Female-led workout groups in Horry County ensures women feel safe exercising

Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 5:58 PM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - There’s a community of women in the Grand Strand, making sure that other women feel safe while exercising.

Females in Action (FIA) started in Horry County in 2015. It’s one of the numerous chapters across 23 states. There are also 18 chapters in South Carolina, including Hartsville and Florence.

“There’s all levels of fitness,” said Nicole Richardson, the region leader. “There’s no judgment. You can amp it up as much as you want. You can modify down if you want.”

FIA is a free, peer-lead workout group for women. The workouts are outside all year long, rain or shine.

MORE INFORMATION | Females in Action Grand Strand

“We work out, we laugh together, we cry together,” said FIA Grand Strand Member Elizabeth Taylor. “If we’re going through things, we can pray together. We help each other out.”

The women refer to each other with nicknames like “Godiva, Cosmo or Sizzle.” They call it your FIA name. It’s something you get when you start working out with the group.

“And that kind of connects you with the group because your first day you’re called the ‘Friendly New Girl. FNG.’ So then after that, you get your name and you’re connected and we get you on our Facebook page and before you know it you’re in love with FIA just like us,” said Taylor.

There is a long, sad history of women being kidnapped while running or exercising outside. The women part of FIA Grand Strand want others to know that there are groups like this out there.

“If I know someone wants to run, I’ll be there to run with you,” said Richardson. “There’s always someone that’s going to be there to have your back. You know. No one’s ever alone.”

Since there are so many FIA chapters, many of the women will join other groups while they’re on vacation or work trips. They also have visitors to the Grand Strand join them throughout the summer.

“As you can see, it’s dark right now, but when we’re together we feel safe and strong,” said Taylor. “So please join us.”

The members of the group range from different ages, backgrounds, occupations and physical levels. All women are welcome to join FIA.

“We do philanthropy events too,” said Richardson. “It’s not just supposed to be about working out even though that’s important, but if someone is struggling. We’ll bring you food or help you with your kids.”

MORE INFORMATION | Females in Action Grand Strand