WORKING OUT: DO IT FOR YOUR MIND FIRST
It’s not uncommon for many people to struggle with anxiety or body issues. Many gyms capitalize on this and encourage a “tight body” or a certain diet, but this approach to wellness only increases our negative feelings about ourselves.
Fly’s founder, Dr. Jenni Bruning Brown, believes there is a different way of thinking about your health. Having worked as a sport psychologist with athletes at both professional and collegiate levels, Bruning Brown says that most women she’s worked with have struggled with their bodies. “Society puts unattainable standards on women, causing them to grow up with unhealthy or disordered eating and which often leads to body shaming and anxiety about their bodies.”
That’s why Bruning Brown started a different kind of community, where fitness is about getting stronger and feeling more confident and self-assured—not about fitting into a bikini.
“Working out should be fun, empowering and positive,” she says. “When your mind and body are strong, you feel ready to take on the world.” In the classes that she teaches, Bruning Brown encourages people so see their physical body as a metaphor in dealing with issues in the real world. “What you do in class is what you do outside of it. We add resistance. We have to try and take it on. No fear. And if you are able to do it on a bike, you can do it in in the real world. We meet challenges head on, face first,” she says.
We know about the truly incredible physical benefits of working out, but it’s the mental effects that Bruning Brown find are truly transformational. “Once you train your brain to respond to challenges and difficulties, you respond differently and with less anxiety.” Classes at Fly are a journey that allow people to experience difficult emotions and work through them.
By letting go of unattainable body types and focusing on feeling grateful for any strength and gains you’ve made, your confidence is strengthened. Bruning Brown has clients who have seen tremendous change in themselves after trying and accomplishing things they hadn’t thought they could.
Many clients feel a deep connection and get more than just a workout from classes. Jess McEwen, who started coming when Fly first opened in December 2015 now instructs and is Fly’s client relations manager. Jess attends classes daily in addition to the ones she teaches. With four children, Jess says that the multidimensional class experience allows her time to herself, giving her both physical and emotional benefits that typical exercise classes can’t.
“So many people think that working out is just about getting a six pack and a buff body,” says Dr. Bruning Brown “and a lot of gyms focus on that piece. What I’ve found is that if we focus more on the way we move our bodies in strong, powerful ways, we can strengthen our minds and build ourselves up, in more ways than one.”