Strip off holiday pounds

Folks who made a New Year’s resolution to lose holiday pounds will have some extra help this year.

Studio M is opening today and is offering a variety of exercise classes from its location on Fidalgo Avenue in Oak Harbor.

Trained instructors will lead a variety of classes ranging from yoga to muscle conditioning. The most popular class is expected to be something called “Take It Off,” a strip tease-based aerobics class that gets the participants moving and having fun.

Studio M owner Melissa Crawford said the class was popular when she offered it at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

“When people realized we aren’t any worse than the Laker Girls, then everybody relaxed a bit,” Crawford said, stressing that the Take It Off class is only open to women.

Assistants Kim Martinez and Melissa Reeves are also available to help teach the various classes, as are a number of other instructors.

Crawford said the studio has eight nationally-certified instructors available. She is certified though the American College of Sports Medicine and has been teaching exercise for 12 years.

Navy personnel may recognize Crawford and some of the instructors as she taught the same classes at the base until she lost the contract three months ago as part of recent cost cutting at the base.

She said opening a business had always been in the back of her mind and the contract loss nudged her along.

“We’re really excited about it,” Crawford said, enthused that the new facility provides an opportunity to draw from both military and civilian populations.

Crawford spent some time looking for the proper location for her new business, which doesn’t have much direct competition in the area. She said that with the exception of a yoga class at Skagit Valley College, no other similar classes are found in the area.

Eventually she found a spot she liked on Fidalgo Avenue, a storefront that was being used primarily as a storage building.

“We did a tremendous renovation,” Crawford said. Gone are the boxes and shag carpeting, and in there place is a mirrored wall and brand new carpeting that was installed Tuesday afternoon.

To usher in the grand opening, an open house will be held at Studio M this evening, and all classes will be free from Jan. 5 through Jan. 10.

Currently a variety of classes are offered Monday through Thursday from 9:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and in the mornings on Fridays and Saturdays.

In coming months Crawford plans to expand the classes offered by Studio M, including the possibility of a belly dancing class sometime in the future.

Rates at Studio M range from $35 a month for a six month basis, $45 a month for a three month basis, or $55 for a monthly basis. Customers can also simply pay $7 per class.

There is a one-time $29 enrollment fee for all membership rates. Crawford said that fee helps keep up with equipment costs.

For more information, contact Studio M at 675-1111.

You can reach News-Times reporter Nathan Whalen at nwhalen@whidbeynews or 675-6611.

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