I first met Emelia in late spring of 2022 by taking her lift classes at the woman owned gym I had joined where I live in downtown Bradenton, Florida. At the end of January 2023 I started training with her and then in early May 2023 she started her own class offerings under her own brand Rack the Weight. I go every Tuesday and Thursday morning for 90 minutes (1 30 min class then lift 50 min class) then some Fridays for 1 hour (2 30 min classes). Every Saturday morning I go for Lift before heading off to walk the puppers at Manatee County Animal Welfare.
Since I started working with Emelia I’ve seen the following progress (according to my smart scale):
Fat free body weight: +4.2 lb.
Muscle mass: +3.9 lb.
Bone mass is listed as EXCELLENT- weight bearing exercise and walking help us slow bone loss.
There are other measurements in there that I am not all that sure what they mean but green is good and red is bad. I still have more work to do BUT I’m so happy with my progress, the culture, the classes, and the others that attend that I wanted to share Emelia and Rack the Weight with all of you BB Lovers.
BB: How did Rack the Weight come to be?
EO: Originally, it started as a blog in the virtual space. How it transpired into a physical space is a beautiful story.
The gym I had been teaching at had decided to close its doors because one of the owners was moving. A group of the members had suggested that I open a studio to continue training. With three young kids, and a lack of time and capital funds to open a business, I knew it wasn’t possible.
But those members stayed persistent and said, “Well if you can’t open a full gym, can you find a space to teach a few times a week?” Not only did they stay persistent with me continuing to teach, those beautiful people raised funds to purchase the equipment we needed for the classes.
So, in all honesty, Rack the Weight’s classes are the product of a group of very dedicated, wonderful individuals who came together to make it happen.
BB: Rack the Weight started as blog, so how old is Rack the Weight?
EO: The concept of Rack the Weight has been rolling around in my head for years but I finally “put it on paper” so to speak towards the end of 2022. I created the blog and started really focusing on creating quality content for my website.
Once the idea of renting a space to teach classes came about, I knew that I wanted to carry over my brand from my blog to the new space. I already had the website and a lot of the virtual stuff going, so I began transitioning the blog into more of an actual business website.
BB: How did you come up with the name?
EO: The name “rack the weight” has multiple meanings – it’s learning how to lift more physical weight, it’s learning how to get rid of excess body weight and most importantly, it’s learning how to use fitness to set down the weight of the world. Fitness changed me in a lot of ways – physically, emotionally, and even spiritually – and I wanted a place to share that with others.
BB: I love, love, love that! And it’s so true, since working out regularly I’ve seen improvements withing myself and my body. Thank you.
BB: What is unique about Rack the Weight?
EO: There are a lot of options for bootcamp and CrossFit workouts in the area. But quite honestly, I don’t think that type of a workout is for everyone. (I think) that the classes offered at Rack the Weight are engaging, easily modified for all levels of fitness, and can even be “fun” if you’re someone who likes to move to music.
I also think it’s a great spot for someone to get acquainted with group classes if they’re uneasy or intimidated about going to the gym or some of the other group classes out there. It’s very welcoming and friendly with all sorts of fitness levels.
BB: True. Anyone that knows me knows I do not like to jump, and I can easily modify any of the impact moves BUT I love that any impact is low to moderate like jogging in place, high knees, jumping jacks. I really enjoy all the classes and the tunes too. Good jams matter, ha ha.
BB: What inspires your programs/services?
EO: I spend a LOT of time listening to music for my classes. There is so much power in music and lyrics, so I’m extremely cognizant of what we listen to and the message of the music. I want the energy of the classes to be uplifting and empowering and a lot of that comes through the music.
BB: How would you describe your company’s success so far?
EO: I wouldn’t be doing the physical classes if it weren’t for the members of the last gym I worked at. They made it all happen. And from there, it’s been referrals from current members. The classes just started in May so I’m hoping to really expand the member base with new faces in the coming months.
BB: What do you love about your business?
EO: I love seeing someone progress in their workouts- whether they’re adding more weight to their lifts or progressing with their form, or even just being consistent with their workout regimen. There’s nothing better than seeing them leave class, totally sweaty, with a big smile on their face.
Also, the fact that I get to serve others by doing something I love is awesome. I worked in the corporate world after college, and it was totally unfulfilling to say the least.
BB: I know my weights have increased- thank you for challenging me. I will get to where I can do my whole bi-cep routine with the 15lb dumbbells. I want to increase my squat weight too.
BB: What market(s) do you serve?
EO: The classes can be suited for any fitness level, so our age range is wide. Most of the members are from Parrish, Palmetto and Ellenton, but because of the location being right over either of the bridges coming from Bradenton, it’s an easy commute for Bradenton clients as well.
BB: What are some of the challenges or obstacles you’ve faced in starting (bring to life) Rack the Weight and overcome along the way?
EO: I’ve really had to let go of my “everything has to be perfect” mentality since starting the classes. I’m sub-leasing space out of a dance studio so there is a lot of set-up and take-down with the equipment that I wouldn’t have to do in my own space or in a gym.
Right before I launched classes, it was brought to my attention that the floors couldn’t get wet because of the material (expensive dance floors). So, with a room of sweaty people, I wasn’t sure it was going to work out. But I did end up finding a solution with fitness mats, so it all worked out in the end.
The space isn’t fancy or glamorous but I’m using what I have to offer these classes and create a place where people can come work out and forget about the weight of the world for an hour.
BB: If you outgrow your current space what type of space would you be looking for and where?
EO: If I made the jump to a bigger place, I would be looking for an industrial-type space in the same general vicinity of Palmetto, Parrish or right over the bridge in Bradenton.
BB: Are there any resources you found useful when starting your business? Such as the small
business administration, consultants, or coaches?
EO: The launch of the business has been organic so far. This month was packed with ironing out wrinkles, picking a scheduling app and all the back end of the business stuff so I hope to utilize other resources as I grow the business.
BB: If anyone wants to drop in and check a class out what is the best way to do that?
EO: The easiest way to check out a class is by going to my website, https://racktheweight.com, and click on the “book a class” tab. There you’ll find class descriptions, times and if there are still spots available in the class.
BB: Is there a current book (regular or audio) or podcast that you are reading/listening to now or before that helped contribute to the start and success of Rack the Weight?
EO: Well, I am a podcast junkie but none of them are relevant in this case.
In some ways, I think my life was my own living self-help book. Several years ago, I was dealing with anxiety and depression, a poor self-image, and trying to process some traumatic events I had recently been through. I was actually never a “fitness person” but I stumbled upon a group fitness class one day when I was at a YMCA, fell in love with how it made me feel, and the rest is history.
The Last Arrow by Erwin Raphael McManus is a great read and significant in where I’m at right now. It’s all about living to our fullest potential and not being afraid to take risks. It’s a call to live “with relentless ambition, a heart on fire and with no regrets.”
BB: Any exciting news on the horizon?
EO: The whole past couple of months have been so exciting! It was really awesome to see everything come together and see Rack the Weight shift from a virtual space into a physical space. Right now, I’m enjoying some deep breaths as I gear up to start expanding the classes and members at Rack the Weight.
BB: What are you jamming out to right now?
EO: I’m loving a song called “Life is Good” by Courtnie Ramirez. There’s no way you can listen to it and be in a bad mood!
BB: Oh! That is good! Just added to my 2023 BB Me playlist- LOVE it!
BB: Favorite local spots?
EO: We don’t get out much with three kids and our youngest is 18 months old so my favorite spots are places we can take the kids. The Canopy Restaurant in Ellenton has a great yard with games for them to run around in while we wait for our food. If we’re feeling ambitious, we go to Riverhouse on the water in Palmetto to eat and look at the boats.
BB: A girlfriend of mine and I like to go to the Canopy sometimes too. Riverhouse is also tasty.
BB: What do you like to do in our down time when you have it?
EO: My husband works in the golf industry and is an avid golfer. If we ever get a date, we like to go golfing or go to the beach.
Thank you for your time and all the coaching you provide. BB readers please check out Rack the Weight for your first class– if you have any questions comment below or email Emelia. Please follow Rack the Weight on Pinterest and Facebook. See you crazy kids in class!