When Elizabeth Lindberg had a rare window of free time while working in the corporate world, she loved playing tennis. But when she suffered from tennis elbow, she searched for a new exercise option that was efficient, effective and rehabilitative. The Korea-born, Texas-raised fitness enthusiast found the Lagree method at a nearby studio in her hometown of Dallas. She instantly loved the workout on the multi-functional Megaformer machine, which not only helped her heal, but also made her happily, humbly sore, as she recalls.
Though at one point she took a break from working to devote her time to being a mom, when the twists of her life inspired her to return to work, she decided the flexibility of her personal time was her top priority. So, she took a risk and chose to open a Megaformer studio herself. She journeyed to LA where Sebastien Lagree trained her, and when she returned to Dallas, she opened the first Studio 6 Fitness in 2012. Soon, she’ll have four locations, proving her brave choice wise. SBS finds out more.
SBS: You worked at Morgan Stanley and Procter & Gamble before opening your studios. What corporate world skills did you bring to your new job?
Elizabeth Lindberg: I came from a different background so I had a fresh perspective. I had experience with brand strategy, so I came in knowing I wanted a company that would appeal to a diverse but discriminating market, including men. I also worked hard to have a name that was contemporary and flexible to the changing fitness world. What if I wanted to incorporate TRX at some point? I didn’t want to be stuck. I wanted to have a name that could evolve as the market did. I was able to think in that way because of the business. I also wanted to have a value proposition, understanding questions like: What are you doing on the service level? How will you build the community? I was able to think about that early on, and that gave me a head start when we opened.
SBS: What were things that were unfamiliar and challenging to deal with?
EL: In the fitness world, I was unfamiliar with handling so many part-time employees with shifting, competing priorities. Work-wise, it’s a younger market, and it’s in the midst of constant change. It’s a challenge, but the business is a real family you love. So, I try to empower everyone. I help them see: If you’re at the front desk, you’re ‘the owner’ in that moment. When you trust people and invest in them, they rise to the occasion.
I also offer incentives and acknowledge the other certifications—from personal training to yoga—my trainers hold. It takes a village, so I acknowledge them as much as I can. Then, I investigate other areas: Do you like retail? Do you like merchandise? Do you like social media? Maybe there are other synergistic areas that you can get involved in.
SBS: You also are very much involved in the Dallas community. How do you integrate business and service?
EL: We update our brand to promote the season or a cause in our community. That actually strengthens our brand, and at the end of the day, I want our spot to stand for strength. For example, we recently updated our logo to support #backtheblue after the shootings in Dallas. And we have been promoting the Be Strong tag line since we opened in 2012.
SBS: Since the Megaformer is a complicated machine, what do you think makes a good instructor for these classes?
EL: The successful trainers may not be the badasses or the hardest trainers. Instead, it’s about that personal connection they create every time. They know their clients’ names, and that builds respect and trust. For example, one of my trainers says hello and goodbye every single class to every student—even though we have 14 machines. She has a waitlist you wouldn’t believe!
SBS: What are your tips for clients new to the Megaformer?
EL: I tell people—and I mean this sincerely—that the machine itself protects you. You will feel everything in your core. The slower you go, the better it is, and you don’t do anything more than a minute. Also, this is group fitness, so there are all different fitness levels. It’s your personal workout, so listen to your body, focus on the movement and the range of motion will come. Your body will respond faster to continuous tension, even if it’s a smaller amount of tension.
SBS: You created six principles. What are they?
EL: Strength: Feel stronger, grow stronger, be stronger. Then flexibility: Go outside your comfort zone and stretch within every move. Then, balance, endurance, and finally, spirit. I decided to put in spirit because at the end of the day, it’s about how you feel on the inside. First you feel different, and then you see the difference.
SBS: You also offer barre. What differentiates it from other versions?
EL: We are strictly low impact, but we call it Megabarre because we do our core work at the Megaformer. Then, we also work efficiently in the Lagree method by fatiguing each side instead of alternating. So you do all the exercises for your right side, for example, them move to the left. It’s more efficient.
Elizabeth’s Dallas Favorites:
Healthy Restaurant: True Food Kitchen
Splurge Restaurant: Shinsei
Fitness Studios: SoulCycle, Exhale, CorePower Yoga
Fitness Apparel: DYI, BodyRio
Fun Activity: Bishop Arts District
Elizabeth’s SBS Mantra: We have our own line of Sticky Be Socks, and my favorite is ‘Be Strong.’ Feeling strong helps you make strong decisions. It’s not so much about losing pounds. It’s about strength. It starts from the inside.