Downtown Missoula: The Sweat Shop expands to offer beat-based cycling classes

The Sweat Shop’s staff, left to right: Alyssa Oberweiser, an instructor-SWEATologist; Lene Wipplinger, SWEATologist; Bree Hemphil,l manager; Allie Sammoury co-owner; Catie Moderie, co-owner; Bonnie Bell, founder and owner; Rickë Lu Rixford, baby; Rachael Rixford, SWEATologist; Sarah Daman, SWEATologist. (Mari Hall/Missoula Current)

The Sweat Shop Studio in downtown Missoula is expanding to offer the only beat-based cycling classes in town.

The first location, which opened in 2017, is located underground at 225 N. Higgins Ave., while their new above-ground studio hosts SWEATcycle instruction at 113 West Broadway.

“The difference between any other form of cycling so far in Missoula and us is that we ride beat-based. So there’s no tech on the bikes, you’re not riding to an RPM, you’re not checking your heart rate. You are here to get lost in the music and work out 100 percent beat-based,” studio owner and founder Bonnie Bell said.

The exercise routine is low impact and improves cardiovascular health and muscle development, with resistance bands and added weights to the bike. The classes are for all fitness levels.

The new addition officially opened in early March, and will offer a total of 39 fitness classes, including personal training, boot camp, sport yoga, high-intensity training and SWEATcycle. About 19 women run the studio.

The idea for the business came from Bell’s own experience losing weight and exercising at a gym in town. She started The Sweat Shop Studio for others like herself who need personal space for self-improvement.

“I used to weigh about 100 pounds more than I do now, and I managed a gym here in town,” Bell said. “I lost weight and really wanted to give people the experience of being able to work out in a private space where they felt secure and comforted, where they weren’t being judged and they could be themselves and find their journey and their path to their happiest and healthiest self.”

Co-owner Allie Sammoury also works as a nurse at St. Patrick Hospital and wanted to pursue a career that enabled her to instruct others about ways to stay healthy. A patient’s short stay in a hospital is not enough time for someone to learn the importance of a healthy lifestyle, she said.

“You get such a short glimpse and such a short period of time when you’re in the hospital to be able to impact those patients,” Sammoury said. “Coming here and hearing Bonnie’s story and how she assists people, I was like, ‘This is perfect. This is exactly where I need to be.’”

Catie Moderie approached Bell for her personal training services, finding herself in need of a lifestyle change. In time, she became a personal trainer herself, and was asked to participate as a business partner and co-owner.

“Bonnie helped to convince me that what I’ve done and what I’ve been through, I can take that and help others,” she said.

The studio is also partnering with other fitness businesses in the downtown area like Hot House Yoga and Main Street Pilates to attract customers and provide a stronger business partnership.

“Our main goal is to bring Missoula’s fitness community together,” Bell said. “We are really trying to empower that all of us women can work together, even though we’re in the same industry. We can help each other’s businesses grow and thrive.”

Bell said the most important aspects of the business are the connections between clients and instructors, as well as the encouragement that many receive when they’re starting their fitness journeys.

“Each of us has had traumatic events that have happened in our lives and everybody here has helped us get through that, so even if we can’t make it for a couple months or something like that, you know that this team is waiting for you,” Bell said.

Mari Hall is a reporter for the Missoula Current and can be contacted via email at mari.hall@missoulacurrent.com.