New Beginnings Center Teams up with Agrin Health To Help Women Thrive in a COVID World

On July 6th, The New Beginnings Center (TNBC) announced a new partnership with Agrin Health. This partnership will provide clients of TNBC access to Agrin Health’s Health eBiography® web-based health record application. The pilot program saw 35 women participate.

“What gets measured gets managed, and we are excited to see the positive impact Health eBiography® has on our clients’ outcomes,” said Tash Weddle, founder and CEO of The New Beginnings Center. “The Health eBiography® provides an easy, effective tool for our clients to track nutrition and healthy behaviors like drinking water, hours of sleep, self-care activities and movement.”

“We know that the highest-performing care teams successfully manage the cycle of understanding what’s going on with their patients or clients and engage them in the actions needed to make progress,” said Karen Thomas, founder and CEO of Agrin Health. “We also know that a collaborative flow of information is necessary to facilitate this cycle.”

“The team at The New Beginnings Center has already achieved amazing results for the women of the Nashville community, and we are honored to facilitate the improved information exchange that supports their efforts to help more women achieve and sustain a healthier lifestyle, especially as the stress and disruption to our daily routines caused by the COVID pandemic threatens our ability to adopt and sustain healthy behaviors.”

One of their clients, Camilla, stated, “The Agrin Health app is very user friendly and I love that I can use the app in the moment right after I complete a New Beginnings workout.”

Another, Misty, says the “New Beginnings [Center] has worked very hard to not let social distancing and stress get me off track even though I’m working from home and also homeschooling two kids.”

The benefits of this new partnership include:

A streamlined approach to tracking healthy behaviors that will improve a client’s overall compliance and success

Ease of providing data on client compliance and progress to TNBC’s coaching staff

Better health outcomes for clients and improved efficiencies in data collection

TNBC clients retain the Health eBiography® for life and can use it for their family as well as with other care team members

The New Beginnings Center has been serving economically disadvantaged women in the Nashville area since 2011 by providing them with world-class nutrition, lifestyle and fitness coaching. Through the nonprofit’s programs, clients attend classes free of charge, or for a small fee based on a sliding scale dependent on income, for 12 weeks and have access to exercise classes for as long as they would like after they complete the program. Since the nonprofit started, more than 3,000 Nashville women have participated in its programs, and have had successful outcomes that include weight loss, increased daily physical activity and reduced blood pressure. Learn more about The New Beginnings Center’s online and in-person programs by visiting

Agrin Health is a next-gen health tech company focused on facilitating collaboration between Health+Wellness consumers and their care teams, and on enabling consumers to participate fully in achieving better health outcomes. The Health eBiography® application makes it easy for providers and their patients/clients to maintain a relationship between visits, inform their decisions with social determinant and other illusive data, and remove barriers to care plan adherence. For more information, visit

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Local Bootcamp F3 Nashville Aims to Grow Male Leaders in the Community with Fitness, Fellowship and Faith

by Ryan Freebing

F3 stands for Fitness, Fellowship and Faith and traces its roots to a free, participant-led boot camp workout held on Saturday mornings. The leaders of F3 launched their first Saturday workout on January 1st, 2011 on the campus of A.G. Middle School in Charlotte, North Carolina. F3 Nashville started on September 13, 2014, and it has been growing steadily ever since.

The mission of F3 is to plant, grow, and serve small workout groups for the invigoration of male community leadership.

Their workouts are free of charge and open to all men, eighteen years and older. All of the workouts are held outdoors, rain or shine, hot or cold, and the men who participate also lead the workout in a rotating fashion, with no training or certification necessary. This allows each of them to be placed in a leadership role, instructing, teaching and holding themselves accountable to their peers.

While the classic F3 workout requires no equipment other than workout clothes, gravity and the great outdoors, their growth has allowed regional leaders to introduce specialized workouts, including bike rides, gear-focused workouts that include kettlebells and other heavy metal, track workouts for runners and trail runs.

The workouts take place at publicly accessible venues, including parks, school campuses, churches and even in parking lots. All of the workouts end with a Circle of Trust.

In the Circle of Trust (CoT), “every guy gives his birth name, his F3 nickname and his age. Even if you’re brand-new, we’ll slap you with an F3 nickname so we can remember who you are the next time you come,” says F3 Nashville leader Joe Fogarty.

“All you have to do is show up. It really is free. It’s open to all men and all shapes and sizes, and you don’t have to be in shape necessarily. Yes, we do meet early, but don’t let your excuses remove you from opportunity,” Joe says. To find out more and join a workout visit at

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Local Gym Fit Factory Nashville Finds Silver Lining in Charging “No Show” Fees During Pandemic

by Ryan Freebing

Running a gym during the pandemic has been no simple task. Over the past couple of months, many small businesses have been changing the way they operate in order to obey new city guidelines while still maintaining a steady revenue stream as they pay regular rent, equipment and utility fees.

Currently, Nashville and Davidson County are in a modified Phase 2 environment of Mayor Cooper’s Reopen Plan which means gyms are allowed to operate at half capacity.

Even though keeping their members safe and healthy has always remained to be most gym’s #1 priority, regular cleaning and sanitizing have also increased and become a major part of everyone’s daily routine.

At Fit Factory Nashville, every member is doing their part to keep the gym clean during this time. “We ask all of our members to wipe down their equipment after class so that the next class coming in can start with fresh, clean equipment. We also have designated ‘boxes’ where individuals will workout and face regulations as you enter and exit the gym.”

With a half capacity rule in place, gym owners must ensure they are maximizing each class period throughout any given day.

“No gym owner likes to charge their members a ‘no show’ or late cancellation fee. We understand life happens and our schedules can change quickly, especially during this time. But the reality is when you don’t show up to a class you’ve signed up for, you are taking away an opportunity for someone else to workout. When we developed our ‘no show’ policy, we thought it would be a great idea to donate the collected fees to charity, instead of profiting from the scenario. It’s been really well received in the gym.”

“We started out charging $20 for ‘no show’ fees, but have recently dropped it down to $5. Our window to cancel a class is 12 hours and we do have a waitlist, so we feel as though there is plenty of room to make an adjustment should something come up and you have a last minute schedule change. We know the system isn’t perfect, but we are doing everything we can to foster a family-like environment that is helpful for everyone.”

“Overall, we have been able to donate $1,640 to Gideon’s Army and $3,240 to Love146 and we hope to continue to do so as long as we can.”

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Black Men Run Encourages African American Men to Get Out and Be Active

by Ryan Freebing

Black Men Run (BMR) is a group of men, both young and old, in the Nashville community that strives to promote physical and mental health through running.

What started as a small group to combat the lack of diversity in the running community and encourage black Americans to take control of their health, BMR has grown to include many groups in many different cities across the nation.

Today, Black Men Run has is a community where runners can express their feelings and make themselves heard – whether through pledging miles, discussing issues with fellow members or simply “taking their emotions out on the pavement.”

BMR’s mission is to encourage health and wellness among African American men by promoting a culture of running/jogging to stay fit resulting in “a healthy brotherhood.”

The group supports a wide range of abilities and is open to everyone from first timers to advanced runners. They strive to promotes fitness through a healthy culture of running and get together frequently during the week.

As many of the members will attest, BMR participants are not running away from anything though. They are all running towards opportunity and a brighter future together, participating in events like the Steps of Success 5K that is helping to “cultivate tomorrow’s leader today.”

“Never before has the need to develop young leaders in the African American community been more apparent,” says Demetrius Short, owner of Steps of Success 5K and BMR runner. “We have a great opportunity to ignite both collegiate students and individuals to have a positive impact on our community and we are doing that by providing scholarships to college students through the Transformation Life Center.”

Nashville’s BMR group runs on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Visit to learn more and become a member today.

*Participation in BMR runs is voluntary and up to the discretion of the individual. Black Men Run, Inc. is not liable for any injuries that may occur as a result of joining a group in your city. Please run safely and obey traffic laws.

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Local Running Community Continues to Promote a Healthy Lifestyle During Quarantine

Local running community continues to promote a healthy lifestyle during quarantine while working to change the narrative of running culture in Nashville.

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The Best Outdoor Workout Spots in Nashville

by Tim Boje, CSCS

Capitol Hill

Located in the heart of downtown Nashville, this is the perfect place for running hill sprints or doing a step workout (so many stairs!). If you want to really push yourself, doing bear crawls, broad jumps, lunges, or pushups up the steep incline can work your core, legs, and upper body all together. The Bicentennial Mall area across the street from the hill is a great place to do a cool-down walk or jog – learn some Tennessee history while you recover!

Ascend Amphitheater Riverfront Park

Workout with an incredible view of the downtown skyline and Cumberland River as your backdrop. Equipped with gymnastics rings, a balance beam, dip bars, push up bars, and more, this spot is ideal for callisthenics. With bars and other equipment at various heights, it is easy to scale your exercises to fit your abilities. It’s a playground made for fitness.

Percy Warner Stairs

This outdoor locale is my favorite place to do a killer workout. The stairs are deceivingly tough, even just walking. Doing an up-tempo run or *attempting* to sprint the full length (good luck!) will have your heart pounding out of your chest. Nearby trees can be great for hanging a TRX, and the stairs can also be used for step ups, jumps, and hops. (Note: The stairs are temporarily closed for a restoration project until Spring/Summer 2020. The trails surrounding are still open.)

Pinkerton Park

Within walking distance of Downtown Franklin (about 20 miles South of Nashville), Pinkerton Park is a great place for running and walking.  Its large grass fields are perfect for a kettlebell workout or throwing around the medicine ball. A 1-mile track loops around the fields with markers every quarter mile to help you keep pace, especially helpful for doing speed work or intervals. The park also has pull up and push up bars, along with other fitness stations that have helpful descriptions of the exercises.

Radnor Lake

A scenic destination for a hike, Radnor is great for recovery days. Take a stroll with a friend around the lake and view the wildlife – an array of birds, deer and other critters. Clear your head, listen to music, and recharge while enjoying the hiking trails and taking in all that nature has to offer.

Photo by Larry McCormack / The Tennessean
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The Status of Fitness in the Greater Nashville Area

What is the current status of fitness in Nashville?

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What Do You Do When?

Things that will likely happen when you return to the gym post-quarantine.

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The 5 Best Outdoor Workout Spots in Nashville

Get outside, Nashville!

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How Fitness Found Me: Overcoming an Eating Disorder

by Nicole Swickle

As I write this article, it’s difficult to put the words “eating disorder” to paper — and even more painful to admit that I had one out loud. But let’s call it what it is.

I was a sophomore in college with a story similar to many girls my age. I wanted to be thin. Specifically, I wanted the thigh gap, gaunt cheekbones, and defined collar bone.

I grew up in a household filled with love, but no family is perfect. Every morning I watched my mom weigh herself. It was always before breakfast and she was always undressed. The scale became a part of my morning routine at a young age. At some point over the years, it became an addiction and a number that would determine my self-worth. 110 lbs was my magic number.

Sitting around the dinner table at night, I remember my mom would make frequent comments on the food on her plate. It was always something to the effect of “I’m going to be good and not eat that” or “I’m going to be bad tonight and have dessert.” While I know she didn’t mean any harm, her words were etched into my thoughts far beyond my childhood years.

It was during my second year of college that I discovered laxatives, or as I called it “juice.” One night, my roommate and I downed an entire bottle of magnesium citrate before hitting the beach the next morning. We wanted our stomachs to be flat.

While that experience might have been one-and-done for her, it was the gateway drug that would become a five-year addiction for me. At the time, I didn’t know I was developing an eating disorder. It was one day, one binge, one release at a time. Soon it would become my new normal.

I was a regular at the self-checkout lane at the grocery store in Tampa, FL. It was my safe space to purchase laxatives without fear of judgement from the cashier. To me, it was like buying a pregnancy test. That embarrassing feeling you get when you step up to the counter and you can’t look them in the eyes. I soon learned that I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I used the “juice” as a quick fix. I’ll spare most of the details, but I had it down to a science. If I took laxatives by 7pm, I could make it to my 9am class the next morning without feeling sick. First, it was one bottle a day. Then two.

Compliments started rolling in from family, friends, and guys who had never even noticed me before. For the first time in 22 years, I was thin. I had the thigh gap, the cheekbones, the clavicle lines, and the flat stomach. I believed I looked the way a woman was “supposed” to look.

As time progressed, I hit a plateau drinking magnesium citrate. My body began to become immune to it after a full year and over four hundred bottles consumed. Today, I can’t help but think about the physical toll I was putting on my body as well as my pocketbook. It makes me almost as sick as the laxatives themselves. In an effort to stay thin, I began to pull more levers; throwing up and taking Dulcolax pills. First, it was three pills, then five. By age 27 I was binge eating daily, consuming 1-2 bottles of “juice” and taking thirty-five pills a night. Every. Single. Night.

One night, I remember feeling more sick than usual. I was living alone in LA, bent over in the shower at 2am, unable to breathe. I was heaving, dizzy, and actually thought I was going to die. I sat on that shower floor crying my eyes out. I was fresh out of a 7-year relationship, new to LA, and as uncomfortable as someone could be in their own skin.

I must have done a decent job of hiding it in my professional life because no one ever brought it up. When I visited my family in South Florida, my mom knew something was off but didn’t know how to approach me. God, I wish she did.

I wanted to get help, but I didn’t know where to start. I had been following a health and fitness coach online for some time and I finally sent her a message on Facebook. We met up for coffee in Santa Monica and took a stroll around the block. When she asked me what was going on, my eyes instantly welled up with tears. She could see the internal hurt written all over me. I told her my story — every page of it. She hugged me and I melted in her arms. For the first time, I felt seen and heard, and she would later become the person in my life to help me through this journey.

We went grocery shopping together. She taught me how to cook properly for myself. We worked out in a park together three days a week. We talked on the phone at night and texted throughout the day. She taught me gratitude and the importance of inner work. When I slipped up and fell back into my old patterns, she taught me grace. Just writing this makes me emotional because I didn’t recognize the massive strides I was making at the time and the impact she had in saving my life until I was healthy and removed from the thick of it.

I had no intentions of falling in love with fitness. My goal was to fall back in love with myself. It sounds cliché but bodybuilding found me. It reminded me the value of consistency – which transcends all areas of my life. It taught me the power of showing up for myself and practicing opposite action on the days I don’t want to get out of bed. Some days, my goal is more about stepping foot in a gym then it is lifting heavy. It’s a silent pinky promise I made with myself and have never regretted.

Looking back on the last three years of my life, I’ve learned that people will have an opinion no matter what you look like. When I was heavier, my brother called me thunder thighs. When I was thin, I was told to go eat a burger. When my muscle mass went up, I was criticized by my ex-boyfriend for my broad shoulders and my friends for not drinking/eating “normal.” What’s the definition of normal anyway?

I’m writing this from my apartment in Nashville – a place I’ve dreamed of living for years. It’s 2020 and I’m three years into my self-love journey. Some days I feel like I’ve come out on the other side. Other days I feel the need to delve into therapy, meditation, podcasts, you name it. I’m currently prepping for a bodybuilding show. You know, the ones where you’re half-naked on stage with stripper heels and a Willy Wonka coat. I’m doing it because it’s the definition of uncomfortable for me and forces me to push past my fears.

My growth has constantly derived from looking fear in the eye, running from it, turning back around, and taking micro-steps at conquering the bullshit voice in my head.

I wish 22-year-old Nicole knew what she knows now, but the truth about overcoming is that you know when you’re ready to make a life change. Everything in your heart points you in that direction and you find the courage to move through it.

Making my mess my message and sharing my story with others so they feel less alone has been the greatest gift of my life. Soon, I’ll be taking the stage in a shimmering bikini, attempting not to walk like a baby deer in heels. And while the average spectator might see a self-indulgent fitness girl, I see a relentless fighter who continues to fumble but refuses to fail.

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