It's Fitness Friday - and you know what that means! This week we're shining the spotlight on Fighting Gravity Fitness and talking to owner Audrey Bonafé all about the ins and outs of this outside-of-the-box fitness studio! To learn more about Fighting Gravity Fitness visit fightinggravityfit.com.
1: Tell us a little about yourself (where your from, how long you've been in RVA, spouse, kids, etc).
I am a 55 yr old grandmother of 4 and mother of 3 adult boys, I have been living in Powhatan, Va for about 20 years and I came from Hampton, Va. I started getting into the fitness world more about 10 years ago. I always loved taking fitness classes but never stayed consistent with it until my kids grew up. Then I started taking Zumba classes. My husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor and our life as we knew it changed. We were in mid construction of an addition on our home when we had to stop and couldn't afford to use the room for what it was intended. I couldn't afford to go to the gym any longer so I decided to get certified to teach Zumba and use the empty room for that. I slowly grew and started branching out, teaching in several different locations. Then I tore a tendon in my ankle. It slowed me down but didn't stop me. But it made me think I needed to do something that was kinder to my body, because I started having bad back issues. That was when I had a magazine come to me in the mail(divine intervention?). AntiGravity fitness was on the cover.
I immediately looked for it to see if it was offered here, but it was not. I went all the way to Fl. to try it out for the first time. The minute I was in the soft hammock, I was hooked, and I knew others would be too! I went straight to New York for training after just taking one class! At first I was planning on teaching it at my home studio, but I could only have three hammocks that would fit. So one Sunday evening I went looking for a small studio. The studio I am in had an open house that day and it was perfect!
2: Tell us a little bit about your fitness studio..
I have been in this studio for 3 years. I love my studio. It's small but gorgeous! It used to be a flooring company before I moved in and I have several different beautiful wood floor colors and designs. We have warm colored wood and red hammocks to contrast. It's very inviting. We have scented oils burning when you come in. When you walk in we treat each customer as if they are our friend just dropping in to "Hang Out" with us. We make a point to remember their names and treat them as if we are so happy to see them. We teach many types of AntiGravity classes using the hammocks suspended from the ceiling. We go into inversions to decompress the spine, re-align the spine and put fluid back into those vertebral discs. We can do AntiGravity yoga, Pilates, Suspension Fitness, Sculpting fitness, gentle stretch classes and restorative classes all in the hammocks. We even have kids classes! In August the building next door to us became available, so I offer any class that is not a suspension class in that studio. Studio A offers the AntiGravity classes and a new class called Volee' which is a combo of TRX and Barre mix, and we also offered Lyra (Aerial hoops). In Studio B we have a variety of Yoga classes, Barre, my signature class called Guns, Buns & 6 Packs, Bolly X, and Zumba.
3: What inspired your journey/ career in fitness?
I would have never become a fitness instructor, let alone a boutique fitness studio owner unless my husband had the brain tumor. It's funny how some major paradigm shifts can push you in a completely different direction, which ended up in the direction you probably should have been in but never knew it. Years ago when I was in my 20's, I wanted to be a Jazzercize instructor, but was too afraid to even get in front of people. Now, when pushed to either sink or swim, here I am doing what I always wanted to do, and loving every minute of it!
4: Name something about your business that most people don’t know.
Some people don't know we have kids classes. We also do really fun AntiGravity Private parties, great for a girls night out, team building, bachelorette parties, or birthdays.
5: What does the customer get when using your services?
Customers get a very warm welcome when they enter our studio and they have a large variety of fitness classes to choose from. If they like the classes in the hammocks or any suspension classes, they have that option, or if they are not fond of the inversions, we have plenty "Grounded" classes in studio B. Having a variety keeps the body guessing and uses a larger variety of muscles, so the body can burn more calories that way.
6: Describe the vibe at your studio?
Each class has its own energy. The AntiGravity Restorative class is relaxing, mellow and allows you to recover from a stressful week. The AntiGravity Suspension classes and Lyra is all energy for the adrenaline junkies, full of flips and fun tricks, then we have many toning fitness classes, and of course Yoga classes.
7: The workout has just finished, where do most of your clients head?
We are right next to Shyndigz Restaurant, so when we have a private party, we recommend they finish their fun day with a treat there! I may be counter-productive for our fitness friends but Fancy Biscuit has really great lunch!
8: What is the quote that best describes your studio?
You will leave every session "Happier, Healthier, and Taller!" I also finish each class with them in the cocoon and we repeat a mantra, "May you be free, may you have peace, may you have grace, and may you have courage."
9: What is the best word that describes your team.
10: If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy your space/ team/ members?
I would buy my space, a beautiful location overlooking a beach with the hammocks hanging in an open air, and buy my team the best well deserved vacation ever. As for my members, I would let them come in for free!