Life in Balance

The Wellness Studio is nestled between the Twice As Nice consignment shop and Paragon Premium Printing. The windows are full of blue exercise balls on both sides as if they are trying to keep out what owner Terri Detweiler has worked hard to eliminate from her facility: intimidation and pressure from society.

And it’s for women only.

After working in so many different places, Detweiler realized her desire to start doing fitness on her own terms and in her own way.

“Fitness is a spiritual process connecting the whole person,” said Detweiler. “Exercising and watching what you eat doesn’t work for everyone.”

In September 2009, Detweiler, a certified health and fitness specialist, personal trainer and wellness coach, moved the Wellness Studio from its original location above Ten Thousand Villages at 206 S. Main St.

“We were there for our first year,” said Detweiler. “We really outgrew the space.”

Detweiler moved into what used to be the Twice As Nice Furniture consignment shop. Maija Stutsman, one of Detweiler’s personal trainers and teachers, and her husband Jeremy were the landlords of the space.

“A lot of things just fell into place,” said Detweiler. “It’s a good location for business— a storefront on Main Street level.”

Even though the Wellness Studio has only been open for a little more than a year, Detweiler is no stranger to the physical fitness world or Goshen.

In 1999, Detweiler received her spinning certification at the Goshen Wide WYCA, now renamed the Maple City Racket and Fitness Club.

She went on to become a certified personal trainer in 2002 and then certified in advanced fitness in 2004. By 2006 Detweiler was a certified wellness coach.

During this time, Detweiler worked at the Goshen College Recreational- Fitness Center as the fitness coordinator for three years. She also worked with Team Bariatrics at Goshen Health Systems running the facilities for four years.

Afterwards, Detweiler worked at Retreat Women’s Health Center along with personally training private clients.

Detweiler built her facility on the motto “Life in Balance.” For her, this means physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and wellness.

“We’re not just here to teach you how to punch a bag,” said Detweiler. “We can offer something different. It’s about finding balance in all aspects of ourselves. Overall health on all levels.”

Working in different facilities for over 10 years, Detweiler realized a common trait in each one–gyms and fitness facilities were more male-oriented. Many of the exercise routines, equipment and the general environment were not compatible to women’s needs.

“It’s very intimidating,” she said. “And it’s not supportive for women. I wanted to create a place where women can come in and not have to look, feel, act or dress a certain way. On a professional level, I feel that it’s important for me to facilitate that and to create a supportive environment.”

For Detweiler, this women-only aspect reflects the female relationships that she has in her life with her daughter, sisters and female friends.

One of the biggest issues that Detweiler has seen in women’s health is that women are never OK with themselves in appearance.  She said that women focus on their bodies never being good enough.

“More attention is focused on disparaging our bodies or taking care of other people,” said Detweiler. “Women can learn to love the body they’re in.”

To facilitate this love for women’s bodies, Detweiler needed a team of trainers that would support and reflect this image.

Joining her in her efforts are Jami Hawkins, Maija Stutsman and Karen Hunt, all certified in personal training.

“I wasn’t planning on having classes at all,” said Detweiler. “I was just going to do some personal training and wellness coaching, but then Jami and Maija came along and things evolved.”

“Jami has been on an incredible weight loss journey for the last year and she’s doing it in a healthy and spiritual way,” said Detweiler. “She’s good [at] working with people and [she’s] energetic as well as approachable.”

“Maija is super athletic, and exercise is her passion,” said Detweiler. “She’s really unintimidating and has an empathetic personality.”

Alana Klemmer, a kickboxing student who has been with the Wellness Studio since it originally opened, said, “You interact with the instructors like other people in the class.  They’re not high and mighty. They’re just another person in the class.”

Currently, the Wellness Studio offers kickboxing classes; core training, a Pilates-based class that focuses on strengthening the body’s core; cross-fitness, a class for beginners;  personal training sessions; and wellness counseling.

“Wellness counseling is learning about what gets in the way of knowing what to do well for our bodies,” said Detweiler. “It helps with the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness.”

Wellness counseling focuses on the underlying issues that keep women unhealthy, she said. It helps to keep women healthy and happy by addressing fitness, nutrition, stress, and health and lifestyle issues.

The Wellness Studio has been averaging about five women per class with an age range of 18- 61 years-old.

“Attendance has increased every series,” said Detweiler. “Class size has doubled since we first opened. January was really low in attendance. We’re not sure if it’s money or the weather that has affected attendance.”

Despite this downturn in attendance in the past month, Detweiler doesn’t intend to change the prices for classes.

“We’ve never raised prices,” she said. “And we don’t intend to raise them. In fact, we’re lowering them soon. Making sure that classes are affordable is a priority.”

Detweiler wants to work more on focusing on the mind-body aspect of wellness.

“On March 1, Spacious Heart Yoga will move in which is good,” said Detweiler. “We’re looking into some other options as well. The main thing is that women leave here feeling super empowered to make good decisions for themselves.”

As far as other fitness facilities in the area, Detweiler doesn’t see them as competition.

“We’re all on the same mission to help the community to live well,” she said.

Detweiler is looking into offering student discounts in the future, but for now she’s working on maintaining a fun and supportive atmosphere at the Wellness Studio, in the heart of what she calls “a vibrant downtown.”

Sue Shrock, a 61-year-old kickboxing student, said, “We’re not afraid to goof up, work hard, sweat and have a good time together. We’re not afraid to show what we can and can’t do.”

Written by Brett Bridges

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