Fit & Firm

There are two camps when it comes to working out: those who love it and those who, well, don’t. Cold-weather exercise enthusiasts even seem to enjoy the crisp air on their faces as they jog through city streets or whiz down the road on a bike. But with the advent of a new year most of us are usually nudged into doing some kind of activity.

Catalyst is here to be that nudge. Embracing the dictionary definition of “a person or thing that precipitates an event or change,” this east side active-wear shop could motivate any couch potato into doing something. The sleek, modern store has beautiful tableaux, fashionable and functional clothing and shoes, Pier One chairs, Ikea light fixtures, relaxing music and even a fireplace. So, not your average athletic-gear shop. A custom cruiser bike paired with Holly Aiken messenger bags

“For fifteen years I couldn’t do what I wanted to because of health issues,” explains co-owner Gail Stintzi. “When I could start exercising again, it was really exciting for me. So we think of Catalyst as a starting point for people to get back into exercise. When you get clothes that fit, you feel better.” Stintzi owns the shop with husband Jim, who’s a track and cross-country coach at UW.

Fashionistas and workout buffs alike will enjoy the shop’s selection of yoga, biking, running and exercise gear in the form of running skirts, tops, shoes, accessories and more for men and women. The shop’s staff (who include a triathlete, runner and assistant coach) are also trained in how to do a “gait analysis” to help you figure out exactly what type of shoe youA table stocked with Oiselle and Mountain Hardwear tops and a pair of Adidas trail shoes need based on your stride—helpful for workout-shoe neophytes (i.e., the majority of us).

The Stintzis’ backgrounds allow them to showcase their strengths: Gail previously worked as a department-store assistant buyer and at A Stone’s Throw; Jim’s got the shoe and men’s apparel side covered.

“We’re a casual, comfortable environment. And I wanted us to carry bike clothes that weren’t all Spandex,” jokes Stintzi.

I think we’d all be in favor of that.

Saucony makes shoes with attitude for men and women like these “Bullet” sneaks


Price range: $10–$170

Owner’s Picks: IceBreaker “Quantum” hoodie, $170; Alo “Origami” yoga jacket, $85; Saucony “Kildare” hoodie, $65; Mizuno “Wave Rider” running shoe, $99.99.

Editor’s Picks: SkirtSports “Breezer Bike Girl” running skirt, $82; Zobha “Rainy Day” jacket, $160; Saucony Vegan Series shoe, $55; Alo gray hoodie, $68.

Verdict: Exercise beginners as well as more advanced athletes will enjoy Catalyst’s laid-back feel and well-edited selection of quality workout gear. Heck, why not enjoy your next workout?

Catalyst, 2045 Atwood Ave. 819-6433.

Shayna Miller is associate and style editor of Madison Magazine.

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