BIRMINGHAM — After a year of traveling across the United States filming personal stories from Iron Tribe Fitness athletes, Iron Tribe has officially named their male and female Athlete of the Year.
Randa Barr of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina and James Laurie of North Raleigh, North Carolina earned the coveted titles.
After joining Iron Tribe Fitness, 62-year-old Barr dropped from a size 14 to a size 4. Barr said Iron Tribe stepped into her life at exactly the right moments.
“Every day, I passed that place and every day, despite my resistance, I felt a compulsion to stop in,” Barr said. “Finally, more to satisfy my curiosity than anything else, I did stop. As trite as it sounds, that one day, that one stop, changed my life.”
Now, Barr said she is stronger and in better physical health than she has ever been in her life. The friendships, community and encouragement she found at Iron Tribe Fitness Mount Pleasant have completely transformed her life — both physically and emotionally.
“Iron Tribe stresses that we are stronger together, and that includes every aspect of life,” she said. “During this past year, my self-confidence has skyrocketed.”
James Laurie’s story is similar to Barr’s, but comes with a different set of challenges. Laurie, a lawyer from Raleigh, North Carolina, struggled with weight gain for the majority of his adult life. At 50 years old, Laurie weighed 438 pounds and struggled doing simple tasks like walking up stairs, or even holding a milk jug.
After undergoing gastric bypass surgery, Laurie knew he has to do something drastic to regain his strength. Iron Tribe was his answer.
“When I started Iron Tribe, I had lost eighty pounds from the surgery, but my monthly weight loss had slowed dramatically, which scared me into the gym,” Laurie said.
After watching the pounds slip off as a result of Iron Tribe’s high-intensity workouts, Laurie decided to take his experience one step further and get his teenage daughter, Virginia, into the gym. What resulted was a newfound outlet to bond with his daughter while both worked toward their fitness goals.
“This has given us a father daughter connection I would not have foreseen in high school,” Laurie said. “I have severe arthritis and bad knees, so I will always be slow or last, but she has moved into ‘the pack’ on all runs. I am the drag on the runs in partner workouts, but we both love having each other as a partner.”
As Athlete of the Year, both Barr and Laurie will enjoy a free year of workouts at Iron Tribe, along with other prizes provided by Stronger Faster Healthier and Wright Equipment.
Corbitt Chandler, VP of Marketing at Iron Tribe, said choosing the male and female winners was difficult, as all candidates had stories that tugged at the heartstrings.
“The cool thing is, these stories are happening every day at Iron Tribe. People of all ages and fitness levels walk through our doors and experience a life-changing fitness experience,” Chandler said. “Telling those stories to the world, however, is not easy. And that’s why we’re tipping our hats to Randa and James. I have no doubt we’ll see more great things from these two inspiring athletes.”
Watch a recap of all the candidates for the 2016 Athlete of the Year:
About Iron Tribe Fitness:
Started in a garage in 2008 by Birmingham native and former Auburn University cheerleader Forrest Walden, Iron Tribe Fitness opened its first brick and mortar location in 2010. From its humble beginnings, the company quickly grew to eight corporately owned gyms in Birmingham and Atlanta and more than 60 franchise locations sold since April 2012. There are 42 locations open today and the company plans to have 55 gyms open across the nation by the end of 2017. Iron Tribe Fitness is neither associated with nor an affiliate of the brand CrossFit and may not be referenced as a CrossFit facility of any kind, in any context.
Sarah oversees social media and internal communication for Iron Tribe Fitness. Her goal is to share the mission of Iron Tribe so others can be transformed by the program, and ultimately become the healthiest version of themselves.