FiA Cape Fear unites women for workouts and support
It’s 5:30 a.m. So early that the sun hasn’t yet streaked the sky with shades of pink and gray. Yet, the women of Females in Action Cape Fear are running, doing pushups, and engaging in other fitness activities in the great outdoors. It’s a way to start their day off right—with exercise and the positive support of other women.
“I wake up at 5 o’clock almost every day to go work out,” says EMILY SOBUL, regional leader for FiA Cape Fear. “It’s so empowering to start the day with women who all want to help you succeed.”
And therein lies the magic of FiA. While FiA helps women get physically fit, the organization is also committed to helping them grow in mind and heart. Women meet at the exercise classes, become friends at social outings, and help others through community service.
FiA’s exercise classes, which are free and open to all, encourage physical and mental growth. At the workouts, which are held several times a week at various outdoor Wilmington locations, new members are welcomed. Then, the 45-minute, boot-camp-like class begins.
Though no class is ever the same, participants can be assured of a good workout that leads to increased strength and improved aerobic capacity, Sobul says.
Those who aren’t in the best shape or new to exercise will find that FiA is particularly supportive. One of FiA’s mottos is “No woman will be left behind,” and more experienced members keep an eye out for those who have difficulty with an exercise and offer encouragement, help them modify exercises, and stay with them.
In addition to improving women’s physical fitness, the classes also help women build their mental muscles. For example, all the classes are composed and led by FiA volunteers, which helps women develop their leadership skills, according to Sobul.
Then there’s the fact that the workouts are held outside, rain or shine, hot or cold.
“We get stronger together when we work out in 20-degree weather,” says Sobul. “It brings you to a different headspace. When you go through something difficult together, you bond more and become one with nature.”
Being there for each other is an FiA covenant that happens off the exercise field as well as on. For example, when a member’s daughter fell ill, FiA women decorated her house for the holidays, cooked meals for an entire month, and donated money for groceries. FiA Cape Fear also held some workouts at the Wilmington Treatment Center, so those women could join if they wanted to and experience FiA’s support.
“When someone is going through something, we all go through it,” says Sobul. “We lift women up if they need it. The sisterhood is pretty big.”
Community service is also an integral part of the group, and the Cape Fear chapter has collected female products for nurses to distribute at New Hanover County schools, helped beautify area parks, and participated in other service projects.
Sobul, like other FiA women, has reaped numerous benefits from the group. She has more confidence in herself and has done things she never thought she could do, like run a 5K.
“Within a few short months of joining FiA, I had completely changed,” says Sobul. “I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t found FiA.”
To view more of photographer Terah Wilson’s work, go to terahwilson.com.
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