Josh is the founder of Gymnasia and its Strength & Movement path.
Josh spent his childhood preferring books and adventures in the Minnesotan woods over sports. As an early teen, gym class accidentally uncovered his running legs and curiosity led him to a rusty weight room. He kept at the books and adventures, but became a formidable output athlete: an accomplished middle-distance runner (who could still go rep for rep with the football team) and a collegiate rower, with gold medals from all over the country earned alongside future Olympians.
He, like many athletes, grew convinced that peak performance was the apex of fitness. But, like many athletes, that narrow mindset ended in physical breakdown. In pain, Josh abandoned strength and endurance and shifted to a 12 year study of traditional kung fu, tai chi, yoga, and chi gung. He gained an ability he didn’t know was missing: how to move.
But this way also proved specialized and incomplete. His horizon of functional ability shrank. Injuries crept back and new ones developed. After every imaginable form of passive and active therapy failed him, he considered abandoning movement and just focusing on his other passion: the life of the mind. But his curiosity and a deep urge to keep moving forward led him to research, experiment, connect the dots, and carve his own way back to function.
What he found was much more. He was more able, more powerful, and more effortless in movement than ever before. He grew so inspired that he ditched his job and dedicated his life to cultivating and sharing what he’s still passionately seeking. Gymnasia is not about his path; it’s about every path that leads to its doors. Strength & Movement is not his business; it’s his philosophy.
Though coaching takes priority, he continues to add new Strengths and add Movement skills. He considers the highest level of physical accomplishment to be a broad and long life. He defines deep fitness in two parts:
In addition to being Gymnasia’s Founder & Head Coach, he conducts workshops, speaks, writes, works with teachers, clinicians and athletes from many backgrounds, and apprentices Coaches in his Strength & Movement programs. See his latest musings here.
Jessica grew up in an active family: camping, skiing, and hiking. Her father practiced martial arts and while other kids were goofing off, she and her brother were learning to punch and kick through sheetrock in the basement with Dad!
Jessica developed a love for Kettlebells and Yoga at about the same time. She loved the strength that the Kettlebells provided and the sensation of peace of body and mind she found in Yoga. Jessica holds a 200-hr Yoga Alliance Teaching Certificate, is OKC certified, and is a Strength & Movement coach at Gymnasia. In the other half of her life she is an artist and registered Art Therapist and has done a lot of work helping people with developmental disabilities.
Jessica is the General Manager and coaches group, small group, and private sessions. She also heads the restorative programs at Gymnasia. And if you are fortunate enough to share a workout with him, Jessica’s husband can be seen leaping exuberantly through the group space from time to time (though not when she’s running the show)!
Deanna D’Amore is a true hometown gal–born and raised in Newton! After ten years of competitive cheerleading, Deanna turned to weightlifting and treadmills to keep in shape, until her boredom turned her off. She wholly embraced the primal lifestyle, which emphasizes eating and moving naturally, functionally and enjoyably (it also comes with a sweet tattoo, too!). She left the gym scene and started a home-based bodyweight practice and boxing.
Her big a-ha came when she decided to not just coach, but exclusively follow Gymnasia’s Strength & Movement path. She found that not only did her body finally change in all the ways she’d originally started exercising to achieve, but that as her love of the movements grew, so did her mastery and self confidence. With her own life enriched, she’s now passionate about helping others find their way.
Deanna is NASM certified, an OKC Kettlebell Coach, and an adept of natural approaches to all forms of self-care: clean eating, skin, and hair. She’s also a hair stylist and a daycare provider. She’s definitely the person you want to have with you if you’re ever stranded on a desert island (with your kids) and want to look, feel, and move your best.
Deanna coaches group, small group, and private sessions as a Strength & Movement Coach at Gymnasia.