Females in Action (FiA) is connecting Birmingham women in faith, fellowship and fitness with the first FiA region in Alabama. The two peer-led workout groups continue to exercise together and encourage their members in spite of coronavirus social distancing requirements by conducting sessions via Zoom.
More than 40 women attended FiA’s Birmingham launch in September, and both groups are still going strong with almost 120 women cycling through at least one workout session during the region’s first three months.
“You don’t have to be some expert when you join a session,” said Beth Phillips, region leader. “FiA really pushes ‘you do you.’ You would be amazed at what your body is capable of doing and what you’re able to accomplish when you’ve got other women who are there for the same purpose.”
Phillips and co-leader Amberly Burrows formed the groups after witnessing the benefits their husbands received through F3, a similar faith-based workout group for men. Since then, the groups have grown by word of mouth and social media sharing.
Birmingham groups usually meet every day except Christmas day with locations at Liberty Park Middle School in Vestavia Hills and Veteran’s Park in Hoover.
While COVID-19 meeting restrictions remain in place, the groups have met via Zoom on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, with a workout and “Coffeeteria” conversation and prayer session on Saturday mornings.
Phillips said hosting the meetings by Zoom has allowed some women to attend who couldn’t before due to scheduling conflicts and online meetings encourage families to workout together.
According to Burrows, women come to FiA for fitness, but faith and fellowship keep them coming back for more.
“The relationships we have built and are continuing to strengthen are incredible,” she said. “I never would have met some of Birmingham’s finest ladies had it not been for FiA.”
Workouts close with the circle of trust which includes prayer, a devotion or words of encouragement. Groups host a Slack channel dedicated to prayer requests.
“We’ve already had some pretty intense situations within our FiA Birmingham community, and it’s been amazing to see these ladies step up and take care of each other. We truly are better together,” Burrows said.
Phillips said her favorite aspect of FiA is the encouragement the ladies receive as they cheer each other on during the workouts.
“We have so many ladies who are across the board as far as fitness levels go. To be able to see the improvement that they make, to see them realize they can do it, is the best part about it. Hearing them holler out encouragement and knowing that as a group we’ve only known each other a short time but we’ve been able to make these connections and these friendships that is now our FiA community.”
‘Circling up and praying’
Burrows said FiA Nation is hosting nationwide Zoom meetings on Friday mornings and online meetings have allowed women to connect with groups across the country.
“[The COVID-19 pandemic] has opened us up a little more,” Burrows said. “One of our members was able to share medical masks with a FiA sister. People are just a little more aware of the needs of others right now. Our desire is to get back with each other. There’s nothing like circling up and praying with your arms around someone else at the end of the workout.”
To learn more about FiA Birmingham, check out FiA Bham on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.