Winter 2016-17

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Redefining the Fitness Business

Ross Hardaway ’11 redefines personal training at Always Strong Fitness.

Photo caption: Ross Hardaway ’11 majored in exercise science at SJC and later started Always Strong Fitness, based in Brighton, MA.

By Ann Swardlick

“I love my job every day,” says Ross Hardaway ’11. He’s talking about the business he started with two colleagues in 2014. Their company, Always Strong Fitness, based in Brighton, Massachusetts, is a far cry from the world of “big box gyms” that Hardaway entered after graduating from Saint Joseph’s College.

A former Monks lacrosse player and two-time team captain, Hardaway majored in exercise science at Saint Joseph’s and always knew he wanted to start a fitness business. He did everything he could to mold his major to his interests, taking sports management and sports law courses, thus defining his own version of a hybrid major. “Another school wouldn’t have allowed the flexibility,” he says, full of appreciation for the “genuine people” like Lisa Ahearn, Tom Dann, and others who taught him along the way.

Today, just as he did in college, Hardaway is molding his business to fit his interests. In two years, Always Strong Fitness and its subsidiary ASF-Peak Health have more than tripled their revenues by defining their niche as a training/coaching hybrid.

“Our business has evolved from a personal training model to a focus on health coaching and wellness,” says Hardaway. “This is new in the industry.” He and his partners have forged relationships with concierge medical providers to serve a wide variety of clients, from elderly patients suffering from chronic conditions like diabetes, COPD, and obesity, to athletes recovering from traumatic injuries. They work with clients to encourage new, healthier eating habits and customized fitness routines.

Hardaway feels that his BS degree from Saint Joseph’s gives his business an edge in an industry not known for consistent standards or credentialing. “Ours is a science-based approach,” he says, proud of the high level of education, experience, and professionalism his team brings to the table.

“My goal,” says Hardaway, “is to create a health coaching certification with science-based standards that bridges the divide between the fitness side and the behavioral side.” Another Hardaway hybrid that has success written all over it. 

Learn more about SJC's Exercise Science program.

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Academics, Alumni