It was 40 degrees outside and people still wanted to come workout with Matt Friedman and Melissa Novack in their backyard.
The husband-and-wife fitness trainers were hosting sessions outside their Glencoe home in order to social distance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Temperatures began to drop toward the end of last year, but they said people kept showing up.
“We thought we better do something else,” Friedman said.
The couple decided to film workout classes and launch them on Revolution U, a hub they created for “healthy, intentional, best-self living.”
Revolution U went live around Thanksgiving and offers on-demand classes, which are broken up into “quickies” (10- to 30-minute workouts) and full-hour classes. For $20 a month, customers can access everything on the site.
Specifically, Friedman teaches the strength training, and Novack teaches yoga and yoga extension with resistance bands. Before the pandemic hit, Friedman was an indoor fitness and cycling instructor, and Novack taught yoga at a number of different local studios. By day, they both have careers: Friedman is a lawyer; Novack is therapy and social worker.
“On the side, our passion is fitness,” Friedman said. “We want to help people make positive changes in their lives.”
Revolution U classes are filmed at their house in three rooms they converted into studios during the pandemic. They admit the setup is a little comical, joking that their house is now the “Rockefeller.”
“These classes are for the typical person that has some light dumbbells at home and they are asking, ‘What should I do?’” Friedman said. “We know there are a ton of online fitness classes out there. But with us, we are actually doing the workouts with you. We are sweating. We are out of breath. We are in the same position as everyone that’s watching us; we are also at home, not with a ton of equipment.”
New classes are typically uploaded Mondays, and the couple said as long as people are interested in them, they’ll keep recording.
“This is a good answer to beat the workout pandemic blues,” Novack said. “We’re familiar and comfortable. We’ve got a good North Shore (customer) base and we are here for them.”
But the website isn’t the only project they’ve been busy with. Novack also released a “Revolution U” book after the new year that complements their website.
The book is a “self-help book that turns into a workbook and then a daily planner,” Novack said.
“The whole thing is that many of us are stuck in bad habits and stuck in our ways,” she added. “We know that what we’re doing isn’t feeling great, but we don’t know how to stop that. … We offer routines that make you feel great in your body. We uncover what’s not working and be crystal clear about that. Then we focus on how you want to feel in your route, create goals and then plan out how you want to feel. It’s all about discovering who you are at your core.”
Novack began writing once quarantine started last March and after she was finished with “Revolution U,” Friedman read it and put it to work.
“When people think of self-help (books), they think of inspirational quotes, but with this you actually have to pick up a pen and work on it,” he said. “It forces you to go through this exercise and get personal.”
The “Revolution U” book is available on Amazon for $28.99. For more information about the book or Revolution U fitness classes, click here.
Megan Bernard is a co-founder and the managing editor who directs day-to-day journalism of The Record. Megan enjoys writing about restaurants, entertainment and education and is an established human-interest reporter.