A local personal training studio launched a nonprofit during the pandemic and now is looking to open another studio to meet a community need.

Brian Murray, founder of Motive Training, opened the Grand Rapids location at 435 La Grave Ave. SE, Suite 104, in 2019. The gym offers personal training, fitness assessments, virtual coaching and a full-body movement class.

Now, the studio also operates Move with Purpose, a nonprofit aimed at educating kids on the benefits of exercise and helping them feel proud and confident in their individuality.

The primary goals of Move with Purpose are to partner with schools to teach movement classes, as well as support local spring sports teams in athletic development.

Brian Murray. Courtesy Motive Training

For Murray, his journey into the fitness world stemmed from a moment of clarity during his own childhood.

“I was an overweight kid, I was unhappy, and I was unsure what to do with myself,” he said. “Then I had one of those moments of clarity, like, ‘I can’t stand this anymore and I need to do something about it.’”

Murray started taking health and wellness seriously as he got older, and he ended up losing 80 pounds.

He said he wishes there was more of an emphasis on getting kids to move around and more attention on keeping them healthy.

“I care about all these things now and I wish I cared more when I was younger because I know I would feel better,” he said. “Trying to catch kids early and be more preventive is the goal.”

Following his weight loss journey, Murray became a certified personal trainer in 2009. After transitioning into other areas of the fitness industry, such as nutrition and supplements, he wanted to get back into personal coaching.

Murray said one thing he noticed was a lack of clear industry standards for personal training. He set out to iron out those standards and do things a little differently at his own gym, he said.

“Everything that we’re doing is actually customized to each person … and we do things a little more specialized as well,” Murray said. “If someone has any specific aches or pains, we dive into those. We also go through more rigorous education and make sure we have the right certifications.”

Client connections also are important to Murray.

“I want to make sure everyone feels valued and make sure that everyone is aware of how much we care about them,” he said. “We want to be personal trainers to the fullest extent of what that means.”

Currently, Murray is looking to open another studio location to help Motive Training meet needs in other communities.

After receiving feedback from clients and the community, Murray said Alger Heights seems like an ideal location to provide nuanced and personalized services.

“We want to put ourselves in a position to help more people,” he said. “We want to make ourselves accessible in other neighborhoods.”

Motive Training primarily works with clients who are beginners, experiencing aches and pains or have struggled to fit in with group fitness classes. Above all, Murray said he wants the community to know Motive Training is committed to being customer-forward and inclusive.

“We’re versatile, and we can help pretty much anyone,” Murray said. 

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