I first started doing functional fitness regularly in 2010. So I'm not quite an OG, but I've been at this for quite a while. I know who OPT and Rip are. I ate Paleo and read my Robb Wolf. I was aggressively training and improving for years. I started joining extra classes and zeroing in on my weak points. Lifts were going up, benchmark workout times were going down. Things were good. Then I got extra busy. A second kid. A new job. I got pneumonia and I started missing workouts. Over time I just kind of stopped going. Then, eventually, the pandemic hit. I decided to turn things around in late 2020. Fortunately, Coach Amber had opened up her new gym at exactly the right time. I had trained with Amber before at another gym (primarily in Olympic Weightlifting classes) and I really respected her knowledge, her clear directions and cues, and her approach to both training and coaching.
I often travel for work and so over the years I have trained with dozens and dozens of coaches at many gyms across North America and around the world. Amber stands out as one of the top coaches I've interacted with in all that time. I officially started training with Coach Amber again and joined Aligned Gym in January 2021. In the 5 months that have passed, my conditioning, strength, flexibility, and body composition have all significantly improved. I weigh 2 pounds less than I did when the pandemic started, but my waistbands are looser and my shirts are getting tight across the shoulders again. Most importantly, I am moving and lifting with better form. One of my goals as an older athlete is to stay injury free and Coach Amber has been super supportive in that goal. My experience of being in class is very positive. There is clearly a plan to build an engaged fitness community (as opposed to "just running fitness classes").
Coach Amber designs targeted and progressive workout cycles across multiple weeks of training, provides very clear directions and movement demonstrations, effectively scales workouts for varying levels of fitness, and watches class participants with a sharp eye to ensure safe and effective form. Coaching cues are very on point and understandable, and there is encouragement without it straying into the realm of either performance pressure or cheerleading (both of which I kinda hate). As a busy parent and older athlete returning to functional fitness after a more sedentary period, I challenged Coach Amber to push me to improve while still ensuring I could stay injury-free. She has delivered perfectly on this challenge and I can't wait to see how far I can take it with this resurgence of functional fitness training in my life. Honestly, I expect to hit new personal bests in some lifts and workouts even though I'm a decade older.
I would recommend Coach Amber without hesitation to anyone who wants to improve their fitness and (to paraphrase the mighty Coach Rip) become stronger, harder to kill, and more useful in general.