Laura’s Fitness Journey

  • 2010

 My fitness journey began on January 1st 2010, with a simple New Year’s resolution. I vowed to myself that this would be the last year that I put “lose weight and get in shape” on my list of resolutions.  I originally  set out to “lose twenty pounds”, but during my weight loss journey I fell back in love with fitness and the way it made me feel. 

  • 2012

I decided that I wanted to become a certified personal trainer in hopes of improving and changing the lives of others just like my first personal trainer did for me.  After obtaining my certificate, I worked at a local gym, American Fitness, and this is where I met my original powerlifting coach and mentor, Gary Pendergrass. Gary showed me how empowering strength training, body building, and power lifting could be. He did not just teach me how to lift, he also taught me that if I set my mind to something that I can achieve it. Gary constantly believed in me, pushed me, and encouraged me to chase my dreams. Through this experience I developed a love for the sport of powerlifting and enjoyed proving that it is possible to lift heavy and still look pretty. These techniques and the knowledge that I learned while working with Gary serve as the foundation for my personal training programs.


  • August 2016 

After abruptly losing my powerlifting coach, I was not only heartbroken, I was lost. Gary was not just a coach, he was so much more than that. He had taught me everything I knew about strength training, powerlifting, and body building. Two years after his death, I decided that I was finally ready to find myself a new coach and mentor. This was a challenging, but also a very necessary step for me to take. I found myself constantly comparing each coach and their methods to Gary, but I knew if I took my time I would find the perfect coach for me. After months of searching, I decided to reach out to Josh Bryant with Jailhouse Strong. Josh’s training methods, knowledge, and beliefs are very similar to what Gary’s were, which led me to believe that he was going to be the perfect coach for me. Josh filled the void that was left in my life after Gary’s death and he has constantly pushed me to be the best athlete and trainer that I can be. His encouragement, lessons, and knowhow has helped me to obtain strength, professional, and aesthetic goals.  

  • January 2017 

After reaching the majority of my goals with Josh Bryant and having a solid training program in place, I knew I was ready to pursue my dream of being a bikini competitor. I needed to take my physique to the next level and  in order to be competitive I would need to lean out, but I was unsure on how or where to start.   I knew the next step to reaching this goal would be honing in on my nutrition. After, seeing many posts on social media about several different types of meal plans and diets, I connected with Mikey Weiss – a natural physique competitor/body builder, professional athlete and coach. Through his guidance and the use of flexible dieting, I was finally able to lose stubborn body fat and reveal the muscles I had built over the years. 


  • May 2017 

Now that I had my personal goals back on track, I was ready to finally pursue some of my professional career goals. The timing felt right to chase the dream of being a small business owner and to have my own private, personal training studio; #strong. I finally have a place of my own that provides a safe and limitless environment to help others reach their health and fitness goals. Before I could make my dreams a reality, I needed to flip my dream space from a craft beer bar to a gym. After working many long hours, #strong opened their doors for business in May 2017.