“I’m originally from Malaysia and moved here for grad school. I just graduated with an MBA in finance. I came here alone and the only person I knew in this whole country was my boyfriend (now fiancé). I thought no big deal, but it was during the pandemic when gyms were closed. Even school was online, so I didn’t have any friends. It was tough. I started coming to AARMY last May when they reopened, and began meeting people. I went from 1 practice a week to multiple times a day. Now I literally have a whole group of friends that I can’t imagine life without.”
–Shobana Prabakaran (bottom left), 26
PHOTOGRAPHS BY GABRIELLE REVERE
For people who enjoy group fitness classes, the reason is usually more than the workout. It’s the group. Some call it a tribe. Others a cult. But it’s a community of like-minded individuals who have found the combination of workout and instructor they love that motivates them unlike any other. They are kindred spirits who come together to sweat together, to push their bodies beyond their expectations and perceived limits, beyond what they believe is possible when training on their own.
This shared fitness experience bonds people, builds friendships, and creates a special alchemy that is addictive — especially when endorphins are surging, and bodies start to transform. For Shobana Prabakaran, Anjali Shah, Mouna Kammoun, Katie Ambrosi, and Vera Papisova (bottom left to right), that place is AARMY. In my years of taking group fitness classes, I’ve never seen a stronger group of women or sculpted physiques to match.