When Mandie Hall began to fall in love with fitness, it didn't take her long to realize there were few to no quality fitness facilities anywhere near her very small town of Bald Knob, Arkansas (population 2,905).
That didn't stop Mandie from working her tail off to help make fitness accessible and approachable to the community of Bald Knob. She got her personal training certification and decided to start with what she has. She began teaching group fitness classes out of her garage and on her beautiful, expansive property. She calls her program Women Are Strong, which is the most fantastic name, if you ask me. Mandie also runs a facebook community of close to 5,000 members called Women Are Hungry, which addresses the harm the diet industry perpetuates and empowers women to eat enough to fuel their activity.
Women Are Strong is our Body Positive Fitness Alliance adored Facility of the Week and serves as an incredible example that you don't need a ton of money and a fancy facility to be a #partofthesolution. You just need the passion!
Mandie took the time to tell us about how Women Are Strong works to keep the 7 Pillars of the Body Positive Fitness Alliance alive.
1. Accessibility: I provide training for people from many walks of life. I want to keep my gym where any person of any size or income bracket feels comfortable walking through my door and asking for help.
2. Approachability: I think approachability is HUGE. As a fitness professional being approachable is a large part of people wanting to connect with you and your community. I think it is a bit easier for me having a gym in my garage because I can treat each person as guest providing them with professionalism, yet hospitality. I love that I have such a diverse group of women. My ladies are all different ages, sizes, fitness levels. I have doctors, stay at home moms, gas station workers... but when we come into the garage we are Women Are Strong.
3. Enjoyment: Women Are Strong is all about enjoyment! We have the best time in the gym. I think when people come together and feel a part of something that is great then they WANT to come and that naturally makes things more enjoyable. If you feel like you “have to go to the gym” that is not enjoyable and not the feeling I am going for for my ladies.
4. Community: I have built a community free of judgement. We hold to the philosophy of “eyes on your body" and “eyes on your own barbell”. The ladies I have are great at building each other up and encouraging others to do their best. I keep my clientele small so that we can focus on each other, not just me focusing on them. I love that my women have become friends outside of the gym. That makes me smile.
5. Scope of Practice: I believe very much in people staying in their lanes. I am not a nutritionist. I am not a psychiatrist. I am not a medical professional. I play a role on the pendulum of health care, but I am not “health care”. I think so many trainers keep their egos front and center and live by the WalMart motto “One Stop Shopping”... We are not a one stop shop. We are only ONE STOP on a path with many possible stops. Too many trainers are afraid to say “That is not in my scope of practice”... Get rid of the ego. Get rid of the one stop mentality. Help your clients properly.
6. Full Health: I teach an all encompassing health philosophy. I think this pillar is complimentary to pillar #5. I think you have to know when to step in and talk to you clients and refer them over to medical professionals to help bring ALL things together... physical, mental and emotional.
7. Body Positivity: My motto around the gym is “fitness is not a look it’s an ability”. I do not assume any person wants to lose weight or that a person who works out should be focusing on shrinking their body. I believe in focusing on what one can do and try to build on that. I think once you get start focusing on your ability your fitness will soon follow.
Body Positive Fitness Alliance thanks Mandie for being a #partofthesolution!
Soon we'll be featuring one of her incredible clients... stay tuned!