Samantha Kelman-Friedman at her wedding with her mother, Karen Kelman.
Samantha Kelman-Friedman at her wedding with her mother, Karen Kelman. (Courtesy of Samantha Kelman)

The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed Fuse45 to branch out from beyond the Metro Detroit area, now seeing people sign up for their online classes from as far away as Israel.

With the COVID-19 pandemic presenting a need for many businesses to pivot their operations to survive, one industry rethinking its services is the world of fitness.

For Jewish-owned boutique gym studio Fuse45, which has physical locations in Royal Oak and West Bloomfield, this meant taking their services online. Now completely digital, the gym studio offers Fuse Live, an online workout program available via a mobile app.

Rather than holding classes onsite, owners and mother-and-daughter duo Karen Kelman and Samantha Kelman-Friedman polled their clients to gauge how they felt about safety in the pandemic. The results spoke for themselves: There was an interest in attending virtual classes and an opportunity to make it happen.

Working with a software development company, the Kelmans rolled out the Fuse Live app last year, which includes their trademarked workout in a version that can be completed at home. This has allowed Fuse45 to branch out from beyond the Metro Detroit area, now seeing people sign up for their classes from as far away as Israel.

Their latest digital addition to their business is Fuse Bride, a six-week program for brides-to-be. Launched in early February, the idea was born to help new brides feel confident for their big day. The Kelman mom and daughter have partnered with New York-based wedding expert Sara Greenberg of Forever Young Events to develop a multi-faceted approach that includes support, tracking and coaching, and of course, Fuse45’s trademarked workouts.

Wellness Strategy

“She has the bridal expertise, and we have the fitness expertise,” Karen Kelman says of the partnership with Greenberg. Together, they collaborated for many months to finalize how the program would look. Brides who sign up for Fuse Bride begin by receiving individual consultations with both the Kelmans and Greenberg. They then work together to develop a custom health and wellness strategy for the bride to practice during the six-week program.

The goal is for brides to feel confident from the inside. “We don’t believe in fad diets or anything like that,” Karen Kelman, 57, explains. “We believe in making little changes in your world that create much larger changes, like drinking more water and getting more sleep.” 

She calls it “strategies to live your life,” tools that brides can use both during and after the program to lead healthy lifestyles.

Each week, brides check-in with Fuse45 for accountability. They receive both a wedding planning and health planning checklist that they can use to meet their goals. For an additional layer of accountability, Fuse Bride also includes a complimentary plus-one so brides can invite a guest to the program for free. This can be the groom, the bride’s mother or even the maid of honor. In total, the six-week program costs $445.

For a time when wedding planning is more challenging than ever, with many brides having to reschedule or postpone their weddings (and some multiple times), the Kelmans hope their program can offer encouragement for brides-to-be and make the process a little less stressful.

“It’s aggravating, and it’s taking this very special time in their lives and making it challenging,” Karen Kelman says of brides planning a wedding during the pandemic, “We’re trying to help them smooth that out and create a different path that they can hopefully do [with their plus-one].”

While the program is brand new, Kelman says it’s gaining traction and they’ve received a lot of interest both in- and out-of-state. “I think it’s a great transition into our business,” she explains. “We’re really about starting from the inside-out and community. It’s about having camaraderie.”

Now with Fuse Bride, Kelman believes the business, which often partners with different local Jewish organizations like Friendship Circle, can reach a new group of people who can then become a part of the larger Fuse45 community. 

“I think it’s going to be extremely powerful,” she says. “This is something that’s missing in this industry. I’m excited to see how this takes off.”