New SWEAT on the Block

Who opens a studio on the tail end of a global pandemic?! SWEAT in Edina is capitalizing on our craving for real people and real spaces (ahem, not on screens) to launch in a favored space.

“People are walking through the doors, and they say, I’m sick of working out by myself at home; I’m sick of my bike; I’m sick of my treadmill. I want to be around people again,” says SWEAT owner Katherine Olson.

After a solid seven-year run, Physical Culture, a boutique studio with a dedicated following in Edina’s Pamela Park neighborhood, closed its doors at the end of June. Member and self-described fitness junkie, Olson had been getting her sweat on at Physical Culture for years and didn’t want her fitness friends to have to find a new home gym—even for a month. She took over the lease on July 11 and started hosting classes the same day.

“I wanted to make sure that all of these people … had a place to go and they didn’t have to go find something else while I figured out how to build this studio up,” Olson says. “And on the other hand, we have this great group of instructors, and I wanted to also give them a space that they could continue to do what they’re doing. … So I think it was a win-win.”

Over the last four months, a lot of elbow grease has gone into SWEAT. Olson redesigned the interior, updating finishes, tailoring one of the two existing studios for group fitness with mirrors, a barre, and shelves of weights, and dedicating the other studio to an evolving personal training program.

The group fitness arm of SWEAT is structured by day of the week: Mondays are strength and cardio, Tuesdays are yoga sculpt, Wednesday is full body strength, Thursdays are all about getting the heart rate up with cardio, Fridays are “remix” days—a choose-your-own-adventure variety of formats—Saturdays are total body again, and Sundays are yoga-based stretching and recovery. “We know that people like variety,” Olson says. “We think that this is the best way to provide an opportunity, whether you are a member and you want to come seven days a week, or if you find your one format that you just love and you come here once a week.” Each of these workout focuses happens at four to five times throughout the day, allowing members to squeeze in a workout even with variable schedules.

Most classes are 50 minutes to an hour long, and Olson emphasizes that you’re working throughout class—they start on time and maximize class time. An optional stretching and cool down happens at the conclusion of class. “We realize that people have really busy lives and a lot of times they just want to get in and get out—but we also know that it’s so important to stretch and cool down, so we want to offer that as you know kind of an extra,” she says.

The 13 instructors currently on Olson’s growing team have backgrounds at Life Time, in studio ownership, and many from Physical Culture. “We really actually only hire people that have had at least seven years of experience in group fitness and coaching,” she says. “We want our member base and any client walking through the door to know that they can trust that [in] whatever workout they’re getting, they will get proper demos, modifications, pushes [for extra effort].”

Approaching a December 1 grand opening, Olson is also preparing to launch SWEAT Perform, a month-long fitness coaching program. The program revolves around small group training (think six to eight people) workouts on Mondays and Wednesdays, plus an optional Tabata-style conditioning workout on Fridays.

“We know that once you join a program, you can only do so much in the 45 [or] 50-minute space when you’re physically doing a workout,” Olson says. “But so much of it matters outside of that space, so we want to be able to provide these participants with that support, accountability on nutrition and wellness and sleep—and having good habits with your overall approach to wellness.” To achieve that comprehensive lifestyle support, the group will have access to unlimited group fitness classes at SWEAT, plus nutrition and wellness coaching and a dedicated Facebook group to aid accountability and build community.

Still to come: In a room off the lobby, hidden behind a sliding door, Olson plans to leverage local massage therapists and other wellness practitioners to provide services for members and the general public.

Membership, called Sweat Equity (ha!), is available for an introductory rate of $99 per month. The SWEAT website will launch before the December grand opening, but, for now, scheduling is through Mindbody.

Grand opening on Dec. 1. 4508 Valley View Rd., Edina, 612-964-7737,

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