The personal training studio seeks to make an impact on the community


A local personal training studio started a nonprofit during the pandemic and is now 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 non-profit organization aimed at educating children about the benefits of exercise and helping them feel proud and confident in their individuality.

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

Brian Murray. Courtesy Grounds Training

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

“I was an overweight kid, I was miserable and I didn’t know what to do with myself,” he said. “Then I had one of those moments of clarity, like, ‘I can’t take this anymore and I have to do something about it.'”

Murray began to take health and wellness seriously as he got older, and he ended up losing 80 pounds.

He said he wished there was more emphasis on getting kids moving and more attention on keeping them healthy.

“I care about all these things now and I wish I cared more about them when I was younger because I know I would feel better,” he said. “Trying to catch the kids early and being more preventative 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 return to personal coaching.

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

“Everything we do is actually personalized for each person…and we also do a little more specialized stuff,” Murray said. “If someone has specific pains or ailments, we dive into those. We also go through more rigorous training and make sure we have the right certifications.”

Client relationships are also important to Murray.

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

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

After receiving feedback from clients and the community, Murray said Alger Heights seemed like a great place 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, experience pain, or have difficulty fitting into group fitness classes. Above all else, Murray said he wants the community to know that Motive Training is committed to being customer responsive and inclusive.

“We’re versatile and we can help just about anyone,” Murray said.


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