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Sports Backers Blog

Fitness Warriors Now Accepting Applications for Next Class of Warrior Recruits

Richmond, VA — Sports Backers and the Richmond City Health District announced the launch of the next class of the Fitness Warriors program, part of Sports Backers’ Keep It Moving community health initiative. The application period for those interested in joining the program is now open and the deadline to apply is May 6th. The link to the application is available here:

The Fitness Warriors program trains members of the community with talent, passion, and potential to be professional fitness instructors in neighborhoods with the highest rates of chronic disease. The Keep It Moving initiative makes a deliberate effort to break down barriers to physical activity and provide increased access to fitness opportunities to residents of all corners of the Richmond region. Fitness Warriors are selected for their skills and leadership and receive free training to be group exercise instructors. Throughout the program, Warrior Recruits meet as a class and receive dedicated training and support, as well as the guidance and mentorship of previous Warriors graduates.

As part of their training, Fitness Warriors teach hundreds of hours of free fitness classes, working in communities to expand the fitness opportunities offered through schools, churches, senior residences, community centers, and other settings. In the process, Warrior Recruits hone their skills and provide a vital resource for communities that otherwise lack ready access to daily fitness and physical activity opportunities.

The Fitness Warriors program has had a tremendous impact on communities throughout the Richmond region since its inception in 2014. In just four years, 89 Warriors have completed the program, and these graduates continue to lead free classes, empower new instructors and class participants, and serve as leaders in the fitness industry. Between September 2016 and April 2018, 47 free fitness classes were offered each week thanks to the efforts and tireless work of Fitness Warriors. More than 1,200 people came to a Warriors class for the first time during that period, with many returning on a regular basis to reap the benefits of an active lifestyle.

During the most recent program survey in early 2017, class participants reported experiencing the following benefits:

  • 50 percent reported reduced stress and improved mood
  • 49 percent reported improved ability to function in daily activities/tasks
  • 55 percent reported increased cardiovascular  endurance
  • 40 percent reported weight loss
  • 71 percent reported increased energy level
  • 52 percent reported increased flexibility
  • 51 percent reported increased strength
  • 8.5 percent reported reduced need for medications

Information Sessions on April 10, May 2

To continue growing the program and positively impacting area residents and communities, Sports Backers and Keep It Moving are gearing up to train a new cohort of Warriors. Facebook Live informational sessions are scheduled for April and May for anyone interested in applying to become a Fitness Warrior:

“To reduce obesity and chronic disease rates in Richmond, we need passionate individuals who are willing to take charge in their communities and lead their fellow residents by example,” said Danny Avula, Director of the Richmond City Health District. “Fitness Warriors strengthen our city by making exercise safe, fun, and empowering for residents of all ages and abilities, and, along with the public health and medical communities, they are helping to build a culture of physical fitness in neighborhoods across the region.”

“The Fitness Warriors program is all about getting residents moving while inspiring and motivating them to be active on a daily basis. Fitness Warriors are passionate about getting their fellow residents started on their journey to a healthy and active lifestyle,” said Jacki Quinlan, Director of Community Outreach for Sports Backers. “The program is helping transform the lives of Warriors class members as well as the participants and communities they serve.”

The Fitness Warriors Program is a partnership between Sports Backers, the Richmond City Health District, Fit2Go, and the American Council on Exercise (ACE). To learn more about Fitness Warriors or to host group exercise classes for your community, visit