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28 posts

Image of Rory using the rower in the gym.

Rory Coyne

What are you training for… When I began training at S&U, I was training to row a marathon. I completed that on May 4th (~3 hours 17 mins). Now I strength train for general health and fitness.

What do you do with Strive & Uplift is… I do open gym usage in combination with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 

What’s your favorite thing about training with Strive & Uplift is… My favorite thing about training here is easy access to equipment and availability to work and home. 

What’s one thing you want to share with the gym community? Never set limits for yourself. Instead, focus on fulfilling short and long-term goals on your journey to better fitness or performance. 

Selfie of Devin outside the door to the Seattle gym, smiling at the camera with bright eyes.

Devin Gaan

I’m training for…My goal is big butt, no gut! But seriously, I come to get stronger and get into an overall better physical condition!

What I do with Strive & Uplift is…Just gym access though there are courses I’m interested in.

My favorite thing about training at Strive & Uplift is…Puppies, obviously. Really though, Strive & Uplift has everything one needs from a gym, but none of the toxic masculinity that is so prevalent in almost all gyms.

I’d like to share with everyone that…For those who don’t know me, I identify as a trans-woman. My experience transitioning leads me to feel pretty confident there is a high level of recognition and understanding that mental health is very important. However, it is much harder to find where we are with prioritizing physical fitness. It’s not spoken about as much. There are a lot of fear and anxiety. I think it has a great deal to do with the lack of safe and inclusive spaces for trans and gender non-binary folx to exercise. Further, the stigma of a woman lifting heavy weights is magnified for trans-women. Many often fear they’ll look too masculine, or that they’d get out’ed in the gym.

While I ran out of f***s to give to those who judge me a long time ago, that is very much coming from a position of privilege. It’s simply not the norm. That’s why it is so incredibly important for places like Strive & Uplift to exist. It’s a place where all are welcomed and serves as an example of how we should support all people and their goals. (it’s like Average Joe’s gym in Dodgeball… everyone is welcomed… unlike that horrible Globo Gym!!!)

Image of Cathy with her niece at the finish of the Seattle half-marathon wearing their finisher medals surrounded by other runners.

Cathy Wickwire

I’m training for…

I thought I was just training to be a fit middle aged lady, but it turned out that I was training for the Seattle Half Marathon Run last November. I ran it with my niece, Ana (pictured with me), and finished it in 2:22:00, which was in line with my times from 10+ previous races. I felt great even though I didn’t really train other than my weekly class with Kira and a daily run of one mile. For the record, Ana finished it in 01:53:35 because she’s a badass collegiate rower for Gonzaga.

What I do with Strive & Uplift is…

I am religious about taking Kira’s Pilates Mat Class every Thursday. I didn’t know how weak my core was until I starting taking this class. Every week, I realize how much stronger I am thanks to the class.

My favorite thing about training at Strive & Uplift is…

Hands down it’s the people, the coaches and other members, and the overwhelmingly positive attitude and universal acceptance that I find here.

I’d like to share with everyone that…

This is the first gym I have ever belonged to as I never thought I was a “gym” person. This place has proved me wrong!

Image of Lindsey standing on the top of a mountain, smiling with hands in her jacket pockets and a fleece beanie on her head. The background shows miles and miles of mountainous terrain with blue skies.

Lindsey Warren-Shriner

I’m training for…

I’m training to be active: I love hiking, skiing, biking, and competing in the occasional triathlon. After dealing with some ongoing hip issues, I knew I needed to build a stronger foundation but hadn’t been able to do it consistently on my own. I joined the gym last summer right after I moved to Seattle, and not only am I no longer dealing with the hip issues, I have loved being able to feel myself getting stronger.

What I do with Strive & Uplift is…

I did a few personal training sessions when I first joined to get started, and since then have been doing morning kettlebell circuit classes, the Sunday morning class, and the occasional evening class. I like that the classes are accessible for people with a range of strength and skill levels, and that the coaches work to create an inclusive and supportive environment where we push each other while prioritizing good form and technique.

My favorite thing about training at Strive & Uplift is…

I had never done any kind of formal strength training program when I joined the gym, but the coaches and the community have been unintimidating and encouraging from the beginning. I like that I’ve found a gym that I genuinely look forward to going to!

I’d like to share with everyone that…

I am originally from Vermont, and I have identical twin sisters.

Image of Kayle snuggling a sleepy dog.

Kayle Armstrong

I’m training for…

Myself! I want to be as strong as I believe I am.

What I do with Strive & Uplift is…

I am part of the morning crew that regularly attends. The class size isn’t overwhelming for me and the people are great. I never feel guilty if I don’t finish a set cause that just gives me a goal to work towards.

My favorite thing about training at Strive & Uplift is…

The coaches always strike a nice balance between encouraging us to push ourselves and rewarding us for not going overboard. Between them and the folks that come to the gym, the atmosphere is always great and I never feel out of place. Also, the pups!

I’d like to share with everyone that…

I wanna pet all the pups that want some love.


Image of Ian standing on a rock formation in front of a very impressive-looking mountain in the Cascades.

Ian Joslin

What are you training for? In general I am training to be a more well-rounded athlete, and to be as balanced as possible in my strength and ability.  I’ve always enjoyed team sports including soccer, which I still play regularly, as well as ultimate and basketball in the past. I love being outside too, so staying fit lets me enjoy things like hiking and climbing. When I started lifting about six years ago I never imagined I’d grow to enjoy it so much, but I love it even still. Weightlifting has taught me a lot about myself and my limits, and I always feel better both physically and mentally when I am regularly at the gym.

What do you do with Strive & Uplift?At first I was coming to lift on my own, aiming to get stronger all the time. I have a good base to be able to try new things and continue to improve without becoming too stagnant in my training. Since taking the Powerlifting class (twice) I have a new found direction and focus for my workouts that really excites me. I look forward to getting better at the “big three” lifts, and am considering trying to compete just for fun. 

What’s your favorite thing about training with Strive & Uplift? I obviously love the community of people and doggies here because Strive & Uplift is so welcoming to every type of athlete and ability level. All gyms should be more like this! That being said, I have to say my favorite thing is the coaches. Each one has a unique perspective and useful knowledge to share, and are always happy to provide guidance at any time. I feel comfortable asking questions and learning from their experiences, which makes my training that much more effective and rewarding.

What’s one thing you want to share with the gym community?Always feel free to ask me for a spot, form check, or to see pictures of my dog and cat. I probably enjoy talking about my animals WAY too much. Also, go vegan 😉

Image of Fiona flexing and smiling in the Seattle gym.

Fiona Cahill

I’m training for…

I’m training for a range of things like hiking and dancing but mostly to be able to run around on a field and chase a frisbee. I started class-training when I needed to rehab from a number of hip injuries a couple of years ago and it’s been a long but rewarding process since then.

What I do with Strive & Uplift is…

At Strive & Uplift I have been focusing on kettlebell and core classes, but I am looking forward to incorporating conditioning classes as well. I enjoy classes versus purely gym access because getting feedback from the coaches and trainers is key and there is a level of camaraderie and healthy competition that happens as well.

My favorite thing about training at Strive & Uplift is…

I have a number of favorites but one of my favorite things is it’s a women-owned and led gym and the community they have fostered is really supportive and fun to be a part of!

I’d like to share with everyone that…

Currently my favorite stretch is the 90/90 hip stretch and if you haven’t done it before, I highly recommend it! That and a nice cold beer are a great way to end the day 🙂


Image of Aiza, a friend, and Pickle the dog at the top of Mailbox peak smiling and posing with the iconic mailbox.

Aiza Abelon

I’m training for…

Climbing, ultimate, mountaineering, prehab, eating good food, and sleeping well.

What I do with Strive & Uplift is…

I pick things (and sometimes myself) up and put things down, sometimes I swing them around. Whatever Coach Bertle tells me to do because she knows what I want to accomplish. You’ll also see me cuddling with the RenFitness pups, particularly Coach Kira’s pup, Pickle. If I don’t say hi to you immediately when Pickle is around, there are reasons. I’m mainly there for gym access and to volunteer services for Strive and Uplift.

My favorite thing about training at Strive & Uplift is…

It’s tough to pick a favorite. I love that it’s a woman-owned business and I have the coaching I need to have a great workout towards my long term goals. It’s a different ambience at Strive and Uplift where you can get your workout done but should you also want it, hang out with awesome individuals. Additionally, having the space to host events like Brain Talents and Dangerously Talented Fridays is another service I truly appreciate. TLDR; Pickle.

I’d like to share with everyone that…

I’m going to go with 2 things:

  1. Coach Ren is a mentor of mine since 2014. She changed the way I approach strength training in a way that I’ve reduced the number of overuse injuries, something that has plagued me since my competitive badminton days. I am much stronger overall because of the programming and coaching I’ve received at Strive and Uplift.
  2. I host Brain Talents at Strive and Uplift a couple times a way. Brain Talents is an event to hear about thoughts, passions, ideas your fellow ultimate friends have off the field. Think TEDx style. If you’re interested in sharing a topic with a captive audience, feel free to reach out to me.


Image of Pat at a frisbee tournament looking excited and wearing a rainbow bandana on his neck and sunglasses.

Pat Holland


I’m training for… 
Ultimate! I use the strength and conditioning I get from RenFitness to become the best player I can be.

What I do with RenFitness is…I take courses in addition to gym access. I love the courses because I’ve always had difficulty keeping up my strength training when I’m designing my own workouts. I felt like I never knew what to do or how to do it, but with programming from knowledgeable coaches, I don’t have that problem. I use the gym access to do the “homework” workouts and some additional rehabbing/PT when I need to.

My favorite thing about training at RenFitness is…I like how knowledgeable the coaches are. Even if you’re not in a course at the moment, they’re always around to help in a very friendly way. You can’t beat the community, and it’s a great space to host an event or fundraiser.

I’d like to share with everyone that…I have won a professional football championship (ask me about it sometime)

Image of Tim smiling in front of Lake Washington on a cloudy day.

Tim Everson

I’m training… and working on technique for the Olympic lifts: snatch and clean and jerk. My focus for the summer is to learn the movements and to build overall strength. I enjoy the challenge of learning something new and want to get better at CrossFit-style workouts. All of that carries over to being better at the outdoor activities I love in the PNW. Also, my wife is a super strong powerlifter so I want to be able to keep up with her!

What I do with RenFitness is… use the gym access. The space is great, lots of open space and the right equipment you need to get stronger without the extras that get in the way at other gyms. RenFitness is one of the few gyms that allow you to do Olympic lifting movements, including using chalk and dropping the weight to the ground, which is important for safety when the bar gets heavier.

My favorite thing about training with RenFitness is… There is so much to like about RenFitness! I like the open warehouse space and fresh air in the summertime, I like the people and the friendly vibes, with dogs and families at the gym, and I like seeing the variety of stuff other members are doing, from powerlifting, kettlebells, prehab/rehab, sports-specific work, and more. It gives me ideas of movements to improve on and its a great atmosphere to train in. Of course, being able to use chalk and Olympic lift is a big plus!

I’d like to share with everyone that… I am originally from the Philly area but have lived in Ballard for the past 9 years. I have totally bought into the outdoors culture in Seattle. I have climbed Rainier, St Helens, and Adams and hope to tackle Baker in the next year or two. I also plan to start backcountry skiing this winter. Training at RenFitness helps with all these goals!