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Inspiring Conversations with Claudia Fitzwater of Projectbody ATL

Today we’d like to introduce you to Claudia Fitzwater.

Hi Claudia, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Project: Body is an independent fitness studio that offers in-person, live-stream virtual, and on-demand fitness classes. We welcome anybody who identifies as a female, but it is no secret that our primary target is women that are often not represented in fitness settings. My signature class, Asspirations Full-Body, was developed with black and brown bodies in mind. I fuse the best of my knowledge from pilates, barre, cardio, and strength training in one power punch class. My busy moms, professionals, veterans, college students, etc., only need 45 minutes to sweat and feel strong.

The culture at my studio is completely different from the toxic messages that women get every day on fitness platforms. At Project Body, Everybody workouts at their own pace. Our clients understand that the equipment their use is optional and that when they need to modify an exercise, it is because their bodies need it, not because they are weak or taking the easy way out. You will hear us shout all the time, listen to your body and do what is best for it.

I started Project: Body with the firm belief that all bodies need to be represented and that some bodies do not have to be more valued than others. I also believe that fitness is movement, and movement has to be something that challenges women and makes them happy. I made women feel stronger and accomplish, but we go beyond sweaty workouts; we are a living community and network where women with different backgrounds, ages, and cultures connect and network.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The entrepreneur path is not easy at all. I started my business after working for ten years at different studios and gyms in Atlanta. The switch to business owner plus my full-time job as an educator and mother and wife make it hard and not to mention the pandemic that made me temporarily close the doors of my studio on the date of our anniversary. In terms of struggle, I know that only 1.7% of women-owned businesses have revenues over $1M, and 88% are below $100K. And as a minority owner, access to capital is way more complicated. Further disparities exist when comparing white women-owned businesses and those owned by women of color. To summarize, there is a lot of push for entrepreneurship. Still, most of its support is about 101 courses about business plans and educational programs that most black and brown entrepreneurs know. I do; I did all my homework before opening my business. But there are not many programs out there that offer financial support and a path to scale businesses.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Projectbody ATL?
We are committed to making wellness accessible, inclusive, and culturally sensitive for all females!!

We are a physical and virtual fitness space that welcomes females and empowers them through fitness and physical exercise.

It is a place where fat-shaming has no place, and women are encouraged to love their bodies. We work hard to make our instruction culturally sensitive and respectful of women’s bodies.

As a female and minority owner, I know that BIOPC needs to be represented and included in the fitness and wellness industry; that’s why My trainers are primarily black and brown females.

We understand that specific fitness spaces and practices have not welcomed black and brown women, and we want to change that!

I am a mom, wife, and elementary educator first, and I am a fitness instructor. I put a lot of the compassion and empathic traits from teaching into my fitness instruction and personal training sessions. I have 12 years of experience as a group fitness instructor and Personal Trainer. I am known for my signature class, Asspirations full-body, which I developed to appeal to women and combine the best of my certifications in barre, TRX, and pilates. This class was tested in my classroom for an entire year with a focus group of female educators. My clients know that my body or how many times I work out does not define who I am or gives me less or more valuable than others. I work hard to educate myself about fatphobia and bias in fitness culture and respect and learn to love my body.

I am proud of the makeup of my clients—the diverse community of women attending our classes.

My signature class. You can’t find Asspirations full-body in any other gym in Atlanta. It is my formula and own recipe. Also, our name and motto, Project: Body that means our clients understand it’s their bodies and rules, and they are the ones who have ownership of it even if we are the fitness professionals. I am also proud to offer a hybrid option where women can work out in-studio or join us live from wherever they are. We are the only physical and virtual space for wellness that has developed, tested, and offers fitness techniques and classes designed by and for women of color in the area, helping women lead healthier lifestyles and care for their bodies.

What sets you apart from others?
The desire to dismantle the fitness culture. The fitness industry has continually reinforced women’s bodies’ insecurities and “flows.” Women feel that they do not belong in fitness spaces unless they look a certain way or have a certain weight. I am here to help women to love movement to understand that fitness is just another aspect of their lives. I am here to offer fun and engaging ways to get stronger, to broaden the idea that workouts and movement only happen at a gym.

And that all bodies have and need a spotlight in spaces like Project:Body.

Our business has a hybrid model, in-person and virtual. We offer 52 monthly in-studio small group fitness classes while Livestreaming the sessions simultaneously for our virtual clients in Easter time. We have branded Android and IOS apps for on-demand workouts, sell our branded equipment and offer personal training in-studio or at home. Our branded kit allows virtual and on-demand clients to experience our fitness classes as if they were in the studio with us. Our courses are high and low-impact and cardio strength-based. Anybody can take our class no matter where they are in their fitness journey. New clients can try us and see if we are a good fit using our promotion seven classes for $7. This pass allows clients to book classes in a week and try our different instructors. We offer memberships and class packs without long-term contracts. Depending on our client’s schedules, they can choose Mini memberships for four classes per month, Medium membership eight classes per month, or unlimited memberships. They can work out in the studio or from home when they need it. projectbodyatl.com

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
– The group of colleagues at Drew charter school took my class for almost a year before I launched and opened my business. They were consistent, provided feedback, and allowed me to test the different moves and further develop my signature class aspirations. We met in the music classroom after school.

– All my loyal clients that to be honest have become family and friends. Even the ones who do no longer train with me. All their support, reviews, attendance, the worth of mouth about my studio, and the help when we are not sweating and text, chat or meet in other settings.

– My husband and family help me to juggle two jobs and motherhood.

– My landlord with the Stryant company is consistent with helping and renting his spaces to BIOP and supporting me through this journey. Not too many Landlords are ready to provide support beyond renting a space.

Pricing:

  • 7 for $7 promo for new cleints
  • 1 month unlimited virtual promo for $29.99
  • Drop in in person class for $13
  • Virtual drop-in $9

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Adrienne Louise photography Allison Carter Rashad

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