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From Passion to Parnassah

Chaya Kahn

It started as a hobby, a way to channel their talents. But then they realized their skill set didn’t just give them an enjoyable pastime, it could also spark a rewarding career. Meet four hardworking women who took their hobbies and — with determination, creativity, and a generous dose of siyata d’Shmaya — created successful businesses.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Fitness with Finesse

The only girl in a household of boys and a natural athlete, Miriam Newhouse has always been interested in fitness. After her third child was born, Miriam decided it was time to follow her dream and become a fitness instructor. For the next six years, Miriam trained five days a week. “I was good at it, and I loved it,” she says.

As Miriam’s expertise grew, she started teaching classes at a local Bais Yaakov high school. “I enjoyed using my skills to help girls feel empowered and safe,” she says. “And it was a wonderful outlet for them.” She also started women’s “boot camp” classes in her mother’s backyard.

As her classes developed a following, Miriam transformed her basement playroom into a fitness space — the Power Studio — complete with a mirrored wall and a professional dance floor. Three and a half years later, the Power Studio, in conjunction with its sister studio in nearby Pomona, hosts more than 45 classes a week taught by a variety of teachers, including separate classes for children and men. Miriam teaches about 12 women’s classes a week and supervises the fitness program of over 100 children.

“I didn’t start out with a business plan — it grew as demand grew,” Miriam explains. “Because it developed organically, I was able to build step-by-step, without getting in over my head.”

With room for just nine women per class, Miriam’s studio is cozy. She prefers to stay small so she can work from home and continue to offer personal attention. “I call what I do ‘group personal training,’” she explains. “If there are 40 people in a class, they’re invisible. A good instructor needs to see what everyone is doing, to ensure techniques are done correctly, to maximize the benefits of the workout, and to avoid injury.”

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