Private gym, Rebelle Fit, offers exclusive strength training classes

Photo by Jessica Foley.

Located at 96 Innovation Drive in Kingston’s east end, Rebelle Fit is a small 1000 sq ft, unassuming space, perfect for physically distanced group workouts. They focus on circuit training and whole body fitness.

With a maximum capacity of 6 people, and classes by appointment only, keeping clients safe and healthy is very important to Rebelle Fit.  Workout times are booked through their website

Having opened for the first time on January 1st, 2020, Rebelle Fit had to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite no marketing and a very new client base, the gym survived and is again open for business, providing 1-on-1 strength training, small circuit style classes and even private family classes.

Rhonda Liston, owner and manager of Rebelle Fit, is a single mom of five. As a child, Rhonda fought her way through situations that were statistically stacked against her. Somehow she always ‘rebelled’ against the hardships and overcame adversity.

Rhonda Liston, owner of Rebelle Fit. Photo courtesy of Rebelle Fit.

As a survivor of a traumatic childhood, she needed to move forward in a more positive and proactive way. After a kidney cancer scare and a diagnosis of PTSD, Rhonda has transformed her pain into strength and is now lifting up others by providing a safe space to put stresses, fears and insecurities to good use.

“I was really set on having a small intimate space that was fresh, clean and not over stimulating”, explained Rhonda. “Reflecting back to my PTSD diagnosis, I was in a rough space, had lost confidence in my abilities, questioned everyone around me, and felt too weak, emotionally, to surround myself with a large intimidating gym. But after 23 years experience, I knew exercise was exactly what I needed to regain my strength, both mentally and physically.”

“Finding a space that wasn’t over stimulating, intimidating and kept schedules super simple, proved hard to find. This gym was very much modeled on what I needed at the time [of my diagnosis], realizing that I couldn’t be the only one suffering in silence.”

Running her own gym was always a dream of Rhonda’s – a dream she put on hold to raise her children. She continued to freelance as a personal trainer for many years. Rhonda has shifted focus to whole body strength, aging strong and building on mental fortitude. She intends to maintain an active life, continue to set a good example for her children and grandchildren, and continually share her passion with the members of Rebelle Fit.

The stars aligned last year, and Rhonda was able to open her dream, Rebelle Fit – a full-body fitness space to support and encourage the physical and mental health of her clients. Rhonda was able to outfit her gym and open her business at the beginning of January. 

“Covid prompted a lot of change for many, but I found that I already had many needed precautions, which was a great start. My space is equipped for space and fluidity, assuring social distancing and sterilization. The transition [to smaller classes] has not been very difficult. In fact, I find I like it better and am able to connect with each member on a more personalized level.”

For the past few months, Rebelle Fit pivoted to online sessions, feeling it could help people stay on track while trying to navigate unsure times. Rhonda admits the lack of connection initially made virtual teaching difficult, but establishing relationships through the screen was surprisingly pleasant for her. 

Individualized strength training workouts can have issues online, such as tweaking form and technique, and that’s just not how she feels she can provide the best support for her clients. Thankfully the gym space is open again for small classes, and Rhonda couldn’t be happier.

“My experience is extensive and has allowed me the opportunity to work with many injuries, ailments, and fitness levels. If you are completely new, we suggest booking an assessment, which will give you a 1-on-1 experience to cover everything that happens in studio, perform an evaluation and answer all of your questions. An assessment will also allow us to find your starting point for weight so then when you come for a class you’re comfortable and ready to get started.”

“My workouts are intended to make time a non issue. They are 30 mins and you won’t want one minute more. Outside of class times we have one-on-one training and an option for those not ready for groups. We are a closed gym, and by appointment only, so no fear of walk-ins and running into someone.”

Each day of the week has a theme, and a description of class options can be found here: Rhonda is encouraging people to reach out and inquire about their latest program geared toward families and close friends for private class sessions.

Photo courtesy of Rebelle Fit.

Rhonda has increased her cleaning and sanitizing routine, and books classes with space between each session for a full clean of the space and equipment. There are two separate doors if one entrance becomes blocked or there is an increased discomfort with physical distancing. There are neither showers or a lounge on site – the intent is to get in, get your workout done and go on to enjoy your day.

Rebelle Fit is currently run by Rhonda, with the help of a new assistant, Taylor Clark, who provides front desk support and marketing. One of Rhonda’s daughters, Malasia, is currently doing a placement at the gym and beginning to learn from her mom. Having virtually no staff, and all sessions by appointment, means minimal worry about the spread of the virus, which is very important for Rebelle’s mental health support image.

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This article is sponsored content. Rebelle Fit is a member of the Kingstonist Perks program. They are offering a free class and 20-minute assessment to Kingstonist Perks subscribers.

If you are interested in an article of this style, or for more information about Kingstonist Perks, reach out: [email protected]

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