For some, fitness is a passion; for others, a chore. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, there’s no denying that fitness is a very personal journey. On Tuesday, July 10, our panel of Women in Fitness bared their souls as they shared the path they’ve taken to building a career in the industry.
Megan Abbott, director of operations for GYMGUYZ, found her way to fitness as a means to healing, both physically and emotionally. What helped her get through a traumatic time in her life led her to cultivate a business that helps all ages through a diverse range of activity.
Danica Kalemdaroglu, owner and teacher trainer at Pilates 804, echoed that. A dancer all her life, she found Pilates to be a true compliment, allowing her to heal injuries she sustained and have a successful career in body motion.
For Gabrielle Brost, who owns GAB Strength, it was powerlifing in particular that helped her overcome her own body image issues and opened the door for her to be able to do the same for others. She prides herself on the fact that her clients gain so much confidence working with her, that they leave loser boyfriends after a few weeks of lifting.
Co-owner of Cyclebar Greengate, Donna Suro, aims to meets her students where they are, bringing the individual riders together as one community. Diagnosed with breast cancer as the studio got off the ground, she is now cancer-free and reinvigorated in her mission to maintain her health and those of her students.
Jay Ell Alexander, who went from team member to owner and CEO of Black Girls RUN! (BGR!), credits that position of empowerment for keeping her going (especially at nearly 8 months pregnant!). Her vision and BGR!’s are one in the same: to encourage African-American women to make fitness and healthy living a priority.
Though the women discussed challenges in the industry (unqualified trainers, social media pressures, and the emphasis on appearance to name a few), the tone of the evening was overwhelmingly positive. Their passion shone as they discussed how they’ve been able to help others heal themselves through movement and positivity. They all seem to draw energy and inspiration from their clients, seeing them reach new goals, try new things, and generally feel more comfortable in their skin.
Despite their fitness-focus, this group ascribes to the idea of community over competition, and made that abundantly clear in the insights and anecdotes they shared.
As always, thank you to our panelists, and a huge thank you to our hosts, Good Run Research, for so warmly hosting us.