Melissa Malen is a spunky woman with many passions. She believes that exercise should be fun, that community is vital to our well being, and that adults and children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be helped by incorporating fitness into their therapeutic roster.
In May, Malen started Studio M Spinning & Fitness in hopes of building a community around fitness. She rents one of the sun-streaked community rooms on the lower level of the Como Lakeside Pavilion and runs classes in spinning, strength and flexibility at all hours of the day, including 5:45 a.m. for those who like a little sunrise with their sweat sessions.
Malen’s classes include spinning with strength, which combines 20 minutes of spinning followed by 20 minutes of strength-building exercises off the bike for all ability levels. Malen also sees personal training clients in the space, as well as ADHD clients. “Combining fitness with attention coaching is really one of my great passions,” Malen said. “We use the bikes or do other high interval training, then we talk about skills development for focus and attention persistence.”
Additionally, Malan, who has a background in counseling, offers classes for students that combine exercise and tutoring targeted at increasing achievement in school. Workshops are also offered for parents and educators that cover individual education plans (IEP) and 504 plans (an educational plan that gives students with disabilities individualized help) and developing accommodations for students.
This spring, Malen, who lived in the Como neighborhood for 17 years, partnered with Meegan Hall of Como Park Yoga and Wellness to offer a larger variety of ways to stay fit in 2016. Hall and Malen share the space and many clients who enjoy the ability to take a heart-pounding spinning class one morning and a stress-relieving yoga session the next. Clients can purchase a punch card from either instructor and use it for both yoga and spinning classes.
Hall recently left the corporate world to follow her passion: yoga.
“I loved my job,” she said in the studio overlooking the docks at the pavilion. “But I thought, ‘I don’t want to be at this desk when I’m 50.’ It was time to follow my dream.” One of Hall’s most popular offerings is Yin Yoga, which focuses on connective tissues of the body by holding poses for extended lengths of time to increase circulation and improve flexibility. Hall has had extensive training in teaching yoga and is continuing to take additional training in hopes of increasing the offerings at Como Park Yoga.
Alex Lodner lives in Como Park and is a regular contributor to the Park Bugle.