What happens when two friends with performance backgrounds realize their passion for fitness? For trainers Amber Rees and Lindsey Clayton, it meant coming together to create an inclusive space to cheer on athletes at all stages of their fitness journeys.
For Rees, who came athletic family, she says her choice to do theater and dance went against the grain. But, she became a gym rat in college and eventually transitioned that into a career.
Clayton was a dancer growing up, and moved to new York to pursue a professional dance career. She had a successful career with dance, and started getting into fitness as a hobby, but soon realized she would enjoy teaching, so she got certified and started teaching dance cardio.
“If there was anything I loved more than dance, it was a big passion for being able to help others move their bodies,” Clayton says.
The two quickly realized they could turn their love of fitness and passion for creating community into something bigger.
“I love the connections, the relationships and helping people fight the good fight to achieve their goals,” Rees says. “For us, that’s the reason we ended up creating Brave Body Project.”
Brave Body Project was founded seven years ago. The two felt like there was a really empty space in the fitness scene they could fill. “We wanted to bridge the gap between kale salads and happy hour and finding a way to normalize not always having a six-pack,” Rees says. “I think that kind of helped me dive into my why for I’m a trainer and why I do what I do”
The two wanted to show people that fitness is inclusive for all—you don’t need a certain aesthetic or body type to fit in. So, they made it their goal to make fitness relatable.
“Running is hard and working out is hard, so to be able to help someone realize that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing and that they can move their body in a way that feels good, whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour.”
The two trainers aspire to help people realize that working out is not about how you look, it’s about how you feel. That mindset is what the two attribute to really finding their niche and cultivate the community that Brave Body Project has created.
“If you can find joy in working out, that’s the difference between sticking to something and never being able to commit,” Clayton says.
Brave Body Project first started started as fitness blog, but when the two realized that wasn’t going to create a career, they put their brains, theater backgrounds and training together to teach online workouts.
Since then, Clayton and Rees have pivoted the Brave Body Project platform to run coaching and creating a virtual running community. “We went headfirst into that, our virtual community has been really awesome,” Rees says.
The two host virtual 5Ks, which come with training plans and also offer individual run coaching for those who want continuing accountability and support. And their reach is wide—they have runners globally who make up the Brave Body Project running community.
“I think that a big lesson that we, as two girls who are runners that are not the fastest, most elite runners, have learned is that you don’t have to be in the front to be a leader, you can lead from anywhere,” Clayton says.