We had the good fortune of connecting with Masha & Victor Payes and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Masha & Victor, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Being a fitness studio, at MVP Zone we preach that balance is one of the core skills. That not only means, the actual balancing while performing exercise, but also as a larger concept. Knowing how to balance healthy lifestyle and fun, being productive but not overworked is so important for our body and for mental health. It has become even more crucial in the last several months when COVID-19 erased the borders between our personal, family and work lives. After 6 months of having our fitness studio closed for in-person operation due to California regulations, we made a decision to close down the facility and move 100% online so we could focus on providing a more wholesome service to our MVPs, as we call our clients. Working from our apartment was a challenge at first, because our living room has become a fitness studio and a filming scene twice daily when we have Zoom workouts. But we both believe we have to practice what we preach and have established a few rules to help us separate training, regular business operation and our stay-at-home family life. One of those rules is taking one day completely off (when possible) to focus on recharging and spending some quality time outside with our dogs Zoey and Nemo. On that day we let ourselves be as “lazy” as we need to release some stress and be more productive during other days. Same applies to our style of coaching. We recommend to our clients to work hard during their workouts and push themselves to see the progress but to listen to their body if they feel they need to go easy or light today. We teach them how to follow healthy daily habits but not bash themselves if they had a cookie or felt too tired to workout. Life is about harmony, fun and being happy! We don’t get any extra credit for suffering if we don’t enjoy life every day. So we might as well give ourselves a little break when we need it.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Because we are a very new studio and just switched to 100% online training about 2 months ago, we decided to adapt to the “new normal” and create a more holistic approach to the training experience for our clients. We are about to launch the My MVP Zone Portal that doesn’t only provide our MVPs with access to our live and over 200 recorded Zoom workouts, but gives them opportunity to learn more about their bodies, healthy eating, and other aspects of healthy lifestyle all in one place. It’s visually much more comfortable and engaging than social media posts or newsletters and we wanted to make sure our clients have the source they can refer to at any time for meal plans, to look up a particular exercise, do a short mobility session, etc. Of course, being a fitness studio, we are responsible for providing our clients with the safest and most effective training experience. We work with people of different ages and skillset, so giving a few modifications depending on everyone’s abilities is one of the main reasons our MVPs feel comfortable training with us. However, we also know it gets boring to do same old workouts, so we love to challenge our MVPs with new movements, skill training and utilizing new equipment. We like to keep things fresh and fun! Online training might feel like a limited experience at first, but we learned that physical distancing doesn’t equal social distancing. While we keep our clients safe working out at home we are right there in their living rooms to encourage them to do a few more burpees, tell a joke or make a little shoutout to how their clean and jerk have improved over time. Often it’s a back and forth, we get quite chatty like we used to a year ago at the studio! Even clients who don’t get to do live workouts with us told us they feel a part of the group when they workout along with the recorded Zoom sessions we offer. Everyone misses good quality communication these days, and we enjoy that we can offer the space where we all can do it together.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Whenever we get a chance, we take our dogs, hop into our Mini Cooper and take a little road trip! We like to go to Ventura or Solvang for a day to walk around and enjoy the cute streets and shops. However, we don’t have much time these days, so if we only have a couple hours there are a few places around LA we like to go. We like to support small businesses in the area, especially right now when they are going through tough times. Here are our favorites: For the best Thai food and an amazing charming atmosphere – Silver Lake House by Leela Thai https://www.thesilverlakehouse.com . Always so good and you come out of there feeling refreshed and inspired, as if you also got a spa treatment! For edgy and innovative art – La Luz De Jesus – https://laluzdejesus.com . We both have art backgrounds and come back to painting/design when we have time to create. This gallery/shop is one of the spots we go to enjoy the art of local artists and have an update of new techniques and concepts. It’s an eclectic mix of highest quality art and modern ideas. For art supplies and cozy gallery opening events – Carter Sexton Artist’s Materials – https://www.cartersexton.com . Many of our friends are artists, so bringing them to the oldest art supplies store in LA is like bringing a child to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory! They have everything! And it’s such a great vibe and always great conversations with Jenia, Chris and Niki. For the most delicious local Chinese food – Western Wok – https://www.westernwokla.com – Our go-to restaurant for Chow Mein and Lemon Chicken! For Taco Tuesdays and a variety of yummy Margaritas – Los Amigos in Burbank – http://www.losamigosbarandgrill.com. We have so many great memories visiting this place for years with all our close friends, and like to come back there once in a while after a good workout

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
MVP Zone wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for an amazing wave of encouragement and support of our clients and trainers. Masha had been coaching at one of Sherman Oaks fitness studios for three years and left it in July 2019 to pursue her dream to open her own gym shortly before the studio closed down. The next day after we found out the old studio is about to close and Masha’s former clients and trainers are about to lose their place to train, we got an overwhelming amount of emails, phone calls and texts from them asking to try to save the community. We decided to go ahead! When we locked in the lease and got the keys just two weeks after the previous owner of their studio left, we only had two weeks to remodel, clean up and rebrand the place to make it our own and have the grand opening. We made this crazy-short deadline so our new MVP clients and trainers could continue working as they did before as soon as possible. So our soon-to-be clients came out and made this awesome “paint-party” helping us paint and clean the studio for reopening, arranging the equipment and having some laughs! The grand opening was a huge success and all Masha’s clients from years ago came out for 40+ people workout and signing up to start their MVP Zone membership. We hadn’t even imagined that our MVP community would grow so fast and be so supportive after being let down by the previous experience with the other studio. We are so thankful that they keep trusting us to train them today, a year later, now fully online, almost 9 months since the executive decision to close LA County gyms and fitness studios’ indoor operations due to COVID-19. Even though we had to say goodbye to our facility, MVP Zone lives on because of our community that is an awesome mix of ladies and a few gents of different ages and backgrounds who care about their health and like fun and challenging workouts! There is one more person we want to mention in this story who helped MVP Zone to get its first home. It’s our long-time beautiful friend, real estate broker Evelyn Georgieva. She was the one who reached out with light speed to the landlord of the studio and secured the lease for us. She and her husband Kalo have been our oldest and dearest friends to whom we would come for advice and having them support us in opening our business is so invaluable and important. We all need to have friends like them, who bring us up in any situation!

Website: https://mymvpzone.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mvpzonefitness/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mvpzonefitness
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCijhm-YJUGepAKBffWB61GA

Image Credits
Julia Jump – Julia Bach Photography Caricature by Kelly O’Brien

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