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How Lisa Hirsch followed her fitness passion to become LA’s Megaformer queen


Lisa HirschShop Small TreatmentLisa Hirsch may have been a music industry executive before she became a fitness entrepreneur, but she always had an eye for trendsetting workouts—and a heart for it.

In the ’80s, the native New Yorker was all about leg warmers and Jane Fonda. In the aughts, she embraced the Megaformer craze and opened The Studio (MDR)—a cult fave among in-the-know Californians since 2011.

And while her crazy-hard classes definitely have cultural cache, Hirsch has managed to hang onto an empowering, (even Fonda-esque) fitness-for-everyone mentality. “The Studio (MDR) community is one where people feel safe and cared for among friends and can come to really learn who they are,” Hirsch explains.

The lifelong workout enthusiast tells us why she finally ditched her high-profile music career to fully embrace her passion for feeling the burn, and how she’s grown a client list that’s nearing 10,000 people deep.

My “aha!” moment
It really rose out of a culmination of life experiences. I wouldn’t change a thing about my career in music, but it took endless hard work. I took every phone call, whether it was at 3:00 a.m. or 6:00 a.m. I met with promising artists whenever they were available. I put a lot of pressure on myself—and because of that, the rewards started to diminish.

At the same time, I continued exploring a variety of workouts. (My passion for fitness first evolved from my mom. We’d put on our leotards and leg warmers and follow along to a Jane Fonda workout or dance around with Olivia Newton John blasting.) I became most impressed when I started to learn about The Lagree Method and began to see, first-hand, what it was doing for my body. But I realized there simply weren’t many places that were very supportive of the client in the ways I thought they needed to be.

Studio MDR_@ 2014 Gilt City, Inc Photo Credit Robert Vega 3

Learning to slow down (a little)
When I worked in music, I was my job: I had to go backstage at shows, entertain talent, travel a ton, and juggle a full nine-to-nine workload. I found it so difficult to turn off my work-mind and relax. I was never unreachable. Today, I actually work similar hours, but I’m doing it for me and for my clients. We’re growing a wonderful and strong community, one person at a time, so it’s just a different ballgame.

I’ve learned to slow down in many ways. I have a business coach who told me to think about how I want to respond versus just reacting. That even extends to the Megaformer; moving extremely slow gives you a way better workout overall.

The biggest surprise about life as a fitness entrepreneur…
…is that I actually managed to open my own studio and outdo my first-year projections in less than three months! People were clamoring for spots, which pushed me to expand my first studio by taking over the space next door and knocking down the walls to double the size. [The Studio (MDR) now has locations in Marina Del Rey, Culver City, with a Playa Vista locale on the way in 2016.]

Don’t get me wrong—success has not come without growing pains, and I’ve made mistakes along the way. But I feel very fortunate for the opportunity to do what I love every day.

Studio MDR

The best piece of advice I’ve been given
There is nothing you cannot accomplish in life if you give it your all and believe in yourself. That comes from my grandma, who was my inspiration. My mom has always been an incredible role model to me, too. Both of those phenomenal women taught me that class, grace, elegance, and a kind heart cannot be bought. They have to come from within.

What I’ve learned about taking risks
Life is very short, and you truly never know what tomorrow will bring. So I say, give it all you’ve got from the start, and just dive in. The rewards of being bold almost always outweigh playing it safe.

My Small Business Saturday plans
We’re offering a Small Business Saturday class at The Studio (MDR) East, with goodies from a few of our favorite local companies!MDR Treatment

For more information, visit thestudiomdr.com

(Photos: The Studio (MDR))