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Pandemic inspires launch of hybrid fitness studio in Plymouth

When COVID-19 closed gyms, a Minnesota fitness instructor kept moving and inspired others online to do the same.

PLYMOUTH, Minnesota — One year ago, gyms were closed this time of year in Minnesota due to the pandemic. 

When gyms closed March 17, 2020, Monica Moreland offered a free workout in a Facebook group. 

"It quickly caught on and within a couple of months we had thousands of members taking these workouts," Moreland recalled. 

Moreland had been furloughed from her job as a studio manager at Life Time Fitness. But she kept busy by offering free virtual workouts two times a day, six times a week. 

"Just kind of created a strong community with each other because we all kind of bonded over that we were doing these workouts together and really just helped people stay sane during that whole time," Moreland said. 

Without her asking, donations started flooding in from those taking her free classes. It allowed her to pursue her own business, launching Movement Studio. Moreland held her first classes from the space in Plymouth in November. 

"It wasn't as scary of a risk... because I knew that we had the support going into it and that they would stay along with us," Moreland said. 

According to Moreland, Movement Studio has about 900 members. A majority of the members are local but they also have members all across the United States and as far as Australia. 

Credit: Heidi Wigdahl
Monica Moreland leads a workout on Wednesday morning from Movement Studio in Plymouth.

"I just like the flexibility of it and to be honest, I have three kids at home that are distance learning so I am able to work out and help them out with their meetings, hop off if I need to," said Jessi Soles of St. Louis Park. 

Soles said her three girls will sometimes join in. 

"They're seeing me work out and make goals and crush those goals," Soles said. 

Movement Studio is a hybrid fitness studio that combines virtual and in-person classes. Wednesday morning, six members participated in-person while the rest joined over Zoom. The image of the Zoom class is also projected onto one of the studio's walls. 

Credit: Heidi Wigdahl
Wednesday morning, six members participated in-person while the rest joined over Zoom.

"I think that even though we're far apart somehow when you can see other people on the screen, that energy connection is real," Soles said. 

Movement Studio's workouts are live streamed, on demand, or can be done in person. 

"It's a strong community of people that the second you join us, either virtually or in-person, you're going to feel like you're a part of the group and everyone is on your side and just wanting you to do your best," Moreland said. 

It cost $32 per month for a virtual membership or $49 per month for a studio and virtual membership. You can also try individual classes, here. Movement Studio also has free workouts you can try, here

Know a local business we should feature for our Behind the Business segment? Email Heidi Wigdahl at hwigdahl@kare11.com. 

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