Local fitness studio finds success in new class offering


BROWNSTOWN — Five women chat in the lobby before it’s time to work out.

Once they are in the room, which has bars along the walls and mirrors along one wall, they spread out and wait for instructor Nichole Pelts to start the music and demonstrate what’s first on the list.

While going through a variety of movements during the 45-minute class, the women work up a sweat but are able to smile and feel better about themselves as they move on with their day.

The music and a positive, motivational instructor are the perfect combination to help them get through it.

“She is the best instructor,” Brenda Darlage of Brownstown said after Thursday’s Fit for Life class at Studio SPF in Brownstown. “The routines, we’re using our muscles in different ways. She gives you options if something is a little difficult for you.”

Darlage has been going to the class for people 55 and older since it started in September. She said she used to not be able to reach her toes while sitting in a chair, but the class has improved her mobility and she overall feels better. She has even encouraged other people her age to give it a try.

Pelts said the studio’s newest class came about after a client’s request, and it was able to get started after she earned a certification and gave it a name.

“We were trying to just bring something to the senior community in our town,” she said. “I know they have a senior center, but they just do meetings and stuff and they get together for whatever purpose, but I don’t think any of it is fitness, so we were trying to bring that to Brownstown. … We wanted to be open to everybody, have something for everyone.”

Fit for Life goes from 10:15 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the studio, 214 S. Sugar St. Pelts has only had women attend so far, but she said men are welcome, too.

She also teaches barre and is planning a special event for couples in February called Bring Your Beau to Barre.

“I think we’re going to do that with this (Fit for Life), but I’ve got to think of a cute name,” she said, smiling. “I really would like them to bring their husbands. I think that would be a lot of fun.”

Pelts can have up to 14 participants in the room at a time. She has had as many as 11.

Fit for Life incorporates hand weights, resistance bands, loop bands and balls along with stretches and other movements.

Chairs are available for those who need them until they get comfortable with standing on their own to work out.

“The further they go with coming to class each week, the easier it is for them to be standing out of the chair,” Pelts said. “Everything can be modified from its highest point down to how we were doing the lower.”

The physical benefits of the class are increased mobility and strength, and Pelts also said it helps with everyday life, increases quality of life and gets them moving more than they typically would at home.

“This helps them to continue to move their bodies and be active,” she said. “I’ve had people that have come, in their first class, they were in their chair the whole time, but the second class, they get a little more into the class and they are standing up.”

There also are social and mental benefits. Pelts said some of the women who play mahjong on Tuesdays invited others from the class to join them for that group, and one woman who was shy at the beginning when coming to the class has really come out of her shell.

“I kind of feel like I’ve adopted a bunch of grandmas,” she said, smiling. “I just increased my family because I love them so much, I really do, and they are always positive every class and they are not afraid to tell me if something doesn’t feel right or whatever so I can go through and one-on-one coach and we’ll do it as a group.”

Studio SPF also offers barre, yoga, an independent masseuse and a sauna. Plus, in early 2022, a cafe is opening in the east end of the building.

As a new year approaches, many people make a resolution to exercise more, get fit, lose weight and eat better. Pelts said as a wellness center, Studio SPF is there to help people accomplish their goals.

“Don’t put your health on hold. You have people that count on you and people that you want to be around for and that want you around,” she said. “Just get moving at least once a week. I have people that come just once a week, and that’s fine. As long as you have one day a week where you’re moving at least 30 minutes, it’s better than nothing.”

Her motto for class is “If you’re moving, you’re working.”

“If a move isn’t working for them that we’re doing, even if they are just standing there tapping, if they are moving, they are working. They are still exerting. They are still getting their heart pumping,” Pelts said. “It’s going to be a positive outcome.”

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