The Shed isn’t just a place to sweat and leave, it’s a place that feels like home.
As pulsing music blares above the whirring fleet of stationary bikes, a horde of frenzied, bedraggled “spinners” look up at Katie Lewin.
Pumping her own pedals, Katie smiles back across her class, controls her breathing and cajoles them through her headset microphone. “Push! Finish strong with me!” They put down their heads and dig deeper. She beams.
Katie Lewin never thought you could make a living teaching exercise classes. But, years after her college soccer career, she wanted to find a way to re-create the structure and camaraderie she missed. She felt a void. A fog. She missed her passion. Despite parenting three busy kids, Katie and her husband, Spencer, decided to take the leap and open The Shed Fitness.
“When we first started, there were times when we only had one person in class. We used to invite our friends and family to just come for free, just so there are other bodies in the class.” Pouring themselves into the business, handing the kids off in the parking lot to make the logistics work, Katie and Spencer grew the community. Their class roster expanded to include yoga, pilates, and core training. They brought on quality people, and they learned to ask for help. They found allowing their members to jump in and support the gym only strengthened the bonds between them.
The business has blossomed around Katie’s contagious energy. “Sometimes I get tired,” she says, “but I love it. If I don’t work out, I almost feel tired, the fog is there.” As the class wraps up, the only fog is on the windows of The Shed, where the steam from a quality effort meets the Minneapolis cold.
Photos by Shaul Schwarz & Christina Clusiau
Katie Lewin opened The Shed Fitness with her husband, Spencer, to reconnect with her passion for exercise.
Q & A
After Katie taught her fourth spin class of the day, we sat down to chat.
Can you describe the happiest moment in your business life?
Honestly, I cannot pick one happiest moment. But, the ones that resonate deepest with me are the ones where clients tell me that our studio has changed their life. For instance, one man told me that The Shed completely changed his life by giving him back his strength after living with HIV and being very sick. He started training with us and was able to do a 550 mile California AIDS ride from San Francisco to LA. Little did he know that he inspired us as well! Another woman quit her corporate job to pursue her lifelong dream of opening an advertising business, because she felt so empowered after completing our boot camp program. Another “Shedder” said he used to feel weak and lacked motivation until he participated in our boot camp. Now he is training for the 2015 Ironman! I mean, how can stories like this not make me happy to the core? I feel humbled and grateful that I have been able to transform my passion for fitness into a viable business, and in the process create a place that empowers people to transform their lives.
Is there anything you wish you had known when you opened The Shed?
If I could give myself one piece of advice that I’ve learned since starting The Shed, it would be to accept help when it’s offered.
Do you have advice to aspiring small business owners?
My advice to small business owners is to follow your dreams and go for it! It won’t be easy in the beginning; there were quite a few years where we were writing checks to everyone else and not ourselves. You just have to be patient with the process and have belief in the process and know that if it’s meant to work out, it will. Hard work will pay off.
Have you always dreamed of doing this?
No – I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine about what I wanted to do with my life and this was after college, and she said “What are you passionate about?” I said “I’m passionate about exercise and fitness and health and wellness, but you can’t make a living teaching exercise classes.”