A new business in downtown Dickinson is trying to change the way people look at working out.
BodyLift Fitness owner Heather Dressler said her company, which officially opened in June and offers a host of group yoga, cardio and strength training classes, "isn't quite a gym" but rather more of a training facility.
"We're there with you the entire time, pushing you through your workouts and teaching techniques," Dressler said, adding that BodyLift emphasizes bodyweight training.
"We're not a huge facility where everybody's around you. It's a close community, so you start to get to know everybody."
Dressler, a Dickinson native, said she's a personal trainer certified in different types of group fitness. Beyond that, she said her formal education lies in prosthetics. Before Dressler returned to Dickinson, she said she worked in management for companies that built and fabricated prostheses in Rapid City, S.D.
Through that industry, Dressler said she worked with amputees practicing gait training as they grew accustomed to using their artificial limbs.
"That kind of pushed me to learning a lot about the body, biomechanics and physiology," she said.
That interest complemented her drive for fitness and planted the seed for BodyLift, which now occupies the space in the Odd Fellows Building downtown formerly held by the baby boutique shop Moe Moe's Garden. Dressler said the space has been largely renovated and that the store's basement is currently being converted into a hot yoga studio.
In addition to the actual fitness side of things, the store also sells a variety of women's activewear.
Dressler is joined by a crew of fitness professionals with local experience. BodyLift's head yoga instructor, Jackie Blackwell, is the former owner of the Peace Monkey Yoga Studio. That business was originally independant and also located downtown, but has since been brought under the Bodylift label.
Some of the facility's other group fitness instructors, including Audry Caldwell and Terri Stevenson, were formerly contracted to teach classes at the West River Community Center and are fully transitioning over to the downtown facility.
Blackwell said she met and worked with Dressler at the Peace Monkey studio. During that time, she learned Dressler had her own hopes of opening her own studio and expanding on her fitness classes. Blackwell acknowledged that she was a "temporary fixture" in Dickinson-she and her husband came to town for his job in the oil industry-and said she hoped to find a way to keep her Peace Monkey clientele involved with local yoga after her departure.
"Me and Heather wondered, 'What if we swap? What if you go fulfill this vision, and Peace Monkey will come under you?'' she said.
Blackwell added that the transition to BodyLift has been smooth and Dressler has "just flown" with the new business.
Caldwell said Dressler had approached her to offer work at BodyLift while she was still contracted with the community center. Now, she contracts with the downtown shop and teaches a variety of classes along with her personal trainer services.
"I love it, I love the environment and I love the people," Caldwell said. "The classes are always fun, and everybody knows everybody."
On her end, Dressler said she aims to keep things fun while seeking out unique avenues to fitness.
In the future, she said, that could include more specialized activities like outdoor or rooftop yoga, as well as taking advantage of some of the other opportunities provided by the downtown location.
"We're slowly changing things and how people think you have to do fitness," Dressler said. "It's not at all what people think it has to be."