By Annie Pentilla, The Montana Standard, Butte
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Three Montana women want to take the "WORK" out of working out. They hope their unique fitness classes which are heavy on dance and music, feel like "dance mania for the soul." That is how they describe their dance based workout called "Oula" which is all based on Top 40 hits and songs that you can sing along to.
The Montana Standard, Butte Anaconda is known for its quiet, small-town atmosphere with its mountain scenery and main street dotted with lampposts. Every now and then, however, a quiet afternoon in Butte's sister city is interrupted by bass-heavy music erupting from a building on Park Avenue.
But Anaconda residents aren't starting a nightclub, as one might believe.
Instead the sounds are from InMotion Studio -- a group fitness center at 217 E. Park Ave. in downtown Anaconda.
Business co-owner Erin Nicholes said she, along with Larisa Bartoletti and Camille Everett, started the business in 2013, and the three female entrepreneurs haven't looked back since.
Today the studio offers classes in Pilates and yoga with instructor Kristine Smith. Clients can also take power and conditioning classes, Booty Barre (a workout that combines dance with yoga and Pilates) and Oula: a workout regimen invented in Missoula that brandishes the nickname "dance mania for the soul."
Nicholes, 36, said the idea for the studio came about organically when Everett, 33, moved from Missoula to Anaconda and brought with her a habit for doing Oula.
Before being exposed to the rhythms of "dance mania for the soul," Everett said she had always disliked exercise.
"I had tried everything," Everett said. "I tried the treadmill and the elliptical and I hated it all ... I didn't like the monotony of it and I didn't like how hard it was."
But in Oula Everett found something that was fun and fit her upbeat, outgoing personality. Eventually she got a certification to teach the dance-based workout.
"With Oula I just kind of forgot about (the exertion) -- because it's all based on Top 40 hits and songs that you could sing along to," she said. "I just kind of lost myself in it."
Once Everett moved to Anaconda, she and Nicholes thought bringing Oula to Anaconda would be fun.
The two began teaching the class at a local health club. But soon, Nicholes said, the classes grew and they found themselves teaching 5 to 6 days a week with up to 40 people attending at a time.
"We thought, given the interest in it, that we could probably do well if we opened our own studio and added other classes that went well with Oula."
At that point Nicholes and Everett decided to launch InMotion studio with Bartoletti, 37, a family friend who shared the women's passion for fitness.
Since 2013 they've seen their business grow from three class formats to 10. Nicholes said their established client base has grown about three times since 2013, and they are constantly on the lookout for new certifications and workouts to keep their clients engaged.
In addition, they have added a retail component, which boasts higher-end workout gear that's hard to find in Butte and Anaconda. Everette has been doing the merchandising and said she's made an effort to stock the shelves primarily with gear from women-owned and local companies.
One company she's particularly excited about is Live Montanably -- a new, Philipsburg-based business devoted to funky, Montanan-themed caps, shirts and memorabilia.
As for the growth of InMotion Studio, Nicholes said, she is excited and energized by the response and attributes the successes to the business's emphasis on how clients feel instead of how they look.
"Our classes are all based on the experience," she said. "Our clients do lose weight, if that's what they want to do, and they do come here to look better -- but we really focus on how you feel with the idea that if you feel good, that's going to be projected in how you look."Bartoletti agrees.
"For me it just means that we're not super result-based. We're more about providing a fun workout and then the results come." And what makes clients feel good, the three business women said, is the fun factor.
They said working out doesn't have to feel like a chore -- it can actually be fun
"Working out doesn't have to be hard and it doesn't have to feel bad," said Nicholes. "It shouldn't be about what you can't do -- it should always be about what you can do."
Everett, meanwhile, said what makes InMotion special is its judgment-free atmosphere.
"I think for women (especially) it's important that they don't feel judged," said Everett. "I love our studio because I feel like you can just walk in and you are free to be whoever you are."
When asked what message they have for perspective clients, Nicholes responded,
"You should come play with us -- it's really fun."