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Sports Backers Blog

Fitness Warriors 10th Class is ready to make a positive community impact

By: Tiffany Copeland, Director of Fitness Warriors

Three months ago, 12 strangers came together at Westover Hills Community Center in South Richmond because they were inspired to make an impact in their community as aspiring members of Sports Backers’ Fitness Warriors program. Training days for Fitness Warriors are a mix of physical fitness, education about health disparities in our region, learning the five components of fitness, and then being able to demonstrate back what they’ve learned, all part of a process we call Teachbacks. Training days are fun but intense, and they help the Warrior recruits learn the fundamentals of being a group fitness instructor in our community. On March 5, the group showed up dressed in camo and ready to conquer their Teachbacks and show the skills they learned throughout training.

Four hours of showing us what they learned and answering questions about their class designs came to the moment they all hoped for, and you can imagine the joy when they found out they ALL passed and officially became Warriors! It’s a proud moment for everyone associated with the program, and especially Lead Trainer Ricky Martin, who has been preparing the community volunteers who take part in the program to become fitness leaders since Fitness Warriors was created.

“In 2014, when we launched this program with the 1st class, I had no idea that there would eventually be a 10th class but here you are, continuing the fight to get the community healthy,” Martin told the class about their own growth as well as that of the program as a whole.

The legacy continues and even with all the challenges brought on by COVID-19, these amazing individuals are ready and eager to help their community.

Fitness Warriors 10th Class Members:

Warriors 10th Class

Members of the Fitness Warriors 10th Class

  • Dee Lee
  • Constance Eisele
  • Neci Hill
  • Paula Gray
  • Jada Wade
  • Thomas Bland, Jr.
  • Jan Mathis- Mizell
  • Laurel Gregory
  • Jamie Sanderson Reid
  • Josie Owusu
  • Sherina Gilpin
  • Mentors: Eboni Washington, Elicia Gordon, Tazashia Wilson, Marica Moore
  • Lead Trainer: Ricky Martin
  • Director: Tiffany Copeland
Jada's Class at Hickory Hill

Jada Wade’s Class at Hickory Hill Community Center

These volunteers in the Fitness Warriors program have already started their classes in the community. With a return to some of our old stomping grounds such as Hickory Hill Community Center and Bellemeade Community Center we hope to continue to bring the community great fitness classes that are built on fellowship and done with care and love. If you’ve been moving with us on Zoom don’t you worry! We will continue to offer classes on Zoom and plan to launch our in-person outdoor classes in April.

While new Warriors are being ushered in, many of the Warriors you know and love will start their journey to become nationally-certified group fitness instructors through the American Council on Exercise certification process. These amazing Warriors will take the next 13 weeks to learn and prepare before taking their national certification exam. We know they are more than ready, so please join me in wishing them luck!

In the meantime, we look forward to getting active together at a class near you. To see our class schedules and learn more about the program, just head over to to sign up and get moving!

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