Sports Backers Blog

Fitness Warriors Now Accepting Applications for Next Class

Richmond, VA – Sports Backers and Richmond City Health District today announced the launch of the next class of the Fitness Warriors program, part of Sports Backers’ Keep It Moving initiative. The application period for those interested in joining the program is now open, and the deadline to apply is November 5. Those accepted in the current application period will begin training in January 2018.

The Fitness Warriors program trains members of the community with talent, passion, and potential to be professional fitness instructors for Richmond’s communities with the highest rates of chronic disease. The Keep It Moving initiative breaks down barriers to physical activity and provides increased access to fitness opportunities to residents of all corners of the Richmond region. Fitness Warriors display a broad spectrum of leadership skills and receive free training to be group exercise instructors. Throughout the program, Warriors meet as a class and get dedicated training and support from Warrior alumni and professionals in the field.

As part of their training, Fitness Warriors teach hundreds of hours of free fitness classes to help others reach their fitness goals. Fitness Warriors work in communities to expand the fitness opportunities offered through schools, churches, senior residences, community centers, and other settings. By teaching these weekly classes around the Richmond region, Warriors hone their skills and provide a vital resource for communities that otherwise lack ready access to fitness and physical activity opportunities.

Community Impact

The Fitness Warriors program has made a tremendous community impact since its creation in 2014. In that time, 74 Warriors have completed the program – many of whom continue to lead free classes, mentor new instructors, and serve as leaders in the fitness industry. The current class of Warrior Recruits will complete their training in December, with the next training period kicking off in January 2018. Warrior Recruits offer hundreds of hours of free classes during their training, with many participants returning week after week and to enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle.  From September 2016-April 2017, there were 1,073 unique visitors to a Fitness Warriors class. During the most recent evaluation from that period, class participants reported experiencing the following benefits:

  • 52 percent reported reduced stress and improved mood
  • 55 percent reported improved ability to function in daily activities/tasks
  • 60 percent reported increased cardio endurance
  • 40.1 percent reported weight loss
  • 75 percent reported increased energy level
  • 56 percent reported increased flexibility
  • 52 percent reported increased strength
  • 8.5 percent reported reduced medications

Information Sessions

To continue making an impact in the communities that need it the most, Sports Backers is gearing up to train a new cohort of Warriors. Two informational sessions are scheduled in October for people interested in applying to become Fitness Warriors:

“Fitness Warriors strengthen our neighborhoods, empower residents of all ages and abilities to get active, and make exercise safe, fun, and accessible,” said Danny Avula, Director of the Richmond City Health District. “It takes passionate residents who are willing to lead by example and help others take charge of their own health to build active communities and continue growing a culture of health and physical fitness in Richmond.”

“The Fitness Warriors program continues to create innovative ways to transform lives of people across the Richmond region,” said Jacki Quinlan, Director of Community Outreach for Sports Backers. “Fitness Warriors classes get people moving and keep them moving, regardless of where someone is on their fitness journey. Warriors are dedicated advocates for community health and we are excited to now recruit Warriors twice per year, which allows us to add more classes and doubles our annual impact in communities we serve.”

The Fitness Warriors program now offers 45 free fitness classes each week in Richmond and the Tri-Cities, and that number will keep rising as new cohorts are added. New recruits receive dedicated mentoring and support from their assigned Warrior Captains, who are some of the most successful alumni in the program. The Fitness Warriors program continues to grow, offering both increased fitness opportunities for community members and career opportunities for Warrior alumni.

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 applying to become a Warrior or to host group exercise classes for your community, visit