained strength, willpower and a self-confidence boost that’s totally changed the way she thinks about and lives her life. You have to read Karin’s story to believe it.

(MDR): OK, can we just say that your before and after photos are totally WOW!?

I got emotional myself looking through those photos! I too was super unhappy prior to taking classes at The Studio (MDR). I actually cried my eyes out right after trying on the dress in my “before” picture. It was a size 12 and wouldn’t close in the back. It’s funny, now that I can put on a pair of shorts or size 8 jeans I’m like, “Yea that’s me!” But it wasn’t until I started looking through photos of myself for this newsletter that I truly realized what a difference the workout has made!

(MDR): Take us back to the beginning. How’d you find us, and what was your first class like?

I actually live down the block from The Studio (MDR) and for maybe a year or so, I was really tempted to check it out. However, it took me a while to finally walk through the door because the workout looked like it was out of my range of capabilities. I thought, “Oh man, everyone in there is already in shape and I wouldn’t be able to keep up.” When I mentioned the studio to a neighbor and suggested we try it out for a week, she ended up going while I was out of town! Then, it was her convincing me to give it a shot. It certainly helped getting that little nudge, but after meeting Dana (my first instructor) and seeing that everyone in class was, like me, essentially looking to be a better them, I found the inner courage to see it through.

In that first class, I totally felt like I was going to fall off the machine! Afterwards, I joked with Dana that I can do lunges and crunches and she laughed and said something like, “Oh, there’s a lot more to this than lunges!” My girlfriend told me to take two Advil before bed and wished me luck trying to sit on the toilet the next morning. She was right! I remember being sore everywhere—I felt muscles I’ve never felt before and didn’t even knew existed. And that’s when I was hooked. I thought, “If I can feel parts of my body I have never felt before, I will be ripped if I stick with this!”

(MDR): What were your initial goals?

In the past, I was always in shape and an athlete (I was captain of my high school varsity basketball team). I didn’t even know what calories were until after I graduated college! I never needed to work out because I had a super fast metabolism and could eat anything and still look good. But, life happened, I got lazy and went through a very stressful time before moving out here from New York City. When I first started working out at The Studio (MDR), I was in a bad place emotionally and physically. I had stopped taking care of myself and was so weak physically. It was also hard to leave the house because I didn’t have clothes that fit and I really didn’t feel confident. I was up to 180 pounds and a size 14, if not more. (At some point I stopped wearing actual sizes and lived in men’s basketball shorts and big t-shirts—not exactly the SoCal vision I had in mind for myself!) I even remember calling my Mom crying, telling her that I just wanted to shop in the “regular” sized clothes sections of the stores. I knew that at just under 5’11”, a size 8 and about 150 pounds was where I needed to be. So, my goals when I started taking classes included tightening, strengthening, and getting that sick SoCal body you see on so many women here, both young and old! I had simple goals: I wanted to wear a tank top again, show off my long legs, and wear skirts, shorts and dresses without covering all of the yucky parts.

A turning point for me was being asked to be maid of honor at my little cousin’s wedding in Poland. I hadn’t actually seen my cousins in 18 years after spending every summer with them on my Grandma’s farm in Poland. So, as excited as I was to go, I knew I wasn’t looking my best. I booked the plane tickets and bought a pretty dress—a stretchy size 12 that concealed just the right spots—and off I went. It was wonderful seeing all of my family again, reuniting with everyone and participating in the wedding day. But I also decided that day that I would come back to Poland a year later—better, stronger, leaner, and feeling more awesome.

(MDR): What was the first big goal you achieved that gave you some major wind in your sails?

Buying jeans…with a zipper and button…and in an actual size for that trip to Poland I promised myself a year later. This was about 2 and a half months into consistent training. When I really starting noticing a transformation was when I was confident enough to clean out and donate all of my “big clothes” and redo my closet with things I had been saving from my skinny days as well as some new clothes I had to buy. When people started noticing that I had become leaner and more toned, it was even more motivation to keep going.

(MDR): When did you become an official Studio (MDR) convert?

I knew I had become an (MDR) junkie and a legit bad ass when the 12 p.m. advanced clients were seated on the bench awaiting their turn to begin class and Mary had us holding a leaning long jump on the front of the machine. My left leg started failing on me—real bad—and I remember just pumping my arms behind me and staring straight ahead of me, channeling my inner monster and making it a whole minute until Mary counted down to “1”.  The looks on the advanced clients’ faces said it all. One woman came up to me afterwards and told me she had never seen someone fight through the fail the way I had…that most people give up. I biked home afterwards with the cheesiest grin the neighborhood has probably seen. (Actually, it is Venice, so maybe that cheesy grin wasn’t so weird!)

(MDR): What’s the best piece of advice you’d give a Studio (MDR) newbie?

JUST. DO. IT. Don’t wait for the “right time.” There is no such thing. TODAY is your day! Kick today’s ass with a giant spoon and a side of scrambled eggs.

(MDR): How far have you come since that first class—and what are your new goals?

A year after my first class (give or take a month or two when I was traveling) and I can plank to pike successfully on the back of the machine. It is not easy for a 5’11” chica to fold in half. And now, I can say that I can. As for my new goals, I’m aiming to take my leaner, stronger body to the next level by being even stronger, even leaner, and maybe even taking a 5.0 class. I’d like to bang out the plank/pushup/saw interval without stopping. I want to be fitter than I have ever been in my entire life as an adult.

(MDR): How have your workouts and the community here affected you in bigger ways than you imagined when you first signed up? 

This is what I’m most grateful for: I wake up with a purpose every day and a zest to try new things and do cool stuff that I was too scared and embarrassed to do just a year ago. I’m more positive. I smile more. I have awesome new friends that I’ve met through The Studio (MDR). Every time I go to class I’m surrounded by people with the same goals in mind, and that sense of community is what keeps me going. Getting a hi-five from Lindsay or Mary at the end of class means so much to me (corny, I know). But having an athletic background, I yearn for positive reinforcement and I get just that! I’ll never forget being just about a month into my workouts here and Mary said, ‘There you go….now you get it.” I can honestly tell you that I will keep trying to “go get it” at The Studio (MDR) until I am physically unable to walk. I’m officially a lifer.