Females in Action focus on body, mind and heart in Salt Lake ValleyFeb 23, 2022 06:50PM ● By Rachel Aubrey
Weekly workouts are free of charge and help the women of FIA Salt Lake Valley focus on improving their health and wellness (Photo taken by Laura Grenmyr).
By Rachel Aubrey | [email protected]
Whether during pre-pandemic times, post-pandemic times, or anywhere in the middle, everyone wants to feel like they have a group to belong to. Along with that feeling of belonging also comes the feeling of acceptance despite your age, color, race, religion, orientation, occupation, etc.
Those looking for such a group need look no further than a nearby park where every Tuesday at 6 a.m., Wednesday at 7 p.m., Friday at 6 a.m. and Saturday at 8:30 a.m., you will find, regardless of the weather (not excluding snow), Females in Action Salt Lake Valley, a group of women who are ready and waiting to accept other women into their circle, free of charge.
“At first I thought it was too good to be true, to be free and an amazing social outlet,” said Rachael Van Cleave, FIA member. “I can’t say enough how much it helped my mental health throughout the pandemic. I was able to have that social outlet, get exercise year-round and stay safe.”
More than just a weekly workout group, FIA Salt Lake Valley offers the kind of like-mindedness that many look for in a group of female friends. From all different backgrounds and circumstances, the mission of FIA is to “make each other stronger in all areas through activities that include bodies, minds and hearts.”
Females in Action was inspired by F3, a national organization of men seeking “fitness, fellowship and faith.” The headquarters for both F3 and FIA are located in North Carolina. According to the website, FIA is more than 6,000 women in 22 different states, and continues to grow. The FIA Salt Lake Valley group just celebrated their one-year anniversary in February.
Allyson Naud discovered FIA after seeing her husband participating in F3. A self-proclaimed introvert, Naud was not keen, at first, on the idea of a weekly exercise group, especially when it came time to be the leader of said group. What started off small in numbers has turned mighty in spirit.
“I just emailed a few friends and they came,” Naud said. “I never imagined it would grow like this and that it would have such an impact on everyone.”
The group became official with FIA nation last year after about four months of having consistent attendance. The group started with one workout a week and 30 women. It has grown to four workouts a week and 52 women. More than just a peer-led workout, the women of FIA Salt Lake Valley spend time serving in the community.
The most recent project was for a women’s shelter, for which they put together hygiene kits. The group communicates regularly, using Slack, about upcoming workouts, gathering for book club, dinner club, and just checking in with one another.
“It’s about more than working out, it’s about community, and having a group of awesome women to do life with,” Naud said.
During the Covid quarantine the group was still able to gather to do their weekly outdoor workouts, with their masks on and at a safe distance. They were able to be a support to one another in what seemed like a never-ending cycle of uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.
Every workout ends with a circle of trust, where the group gather in a circle to acknowledge each individual and reflect or contemplate, using a motivational thought, quote or story before parting ways. The sense of community has made a huge impact on some members, some who moved to Utah during the pandemic, some who are here without family support.
“If it weren’t for FIA, I would have had a worse time during the pandemic,” said FIA member Laura Grenmyr, who serves as the marketing and public relations coordinator.
Newcomers to the group should expect to receive a nickname, something to do with her experience or her life, be it a hobby or characteristic or something she enjoys. Grenmyr spent seven years living in Sweden, and travels there often, garnering her the nickname Globetrotter. Naud is known to the group as Leafmaster, and Van Cleave is known as Primetime.
For more information or to see the local weekly workout schedule, visit fianation.com/locations/utah/salt-lake-valley/.