If you’ve been following us for some time, the thoughts I’m about to share may or may not be “news” to you, but I wanted to share with you because we love you and we’re glad you’re here.
If you’re new here, we are ever-so-excited that you are here! I won’t say I love you just yet because, you know, this is like our first date and that’s obviously too soon and comes across as needy. So I’m totally not going to say it.
As you may or may not know, before Redefine Strength and Fitness was born, there was Aerialibrium (Theresa) and there was Get Circus Strong (me, Mike). Each of us were spreading the gospel of functional strength training for (primarily recreational) circus artists. Our mission was to teach people how to strengthen their bodies in a way that not only enables them to do cool things, but also keeps their bodies healthy and happy for the long game.
(Oh wait, new friends, did I not mention? Theresa and I have spent over ten years working as instructors and strength coaches for circus artists—both at the recreational level and with professionals).
About a year ago, we decided that it was silly to keep doing basically the same work as two separate entities when we could join forces and become a strength and fitness super force.
The thing is, the more people we worked with, the more we kept hearing about how “muggle gyms” are places where people often feel awkward and uncomfortable and often times, intimidated.
To be honest, neither of us feels particularly comfortable in mainstream gyms either—and we’ve been working in the fitness industry for quite a few years (Yikes! It’s almost 20 years! How did that happen? Oh. Right: we’re not 20 anymore…)
Anyway, for the past five years or so, we’ve had this fantasy idea that “one day” we would “open our own gym” and create a space where all of the fitness misfits could not only feel comfortable, but feel welcome and at home.
A place where everybody and every body belongs. A brave space where we can dance along the edges of comfort and discomfort, challenging our own ideas about limitation and potential. A place where no one would ever have to worry about body shaming or receiving unwanted advances. A place where the focus is on a deeper and broader idea of what ‘health’ means. A place where people can embrace and develop their own inner and outer badass.
A place where we can remember that fitness can, indeed, be fun and that it doesn’t have to be serious all the time. Or most of the time.
(Now, don’t get me wrong: we’re pretty much big fitness nerds who spend a great deal of time studying and learning as part of our quest to reach the same level as the industry giants we are fortunate enough to call our mentors…but we also feel pretty strongly about the importance of silliness, onesies and glitter).
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And so, at the start of 2019, we committed ourselves to finally making this gym idea a reality. (As it turns out, there’s a lot of work and patience that goes into opening a gym).
And now that we are getting closer and closer to opening day, it seemed appropriate to share with you our Redefine Strength and Fitness Manifesto!
Oh, wait! Before I do that, a couple of quick notes for our circus friends:
1) We’re not leaving you. We will continue to create new circus strength and fitness content and our gym will always welcome circus artists who are ready to learn how to strengthen and condition their bodies for the long game. In fact, that’s already built into our plan.
2) We are going to spend some time focusing mostly on our Fitness Island of Misfit Toys, though. Conveniently, pretty much all of the content we’ll be putting out over the next little while will still be really useful to you.
Redefine Strength and Fitness exists to facilitate people’s ongoing discovery of their own inner and outer awesomeness.
We actually give a s**t.
There is a lot of room in mainstream fitness for people to feel like they’re just a body in the room. A nameless face in the sea of cardio machines.
And then there’s mainstream fitness marketing and imagery. It can leave people feeling left out, ignored or simply not seen.
We don’t think that’s ok and that’s why we’re opening our Totally Fabulous, Slightly Weird, House of Fitness Badassery.
We see you. We like you. We care about you.
This is a concept we’ve borrowed from Precision Nutrition. (We’re both PN Certified Nutrition Coaches). Our focus on deep health begins with “a hopeful, empowering vision for people’s potential for change”. At the core of our mission is our belief in your potential for growth and change. We’re just here to help you along the way.
…Because strength training and conditioning and mobility work are parts of the whole you. And the whole you exists within the context of the rest of your life. Nutrition. Sleep and recovery. Mindset. Stress management. We’re not pretending to be a one-stop-shop for “fixing” your whole life, but we’re not ignoring that these things play a significant role in how you feel and how you show up in the gym and in the world…so we’re going to develop supplemental programs and learning opportunities to address these things.
This may seem like a bit of a paradox, but paradoxes can be delightful: we believe that it is possible to love and accept your body (and yourself) as it is (as you are) now and to want to change your body at the same time.
We also recognize that changing your body is not a goal for many people. The goal is simply to feel better, have less pain and more energy.
In both cases, we’ve got you covered…which brings me to:
The Nerdy Stuff
We understand that for some folx, they simply want to be told, do this exercise, and just know that it works. However, we both have a knack for attracting people who like to ask questions like why are we doing this exercise? Admittedly, we love this. We’re both educators at heart and we feel very strongly about the power of knowledge and understanding to empower people.
Additionally, we are seriously nerdy and committed fitness professionals who are constantly working on improving our skills and knowledge as coaches and trainers.
While we’re not going to go on at length about it here, we just wanted you to know that we will always be using the very best practices, informed by the most current science, to get you the best exercise outcomes in the shortest amount of time—all while keeping your body and your joints happy and healthy for years to come.
We used to teach flying trapeze. One of the most magical things about the experience was that classes would start with as many as ten complete strangers and by the end of class, each of these strangers had become thoroughly invested in the success of everyone else in class. As each person took their turn, confronting fears and making themselves vulnerable in front of everyone, the rest of the group would often be transfixed; watching closely, always ready to cheer them on and offer words of encouragement.
Community is the secret sauce and we have made a very conscious effort to bake that into every part of our program. I mean, how cool is it going to be to be able to work through the triumphs and challenges of your fitness journey surrounded by people who are working through their own version of the journey and who are their to cheer you on and support you along the way?
Our goal is to build and nurture a radically inclusive community where people feel supported, empowered and free to be their own wonderful, delightful, weird and wacky selves.
Because we think that would be awesome. So that’s what we’re gonna do.