For nearly five years the Females in Action Summerville group has offered women free, peer-led workouts and general support.
FIA is a fitness program designed for women and founded in Charlotte in 2013. It is built on the same premise as the F3 fitness program for men, which follows the mantra of Faith, Fitness and Fellowship.
FIA is non-denominational and open to all women regardless of age or physical ability. Since its creation, the group has grown to include more than 5,000 women across 11 states.
FIA Summerville began on April 4, 2015 and now includes hundreds of participants who get together for workouts at multiple locations in the Summerville area. Most of the 45-minute workouts begin at 5 a.m. but the group does offer evening workouts as well. Locations include Doty Park, Wescott Park and the downtown area.
“Workouts are designed to be strenuous but anyone can come out,” said Samantha Waring, who has led FIA Summerville workouts for the past year. “It is for seasoned athletes as well as beginners and you aren’t alone. Most workouts are done in a circle. They are hard workouts but you laugh and it is the best way to start a morning.”
Janice Jones has been with the Summerville group since its first year and says it has been great for her.
“It’s free and it’s peer led so the workouts are always different yet very inclusive,” Jones said. “It’s really just about being active and I’ve met a whole tribe of friends through it. I equate it to when you were a kid and played with everyone in the neighborhood. This allows you to go get support from your friends. For me, what you get out of it is worth so much more than getting a little more sleep. Even on days I don’t feel like working out, I like to go to see my people.”
The group also provides general support, fellowship and does community service projects.
“It begins with a workout but it becomes so much more,” Waring said. “I am very antisocial but I started loving hanging out with the women. I get so much joy from it. We provide support for each other outside of the workouts as well.”
Participants sometimes have coffee after a workout, have discussion groups or get together for socials. Many members of the Summerville group get together to participate in 10ks and other distance runs. The group also has quarterly service projects that support various charities and organizations.
Because the leaders design the workouts, each can include different types of exercise. However, the women go out of their way to make sure everyone benefits.
“There will be people there who have done this for a while so if someone has had back surgery or foot surgery we can modify the workout,” Jones said. “We can usually tell if someone is new or struggling so other members of the group will help them. We call it taking the six.”
Workouts are held rain or shine. For more information, visit fiasummerville.com or find FIA Summerville on Facebook.