An initiative with more than 50 community groups and growing, Females in Action (FiA) is making a difference in locations across the country, including right here in Arcadia.
FiA Phoenix is a peer-led group of women who meet for free workouts at Arcadia Park. The workouts are open to women of all ages and fitness levels. The Phoenix branch shares the same mission as the national organization, which was founded in 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“We are a community of women whose mission is to make each other stronger in all areas of our lives,” said participant Lindsey Humphrey. “We want to connect with other women, grow a community and build leadership skills.”
Humphrey saw the potential for a Valley FiA group after connecting with the women from the leadership organization earlier this year. FiA Phoenix was launched in April as one of the only West Coast groups, although the movement is growing.
With support from the main branch, FiA Phoenix has quickly become a tradition for a local group of women.
“We’ve had almost 40 women attend a workout at least once, and about 10 who regularly attend workouts,” Humphrey said. “Our regulars love it. It’s a free workout group and an opportunity to meet like-minded women in the neighborhood. We have a lot of fun.”
Unlike traditional workout classes at gyms and fitness centers, FiA doesn’t have one set leader. There’s an emphasis on the group.
“We rotate leading workouts within our group, and it’s one of the best opportunities to hone leadership skills,” Humphrey said. “Some are working professionals; some stay at home with their kids. Our ages range from the 20s to 60s. Many of us live near Arcadia but we also have a few ladies from neighboring areas who are still committed to join us, despite a longer drive.”
These ladies look to one another for inspiration and encouragement for their weekly workouts.
“We were all seeking accountability for workouts and that is one of the best benefits,” Humphrey said. “You know your fellow ladies are counting on you to be there. FiA is also more than a workout group. The fellowship with other women is so important.”
Participants look forward to the variety of workouts that keep them engaged and focused.
“We get down to business quickly and start on time. The workout leader or “Q” will welcome everyone, say our disclaimer (note - we are not workout professionals) and begin the workout,” Humphrey said.
The Q decides what the group does for the day, with boot camp-style workouts being pretty popular.
They’ve also done stations, intervals, cardio circuits, jogs, HIIT [high-intensity interval training] workouts and more.
“The variety is one of the best parts of the group,” Humphrey said. “At the end, we form the Circle of Trust and do roll call with our nicknames and close in prayer or a secular intention.”
If they have time, the ladies grab coffee afterwards in a tradition affectionately called “Coffeeteria” to spend some extra time together.
“I think as a group, the most rewarding part has been the new friendships we’ve formed, all while doing something positive for our health,” Humphrey said. “It’s such a blessing to get to know each other while we are working out and getting stronger. FiA is about fellowship and it has definitely been so rewarding to watch it grow over the past six months.”
Looking toward the future, the ladies are hopeful they can reach more women and grow their group.
“It all goes back to our mission of making women stronger in all areas of their lives, which is our ultimate goal,” Humphrey said. “We want everyone to come see what it’s all about.”
While FiA continues to make a difference for women, there’s a very similar concept for men run through a separate organization.
F3 Phoenix launched in March 2018 and has been giving local guys of all ages and fitness levels the chance to partake in a free, peer-led workout group. Much like their female counterpart, F3 also meets in Arcadia Park and features a rotation of workout leaders, so everyone gets a turn to guide their fellow participants through a workout.
FiA meets weekly at Arcadia Park on Tuesdays at 6 a.m. and Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. For more: visit the FiA Facebook page.