Elizabeth Lindberg: the Dallas entrepreneur who launched a fitness franchise

2018’s Five Fierce Females of Preston Hollow

Elizabeth Lindberg of Northwood is all about reinvention. She worked in investment banking and marketing (Morgan Stanley, Citibank, Proctor and Gamble) after graduating from the University of Texas. Facing a divorce, she founded Studio 6 Fitness on Preston in 2012. Now there are four locations. The center provides high intensity, low impact classes specializing in the Lagree Method, which blends Pilates, strength training and cardio into a 50-minute session. The method is popular with Michelle Obama, Kim Kardashian West and Sofia Vergara. Now, as the mother of 18-year-old twins who just graduated from Jesuit and Ursuline, she’s ready to reinvent herself again as an empty-nester.

On becoming an entrepreneur: I was a stay-at-home mom in my mid-40s who had been married 17 years. I got divorced in February 2012, and I wanted to work and still do carpool. I wasn’t sure how to do that. I used to work out a lot. People would ask me, “Do you want to be a trainer?” I thought, “I’m too old to be a trainer.” So I went to LA and trained with Sebastien Lagree and all these young kids who were trainers and want-to-be models. I looked at studios in California, but I didn’t like the way they were so I wanted to create my own. Everyone who cared about me said, “Don’t do anything. You need to just get used to being divorced.” I thought, “If I don’t do anything, I’m just wasting time.” I signed the lease for this in June. We opened in September, and the neighborhood embraced it. 

How she differentiates her business from the competition: There’s not that intimidating factor. We try to build stronger community. Bring your mother, bring your friend, work out together and then everyone gets stronger together. Here we’ll have a 78-year-old with a 48-year-old, someone who has a hip replacement next to a triathlete. We’ve done bachelor parties here. I position each location near a Starbucks for safety. I still go by the line, “Lattes and Pilates.”

Best advice: Do something you love because you’re always going to have a bad day, but if you love it, you’ll stick with it.

Do something you love because you’re always going to have a bad day, but if you love it, you’ll stick with it.

Advice she’d give her younger self:  Trust yourself more. When I was younger, I was trying to do whatever everyone told me to do. I just picked out the outstanding student page in the UT yearbook and I wrote down that person’s resume. I thought, “If I want to be an outstanding student, just do this.” I was very driven. I didn’t really have fun. I’m having fun in my 40s. I never thought I’d have this second chance.

On work-life balance: I don’t think I had balance when I was younger. Even with the kids, I tried to be the very best Type-A mom. I try to prioritize. There’s family, and there’s work. I try to keep my focus on those main priorities. This is my own business. This is an extension of my family. How do you turn off family? It’s always on.

How she dealt with gender discrimination: In investment banking, I was young, enthusiastic and encouraging. They would say, “You’re there to be an authority figure, to be the boss. You need to lower your voice.” And I thought that was good advice. I had people pull me aside to give me feedback versus give up on me, and I was so grateful. I was a hard worker. It is hard when you’re the only woman. You’re at a holiday party where you’re in a compromising position because you’re friendly and people think you’re flirting. I wore my hair in a bun and glasses every day because I wanted to be taken seriously. I altered my looks.

On being an empty-nester: All my clients are asking, “Are you ok?” It’s going to be weird. I’ve been telling everyone, “Just bear with me.” Even though my kids are 18 and going off to college, I just feel like I’ve grown this other extended family. It’s not just the staff; it’s the customers. It’s a new chapter of my life. 


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