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Profile: Newhall exercise studio combines weight and dance training

Posted: September 27, 2010 6:00 p.m.
Updated: September 28, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Cardio Barre Santa Clarita co-owner Michele Mosler, second from left, exercises on Monday at the exercise studio in Newhall.

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An injury ended dancer and choreographer Richard Giorla’s professional career.

As a teen, Michele Mosler was on life support for a week after a serious auto accident resulted in a severed main artery, ruptured spleen and collapsed lung.

Giorla’s experience led him to open a series of franchised low-impact exercise studios called Cardio Barre.

Mosler brought one of those studios to the Santa Clarita Valley.

“Cardio” for heart, and “Barre” for the ballet handrail, Cardio Barre is a fitness business bringing together weight and dance training in a high-energy routine.

The program sculpts and strengthens the body without engaging in traditional high-impact exercise that might strain or damage joints.

Richard Giorla, owner of the fitness chain and a New York transplant, opened his first studio in 2001 in Studio City. Giorla migrated to Los Angeles after leaving behind the entertainment industry on stage, big and small screen, as a result of his injury.

Enter Michele
Michele Mosler, 45, local resident and co-owner of the Cardio Barre in Newhall, was told she may not have use of her arm after the debilitating auto accident.

She endured three surgeries to repair arterial damage in her arm and was not allowed to play organized sports while in school.

“After the accident I developed a real affinity for health and fitness,” said Mosler.

Her background in the music industry led to her discovery of Cardio Barre. A local resident and also owner of the skin care business Goddess Within, she would load up her car with friends for a drive to Studio City to work out at the fitness studio.

Working on the barres isolates parts of the body, defining and sculpting each area without building up big muscles. The fluid motions avoid impact to joints while engaging all parts of the body. Strengthening the abdominal area supports the spine, reducing back pain.

“I gained a lot of strength from the workouts,” said Mosler. “They helped my injury, built up my right side, elongated muscles and helped me feel as if my legs are more even.”

One day while working out, Mosler said she had an emotional moment. She realized that she wanted to become part of the business and bring it to the Santa Clarita Valley, so she put her name on a list of potential franchisees with Giorla.

Today, she and her partner, co-owner LaMar Wenrich, 48, own the Newhall Cardio Barre studio. The two women sought an Small Business Administration loan to open their doors.

As a result of the effort to finance the new franchise, Cardio Barre is now on the Small Business Administration’s Franchise Registry of businesses approved for small business loans.

“Being on the registry essentially fast-tracks any applications from future franchisees,” said Scott Wenrich, LaMar Wenrich’s husband. “We’re really proud of achieving that.”

Cardio Barre
The Newhall location holds 28 one-hour classes weekly that run between 6:30-11:30 a.m. and from 4:30-7:30 p.m., depending on the day of the week. People can go to any classes they choose, making the program flexible for people with busy schedules.

Each class routine is broken into different exercises toning every spot of the body.

Open seven days a week, the business offers 10 specially trained instructors who lead the classes.

The first class is always free so that people can sample the program. Average class size is 25.

Giorla has a staff member mix music for the studios to keep the sound tracks fresh. He provides 10 new CDs every month to the franchises.

Mosler said she is watching the program change lives. She said women are changing their bodies, gaining more energy and sleeping better at night.

“There’s something really magical,” said Mosler. “It’s really a labor of love. It’s about hopefully bringing more balance to one’s life,”

Cardio Barre is located at 24422 Chestnut, Newhall, in the yellow Victorian buildings. The studio can be reached at (661) 373-4584.

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