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New fitness studio offers an alternative to populated gyms

The owner of new fitness boutique Studio Michelle believes clients get the best at her fitness studio.

A fitness professional since age 15, Michelle Schwartz has been plying her craft in La Jolla for seven years.

“I had my own little studio - Studio 290, my address - and we were looking to expand,” Schwartz said.

A triathlete, Schwartz is well versed in training those serious about competition. She has a triathlon trainer, Felipe Loureiro, who specializes in training those interested in the running, biking and swimming event.

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“We do a lot of work on balance,” Schwartz said, “functioning things that carry over into everyday life. It’s a different way of working out.”

The personal trainers in her studio do a mix of Pilates and stabilization core work. They don’t handle a lot of weights. Classes are limited to six people at a time.

Regular clients praise her methods, including the owner of George’s At The Cove restaurant.

“She is remarkably competent at what she does,” said Hauer, a skier and biker who needed back-strengthening exercise. “She has a background in physical therapy and kiniesiolgy. She knows how everything moves and works. What she does is analyze what your individual needs are, and begins to work on your core strength, moving out from there.”

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Hauer does his own cardio work and leaves the strength-training part of his fitness regimen to Schwartz.

“She has all kinds of devious ways to torture you with weights, bars and tricks,” Hauer joked. “She will make me go further than I would otherwise.”

Schwartz said she and her staff are specialists with a wealth of training, which makes instruction by them more meaningful for clients.

“You get the best of the best trainers here,” she said, “the best possible exercise regimen for you.”

Schwartz claimed that the bigger gyms are often not staffed by professionals for whom fitness training is a way of life, but that they hire young people working their way through school.

“It’s not their lifestyle,” she said, “not what they’re choosing to do with their life, just what they’re choosing to do for this moment.”

Schwartz’s oldest client is an 81-year-old man who stays fit so he can continue to play golf. Her youngest clients are in their teens.

What most people are looking for, said Schwartz, is to maintain their ability to do the physical activities they love doing as they grow older.

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“The trend now is people are more interested in just feeling good,” she said. “They’re getting older, and they don’t want to be 60 and can’t get up from the floor. They want to stay healthy.”

Schwartz likes the small look and feel of her fitness center.

“Not everyone likes to go to a gym,” she said. “They prefer to do a personal training session.”

Clients say the methodology at Studio Michelle is novel and innovative.

Sandra Brady, now in her early 50s, lives in Poway and has been a client of Schwartz’s for about four years. She’s so pleased with the training she’s received, she drives to La Jolla for classes.

“She’s a professional,” said Brady. “You know you’re dealing with someone on a higher level of training. She not only trains you to the best of her ability, but she has the background in therapy, if you have injuries, to work you through it.”

Amy Corton needed quick rehabilitation from a ski injury.

“I tore my anterior cruciate ligament,” she said, “and Michelle worked with me for several months before I had surgery to strengthen the muscles around my knee. After surgery, she worked with me to rehabilitate. She did an incredible job. I skiied about eight months after surgery.”

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Hours at Studio Michelle, at 5726 La Jolla Blvd., Suite 104, are by appointment only. Hour-long group classes are $25 per session twice a week. For more information, call (858) 531-3518.