When Erica Walters’ Pilates studio had to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she and Lauren Bruker — one of SoulCycle’s first instructors — quickly shifted gears to help their clients maintain fitness routines and keep stress levels down. One year and many videos later, Erica and Lauren are still pushing to keep Louisville fit, healthy, and motivated via their online platform, Change30 Movement. Meet our inspiring new FACES of Louisville, Lauren Bruker and Erica Walters!
How did the two of you meet and become business partners?
Lauren: Before we started Change30 Movement, I worked for Erica at her Pilates studio. I’m originally from Louisville, and we met because when I was moving back to Louisville from Texas, I was Googling where I should teach Pilates. Erica’s style and method of teaching was exactly the kind that I loved and am trained to do, so she was the first person I reached out to about a job when I moved back. We’ve now been working together for more than three years.
Erica: I think we’re coming up on four years this fall. And it wasn’t like I randomly picked Lauren to start a business with. We had another full-time teacher at the studio who moved to Virginia, and it was Lauren who stayed with me. Lauren has always been by my side. You know who you can get along with, who you can push the threshold with. You just know when you can work with somebody, and Lauren was the person I could always call and ask for help. And Lauren ran SoulCycle’s entire program in New York. She understands the business side of things, too. She traveled around the country, teaching SoulCycle teachers how to build a following and a clientele, so she knows a completely different side of this than I do.
What is Change30 Movement?
Erica: It’s a video-based, online platform with Pilates, yoga, HIIT, cardio, barre — it has everything. They are all specialty workouts. The difference between Change30 and other online platforms is that this is local to Louisville. It’s the same as in-studio workouts, but at a fraction of the cost — and you can do it in 30 minutes.
Does the “30” in Change30 come from the fact the workouts are 30 minutes long?
Erica: That’s part of it. The name kind of unfolded over a week of hundreds of text messages and emails and phone calls. They’re 30-minute workouts, we’re a movement platform, and we’re going to change. All you need is 30 minutes — you don’t need an hour. You need 20 to 30 minutes of healthy movement.
Lauren: The word “change” also relates to Louisville. We really want Louisville to be a healthier city in terms of fitness, and wellness, and nutrition. We just think that “change” is such an amazing word. We want people to have fun, to move, and to be a bit healthier. And we hope that our platform inspires people to do that.
How did the platform come to be?
Erica: Prior to the state mandates for shutting down, everybody was freaking out, so we decided to close. I had already preplanned to take our clients online, so we were ready to go, but we were just going to be live. I created a Facebook forum, and we went online with private lessons and group classes, and I sent everybody home with rings and equipment — but that got really old, really fast. The next thing I did was, every morning, I’d get on our private Facebook group and made exercise tutorials for everybody to help them improve. But taking care of a small child while leading live online classes wasn’t working. I started recording videos and I called Lauren and asked her to go down to the studio and record more videos. Then we started creating an online platform.
Lauren: At the beginning of a pandemic, trainers and other fitness professionals were going on social media and giving away free fitness classes to whoever would follow them. That was a really cool trend that came out of the pandemic, and we really wanted to make sure that we created something that was sustainable; something people could latch onto — something that would be recorded that we could repeat and do over. And we really wanted to make sure that the trainers we used were local, in Louisville.
In addition to utilizing local instructors, what makes Change30 different from other online options?
Erica: You get the exact same workout from the trainers, minus the in-studio equipment. And health, nutrition, and wellness can kind of be only for the elite, if you have the money. Change30 makes it accessible. You don’t just get exercise tutorials; you get education. Memberships include a free workbook and meal plan guide. It’s all downloadable and it tells you different things based on your age range, dietary restrictions, etc. It’s all here and it’s included with your membership; you get health, and you get exercise. A lot of places still aren’t open to full capacity, but you don’t have to worry about that because you get this all from home.
What is your goal with Change30 Movement?
Erica: As a wellness professional, I don’t want to work with just the elite; I want to work with everybody. And I think every trainer wants to help everybody. But you know, you have to make some money to pay your bills, because otherwise, we can’t survive. So, I think we’re just trying to reach people in another way; a way that’s more accessible.
What was it like creating a brand-new business with such a unique concept?
Erica: It was a whole learning process. We’ve had to throw videos away, and that’s like spilled milk. Lauren’s a new mom — if she lost milk, that is what it feels like. There’s the creation of videos, there’s the website, there’s a hosting platform, there’s the commerce portal. There’s a whole process, and you don’t really know how much work it all takes until you get into the thick of it.
What is the best advice you’ve been given or received?
Erica: In business, know your competition — but don’t follow it.
Lauren: Know what you’re selling and don’t be afraid to fail, because business is ever-changing. Erica and I have learned along the way, and we’ve had fun doing it. We are continually developing Change30 Movement so that more people catch on and get access. It’s been really great.
Aside from faith, family and friends, what are three things you can’t live without?
Erica: Pilates, number one. Also travel and food — I love food.
Lauren: I’d say walking, wine, and sleeping.
Thank you, Erica and Lauren! All photography provided by Change30 Movement.
Read more interviews with our FACES in our archives!