Meet the owner...

Hi guys! I figured it was time to write about myself since we’ve covered all of our instructors so here I go…

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Tell Us a little about how fitness has played a role in your life?

“I have been active my entire life! I played sports since I was old enough to walk and was always very athletic. I could pick up anything and be pretty good at it. I didn’t have to practice much to be better than a lot of people on my team.

My main sports were tennis, basketball and track. I played softball as a kid until it conflicted with track season and dabbled in gymnastics until the time commitment got to be too much. I learned the true value of hard work and the importance of a team. I was always so determined to be the best and was very hard on myself in the process. This lead me to be the Athena Award winner for my high school. Which was a pretty big deal! The St. Paul Area Athena Awards program honors female high school seniors for their athletic and academic achievements. I was on varsity tennis and lettered for the first time in 6th grade, varsity track in 7th grade earning enough points in meets to letter and got to dress varsity basketball in 9th grade starting in 10th grade. I was academic all conference starting in 9th grade an on and we had some awesome accomplishments in sections in all sports but the biggest was going to state in basketball my junior year. I still remember the warmup and lining up for the starting lineup to be called and hearing my name. It was such an awesome experience to play in front of all those people. We didn’t win but it was still awesome!

All of you short people out there can relate…I had to work hard to get where I was. Being short made tennis difficult and basketball really difficult. I learned a lot about who I was and what I was capable of doing by playing sports. School and sports were my LIFE!

It came time to pick sport to play in college (I realize how lucky I was to be able to pick a sport) not D1 but still being able to play was huge for me. I choose tennis. I still am not really sure why. It was probably the sport I was the least good at. I never took any private lessons or drills and only played during the season plus the one week of summer camp I went to. But, Tennis it was! My original plan was to go to St Thomas but I really didn’t want to come out of school with a TON of school loans, then it was St Olaf to play tennis but something then I toured Winona State University it felt like home. It was small and had a really nice tennis facility.

Playing a sport in college was tough! It was a full time job. I lifted 2x/week + practiced for 2 hours every day then we either had home matches or traveled all weekend to play. Matches were never just one day either. We usually had a few a day and I was lucky and good enough to be able to play both singles and doubles. Playing tennis in college brought me to a lot of places, including a National Championship in Colorado, and taught me even more about myself especially while balancing my tough major.

It taught me discipline, perseverance, that things are just handed to you and you need to work for what you want, and that I really like being active!

 

How did you get started in the fitness industry?

Fast forward a bit…deciding that I didn’t want to go on to dental school and actually considering switching my major junior year (believe it or not I thought about personal training but it never went anywhere), graduating college, tennis is over, leaving Winona and friends moving everywhere, getting my first job in a lab, working out on my own at big box gyms (yuck! and totally not my thing…I’ll get to this more later), working at Be The Match for 11 years and moving up through different positions there to learn as much as I could, working out at other small studios and getting a chance to teach at a studio in Uptown all brought me where I am today.

I was working out at a small studio in Uptown driving from NE their every morning I could and wanted more morning classes. I asked the owner and she asked if I ever thought about teaching. I laughed shrugging it off at the time and then all of a sudden there I was teaching. I started with cardio circuit class teaching once a week then it blossomed from there. I wanted more! I got certified in TRX and kettlebells and was soon teaching three classes a week. It was so much fun for me even though that studio never really felt like home and I never felt apart of that community. Wanting to help my friends and be outdoors I started teaching some outdoor bootcamps at a park in Roseville. It was SO much fun! Sometimes we had 12 people sometimes 5 but it didn’t matter. That went on for a few seasons then I started talking with my husband about opening my own studio. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

What made you want to open Studio ME?

I saw some gaps in the group fitness scene in Minneapolis and wasn’t happy with it overall. Majority of the studios were leading classes from the front while participants are lifting weights (not correcting) and to the studio it was all about getting as many bodies into a class that you could. Little did I know that I was going to change that.

I started researching what it takes to open a fitness studio, figuring out how much capital a needed to make it happen and then I met Erin playing in a USTA league. She didn’t have a group fitness background but was ready for a change in her career as well. We were actually on a trip to Palm Springs to watch tennis when we started talking about my dream of opening a studio.

A few months after we got back from that vacation we started planning. We wrote a business plan, took out a small loan from Erin’s parents, found a space, started construction on our own (thanks to my parents and Tyler) and were open in only 5 short months. It all went SO quickly and everything fell into place.

What was the first few years like?

If I am being honest, it was hell! Although it never felt like a job and still doesn’t but I was exhausted!

Erin and I kept our day jobs and ran the studio in our “free” time. Ha! I laugh because life was kind of hell at that point. I had no time to relax. I was working at the studio as early as 5:30am heading to work and there until at least 5pm then going back to the studio to teach classes to get home around 7-8pm then having to eat, answer emails and do what I could for the business in only a few short hours then repeating the next day. We rarely had a day off, were working weekends, and on top of that we were taking all the classes so our bodies were beat!

It wore on both of us and after a year of it I became the sole owner of Studio ME. It was exciting but scary. I wasn’t able to fully dive in until I quit my day job. My husband finally said enough is enough and that I could quit. It was mixed emotions for a long time. I was leaving a very comfortable salary and a job that for the most part I really did enjoy and going into the unknown. I finally went full time at the Studio In January 2017. It took a few months to get into the swing of things and get into a new routine but it was the best thing I have ever done!

What is your favorite part of Studio ME?

Honestly, it’s the members. I have met so many amazing people and have made so many friends from the studio. The community was something I didn’t anticipate but has made the experience better than I ever could have imagined. You guys are all family and I care so much about all of you and want to see you all succeed. Which is why I may be a little hard on you at times! ;)

Knowing what you know now would you do it again?

I have been thinking about this a lot lately actually. While it is so challenging and difficult and some days I just want to give it all up and go back and work a 9-5 job its worth it. I was so naive and had no idea what went into running a business when we started Studio ME. I have always been very driven and a hard worker, wanting to learn more, better myself and my career that this is a great fit. I get to wear SO many hats everyday some I could do without but that’s part of being a small business owner things from cleaning, laundry and folding towels, admin work, marketing, networking, building a community, managing my staff, strategic planning, teaching classes, training clients, helping with nutrition, and that’s only part of what my day looks like. Running a business isn’t for everyone but it is a good fit for me!

What does a typical day look like for you?

Well, it depends on the day of the week but I’ll try to summarize…

3:45am Wake-up

4am Shower

4:15am Eat breakfast

4:15-4:30 Check emails and prep for the day

4:30am Leave to head to the studio (somedays a little later)

5am client

6am teach a class

7am teach a class

7:45am-12N private training clients

12-1pm Lunch

1-3pm work on the business

3:30pm head back to the studio

4:30-5:15pm Private training client

6pm Dinner

6:30-8pm usually working on the business

8pm fall asleep on the couch

10pm move to bed

Repeat!

What is a fact about yourself that none of the members know?

I can be SOOO lazy! I love to veg and sleep. I can fall asleep a the drop of a dime. As soon as I stop moving I am sleeping. If I could spend the entire weekend on the couch I would. It’s terrible! I spend so much energy working hard at the studio that when I get home I don’t want to do anything and I mean anything!

Oh and I love my sweets! I have the biggest sweet tooth. It’s bad just ask Tyler!

Megan Cooper