From outdoor boot camps, running programs, and Zoom workouts, Goals Fit knows how to keep clients motivated.
By Megan Douress
Photography by Alexa Nahas Photography (alexanahas.com)
Becoming an entrepreneur wasn’t always part of the plan for Kasey Manwaring-Loos, owner of Goals Fit. It was the typical story of turning a passion into a profession after her first career choice didn’t quite work out.
“I went to St. Joe’s and majored in Psychology with a plan of eventually becoming a therapist,” Kasey explained. “Over the years, however, I realized that my interest in becoming a therapist was about making people feel good.”
Kasey, who originally hails from New York and has always been an avid sports fan, wasn’t quite good enough to play any sports in college. However, influenced by her older sister’s love of running, she decided to try it out herself.
“I was known as the girl with the short red hair who ran all over the place!” Kasey laughed, reminiscing about her college days. “Running gave me a lot of confidence. I just felt like everything came into place.”
Kasey credits running for improving her quality of life at college, and soon enough, she got her friends to realize this too. Upon graduation, Kasey took a job in medical sales. The flexibility of her day-to-day in sales allowed her to train clients and she became a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. To grow her side business, Kasey rented a small studio inside a chiropractor’s office in Roxborough, owned by her now-husband, Ted.
In 2009, Kasey was laid off but remained optimistic about the opportunities that were ahead. She weighed the pros and cons of getting another full-time job but when it came down to it, she realized this was her chance to go with a career she truly enjoyed. She decided to pursue her passion for fitness and rented her own studio space off a side street in Roxborough to make it official – her own business she would call “Goals Fit.”
Kasey found herself getting busier and busier – often working around the clock with personal training clients. The warm weather was coming and so were clients wanting to get in shape for summer.
“I started ‘Quick Fix Boot Camp,’” Kasey said. “It was a five-week program that ran from Memorial Day to the Fourth of July. I put fliers all over the place and like 50 people signed up! I just thought to myself, ‘OK, this is how I can make a living.’ What I thought was just going to be a quick five-week boot camp really became my claim to fame in a way – outdoor boot camp.”
If outdoor boot camp was going to be Kasey’s niche, Manayunk was going to be the place she did it. The treacherous hills, various staircases, proximity to the Wissahickon, and the many future clients she met at a former waitressing job made it the perfect location, so she moved her studio downhill to 4450 Main Street in 2013. After a few years, Kasey wanted to add more indoor class options but felt like she had outgrown her little studio space. In September 2019, she moved to a spacious, light-filled studio at 110 Levering Street. There, Kasey was able to use more traditional fitness equipment for her weight training classes like kettlebells, weights, ropes, bands, and more.
“I had this nice big place and I was like, ‘I’m going to have all of these big classes,’” Kasey remembered thinking just months before the pandemic. “To tell you the truth, I was a little bit in limbo. Nothing was really gelling for me because it was a little bit of a mish-mosh. I wanted to use my nice big gym but I’m more known for the outdoor boot camps.”
Like many other local small fitness studio owners, Kasey had to think fast when the pandemic hit in March 2020. Luckily, outdoor fitness was always part of her business plan, so the transition was a natural one for her.
“In a way, the pandemic really helped me focus on what I’m good at – and that’s outdoor stuff for the most part,” she added. “I’m so glad I moved when I did because I’ve spent so much time in my studio since the pandemic. Being in that little spot – I would’ve gone a little stir crazy! I still use the studio for small groups and personal training.”
Today, Goals Fit, whose slogan has always been “making fitness fun,” offers a wide variety of classes in addition to boot camps, including Thursday Tabata: Butts & Guts, Super Small Group Personal Training, and Field Trippin Friday, which happens to be Kasey’s favorite class to teach. Every Friday at 5:45 a.m., Kasey takes her class to a different destination each week, such as the United Artists movie theater, the Wissahickon’s 100 steps, and “The Wall,” made famous by the former bike race that would come through the neighborhood. To keep her clients motivated, Kasey’s been getting creative by hosting themed runs to fun destinations, like wearing green the week of St. Patrick’s Day and running under the rainbow umbrellas on Gay Street. While there aren’t any official city races on the books yet for this year, Kasey is going back to her running roots with her clients.
“I’ve been creating training programs, such as one called the Goals Street program,” Kasey explained. “It follows the Broad Street Run program so it’s 10 weeks. That’s usually a big part of my business, so I want to keep these people running even though there’s no Broad Street Run. The way it works is I give them a coaching program and it’s all virtual. They do it on their own but a lot of them will meet up. I’ll offer a few optional group runs where we run all over but it always ends with a race of some sort.”
As everyone continues to recuperate from the pandemic, Goals Fit is still hosting Zoom classes for those who aren’t quite ready to jump back into a group setting just yet, with classes ranging from Kettlebell Strength to Arms + Abs + Bursts of HIIT. She’s also added more classes for kids to her schedule, including the spring program for girls ages four to six called Super Girl Striders.
“It’s designed with three goals in mind: to teach girls that exercise is fun, they have to cheer on their teammates, and to never give up,” Kasey said. “It’s running, games, contests, and it always ends with a little fun run. They all finish with a medal. It’s super cute!”
As for what the future holds for Goals Fit, Kasey plans on continuing her running programs and hopes to expand her outdoor boot camps to the suburbs to reach more clients in a time where “feeling good” is a basic necessity.
“A lot of people don’t work out with us because they think it’s really hard,” Kasey said. “The thing is, I really love working with beginners. It’s hard for everyone at first but I don’t want to turn people away because of that. The mix of endorphins, plus the social aspect of the classes and the encouragement of setting and achieving goals seems to do the trick of making our clients really feel good about themselves!”