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Spotlight of the Month: Natalie Nakase

The first female assistant coach in the NBA Summer League works out at The Studio (MDR). Here’s how her workouts are helping this trailblazer charge ahead. IMG_1464

I currently am working for the Los Angeles Clippers as the assistant video coordinator. This past summer, I had an amazing opportunity to become the first female assistant coach in the NBA Summer League. For me, it was a great opportunity to move in the right direction of my goal of being a Head Coach in the NBA. I had an amazing time helping our players and working with an incredible staff, and it was a privilege trying to set a positive example for women. I want to prove that you can go after your goals in a male-dominated work environment. You must be fearless and relentless when going after a challenging goal, and at times when you fail, you’ve got to get right back up and try again.  Never stop trying.  Failures are just learning tools to get to your goal.


My experience at The Studio (MDR) has been simultaneously challenging and rewarding. It’s definitely one of the toughest workouts I’ve ever tried, and I’ve been so grateful that my work at (MDR) has helped me in my daily on-court workouts with the players. Having a strong core makes me quicker and stronger.



Trainers’ Take: “This is the Move That Still Makes Me Curse Inside”

Sure, they look amazingly strong—but there are still moves that make your trainers go “OW!” Here, they spill the beans.  


“Any standing, leaning and kneeling long jump—muther-F----er!!! The thing that always gets me is that I know it's coming after an already brutal leg series or even worse, it just pops up at the end if a class just to put the "finishing touches” on my ass! I mean c'mon, it's just a few minutes standing on one leg, not moving. How bad could it be?! Well, that's what I tell myself anyway. I've made it my personal mental mission to conquer it every class. Happiness is long, lean stems!” Jessi


“The Stationary Lunge is the worst! I hate it because when done properly, it fires both legs and creates a radiating, constant and, let's be real, miserable burn. Usually the exercises you hate are the ones you need the most!” Lindsay


“Giant plank-to-pike on your elbows is a killer!” Mary

“Standing/leaning long jump on the back platform and mega kicks off back get me every time!” Dana 


“Oh man, I agree with Dana! Mega Kicks for sure, and Chatarunga hold—especially these past couple weeks!” Trish


“I actually feel pretty strong in Teaser to Pike for the first few movements. But inevitably, as the clock ticks away, the short, constant contraction of my oblique exhausts me, and I'm thankful when we move into the next exercise.” Rachel 



Love Note From Lisa

The Studio (MDR)’s owner and CEO, Lisa Hirsch, on learning how to be just a little bit more patient. IMG_9717


Welcome to fall, and welcome to my world—the land of learning how to be patient.

Patience is one of those virtues that everyone who doesn’t have wishes they did. I know because I used to be that person, especially when I was younger. Everything had to be done yesterday. In fact, I used to pride myself on how many errands I could get done within an hour and still manage to meet a friend on time, or how many things I could cram into the few hours to myself I had on a weekend. The busier I was, the more charged I felt. Yet at some point, competing against myself to see how much more I could accomplish in the shortest amount of time got old. Geez … Type-A much?

As I grew up, I noticed that people with a certain degree of calmness—especially when faced with stressful situations—seemed to function at a higher level than the rest of us. And even though it took me a long time to learn the virtue in that and to start practicing it myself, I can tell you now that eeking out a bit more patience is well worth the effort. I can tell you that this practice of summoning more patience is especially serving me now.

Yes, we all thought that The Studio (MDR) East would have opened already, but let me be the first to assure you that you will soon be staring at that amazing hot pink lacquered ceiling! However, even though I’ve experienced my fair share of frustration at the unavoidable delays and schedules that have been pushed back by subcontractors, I have surprised myself with how incredibly calm I have remained through it all. I breeze through the emails and calls I receive daily from clients, new and old, asking when the studio will open and what is causing the delay. Believe me, I want this studio to open just as much as all of you do—but I also know that worrying about it is not going to get us there any faster ... nor will it take away any of the lines on my face (ha!).

Almost ready...we thought





Can you learn to be patient even if you’ve never been a patient person before? The answer is a definitive yes. If I could transform myself from a "hurry up, get everything done right this moment" person to a more quiet, calm and rational human, you can too—and I promise it won’t take the sass and fun out of you! Here are some suggestions that have worked for lil ‘ol me:

  • If something bothers you, take a deep breath and think before you speak
  • Learn to be more tolerant and keep an even perspective
  • Ask yourself whether this will bother you 10 minutes from now, or a year from now
  • Ask yourself if you’re healthier by rushing around getting everything done, or if you feel sucked dry

Simply slowing down and finding more time to enjoy the little things in life can go a long way towards helping you learn how to be more patient. The best part, I’ve found, is that more doors will open around you … perhaps even the doors to our newest, beautiful studio will seem to open a lot faster, too!

Big hug, welcome to FALL and thanks for everything that each and every one of you brings to my life,




Shredding for the Wedding

Love is in the air at The Studio (MDR), and we’ve got a bunch of couples working out together to get ready for their big day!

Rachel and Blake

Rachel Hoff & Blake Seales

Rachel: I have known Mary since elementary school. In fact, Mary will be a bridesmaid in our wedding! We played sports together in the past and love to spin together, but I was a little scared to take her class originally. She talked me into trying it out for a month and making it part of my 'wedding ready' routine and I became hooked!  Blake wanted to join in on the fun after hearing me rave about the workout.

Like so many people, we're both so busy with work, and lately, planning for the wedding and surrounding festivities—it's hard to make time for exercise within all of that. It has been amazing to find something that we can do together—it is more motivating and more fun! Originally my goal was to look and feel good in my wedding dress. But coming to class regularly has done so much more than that. I am stronger and more flexible than I have been in years, which has made all other exercise a lot easier and more enjoyable as well. We're both also so happy after taking class—what more can you ask for?!

Briana and Dave

Briana Schuck & Dave Anderson

David:  Briana has been going to The Studio (MDR) for two years now and I have watched her transform into the sexy, super-hot, strong lady she is now. I was inspired, and to be honest, a little scared to go. After two years of her asking and with an upcoming wedding and some newfound personal inspiration, I decided to go. I loved it and it pushed me to overcome limits I didn't know I could. I have been going ever since.

Briana: My wedding dress is going to knock his ToeSox off. I would never have dreamed of wearing the dress that I am going to wear without my (MDR) body. I am so excited to feel beyond sexy and elegant on our wedding day. This confidence is fun.

David:  I love going to The Studio (MDR) with Briana. We always set up next to each other so whenever I need a little correction or a boost she's there. I love making funny faces at her during class to make her smile and help us both push through.

Briana: David gets cold feet before every class. We go through major negotiations and Mary even caught us once, while I was trying to coax David out of the car and into the studio. He made it! I adore going to class with David. Working out next to him makes me smile and I am so proud of him.

Bacchus and Mona

Bacchus & Mona

Mona: Bacchus and I just celebrated our one year anniversary on June 16th and if you would have told me a year ago that I would be engaged to the man of my dreams and living the life I had always wished for, I simply wouldn't have believed it. We had known each other for years but for whatever reason it was only until last summer that we began dating and we have been inseparable ever since.

Bacchus introduced me to The Studio (MDR) last September as he had been training there for several months and would go on and on about how motivating the trainers are, how quickly the results occur and how strong he was getting.

Well, just like with a new relationship, I was a bit nervous and maybe even a tad skeptical! But if I have learned anything this past year it would be to take a risk; it may be one of the best things that's ever happened. And guess was. We have been working out 3-4 days a week at The Studio (MDR) and the changes to my body have been amazing, not to mention the fact that I've lost 45 lbs. Bacchus continues to get stronger and leaner and his endurance level is remarkable. We have learned, through our instructors, that when your body starts to shake, it's a sign that it is changing … and Bacchus and I use that as a metaphor in our daily lives.

We now know that when that shake occurs, whether it's in our class, or in life, you should embrace it, because it means that you are alive and you are changing. But you have to work for it, and you have to believe that you deserve it.

So, when we do walk down the aisle and I see the man of my dreams waiting there for me, I know we will be ready: physically, emotionally and spiritually, thanks in part to our family at The Studio (MDR). You, like a supportive partner, have believed in us even on the days when we struggle to believe in ourselves.



Look it + Live it + Feel it

The Studio (MDR) is changing lives. Here are a few highlights ...

Who’s LOOKING it?


Michelle Master

When I came to The Studio (MDR), I was just coming off of a very challenging two years. For most of my life I was on medication to help with an auto immune condition that left me covered head to toe in a painful rash. Despite the medication, I had also developed chronic fatigue, arthritis, adrenal failure and uncontrollable weight gain, so I decided to take myself off of the medication and take my health into my own hands. I tried everything, including having my back broken in 2 places (on purpose), after which my only exercise was meant to be walking or dancing. It was a long healing process and the weight just wouldn't budge. And then I came to The Studio (MDR). My workouts at The Studio have tightened my core, defined my arms and legs, and finally the excess weight is coming off. My flexibility has increased, I have energy again, and I have much less pain in my joints. I don't weigh myself or count calories (I'm a private chef so that would be impossible, lol) but I feel stronger than ever! I'm also way more confident wearing the minimal amount of clothing required for my other passion: pole dancing. I receive compliments on my physique all the time and strangers frequently stop me to ask what I do for a workout. Of course I'm proud to tell them all about how amazing The Studio (MDR) is! And it's not just the workout. It's the energy, the inspiration, and the love that you instantly feel when you walk through the door. Words could never express my gratitude for how  everyone consistently inspire me to be my best self—not just physically but in every way.


Christina Malizia

The workouts at The Studio (MDR) have helped me tighten up my post pregnancy body. Having two kids under 2, my body looks better than before having kids and I can honestly say that's because of the classes at (MDR). My body responded in the first 3 classes. My core is starting to show a six pack?! My legs are showing long, lean lines, and my arms are so strong. My wow moment was when I looked in the mirror about a month ago and started to see abdominal definition. My "trouble zone" has always been my stomach area.  After taking classes for the past two months, I can really see a strong, tight core developing. Having babies gave me excess abdominal skin. In just a couple months, classes at (MDR) have tightened my skin to the point that it looks better than it did pre-pregnancy.

I had my second baby 7 months ago and even though I didn't have trouble losing pounds, it's been very difficult to tighten up my core. No amount of cardio or weights will give me the results that just two months of (MDR) classes has.  Working out has always been apart of my daily life, however I can easily get "bulky muscles".  (MDR) has helped my body get lean and lengthen while sculpting new muscles I've never seen before.

My husband and I are hooked. Thank you for changing my body!


Who’s FEELING it?


Gen Yamaski

Miserable. That is what I was "FEELING" during my first class back in November last year. I could hold less than 15 seconds for most of the movements and I thought I could never survive the class. Seven months have passed since then. I have come to (MDR) at least three times a week constantly and that improved my body shape and fitness level more than I could’ve ever imagined! Moreover, every time I finish the workout I feel a small success, and all the stress I had before the class disappeared. No other workouts have given me such a great feeling, and I am sure I will continue working out at The Studio (MDR) as long as I live in LA.


Kristi Weaver-Szewczyk and Derek Szewczyk

We never believed in love at first sight until we met each other. And we certainly never believed in love at first class until our 5 a.m. with Jessi. We usually sign up for trial periods at other studios/gyms because we get bored easily and aren’t convinced we will see results, but with The Studio (MDR), we were smitten from the start. It has now become part of our lifestyle. Feeling healthy and energetic are just side effects from a good workout, but at The Studio (MDR) we feel at our all-time best after each class: happy, confident and strong. These are our favorite days of the week. After each sweat sesh, we encounter what we call “the happiness effect” where you feel like you weigh 5lbs less than when you started, ready to take the mirror and scale head on, energized to start the day and happy that you’ve just done something good for yourself. The stresses in life become a bit easier these mornings.

Jessi has taught us the power of the mind and body by challenging us each class with new moves or telling us our body is only as weak as our mind. She pushes us to hold a position for just 20 more seconds (and anyone who has taken a class knows that 20 seconds feels like an eternity). The Studio (MDR) definitely changes the shape of your body in the best way possible. You can feel and see the difference month over month. We have become stronger, leaner and more toned since our first class. Personally, The Studio has allowed me to take on my Type 1 Diabetes with more ease. It’s been a struggle since being diagnosed 7 years ago to find a workout where my BG levels remain consistent throughout the entire workout while keeping my heart rate up. For this I feel very grateful!

With the discovery of The Studio (MDR) there is really no need for us to keep searching for the next best thing, because we've already found it.


Who’s LIVING it?                         


Knut Grevle

Taking classes at The Studio (MDR) has definitely increased my activity level overall.  I am less tired and a lot more motivated to handle any task I may run into. One example of that was The Camp Pendleton 10K Mud Run a few weeks back. I was sore, but I made it and plan to do more of those kind of events in the future. My wife Jen got me into (MDR) about a year ago (right around the time we got married), but I really didn't get serious about it until 2014, when I started trying to go at least 3 times a week.  I still need to fit cardio in, but (MDR) does make up for some of that. I feel a whole lot stronger but I know I have a long way to go...I am a work in progress and look forward every time I come to the studio because it is guaranteed to bring pain, sweat and results.


Tina Huang

One lesson I’ve learned from taking classes at The Studio (MDR) is to not automatically say “I can’t.”  For example, if you asked me to run any distance longer than three miles a year ago, I would’ve scoffed at the idea and said “No way. I can’t.”  It was literally an absurd and impossible concept to me.  But this year, when a friend suggested/tricked me into running a half marathon, I agreed to try. I still wasn’t sure if I could do it, but I knew from working out at (MDR) that if I trained consistently—and patiently—I could improve and give myself the best chance at reaching my goal.  I mean, that’s how we were able to conquer the dreaded bear, plank to pike, and five-minute plank, right?  So, armed with a training plan (I do best with structure) and a little encouragement from friends, I started to run. Just a little bit at first, then slowly increasing the mileage each week until the race.  And to my amazement, I not only crossed the finish line, but actually beat my goal time.  Now, while I still wouldn’t call myself a “runner” (maybe more of a “slow jogger”?), I also know that with the proper training and persistence, my body can do what I ask it to.





Hail to Kale: 3 Unexpected Recipes for this Super Green

KaleThis is everyone’s favorite dark leafy. Here’s how to use it beyond tossing it into a smoothie or salad.

Crispy Truffled Kale Chips


1 bunch lacinato kale (aka dinosaur or Tuscan kale), stalks trimmed 1/2 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon white truffle oil


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Meanwhile, cut or tear the kale into bite-sized pieces and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum (for easy clean-up), making sure not to overlap the pieces so that they can bake evenly. Coat the kale with olive oil, salt, and half of the crushed red pepper flakes. Bake them for 20 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the chips don't burn. 

Remove the pan from the oven and let the chips cool slightly, then toss gently with the remaining crushed red pepper flakes and truffle oil. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container. 

Recipe Details 
Servings: 3 
Total time: 30 minutes


Harvest Kale Salad with Honey-Miso Dressing


For the salad : 1 bunch dinosaur kale, cut into a fine chiffonade (aka Lacinato or Tuscan kale)1 1/2 cups roasted butternut squash 3/4 cup dried cranberries 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds 1 avocado, cut into small chunks

For the dressing : 1/4 cup white miso, at room temperature 1/4 cup honey 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar 1/3 cup grapeseed oil 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger


For the salad: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the avocado. Toss well and set aside.

For the dressing: In a glass jar, combine the miso, honey, and vinegar and mix well. Add the oil and ginger and shake well. (You can also let it sit 24 hours, at least overnight, for the ginger to mellow and infuse.)

Spoon over the kale salad and toss to coat. Let sit for about 30-60 minutes or overnight to allow the leaves to slightly wilt. Add the avocado and serve immediately.


Risotto Verde


6 cups chicken broth, preferably bouillon-based 1 small onion, sliced lengthwise 3 cloves of garlic, minced 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 cups arborio rice 1/2 cup dry white wine 2 cups kale, chopped and blanched 4 cups fresh spinach, chopped and blanched 2 cups wild arugula, chopped 1 cup fresh peas, boiled 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated and divided Salt and pepper, for taste


Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan, lower the flame and keep to the side. In a large wok, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until golden, then add the rice and make sure it is completely coated in the oil. Cook for 3 minutes and then add the white wine, again making sure it's coated.

After, add ½ cup of broth at a time into the rice until it is completely absorbed and cooked al dente, reserving 1 cup of broth. Add in the kale and the spinach and cover with lid. After 3 minutes, add the arugula and the peas. Pour the remaining cup of broth, sprinkle a layer of Parmesan on top, no more then ½ cup, and cover with lid. After 4-5 minutes, remove lid and serve, adding Parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste.



5 Healthiest Things to Do in LA This Summer

hikeA roundup of events, happenings, and LA standbys that are good for your body and soul.

  1. Take a hike. Griffith Park. Runyon Canyon. Angeles National Forest. We are beyond lucky in that all of these amazing spots are in our backyard! So, slather on your SPF, lace up your trail running shoes, and get out there!
  2. Get juiced. From Moon Juice and Pressed to Kreation and Rejuice, there are so many amazing spots to snag a cold-pressed green juice with friends instead of the go-to coffee or happy hour meet-up.
  3. Hit a concert on the pier. The Twilight Concert series on the Santa Monica pier is an LA tradition that’s not to be missed. Round up some friends, pack a (healthy!) picnic basket, and head to the beach … shows start July 10. Click here for a full list of artists.
  4. Bike to Manhattan Beach. We live in a city that’s literally on the Pacific Ocean. Take advantage of that amazing fact (not to mention get a killer cardio workout in) by beach cruisin’ down to the South Bay and back.
  5. SUP! Put those amazing abs you’ve created at The Studio (MDR) to the test by renting a standup paddleboard and taking it out there into the water. If the Pacific is too scary for your beginner self, head to the Marina for calmer waters.


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Love, Lisa

love lisaA little love note from The Studio (MDR)’s owner and CEO, Lisa Hirsch …  

I read healthy-living blogs, websites, and magazines all the time, and I’m almost always left feeling inspired. Yesterday, I read something that downright pissed me off.

A couple weeks ago, The Blonde Vegan (a.k.a. diet blogger Jordan Younger) came out of the “vegan” closet and admitted that she was no longer going to forgo all dairy products. The reason? She was diagnosed with orthorexia, an eating disorder that causes a total obsession with eating healthy. Now, before you think I’m crazy, this wasn’t what made me irate. In fact, I think it’s amazing and mature and totally incredible that this woman in her 20s came to this realization that often takes women much longer to figure out.

Younger explained why she decided to ditch the vegan lifestyle in one recent post: “I started living in a bubble of restriction,” she wrote. “Entirely vegan, entirely plant-based, entirely gluten-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free, flour-free, dressing/sauce-free, etc. and lived my life based off of when I could and could not eat and what I could and could not combine. There is nothing wrong with any of those things (many of them are great, actually!!) but my body didn’t feel GOOD & I wasn’t listening to it.”

Incredible, admirable stuff, right?

Well, along with the thousands of e-mails and comments packed with praise, Younger also received a sizeable number of critiques about her choice. She heard things like, “You were never vegan!!!” and “You aren’t even blonde!!!” She also got mail with downright ridiculous comments, such as “No wonder you’re so ugly!” and “Now you’re just boring.” But the worst—and the part that made me madder than I’ve been in a while—was the news that Younger had even received death threats for her decision.

Why am I so riled up about this? Because making a big decision that involves change is hard. Really hard. I think all of us can relate to this. And while we should all remain open to criticism and even critique ourselves in the midst of big transformations, there’s a certain level of respect and kindness that should come along with that feedback.

At The Studio (MDR), we’re about to embark on yet another change: The expansion into a new studio—The Studio (MDR) East—on the edge of Culver City. It’s an amazing time of growth and newness and transformation, and of course I’m looking for all of you to give me your honest feedback on our new studio. I’ll also be looking at every last detail with a perfectionist’s eye. But I’m also going to take a lesson from the crazy backlash that The Blonde Vegan has experienced over these last few weeks and be a bit more gentle with the feedback I give myself during this major period of change. And I’m hoping you do the same in your own processes of transformation.

Whether you’re cleaning up your diet, trying to drop a few extra pounds, or aiming to put on some muscle, I hope you’re able to find a way to be constructively critical with yourself. Whatever your personal goals and no matter how fast (or slow) it’s taking you to reach them, give yourself a little pat on the back for going after your dreams and doing what feels right for you. Haters are always going to hate, right? The more time I spend on this Earth, the more I’m able to realize that it’s our job to make sure those negative voices don’t creep into our own internal monologues. And all I can say is let’s keep our heads up, hearts open and smiles strong!





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Look it! Feel it! Live it!

The Studio (MDR) is changing lives. Here are a few highlights …

Who is Looking it?


Hedda Royce

“I commute from Hollywood to the Marina four times a week just to take this class because that's how incredibly awesome the instructors at the studio MDR are! In the past year I have lost 25 pounds. I went from a size 8 to a 2. What is even more impressive is how my entire physique has changed! I have gained lean muscle and lost fat. It's like my entire body vacuumed inwards! I get compliments from everyone. Strangers even ask me what I do for my workouts. The Lagree method works because it challenges your strength by working your core (and every muscle fiber in your body!) and it's a cardiovascular workout because we are constantly changing poses. I love the constant challenge that The Studio (MDR) gives me. I know I am doing everything I can to look my best and that makes me feel confident and sexy!”


Meredith Houston

“When you first arrive at The Studio (MDR), you are met with the lean machine goddesses that you strive to be. The ultra chic yoga wear, delicate jewelry, and top knot buns gently whisper, “I take good care of myself.”  At my first class I was warmly embraced by powerhouse instructor Mary Miller. She confidently assured me that this workout was going to not only change my body, but also change my life. The best part? The instructor’s loud yelling and the motivating anti-traditional Pilates hip-hop music! The hardest part? The serious pain inflicted on every inch of my body after the first class.  I could hardly walk, let alone lift my baby. I am officially a Studio (MDR) junkie. I can’t imagine my days without the classes. It also gives me the boosted energy I need to chase around an active toddler.  I have to be honest.  Every time I park my car and walk into the class, I say to myself, “I don’t know if I can get through it today.” But, I always do. I push through. And I look and feel amazing—stronger than ever.”


Petra Kubankova

“My workouts at The Studio (MDR) have made my body toned. About 20 months ago I gave birth to twin boys. I joined the Studio about 6 months later and I’ve begun to notice significant improvement on all fronts—within a matter of a couple of weeks. I can honestly say that my body is now in better shape than it has ever been. When I started working out at The Studio (MDR) I suffered from horrible back pain and I couldn’t get through the day without some painkiller. I was working with the physiotherapist but it wasn’t helping much. After 5 weeks at The Studio (MDR) I was pain free. And of course it’s been an amazing feeling to have the people around me notice that I’m leaner and toned. I’ve actually gone from size 10 to size 4 without any change in my diet.”

Who is Feeling it?


Devon Britton

“As I move through my life, strength, flexibility and balance are incredibly important. I am improving in all of these areas and I’m FEELING my posture is better than ever! Because of The Studio (MDR) I have fewer aches and pains. The class is an excellent stress relief that flows into my daily life. I have had two knee surgeries. The non-impact aspect of the classes is especially appealing and with the exercise options plus constant resistance, I am able to work at my optimum level every class.”


Barton Siddles

“How can one not 'feel it' when in a class at MDR? I love my workouts now. The burn, the intensity, the sweat, the teachers, the music ... but most importantly, I love the results. The intense workout gives me everything I need, and more, in just 50 minutes. It gives me energy and also reminds me that although something may be hard, in class or in life, it is only temporary—and with work, one can make each situation (in life or in the studio) better with hard work.”


Who is Living it?


Harshit Patel

“I came to the studio after accumulating a set of injuries from beach volleyball, snowboarding and crossfit. My main goals were to be pain free and to re-establish flexibility and mobility in my lower back and legs, especially considering that I had a baby girl coming in a few months and I am going to have to run after her quite a bit in short time. I am happy to say that I am well on my way on the flexibility and strength goals, and it is a major plus that I am pain-free when playing sports and when I have to wake up in the middle of the night to change diapers.”


Tessa Degal

“I just received my M.B.A from Pepperdine University, and The Studio (MDR) has been my sanctuary away from all of the stress that comes along with going to grad school. It's taught me a lot about challenging myself and pushing my potential—lessons that helped me excel during school and that I will take with me as I embark on my career. I don't know if I would have survived grad school without The Studio (MDR)!


Vera Appelyard

“Ziplining in the Costa Rican rainforest was an amazing experience, and something I could not have done a year ago due to a major shoulder injury. The Studio (MDR)—and the amazing, inspiring Jessi—have not only helped me get strong, but have really given me more confidence to try this kind of adventure. I was able to zipline, do whitewater tubing, ride horses, climb a volcano, and hike through steep trails in the rainforest in a way I couldn't have done in the past.  I felt stronger, more energized, and more willing to try something new while in Costa Rica—and The Studio (MDR) has been a big part of this change. Thank you Lisa too for being so supportive!”



Best Beach Reads for Summer

BookWant a book you won’t be able to put down? There’s something for everyone on this list.

If you want a thriller … Read Blood Will Out by Walter Kirn. This true-story thriller is billed as "An In Cold Blood for our time, a chilling, compulsive story of a writer unwittingly caught in the wake of a grifter-turned-murderer."

If you love Stephen King … Read Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. The grandmaster of horror is back with a novel about a retired cop who is haunted by a crime he couldn't solve, involving a Mercedes plowing into a crowd of people lined up for a job fair, and by the crazy taunts of a man who claims to have something even worse in mind. Hits bookstores in June.

If you love a love story … Read The Lobster Kings by Alexi Zentner. This novel follows the Kings family, which has had a lobster dynasty on Loosewood Island for three hundred years. Weave in a death, sibling rivalry, meth dealers, Johnny Cash and romance and you have a can't-put-it-down beach read.



Hidden Hotel Staycation Spots in LA

ViceroyThese hotels (specifically, their pools!) are so fab, you’ll want to book yourself in for a night or two—even though they’re just down the road.

The Standard Downtown LA Travel + Leisure voted this hot spot’s pool one of the top 10 hotel swimming pools in the world. This outdoor rooftop pool is great if you’re looking for a party scene, with its vibrating waterbeds, movie nights, and DJs who give “pool party” a whole new meaning.

Viceroy Santa Monica Want a spot that’s classy and sophisticated? Look no farther than the Viceroy. Its tree-lined pool was designed by Kelly Wearstler and has the comfiest lounge chairs and coziest cabanas we’ve ever experienced.

Terranea Resort

This sprawling hotel right on the Palos Verdes coastline has amazing views, golf, and a few pools, including one for families (hello, waterslide) and an adults-only option for those looking for some peace and quiet. Don’t want to stay overnight? Non-hotel guests can purchase a $50 day pass for the adults-only pool, which includes one drink at the bar.



3 Best Cardio Workouts to Compliment Your (MDR) Sessions

CardioSure, you get a great strength workout and sweat fest during your classes at The Studio (MDR). But if you’re looking for a cardio blast on your off days, here’s what your trainers suggest.

1. Indoor rowing. There’s a reason for the rowing revolution that seems to be taking the nation by storm: Sweating it out on an erg machine is an incredible cardiovascular workout that also strengthens your core, back, arms, and legs. So, hop on an erg at a gym, or check out a group rowing class that will fire up your competitive spirit (and your calorie burn as a result!).

2. Dance cardio. Whether it’s Zumba or hip-hop, dance cardio classes are definitely having a moment. And if you’re looking for an all-around cardio blast that’s also just plain fun, these classes are a great option.

3. Spinning. This calorie-blasting group cycling workout has a cult following because it works. Not only can an hour-long spin class burn anywhere from 500 to 1,000 calories, but the loud music and high-energy instructors also mean you’ll have fun while you sweat.



Love, Lisa

love lisaThe Studio (MDR)’s owner and CEO, Lisa Hirsch, on the importance of remembering the little ways we take care of ourselves even when life feels overwhelming.

When I tell people that on most mornings, I wake up around 5 a.m. in order to eat breakfast, get ready, do some work from home and then get to The Studio (MDR), they look at me like I’m crazy. I get it. In my past life in the music business, my roll-into-the-office-at-9 a.m. self wouldn’t believe that one day I’d be up before the sun on a regular basis. But this early-morning time has become my favorite part of the day. Everything is quiet. Los Angeles is still asleep. And special little moments happen in that space.

Take this morning. As I was walking Willie Meatball Nelson and Mabel around the neighborhood, I saw a dad ride by on his bike with his little boy strapped into a bike seat on the front. As they rolled by, I heard the dad say, “This is the best part of my day—riding with you, lil’ fella.” My heart melted and an easy smile washed over me. What a prime example of how the littlest things in this life are the ones you often appreciate most, whether it’s a bike ride with a loved one, a walk with your dogs, or catching a few quiet moments to yourself before another hectic day begins.

One thing I know to be so true is that the more hectic your days feel, the more important it is to carve out just a little time to yourself. I can speak from personal experience here, because we are at the brink of yet another exciting chapter in our shared Studio (MDR) history! The team is razor-focused and working so hard on our expansion of (MDR) East, getting new, state-of-the-art beds that you are going to love, and expanding our retail line to include summer brights and amazing new workout gear. There’s a palpable feeling of growth and an amazing, “LET’S DO THIS!” attitude among everyone at The Studio (MDR). Of course, the flip side to all of this amazingness is that it doesn’t just happen. There’s a whole lot of blood (OK, maybe not), sweat (literally!), and tears (or more like laughter!) going into bringing you an even more amazing place to transform, and that means a series of seriously hectic days.

Am I psyched and ready to be working my tail off? Heck yeah! But I also know I need to accomplish my goals in a smart, focused manner without working myself into the ground. So I’ve been trying to find the magic in more little moments in each day that feed my soul and help me stay grounded. Walks on the beach and cooking dinner with my love. A call with an old friend I haven’t spoken to in a while. Reveling in the kind of quiet you can only find at 5 a.m. in Los Angeles. And finding joy in what could be considered the mundane—like that dad on his bike with his boy expressed.

So this month, as the busyness of summer approaches and you’re all moving through your own hectic days and big transformations, my hope for you is that you’re able to find more little moments that make you smile. Do something nice for someone else. Do something nice for yourself. I know for sure it’ll make us all more productive and more importantly, happier, in the long run.

Big hug,





This month, trainer Dana Goodman Sands sports her favorite workout outfit for spring: Beyond Yoga Y- Back Cami in Coral Fusion ($75) and Black Beyond Yoga Front Seam pants ($95).  “I love the sheer detailing on the pants,” says Dana. When you spot Dana wearing this outfit this month, you get 10% off the merchandise in any color!  



Pump Up These Jams

Whether you’re tired, stressed, or just feeling “meh,” sometimes it takes a little pick-me-up to get psyched for a workout.

When we read this story that detailed Heidi Klum’s workout playlist, we had to download it. Not surprisingly, we love it! Here it is … now tell us, what’s your favorite get-psyched song at the moment?


1. I Need Your LoveCalvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding 2. Adore YouMiley Cyrus 3. CliqueKanye West ft. Jay Z and Big Sean 4. Holy GrailJay Z ft. Justin Timberlake 5. RoarKaty Perry 6. AtmosphereKaskade 7. Gold DustDJ Fresh 8. ElephantTame Impala 9. Wake Me Up —Avicii 10. BastillePompeii




Are Your Zzzzs Messing With Your Fat Loss?

Good reason to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day: A new study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion suggests that keeping to a consistent sleep routine may help you maintain a healthier weight. Researchers found that women who woke at the same time each morning and went to sleep at the same every evening had lower body fat than those whose sleep schedules were sporadic.




Want to win a private session at The Studio (MDR) with the trainer of your choice? Enter our PLANK YOU Contest! Here’s what you’ve got to do …


STEP 1: Email a photo of yourself holding plank to

STEP 2: We'll upload your pic to our "Plank You Contest" Facebook album.

STEP 3: Share your photo with all of your Facebook friends and tell them to start “liking” and commenting! The photo with the most likes, comments, and shares wins a free private session with the trainer of your choice!



Trainers’ Fave Fitness & Food Blogs

Looking for a little extra motivation? Check out these blogs our (MDR) trainers read religiously for exercise inspiration, delicious recipes, and more. Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 11.55.17 AM

Jessi’s Faves

  • - This site may not be suitable for our more consertivate clients, but it's very Jessi—strait and to the point no BS!
  • This has been a favorite site of mine for a few years now, and not just because I have written a few blog posts for them! It's got a little bit of everything you want and need to get inspired, physically and mentally.
  • - I love this site because l get a daily inspiration email from them, and I can just see the first sentence before I open it and it's always something I can relate to or use to reflect on as my day progresses.

Lindsay’s Faves

Dana’s Faves

  • - This is my all-time favorite recipe and health food website. It offers easy recipes for healthy, clean eating as well as a guiding point for living healthy inside and out! I also follow her on Instagram (nourishmentnow) and Facebook (
  • TamalYoga is a fitness/wellness Instagram account that offers food for thought as well as inspirational photos and food.

Mary’s Fave

  • - Chelsea is my sorority sister from college and she’s now a health coach. I love visiting her website and checking out all her accomplishments. She offers healthy eating tips that apply to everyday life!



C’mon, Get Happy!

The founder and CEO of The Studio (MDR), Lisa Hirsch, is happy. Like, always happy. Want to know what never fails to make her smile? Read on …

1. New clothes! I love when boxes arrive at The Studio (MDR) from our different retailers and we start to unpack the new season of clothing! This just in: All new Beyond Yoga and AlO spring items. I absolutely love the hot pinks and warm yellows that are up on the racks. We even have some clothing for men as well!


2. A night out. Recently, I had the good fortune of going to the new Cirque Du Soleil Totem show here in Santa Monica.  If you can check it out while it’s in town, go! I was sitting at the edge of my seat the entire time!


3. Fro-yo. There’s nothing like frozen yogurt from my favorite happy man, Sparky, on Main Street in Venice. I always change up the flavor I get, but one thing remains the same: LOTS of colored sprinkles. It is one of those treats that makes me feel like a little girl again.


4. A great manicure/pedicure. My go-to spot is Main Attraction in Santa Monica. I would tell you who I go to each week but then I would never be able to get in!  Ha!  Favorite colors: Sugar Daddy (one coat ONLY) on my nails and Power Clutch on my toes.


5. Trying new activities. A round of golf (check out my fancy golf shoes!), taking a barre class or going on a hike I’ve never done before is always good for my soul. I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to activities that get me off my computer and outside! Any suggestions or want to take a class with me?

Mail Attachment

6. A good deal. When I see a great deal on GILT Group (we all know that I may have a slight online shopping problem) I get giddy. And when that brown box arrives, it’s my birthday over and over again!

GILT package

7. My red Biria bike. You’ll find me on it on a sunny day getting around Venice and the Marina.


8. The Cow’s End hot coconut chai tea. The only thing better than a cup of this is having one while catching up with a friend. Delish!


9. Archipelago Botanicals Global Bazaar Soy Candle. It smells fabulous AND it’s hot pink. Check it out here

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A Love Note from Lisa

LisaThe Studio (MDR)’s fearless leader, Lisa Hirsch, on the healing power of love and the importance of staying positive when life throws you a curve ball or two … February is the month of love and for love, and right now I’m finding my heart is full of love and gratitude for all of you. I never could have imagined all of the love and light you would bring to my life when I was opening The Studio (MDR) three years ago, and I want all of you to know that you’ve been this light for me during good times and tough ones.

Speaking of those tougher moments in life, my mom’s significant other, Richard, has faced more than his fair share of them. I called Richard a couple weeks ago to wish him a happy birthday. For 12 years, he’s defied the most frightening odds as he’s battled many major health issues that are too numerous to mention. In addition to the stress of dealing with those challenges, he has also faced and overcome some of the most difficult hardships imaginable that not only affected him, but also his children. While I won’t go into the details of his struggles and survival, I am constantly inspired by this giant of a man’s ability to have an encouraging, hopeful attitude and focus on the love in his life. Richard never mires himself in the past or gets stuck in a “why me” attitude; he lives each day to its fullest and doesn’t allow his life-threatening challenges to define who he is. As a result, he’s built a beautiful life with my mom over the last 17 years.

When I called him for his birthday, I asked him what he was going to do. He told me that he was about to have dinner with the most gorgeous woman, and then he went on to describe just how in love he is with my mother. After 17 years! Richard is proof that no matter what has happened in your life or what struggles you have faced or currently have to deal with, it is never too late to find love.

Maybe you’re waiting to find your true love, which could happen for you at 23, 42 or 67!  Maybe you’re hoping to find more love and compassion in each moment of the day. My advice is to do whatever it takes to eek out a little bit more love in your life. Of course, to do this you’ve got to first learn how to love yourself. (I know I have said that before, but it is so important!) Then, I think you’ve got to do things that bring more love and compassion into your everyday lives. Help a friend who’s in a funk by bringing her to a class at The Studio (MDR). Really drink in a compliment someone gives you about how pretty you look. (Why are compliments so tough to embrace sometimes?!) And try, like my mom’s true love Richard always does, to remember the healing power of love in your life. If you do this, I just know big, beautiful, amazing things will unfold for you.

Big hug and lots of kisses for this special month,