The Woman Behind the Iron...PINK Iron, That Is

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Those who’ve attended Pink Iron know there’s something special not only about the gym, but about the woman behind it. Laura is a lovable, energetic person who is the heart and soul of Pink Iron. Laura’s magnetic personality has drawn a team of great women who also possess a charismatic, fun approach to life & fitness. In an attempt to get to know Laura better, a few of us at Pink Iron set up a Q&A session to share just how inspirational Laura is.

Girls at Pink: We want to know a little more about YOU. Give us a little background info on who you are.

Laura: One thing I hear all the time is that people want to have the same kind of ENERGY that I have. I laugh about this, because with multiple businesses, twin daughters, and a husband I like to see occasionally, life can often be exhausting. But there's something to the ENERGY behind it all. So if you say anything about me, it's that I'm an ENERGY-fanatic, and that's something that will just simply never go away.

The other thing I feel that's important to share is that I've been the poster child of yo-yo dieting. I've cut weight, participated in fitness competitions, gained the freshman 20 when I went to college, taken diet pills, gained 70 pounds in my pregnancy, and tried every unhealthy way possible to lose weight. And through it all, I've FINALLY managed to find balance.

Girls at Pink: What made you want to become a trainer?

Laura: I wanted to see what amazing successes people could unlock through simply moving their bodies. I fell in love with weight-lifting when I decided to participate in a bodybuilding competition. Although the mental scars of the dieting that goes into a contest like this are something I still struggle with, the strength I felt from lifting weights is something I continue to LOVE. Because of this experience, I wanted to create a program where we combine weight training with cardio endurance in a way that is unique and NEVER boring. More importantly, I wanted to provide this type of training in an environment where we lift each other UP, instead of feeling like we're never going to be good enough.

Girls at Pink: Why did you want to start Pink Iron? Give us a little history lesson.

Laura: Growing up I was always an athlete. My father was a professional tennis player, so my love for movement started at a very early age. I was blessed with parents who allowed me to try any and every kind of sport I wanted to – from softball to ice skating to horseback riding, I pretty much tried it all. I ended up focusing on cheerleading and tennis as my primary sports, which later allowed me to coach both of these activities. Looking back now, I realize how much I loved being part of a TEAM. Nothing feels better than being part of a group that is able to accomplish something BIGGER because of the combined efforts of everyone there. And it's one of the things I've loved most about group fitness.

Throughout my years of athletics, I was also stunned when most of the women around me were so uncomfortable with their bodies. Women all around me were feeling like they were too heavy and needed to lose weight, or too thin and wanted to put on weight. No matter what it was, it felt like no one was ever happy with their appearance. Cheerleading could be especially challenging. Due to the throwing of girls in the air, this caused a lot of weight-self-consciousness and physical appearance doubts. Again, looking back I am able to see what a strange relationship I began to have with food, and that although I wouldn't say I had an eating disorder, I certainly had - and still work to manage - disordered eating habits. But when I began coaching high school cheerleading, I saw these issues even more prominently. We as women became so consumed by what we looked like, that how we felt became the last thing we thought about.

So - why I started Pink Iron. I started Pink Iron because I wanted to create a place where women STOPPED being so consumed with what they looked like, but started to tap into how the FEEL. With opening Pink Iron, I hoped to teach how the movement of your body could unlock this amazing hidden potential and energy we all have within ourselves.

Girls at Pink: Where did you originally start teaching? What other places have you taught?

Laura: My background wasn't in the "fitness industry.” I actually worked in Corporate America since I left college but I always knew that I wanted to do MORE. I've coached cheerleading and tennis, and that's really it. In both of those fields, conditioning and weight training became a large focus. So, my experience is primarily in training high school and college-aged athletes. However, I knew that when I came to Pink Iron, it would be my experience "on the field" (so to speak) as a cheerleader that would come in MOST handy.

Girls at Pink: What inspired you to create a gym just for women?

Laura: How many times have you gone to a big box gym and thought, "I would love to just go to the gym and not have to think about how I look. Or who's looking at me. Or if I don't want them to look at me. Or what if I DO want them to look at me!?" and all the other hundreds of things that go through your head? I wanted to finally have a space where women could go and NOT have to think about that. Where they could just come, workout, and become the very best version of THEMSELVES possible, without anything else getting in the way.

Girls at Pink: How did you come up with the name “Pink Iron”?

Laura: When I thought of Pink Iron, it was intended to be a combination of sweet and strong. In one of the companies I worked for years ago, I was the only woman on my team. I had a pink keyboard, pink desk chair, pink accessories, and even a pink throw rug on the floor of my workspace - I guess I wanted to make it REALLY clear that I was 100% girl. When coming up with Pink Iron, I knew that we needed to create something that gave people "all the feels." Something they would be able to see within themselves. And although I sometimes get pushback about the "pink" part from those who haven't actually been to the gym, as soon as they come - they get it. It's not about being weak, but rather tapping into our STRENGTH as women.

Girls at Pink: How long has Pink Iron been around?

Laura: In its current form, Pink Iron has been open a little more than a year (September 2017 is when we had our Grand Opening). We couldn't be more excited with our growth in that time and are so excited to continue spreading the word about how to be Fun, Fit and FEARLESS.

Girls at Pink: What makes Pink Iron special?

Laura: In a word, the athletes. Every person who comes through our doors is an athlete, whether they see themselves that way or not. The women who come in here truly SUPPORT one another. I've never seen an environment where women can come in, put aside any reason to not have each other's back, and high five each other for the sake of rolling that energy forward. The community here is truly creating something magical that we've never seen done.

 Also, Pink Iron has some pretty amazing collaborations:

  • Vino and Vinyasa - Our partnership with Wild Adventure Retreats has been one that I've absolutely loved. Liz, the founder, is an incredible human being and I feel truly blessed to know her. When you get to be around people like this and the organizations they've created, it's honestly magical. Talk about embracing the Pink Iron spirit – this partnership has certainly felt like one of kindred spirits. This class that is typically hosted once a month is where we combine Vinyasa yoga with a glass of wine.

  • Miss Utah Pageant - This was our first year as a sponsor of the Miss Utah Pageant. I believe that pageants often get a bad rap as being only about outer beauty, but that couldn't be further from the case. In our working with the Miss Utah coordinators, we've seen them share the same sentiments and feelings as we have – that the truest form of beauty is having confidence in who you are, from the inside out. We are grateful for the connections we've made with the team at Miss Utah, and look forward to being able to give back to their community!

  • Mindful Classes - Our Mindfulness class has been a new addition to the schedule, and one that we are LOVING. We can get this great dose of energy during class but how do you take that out of the classroom and carry it with you all the time? You CAN imagine me yelling at you that high fives and smiles are what make the world go 'round but you could also tap into your inner power whenever you want by leaning on the skills developed in these classes. Our resident Mindfulness Ambassador, Emory Rainey, is one of those rare souls you meet that will leave you feeling like your very best self and like you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.

Girls at Pink: What type of workouts do you promote?

Laura: In a technical sense, Pink Iron workouts are a combination of circuit training and high-intensity interval training. We like to call these classes the FIIT style - functional, intense, interval training. We also love that we’ve added yoga too! In true Pink Iron form, our yoga class is a mixture of getting a little sweaty, and getting your stretch on - a perfect mixture after coming to those classes that worked you so hard all week. But beyond the "what do you do in the studio" question, Pink Iron delivers upbeat, positive workouts that encourage women to not give up, and push themselves beyond their limits. 

Girls at Pink: What do you think makes the best kind of woman?

Laura: The best kind of woman is one who embraces exactly who she is. One who isn't trying to be something she isn't but is leaning into the things that make her special and unique. One thing I have spent a lot of time doing this past year is working to continue and normalize mental health - we all have it, we all just have varying degrees of it. I think something so important is being able to recognize where you are, and ask for help when you need it.

I think the strongest women are the ones who KNOW themselves. Who know their strengths as well as they know their weaknesses. And who are willing to lean in and make themselves the very best version of themselves that they can.

Girls at Pink: How does Pink Iron help women become what you described?

Laura: So many times women come into our studio and two stations into a workout think, "There's no way I can do this,"… but they keep going. They keep moving. They listen to their bodies as much as they tell their bodies to shove it. They find that by the end of the class, they just accomplished something they NEVER thought they'd be able to accomplish. It's this feeling of, "Wow, I can do more than I thought," that we LOVE to build on. You ARE stronger than you think. Now we just need to help you get there mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (whatever that means for you).

Girls at Pink: Are there any fun facts or stories you can tell us? 

Laura: Too many to include. But perhaps the one thing I would leave people with is what I say in class all the time – this world is powered on high fives and smiles.

Smile at someone as you walk by. Know that we are all in this together. If I were to have a billboard somewhere, it would say exactly that - "We're all in this together." I truly mean it. Know that the friend next to you who looks like she's got everything going right is probably sitting there thinking about her insecurities. Be there to support her. And that honesty, openness and LOVE will come back to you.

 

Laura Owen