We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Jones and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
The mission of Group Fit by Ash is to provide a space to bring people together one sweat session at a time. Group Fit by Ash helps the community by providing free workouts that are open to all ages and fitness levels. As an individual that has asthma as well as being predisposed to various familial health conditions, it is not only important, but imperative, for me to stay active and healthy and provide that opportunity to those around me.
As a person of color, it is no secret that the food/water we consume, the lack of fresh and organic produce in our own communities, and the limited access to affordable and well kept exercise and training facilities in our areas, are doing more harm than good. For this reason, my “why” for building this community is bigger than me- it is for my family, my friends and community at large. I want us to get up and get active.
What should our readers know about your business?
Group Fit by Ash had been in the works, behind the scenes, since 2017. I became certified late 2019 and really started brainstorming my vision. Starting a business during a pandemic had its challenges, but I was able to still push through. I started offering fitness classes virtually in April 2020 and remained online until the summer. June 2020 we officially began meeting outside at Holly Park and have been meeting on Saturdays ever since. One challenge in particular was working through personal feelings of defeat and frustration. Understanding and accepting that just because I planned everything out, does not mean it will go 100% as planned. Using the frustration and happiness that came from events that did not go well (and those that did) I was able to grow from that as an instructor and be better prepared for the next.
What makes me so excited about my brand, is the community and great energy that has been created amongst everyone. Every time we meet, we continue to grow and that continued support is a reminder to keep going.
More recently, on December 4, 2020, I launched GF Athletics, which is an athletic and athleisure apparel line. Women are able to select from a variety of outfits that best suits their style. I want the women that wear my brand to feel comfortable, confident and sexy every time they put a piece on. Launching an apparel line was not the easiest. There was a mixture of long nights, planning meetings, excitement, starting over, bad deals, frustration and uncertainty. Despite all of these things, I reminded myself about the bigger goal and used that to keep me grounded.
I pride myself on providing a space and community that is inviting where no one feels singled out or as if they don’t fit in. This space provides the community with an opportunity to become healthier and more physically fit. For some participants, this may be their first time working out in years or the main workout they do each week. I remind everyone to make the workout their own. This simply means that they do the exercise moves to the level and intensity that’s comfortable for them all while having fun. I make sure to have energetic music to keep everyone going, so even if they need a break from the exercise, they can dance it out (lol). In addition to providing community based workouts, private sessions are also available for individuals looking to further their training.
I’ve learned that fear does not produce results but faith certainly does. No matter what challenges and obstacles you face, you must make the decision to find the lesson in the situation and use that to keep pushing through.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am definitely a homebody at heart but I would make sure my guests have a great time. There are so many great places to eat in LA, especially depending which part of town you are visiting and the type of food you have a taste for.
My Local (affordable) LA favs would be Grilled Fraiche, A Beautiful Life Jamaican Cuisine (DTLA), Mama’s Shelter and Simply Wholesome. In the Beach Cities, I would say Strand House or Ragin Cajun.
Whenever there is a brunch/lounge or day party, that is guaranteed fun. Any rooftop with a great view is great for both day or nighttime vibes.
Other fun things to do would be a weekend workout at the park or beach, bike ride/run/skate at the beach, drive up and down the coast, wine tasting, find a different set of stairs throughout the city to climb or go on a hike. There are a few retro game places and a few dope bowling alleys worth checking out also.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’m so thankful and blessed to be surrounded by so many like-minded individuals that have impacted where I’m at in my life right now. I’d love to shout out my support system/accountability team, my friends/family, the run club I am apart of (KIRH) and every person that has supported me and/or my businesses in any way possible.