Story by Danielle Tobar | Jan 01, 2018
Photography by Keith Borgmeyer

Studio 573 flips your idea of working out on its head.

Just walk through the doors at Studio 573 Fitness and the realization that it’s anything but a traditional gym will immediately hit you. It’s not just that it’s not your normal gym or that it looks nothing like the movie theater that occupied the building years ago (although both of those things are true). It’s much more than that. It’s the atmosphere, the energy, the vibe. From the pretty, antique lockers to the loft-style industrial fans to the vintage signage and décor, this place has a certain something. From the moment you walk in, it makes you want to be there. To say the place is inviting is an understatement. Imagine a trendy, upscale shop that just so happens to have a smoothie bar, kids’ club, and, oh yeah, workout equipment. Even the locker rooms are inviting, with a little sitting area to relax pre- or post-workout.

It’s not just the look that’s different. Let’s be clear. This is a studio, not a gym. When owner Erin Bidlack started Studio 573, she made that a priority. The idea: a home for boutique fitness with always changing classes adapting to current trends. Instead of thinking of a traditional group class with an instructor at the front of the room, possibly on a stage, leading the entire class of individuals as a collective, think of group training. The fitness industry has evolved plenty over the past decade, from everyone having a personal trainer to this hybrid of the best parts of both group classes and personal training: the personalized attention you know and love from a personal trainer with the camaraderie and palpable energy of a group setting. The knowledgeable trainers at Studio 573 are bouncing from one person to another pushing, encouraging, giving modifications if needed and, for lack of a better phrase, kicking your butt. This personalized instruction promotes bigger changes and better results as you’re pushed to work harder and faster every minute, every session.

Bidlack, a Mid-Missouri native and MU grad, first encountered this studio style in St. Louis and California, where she lived for years with her family. That isn’t to say that the route to studio owner and trainer was always clear — Bidlack worked as an operations manager for Gold’s Gym in St. Louis for years, thinking she’d never be a trainer given the job’s typical odd hours and multiples classes per day. But the lack of these trendy fitness studios here in Jefferson City and the potential for one to succeed led Bidlack to open Studio 573 this past June. She was bored with the same old classes and offerings. She wanted to improve a lack of excitement and variety in studio class offerings.

Bidlack has taken workouts she loves and revamped them by adding in her own moves — “power moves” — to create a unique workout experience that’s constantly changing. This type of hybrid class is what you’ll find if you check out her “Dirty Dozen” workout, a kickboxing-inspired circuit class, or “Sweat 573,” a circuit class based on the Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC, training method designed to maintain an optimal heart rate during training to maximize calories burned during and after the workout using Woodway treadmills, rowers, and more. Studio 573 also has classes like barre, a ballet-inspired Pilates class, and “HIIT the Barre,” an interval-training twist on a traditional barre class. There’s also “Flowyo,” a combination of Pilates, yoga, and dance designed to sculpt. With unique and varying classes, the goal is to keep the motivation and excitement up. It’s easier to make fitness a habit when it’s fun and anything but monotonous.

Don’t let these unfamiliar classes intimidate you though. Bidlack has a solution for that too. Most of the classes offered are “high music, low light.” It’s a simple change that makes a massive difference for confidence and focus during the training session, she says: “It’s not intimidating and you’re not on display. You can focus on yourself.”

Although Studio 573 Fitness has been open for less than a year, there are already exciting new ideas in the works. Beginning in the new year, the studio will expand its offerings to include online training for those that can’t make it to their Capital Mall location on a regular basis. Bidlack says owning a studio has been a rollercoaster, something no one fully understands until they experience it themselves. Although the journey has had its highs and lows, she says her goals are constant: “keep growing and improving and changing, making exercise something that people aren’t dreading.”

Like I said, just after walking through the doors, the studio’s appeal will hit you. Almost as hard as the soreness will hit you after a few gratifying sessions.

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