Behind every great studio is often a great story. From fitness professionals who wanted to create something new in the market to those who found strength and change by working out and wanted to pass their message to others, there are so many ways the studios you frequent and love found their start.
For some studios, their great beginnings started when they fell in love with their partner.
This Valentine’s Day, get inspired by these powerful stories from couple-owned studios across the globe. Not only do they share their sweet how-they-met stories, but how fitness has made their relationship stronger and closer.
Sarah and Mason Levey
Owners of Y7 Studio in New York
How they met: They went to different high schools but were introduced by a mutual friend at a house party. They didn’t start dating until after college.
Why they decided to open a studio together: “The idea for Y7 was a combination of both of our needs and what we wanted out of a yoga experience. It was a very natural process to do this together.”
How fitness has brought them closer: “Before we opened the studio, working out together was definitely not the norm. Since becoming a part of the boutique studio community, we have been trying countless numbers of different studios, and it’s been really fun getting to try new things together. For the last two months, we have been living in different states to get the Los Angeles location up and running, while ensuring New York stays on track. Because of our relationship, we are able to work through any disagreements, and at the end of the day we always support each other and are on the same team.”
Nova and Dustin Brown
Owners of Warrior One Yoga in Melbourne
How they met: They met 10 years ago, when Dustin was traveling in Melbourne, Australia. It truly was a whirlwind: They fell in love within weeks and were married within seven months.
Why they decided to open a studio together: “We were simply driven to create something spiritual, rewarding and positive. After completing a yoga teacher training together in Thailand, the idea of opening our own yoga studio became evident and we’re certain this was right path. We came back from our teacher training feeling connected and completely enlightened and motivated to share our passion. Together, Dustin and I have created a space we love to be in every day and are continuing to build a beautiful community of like-minded people.”
How fitness has brought them closer: “Practicing yoga together completely changed our relationship! We had already been together for nearly five years before we found yoga, but this brought a new perspective, a new love, and a new understanding of one another and ourselves. We practiced every morning together, always ending in Savasana holding hands. I owe my thanks to yoga, as I believe it’s a huge contributor to why we are so in love after 10 years of marriage.”
Matt Shechtman and Becky Nickerson
Owners of Infinity Yoga in Atlanta
How they met: On a blind date!
Why they decided to open a studio together: “Becky opened the studio first, while I was still working a corporate legal job for a large international law firm. When she decided to expand to a second location, it was time for me to step into the operations role so that Becky could focus more on teaching, managing the instructors and directing the Teacher Training program.”
How fitness has brought them closer: “We spend a lot more time together now that we work together, and unlike before, we know the intimate details of everything the other person is doing because it is all interrelated. Before Matt joined the studios full-time, we ran very separate lives and each did our own thing and didn’t know as much about what the other was doing. Sharing the studios has allowed us the opportunity to grow together while building the business. It really is the best of both worlds to intertwine our marriage and business!” -Becky
Lindsey Duggan and Jay Sirois
Owners of AIR – Aerial Fitness in Los Angeles
How they met: At a bar, where Lindsey was working and Jay was drinking.
How fitness has brought them closer: “It’s made us communicate a lot more. It’s great having someone on your side, especially when times get tough. It’s nice to have someone there to bounce ideas off as well. It also makes us closer because the studio is our first child. We both want the studio to be amazing and enjoyable for everyone who steps through our doors.” –Lindsey
Chris Koch and Jackie Alexander
Owners of Humming Puppy in Melbourne
How they met: They met via Jackie’s former boss and knew one another for seven years before they started dating.
Why they decided to open a studio together: Jackie wanted to leave her corporate job to open a studio that she believed in. Chris joined in to help spread the message of Humming Puppy, a room that hums with great frequency and vibration.
How fitness has brought them closer: “For me, yoga has changed my life and continues to do so on so many levels. It allows me to live mindfully and keeps me grounded when things get a little crazy. Without yoga, poor Chris would suffer! Working alongside a partner who shares the same vision as you is an incredible experience. It has strengthened our bond and solidified our relationship in many ways. It gets busy and it gets hectic, but we love what we do and love that we are doing it together.” –Jackie
Flannery Foster and Raymond Gonzales
Owners of goodyoga in New York
How they met: They met on New Years Eve 2008 when a mutual friend had two tickets to a My Morning Jacket concert at Madison Square Garden.
Why they decided to open a studio together: “Both of us were in a transition period of our lives. Flannery was teaching yoga full-time and I was closing my graphic design studio. We met and instantly began collaborating on ways to work for ourselves and incorporate the important things in life: art, travel and yoga. Opening a studio in an underserved area of Greenpoint, Brooklyn seemed like a good idea.”
How fitness has brought them closer: “My wife is my greatest motivator and my best asset! In many ways it is the core of out relationship. Neither of us were or are health nuts or fitness freaks. We try not to put garbage into our bodies and we are very active travelers. Our bodies feel great when we train them with a yoga practice and then use them on our life adventures.” –Raymond
Michael and Demetre
Owners of The Monster Cycle in New York
How they met: In an indoor cycling class!
Why they decided to open a studio together: “We love health, fitness, friends and art. We just wanted to create a space to call home.”
How fitness has brought them closer: “Fitness has helped us grow as a team partnership. We help each other with playlists and take each other’s classes for feedback. Nothing is better than taking a class with your partner.” -Michael
Robert Rowland and Hilary Gilbert
Owners of BOOM Cycle in London
How they met: At a gig in London and then had a whirlwind week of dates in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Why they decided to open a studio together: We were both looking to open a business and realized how much work it would take, and we wanted to make sure we got to spend time together. We always moved quickly: I went to LA for our first date, we became a couple a few days later, then a few days after that Hilary moved from LA to London and we moved in together. We are a team!”
How fitness has brought them closer: I wouldn’t say that it has. We’re the same people we’ve always been, if perhaps a little more tired and wiser. We still share the same interests, goals and dreams. We’re even engaged now to be married. Having a business together accelerates how well you know your partner, but it makes us stronger and even more intertwined so we couldn’t imagine not spending every day together. We’re sure that working with your partner is not right for everyone, so think long and hard about how it would work. Hilary and I have very different job roles and responsibilities, so we don’t step on each others toes too much.” -Robert
Suhail Maqsood and Carl Morley
Owners of The Wheel House in San Francisco
How they met: Carl and Suhail met on Carl’s first day at Oracle in the UK. They became good friends and after many months, began dating. Twenty years later, we both left our software technology jobs and now live in San Francisco helping people meet their fitness goals.
Why they decided to open a studio together: “Carl taught at multiple gyms throughout San Francisco. He spent more hours teaching than his regular full time job! He enjoyed teaching fitness classes more than his regular job and was encouraged by Suhail to follow his passion. We both visited our current location and fell in love with the idea of putting all our eggs in one basket to commit to our first studio.”
How fitness has brought them closer: “It’s tough without a doubt when you spend 24hrs a day together with the same person at work and at home. But, we make it work since we are each others true love. My only question is when Carl is going to propose.” –Suhail
Chris and Shannon Catalano
Owners of The Corner Studio in Denver
How they met: Chris and Shannon met at work. While on active duty, Chris got stationed at Tinker Air Force Base and was assigned to the organization where Shannon was working.
Why they decided to open a studio together: Chris and Shannon decided to combine their passion for fitness and nutrition, desire to change lives, and love of business. A family-run studio that focuses on strength, flexibility, cardio and nutrition was the perfect marriage.
How fitness has brought them closer: Because of their love of fitness, Chris and Shannon work together daily growing their business and connecting with their community. They take great pride in working with their neighbors. In helping others live healthy, active lives, they are fulfilling their life dream together.
Carlos and Marilenny Lopez
Owners of Westmere Fitness in Houston
How they met: They’re high school sweethearts.
Why they decided to open a studio together: “We always wanted to open a business in the health and fitness industry. We took the leap of faith.”
How fitness has brought them closer: “It has changed for sure. Our lives are busier now, with juggling regular jobs, the studio, and three young kids, ages 10, 5, and 2. We have become stronger together. She is my partner in crime.” -Carlos
Julie and Steven DiLeo
Owners of Women’s Fitness of Boston
How they met: They met after he moved in with Julie’s brother.
Why they decided to open a studio together: “Fitness has always been part of our lives. As a personal trainer and fitness instructor with a background in business, this was a dream come true. My husband played semi-pro football for 16 years and is an all-around athlete and a carpenter, so we knew he had the skills to do any repairs and updates the club might need. We figured we could put our skills together to make a successful family business.”
How fitness has brought them closer: “Fitness keeps us both young and active. Our club is women-only, so my husband has been supportive in all the club updates, repairs and marketing efforts/ideas, and final decision making. I remain active in the day-to-day club duties, management, personal training and group fitness. Together we make a successful team. Outside of our business, my husband is always coaching our son in hockey or football and even basketball. You will find us at a rink, field or gym watching our son compete. Fitness has been a healthy influence on our son’s life, and many of my clients have watched him grow into a young, talented athlete.” -Julie
Natalie Joseph and Seth Daniel
Owners of Body Unlimited Fitness in Los Angeles
How they met: Natalie decided to take a basic training course and was attracted to her instructor, Seth. They moved in together a month later, dated for three years and are engaged to be married.
Why they decided to open a studio together: “We both believe that we need to build the future we seek. We opened this business together in an effort to educate people about true health and fitness, as we are bombarded by new fads and gimmicks every day. We want to help guide people in a direction that’s healthy for the mind and heart as well as the body. Balance is key, but most people in today’s world have no idea what that means or how to achieve it. We want to change that.”
How fitness has brought them closer: “We have found that running a business together reveals our strengths in ways that allow us to harmonize in our actions. For example, I am great at leading the social interactions and making financial decisions within our gym, and Seth is a fantastic handyman and artist. We bounce ideas off of each other, and it’s like a magnified window into each other’s mind and heart, which is just plain cool. I think there is something to be said about opening a business out of love and running it with love. Every day I feel like I am a productive human being contributing something positive to this world.” -Natalie
Miguel Novo and Stephanie Luciano
Owners of Novo Body Fitness in Los Angeles
How they met: They met at 24 Hour Fitness—it was love at first sight!
Why they decided to open a studio together: “Miguel had been a personal trainer for a couple years as well as group instructor at other studios in Los Angeles, and it got to a point that his schedule was packed and he couldn’t take on more clients. The likely next step was to open his own studio. I had been a talent agent for 15 years and was ready for a change in lifestyle. I have been a fitness enthusiast my entire life. Everything just made sense for us.”
How fitness has brought them closer: “We got married on May 3, 2014, opened Novo Body in February of 2015 and are expecting a baby end of March 2016. The last couple of years have been such a blessing. We love running the studio together. Miguel’s lead role is with the trainers, the training method and the clients. I handle the marketing and business side of things. We each have our own lane that we stay in, and it works so good for us. We are both crazy passionate about fitness and being healthy, and it’s a main focus in our lives. We are closer than ever being married and running the studio together.” –Stephanie
Crystal Greene-El Amin and Rashad El Amin
Owners of Foxy and Fierce in Los Angeles
How they met: They met nine years ago working at BB King Nightclub at Universal City Walk.
Why they decided to open a studio together: “I had been studying martial arts my whole life. I grew up in a dojo, my father and mother are both sixth degree black belts. I myself am a third degree black belt. Fourteen years ago, I discovered Muay Thai while trying to increase my skill and strength for a tournament. I fell in love with putting on boxing gloves and going hard on Thai pads, kicking and punching. When Rashad and I started dating, we would work out together, and we had a pair of pads we would train with. People would always tell me how they would love to do this type of workout. We felt like, you can! So we started a small bootcamp, and it has evolved into what it is now.”
How fitness has brought them closer: “Fitness has always been a part of our lives. Rashad and I both come from athletic backgrounds. He, a football player and track star. Me, a well-rounded basketball player and track athlete. Like most people in their early twenties, we would go out and have our share of cocktails and then try to get up in the morning fighting the usual hangover. But since opening the studio, instead of late night parties, we’re planning hikes and outdoor training sessions first thing in the morning. We are not just a couple but are equals and business partners. I feel that are relationship has only been strengthened by our commitment to a healthy lifestyle.” -Crystal
David and Dylan Schenk
Owners of LIFT Society
How they met: David got on the treadmill next to Dylan and wouldn’t leave her alone.
Why they decided to open a studio together: “At first it was a move of desperation. I was newly pregnant and not able to work a ton of hours because of my extreme morning sickness. We needed passive income, and we needed to act quickly! Our original cross-training concept was conceptualized and executed in only three months and with less than $20,000. It was really stressful at the time, but there’s no ‘perfect time’ to start a new business.”
How fitness brought them closer: “We have always worked together; that’s how we met. Owning our own studio was a natural progression for us. We are both equally passionate about exercise, health and fitness—and we got sick of working for other people. I’m stronger on the admin/sales/social media side of the business, where as Dave, a Division I college athlete, excels in program design, so it really works for us. We’ve got our whole family involved. Every day, our kids (ages 2 and 4) do their exercises, regardless of what sporting activities they had that day. We’ve got them practicing their counting while they count jumpsquats, hold handstands on the wall for 30 seconds, and rep out 10 pushups each. They love it, and it’s fun to do as a family!” –Dylan
Ray and Tara Wallace
Owners of FIT RxN in New York
How they met: At New York Sports Club.
Why they decided to open a studio together: “We decided building 10 years together was better than building 10 years apart.”
How fitness has brought them closer: “We have an incredible healthy and well-balanced relationship, both in and out of work. Fitness has provided a platform for us to grow together. Owning a business together and spending every day building toward our life goals is something we take great pride in as an example for our children.” –Tara
Earl and DeShay Williams
Owners of DEFINITIONS in Washington, D.C.
How they met: Earl opened Definitions in 1994 and shortly after started the first indoor cycling classes (now known as Cycle, Ride, Rev etc) in D.C. DeShay managed another gym and called to ask if she could try a class. She loved his class and thought both he and the class were fabulous. He felt the same about her. They hit it off personally and professionally, got married and have been running Definitions ever since.”
How fitness has brought them closer: “We both love sports and fitness. It’s who we are, what we do and what we love. It makes us stronger individuals and it makes our relationship stronger. We work out together, collaborate on training programs together and can’t stop analyzing the posture of passers by while dining out. We’ve been through a lot. Earl said to me once, ‘I’m sure we can handle anything.’ I tear up every time I think about him saying that to me.” –DeShay
Alex and Nedra Mastosov
Owners of The P.E. Club in New York
How they met: Alex and Nedra met at Equinox seven years ago. They were both trainers and at first and didn’t like each other. He thought Nedra was ‘too nice’ and she thought Alex was a ‘know-it-all.’ That all changed when they fell in love.
Why they decided to open a studio together: “No matter how much we loved training with our clients in the park, their homes or other gyms, there seemed to be something missing. We decided to start a “club” where members were serious about their physical health, and take it a step further. Though P.E. stands for Physical Education, we wanted to be more, which is what gave way to our tagline: “It’s not Physical…It’s Personal.”
How fitness has brought them closer: Fitness has been an extremely important part of our lives. Not only is it our livelihood, but has kept us strong as a couple. It is not easy working alongside your spouse, especially when you own a fitness business together. I wouldn’t say it has changed our relationship, especially since it is how we met, but has helped us to overcome many obstacles together.” –Nedra
Jen and Jeff Crompton
Owners of Fuel Cycle Fitness in Philadelphia
How they met: They met through a mutual friend when they were both recently out of relationships. While Jen thought Jeff looked familiar, she couldn’t place it until they realized they both went to the same college and had the same friends, but never met. Until one night at a bar, that is.
Why they decided to open a studio together: “Simply put, we wanted to make peoples’ lives better. We wanted to do something that made a difference and empower people to live happier and healthier lives. I was a cycle instructor since my days of unemployment and loved it ever since I got on the instructor bike, turned on my first microphone, and blasted my first playlist. When Jeff and I were preparing for our wedding, I came across a boxing studio and thought he could try it out with me. When we had the idea of doing something to make a difference, we knew that a fitness studio would be amazing – but we had to find the right offering in the right place. Since preparation for our wedding included a boxing, cycling, yoga regimen, I knew it was a great combination. We also had the idea that by combining these two exercises, we could coerce couples to get fit together – whether they both boxed or came to the studio and one boxed and one cycled – they could motivate and build accountability together. So, we did our research, built out the idea, and after finding the perfect space, launched our studio with three days of free classes on December 28, 2015!
How fitness has brought them closer: “It’s always been something deep-rooted in both of us since we were athletes our entire lives. But, taking on fitness together, that has helped us become a stronger couple in all senses. We are physically stronger and our relationship is stronger. Every day we work toward doing something amazing for ourselves and for others – and that’s what life is all about.” –Jen
Paul Rahn and Matheu Martell
Owners of SWEAT in Chicago
How they met: They met when Matheu came to one of Paul’s classes. Though they had a mutual friend, Paul was so busy at the time that he hardly noticed Matheu. It wasn’t until his third class that he started to take note of the guy always asking questions. They finally figured out their mutual friend was trying to set them up, and the magic happened from there.
How fitness has brought them closer: “Doing this together has strengthened our relationship, as we both grow our own capabilities. We use each other for the ultimate form of support, we can be 100 percent raw with our weaknesses with each other, and most importantly help each other balance ourselves and our life. We are competitive, so while at times we are a lot to handle (literally I think sometimes people might be like ‘I can’t with you guys!’) we push each other because we want to look and feel our bests. We feel good when we know we are in sync with our bodies and this translates in how we handle ourselves daily!We love to laugh, and love to be stupid! This has become our ‘brand’ per say, making people smile and laugh while we are kicking their asses in our classes. I feel like everyday something happens where we just bust out laughing over what’s probably something not that funny! We take everything so light, and when times get heavy, all we have to do is give a big hug and everything seems much lighter! “ -Paul
Brian and Alyssa Delmonico
Owners of Circuit of Change in New York
How they met: Alyssa took Brian’s outdoor MindBody Bootcamp class the week before the Circuit of Change studio opened. She thanked him for class, gave him a hug and – in his words – that was it!
Why they decided to open a studio together: “Brian created the method behind MindBody Bootcamp and opened the COC studio Fall 2011. I came in soon after and created our wellness and detox programs. After years of taking his class, loving everything about the unique style of movement, Brian trained me to teach. Our love, life and work has blended so magically together.”
How fitness has brought them closer: “Following our passion for health and fitness is what brought us together. It’s brought an amazing community of students and friends into our lives. We are so grateful that every single day we do what we love, and we get to share it with each other and the world. We have the opportunity to live and grow in an incredibly positive environment, and do our best to provide the same loving space for others. It’s been a beautiful journey and we’re beyond excited for what’s to come!” –Alyssa
Mike and Melanie Cable
Owners of MPowered Bootcamps in San Jose
How they met: They met at a high school football game 14 years ago. They started dating four years later and are now happily married.
Why they decided to open a studio together: “We are both passionate about sports, fitness and helping people. Our favorite mantra is, If you can dream it, you can do it. It has been amazing making our dream come true together.”
How fitness has brought them closer: “Fitness brings us closer together. Our favorite activity is to work out together, and I fell even deeper in love with Mike once I started taking his bootcamp classes. Being active makes us both feel so good, and when we do it together it is even better. Our company name has special meaning to us. Both of our names start with the letter M, and we both want to empower our members to live happier and healthier lives!” -Melanie
Elissa El Hadj and Jeremy Abadom
Owners of FORM Studios in London
How they met: At the gym!
Why they decided to open a studio together: “We wholly believe in each other, complement each other and know that two heads are better than one. We enjoy each other’s company, and because health, fitness and well being is a great passion for both of us, what better way to spend your day—doing what you love, with the one you love!”
How has fitness brought them closer: “In a relationship, it’s vitally important that the couple enjoy hobbies together, as that is what builds and deepens the connection. As we both love fitness, in our free time, we can enjoy the same pursuits together, such as playing tennis, running, cycling, boxing or simply, training together at FORM or when we’re travelling, at the gym. Fitness has most definitely strengthened our relationship ,as it enables us to spend time and feel good together. That’s the beauty of fitness!” -Elissa
Dance and Barre
Brittany and Michael Freeman
Owners of Tone Barre in Los Angeles
How they met: At Chapman University.
Why they decided to open a studio together: “Because we were married. Kidding! Because the idea was something we were both passionate about, and we weren’t going to jump full force into something like opening a studio without one another. Working with your spouse definitely isn’t for everyone, but we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we complement each other pretty well (we think!), which makes us such a great team. It can’t get much better than loving what you do and loving the people you do it with.”
How fitness brought them closer: “It has most definitely made our relationship stronger. Not only is it a common passion we share with respect to our studios, but it’s also something we can enjoy together outside the studio as well. From biking to running to long walks with our two furry dogs, much of our time off together is spent being active. When people ask what we do for fun, that’s pretty much it in a nutshell. We celebrate 10 years together in March!” –Brittany
Alessandro Moruzzi and Vehllia Tranne
Owners of The City Waves in San Francisco
How they met: Dancing.
Why they decided to open a studio together: “It’s a natural progression in our relationship. We love dancing and teaching together, and now we are creating community of like-minded people. We love it!”
How fitness has brought them closer: “We are active, have great energy throughout the day and support each other in improving our health. We both teach our classes alternately and together, with different style of teaching. We have different skills and focus in managing our studio.” –Vehllia
Brandon and Leah Castle
Owners of Jazzercise-College Area in San Diego
How they met: On a blind date in college.
Why they decided to open a studio together: “I knew this could be a fun adventure for us. Brandon was not on board at first. It took him a few months to say yes. I am a stay at home mom and Navy wife, and knew I could be doing more with my life. I love teaching Jazzercise, and owning a studio was the next step for me. Brandon eventually said yes, because he knew I wanted to do this. He is a huge supporter of my dreams and came around.”
How fitness has brought them closer: “We enjoy every aspect of owning a fitness studio. We are closer and hope to do this as a full-time job once he retires. We have figured out how to run a business, to watch it struggle, watch it grow, and blossom into something our clients love coming to every day. He comes to classes and participates. I couldn’t imagine not doing it without him. Jazzercise is a women-dominated fitness industry, and he is helping other men see that this is a great way to work the body. Running a business takes a team, and I am beyond thankful that my husband is my business partner. I teach, pay bills and manage social media outlets, he does more behind the scenes stuff with advertising, plumbing, building new things or hanging banners. We are a great team!” –Leah
Kate and Matt Gallagher
Owners of The Barre Code-Evanston in Chicago
How they met: At a bar in Chicago.
How fitness has brought them closer: “Fitness and our studio has become our ‘baby.’ Every tiny aspect of the studio and our classes is so personal to us. Now that we are expecting our first child together, it makes it even more special that our studio, employees and clients are like family to us.” –Kate