Credit goes to my friend Jessica for getting me off my butt and exercising again. And credit goes to RiseUp Fitness for keeping me moving.
I used to be in crazy-good shape. I rowed in high school with 5 a.m. trips to the gym followed by afternoon practice on the water. Lean and mean, our eight-man boat team won state championships and looked darn good in suits at graduation. But that was nearly 20 years ago. There’s been a lot of pasta and couch-lounging since.
So I fully expected my first RiseUp class ― held with all the proper COVID precautions under an awning behind their Las Positas Road studio ― to not go well. In one respect, it didn’t. I was so slow and clumsy during the 50-minute session that I got pretty down on myself. But in another and much more important respect, it was a success because I realized ― after many fits and starts with other programs ― I’d finally found a place I could put in the work to lose weight and feel good about my body again.
Opened in the summer of 2018 by business partners and longtime trainers Addie Clarke, Kyle Visin, and Emily Foley, RiseUp Fitness has a simple but effective approach of offering guided, tail-kicking classes to people of various ages, shapes, and sizes in a comfortable setting that’s all about encouragement and not competition. The circuit is divided into six stations ― four types of cardio and two with weights or bands ― with printed placards that give time and distance goals, depending on your ability level. Think of the personalization of a one-on-one trainer with the fun and energy of a group class.
The stations face away from each other and there are no mirrors on the walls, which gives you space and privacy. That was a big selling point for me. The staff, who quickly get to know you by name, are down to earth but upbeat. Their voices over the mic are motivating without being obnoxious. And they have great taste in music. I especially appreciate the ’90s hip-hop mixes.
The diverse backgrounds of the three founders also contribute to RiseUp’s all-inclusive atmosphere. Addie was trained in classical ballet, while Emily played team sports like soccer and basketball. Kyle is a triathlete and actually just took first place in the Santa Barbara Triathlon Long Course. How many local instructors can say that?
Next month, RiseUp will open a second location in North Goleta in the University Plaza Shopping Center. While the City of Santa Barbara is silly with gyms, that part of the South Coast is conspicuously lacking in options. The team also regularly organizes fundraisers, recently helping the Isla Vista Youth Project, which was hit especially hard during the pandemic. They’ve raised money for the Humane Society and breast cancer research, as well.
Physical fitness is, of course, always important, Emily said. But it’s especially important now, as the pandemic drags on and the mental strain of the last 18 months continues to take its toll. “It’s just so critical these days for people to get out and exercise,” she explained, recalling private testimonials from clients who say (and I believe it) that the classes changed their lives or saved their relationships. “We have the plan,” Emily said of their carefully designed workouts. “All you have to do is show up.”
I’m still in the early stages of my get-back-in-shape journey. I started off strong with RiseUp a few months ago but slipped in recent weeks. But that’s okay. I can at least see the road now and have met the people who will help me along it. And that’s huge. I haven’t had that since my rowing days. I just need to keep showing up.
2273 Las Positas Rd.; (805) 225-3223; riseupfitnesssb.com