When Torrey Newman was 18, she had to decide if she would continue on her 15-year journey training in ballet toward a professional career…or move on. Lucky for Denver fitness junkies, she chose the latter.
After college at Skidmore, the Dallas native found a new outlet for her love of movement and physicality in yoga. While she was working in online advertising sales, she dove deep into Vinyasa, a style that felt like dance to her. In 2001, a move to Chicago led to a yoga teacher training course and by the time she moved to Boulder in 2006, she was teaching part time.
When she realized her corporate life was providing little value to the world, she stumbled upon SLT in New York City. She loved the super intense workouts despite her yoga and running schedule. While back in Dallas, another Lagree class sealed the deal. A lack of similar options in Denver made it the perfect home for Fierce 45, and now she owns three studios in the area after just two years. Read on to see how she incorporates yoga, intentional movement, and encouragement for an evolved and elevated experience.
SBS: What is unique about the Fierce 45 Approach to the Lagree method and megaformer?
Torrey Newman: We have chalkboard-painted walls at every studio. Before class we ask each student to write down their name and intention for class. That way, they place into existence what they want out of the class. Perhaps it’s something that will motivate them, perhaps it’s a different idea. That way, every class is not just about physical strength. It’s also equally, if not more so, about mental fortitude, and to a degree, your spiritual fortitude. The class is going to be so challenging, so you have to stay positive in your mind. We want every single class to push you to that point where you must dig deep.
One thing we also pride ourselves on is training our coaches to teach modifications and to support people, whatever stage they’re in, from pregnant or injured to out of shape. We want our students to feel successful and supported no matter where they’re coming from. We do so partly by keeping it a small group of 12, and also by offering hands-on adjustments and keys to alignment in every single exercise. That makes a huge difference.
SBS: Why is that helpful and important in a fitness class?
TN: In our Western society, everything is focused on the physical. But for me and at Fierce 45, it’s not a competition. It’s about overcoming this very challenging moment, and overcoming it with positive mental strength. That translates outside the studio. People walk out of class empowered, not just strong, and they see results in their body too. They can take on the rest of the day, a presentation, or being a mom or whatever it is, with more power.
SBS: You were once a ballerina. What dancer traits have served you well that you use still, and which have you shed?
TN: The main thing that’s helpful from my dancer background is discipline. As a business owner, having the work ethic that’s drilled into you as a dancer is key. I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for that.
But, I really had to let go of judgment and comparing. The ballet world is so hardcore around physical size, what you look like and fitting a particular mold. That was a process, but having overcome that and being able to step away from it has given me a completely different perspective. That helped me create the vibe we are after, and that isn’t just about physicality.
SBS: What do you look for in trainers? What should clients look for?
TN: More than anything, I look for passion. A lot of our coaches never taught fitness before, but they are diehard Lagree and Fierce fans. They love it so much, and it has changed their life; they want to do the same for others.
For students, I would say it’s a lot about connection and community. There’s safety, alignment and body knowledge that are essential, too. But I would say it’s even more about a personal connection. The right coach supports you and also pushes you to your edge.
SBS: What are your tips for students new to the megaformer and Lagree?
TN: Get to class at least 10 minutes early! Introduce yourself to the coach, and let them know you’re intimidated or if it’s your first time. It doesn’t matter if you’ve done traditional Pilates. Try not to have any expectations, and try to have fun without beating yourself up. Every single body in the class is going to struggle! It’s a humbling experience. I’ve done around 300 classes, and I took class today…I was shaking like a leaf. It doesn’t ever get easier. I have a theory it gets harder actually, because when you know how to work correctly, you get the most out of each movement and moment.
SBS: What are your thoughts on cross training? How does Fierce 45 fit in?
TN: For people that are runners or skiers, I consistently hear how much our classes have supported them. They can ski harder or run faster.
Lagree is not for everybody, but it does check all the boxes. So to me, if you’re looking for something that gets your cardio, flexibility, balance and strength in at once, you’re changing your body composition. Those are the five components of fitness, and you get all of those at Fierce 45. We hold every class to that standard. So if you take class here, you shouldn’t have to do anything the next day. If you love yoga or Pilates, go for it! But if you’re loving this, I don’t have to think you have to do anything else.
SBS: What are the obstacles you encountered opening your business? Favorite surprises?
TN: The biggest struggle right now is keeping up with our growth. We’ve had amazing momentum, but it’s intense. But you can handle that by hiring good people and empowering them. Put people in place to represent the brand, and hire and fire based on core values.
The happiest surprise is seeing how you have a vision of what you want to create, and that actually comes to life. Watching this business grow and watching our coaches grow every day is a dream come true.
Torrey’s Denver Favorites:
Splurge Restaurant: Cherry Creek Grill
Healthy Restaurant: Vital Root
Juice/Snack Spot: Whole Foods
Nightlife Activity: Movie at home on the couch!
Calming Activity: Omvana Meditation App
Fun Activity: Hiking in Boulder, skiing in Jackson Hole or Alta
Other Fitness Studios/Teachers: CorePower Yoga and Ohana Yoga
Athletic Shoes: Nike
Torrey’s SBS Mantra: Be Fearless because Fierce is all about overcoming boundaries and fears, being the best version of yourself and trying things that scare you…daily.
What is the best, zaniest part about Being Torrey? The best part is how much I care for those around me, no matter what. The zaniest part is my love for 80's disco fashion and my ability to laugh at myself in any situation.