West Davenport resident Brianne Thompson turned her worries into workouts.

Thompson, 39, launched Rise Up Fitness, within the Southside Mall in Oneonta, in April, though her fitness journey has been nearly a decade in the making.

“After having a set of twins — and their older brother, who has special needs — my weight kind of spiraled, and I was super unhealthy,” Thompson said. “I needed to find something for me, for my weight, and I found Zumba in 2014 and I absolutely fell in love. I decided after two years that it was time to get certified to start my own classes and help other women in the same position to just find something for themselves and learn that exercise doesn’t have to be boring and something you don’t look forward to; it can be a dance party with your friends.

“After that, I got certified in Pound, which is a cardio drumming workout that really infuses lunges and squats and a lot of workout elements, but you’re having so much fun rocking out to the music, that you’re not even aware you’re working out,” she continued. “Then, after Pound, I got certified in Piloxing, a combination of pilates, for the toning elements, and boxing, for the cardio. That also infuses dance into it, so it’s a workout and it stretches out the muscles. And I’m certified in circle mobility by Zumba, and that is really working on increasing mobility of the shoulders, the spine and the hips. So, it’s a very slow-moving, gentle class where we do flow, but work on mobility at the same time.”

Thompson said she began teaching classes at Zoe Fitness in West Oneonta before branching out, then taught at Southside Chiropractic. Rise Up Fitness, she said, is her “first, actual homebase since COVID.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the fitness industry, Thompson said, she’s seeing participation return and increase.

“I think people are starting to do it more,” she said. “Before the pandemic, I had a waitlist, a very large clientele and classes were packed. During COVID, we did some on Zoom and in my backyard right after, so we could all be together, but in the open air … but I think, with COVID, people are just not used to working out anymore, whereas (before), the class was on their calendar and they made it a point to do it. Getting back in the swing of things has been hard, but since COVID, I’ve moved to the mall, and I think classes are starting to pick up again and people are getting more comfortable with being in a room and working out with other people.

“I have men join, but it’s mostly women,” Thompson continued. “I have women who are new moms, in their mid-20s, and I have 80-year-olds, so I do the whole gamut. I would say the most popular age group is the 40-year-olds, and sometimes they bring their kids, and they’ll join in and it’s super fun. So, it’s a mix; I have a lot of Oneonta people, but I have some from Morris and I have a big clientele from Davenport, Charlotteville, the surrounding area. I have people from Cooperstown. There’s not a whole lot of group fitness classes offered in the immediate area, so people do drive a ways.”

Clients, Thompson said, are appreciating her supportive, inclusive approach.

“Our favorite song to end on is ‘We are Family’ and, really, we are a huge family, and we just love spending time together,” she said. “They show up early to class just to chat and we have a really great community. They love the fun atmosphere that we’ve created and the safe environment.”

Thompson said she hopes to expand offerings.

“I’m also a certified nutrition coach, so we just (started) our first nutrition group on Labor Day,” she said. “That’s a six-week program, and I’d like to add more whole wellness programs, not just working out, but more meditation and more of the slower workouts, like barre, and more nutrition stuff and more high-impact stuff. I would love to get aerial yoga certified, and with our high ceilings, the possibilities are endless. When I started Pound, I realized if I wanted to take a class, I needed to learn to teach it; the closest one was Utica. So, (because) we don’t have a lot of stuff offered in this area, I would just love to bring so many different formats that speak to so many different people. We need more health things brought to the area.”

To promote accessibility, Thompson said, she strives to keep classes affordable. Each class is $5, she said, and, if customers pay for six classes, the seventh is free. Also, when offering two back-to-back classes, Thompson charges $8 instead of $10.

For more information, find “Fitness with Bre” on Facebook or find a hard-copy schedule on the table outside of Rise Up Fitness in the Southside Mall.

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