Women in Fitness Feature: FiA
Fit Columbia and Midlands Anchor honor local women in fitness in this monthly feature celebrating their contributions to the Midlands community. These women are the best of the best in the health and wellness industry. They are local small business owners, active in the community and have a minimum of five years of experience. Our August feature focuses on a very different kind of fitness available all over the Midlands from the Females in Action (FiA) workout groups. Our feature is written by Julie Turner and Angela Yong Sellers.
The “gyms” of Females in Action (FiA) are decidedly understated. There are no equipment, no showers and no fancy smoothie bar. The workout leaders — referred to as Qs — suggest investing in a pair of workout gloves and fleece-lined tights. Those dark, cold mornings crab walking in a parking lot at River Bluff High School, running through the streets of Earlewood, and burpee-ing on the Statehouse grounds can feel rough if you’re not prepared.
FiA is a grassroots effort that unites women through free, peer-led workouts. There are seven FiA workout locations scattered across the Midlands. Attendees of the group — called PAX (a person) or FNG (a friendly new girl) — come and go and every workout is as original the Q. The workouts are held a different times beginning as early as 5:15 a.m. and average about 15-20 participants. Each workout ends with a Circle of Trust (COT) where real names and FiA nicknames are shared. The Q closes with a motivational thought, prayer or quote to inspire members as they head out for their day.
What’s unusual about FiA is the focus is on more than fitness. The group provides PAX with actions that focus on building thriving bodies, minds and hearts. Members push themselves in everything from completing five more push-ups to completing unique workout challenges to running competitive races. PAX are encouraged to step up and Q a workout at any time. Women of all fitness abilities work out together and each becomes stronger at the same time. No woman is left behind.
FiA was inspired by a community-focused, male movement called F3. As more women became interested in taking part in peer-led, community workouts their membership grew into other communities and states. FiA workouts are now available in five states and with more workout locations being added all the time.
What’s unusual is that FiA’s momentum is so great it operates with no leader in the traditional sense. Regional leaders and site hosts ensure the scheduled workouts have Qs and plan group gatherings and outings all members can take part in. FiA isn’t a gym, there are no fees. Every woman who shows up contributes to its success and growth at the same time as she invests in her own health.
Do you wish to share your positive attitude, your optimism, your faith in religion or humanity to uplift those around you? Do you enjoy the camaraderie of bringing together old and new friends to form common bonds that last beyond a workout class? If your answered yes, FiA is right for you!
How can I find a workout?
If you’d like to get involved in a FiA workout, all you have to do is find a workout that fits your schedule and go. The group is very active on Twitter and Facebook as well. If you have questions or want to get connected with someone at a workout location, just email FiAColumbia@gmail.com.
What should I bring?
You really don’t need anything for a FiA workout. Because many locations are parking lots, you may find that workout gloves, a towel, and yoga or workout mat makes exercising more comfortable.
What is rucking?
You may see some of the women wearing backpacks full of weighted plates or bricks. The activity gets its name from “ruck sacks,” which is military speak for “backpack.” “Rucking” is marching or walking while wearing your ruck sack (typically 10-40 pounds). One of the Lexington PAX members, "Volley", Rachel Capps wears a ruck because she and some of the women of FiA are training Go Ruck events. Check out this site for more information- https://www.goruck.com/rucking/.
Did you say nickname?
After your first workout, you’ll get a nickname. This FiA nickname will be based on you — maybe your hometown, a hobby or fun fact. Don’t worry; the group will name you so there’s no pressure. Your FiA name stays with you even if you go though a few weeks of pillow fluffing (skipping workouts). When you get that nickname, you’re part of FiA nation.