ProFound Fitness

ProFound Fitness
Beyond Style to Lifestyle

Owner: Diana Rael
Story: Chris McCloskey
Photography: Chris McCloskey

Diana Rael is the owner of Profound Fitness, a small, personalized gym and training program for all fitness needs. That sounds like the description of many typical fitness establishments. However, Rael’s program is anything but typical. She serves people with special needs, those dealing with the challenges of aging, and those who are uncomfortable in a gym setting—as well as everyone else.

Rael’s background includes early childhood education, science education, martial arts, and personal training. Today, she offers a restorative training program for anyone with a physical, mental, or emotional deficit affecting their physical functioning. She offers a special needs program for clients created to increase cognitive ability, balance, strength, self awareness, and self confidence. As well, she leads a martial arts youth program focusing on self-defense, self-confidence, peer interactions, bully prevention, and how to control situations in a safe manner. Finally, Profound Fitness offers Muay Thai mixed martial arts for self-defense, strength, and conditioning.

Currently, Rael serves clients with autism, Down's syndrome, cerebral palsy, ambulatory problems, and normal aging. One 82-year-old client has limitations with range of motion issues and joint problems. She had hoped to slow the deterioration, but has actually turned around the affects of the disability, and increased her ability to complete daily tasks. One client in a wheelchair has gained shoulder strength and balance skills. For each client, from those with serious physical and mental issues, to those who have the serious issue of fitness aversion, Profound Fitness is prepared to help.

In the past, Rael competed in professional fighting—boxing, kick boxing, jujitsu, and wrestling. One aspect of these activities is injuries. As she learned how to best promote her own healing, she became passionate about teaching others to heal their own physical and emotional needs. Rael defines her goal as to promote whole fitness, whole family, a whole community. Her gym or dojo is a place for her clients to call home.

The challenges of guiding her clients through the maze of self-improvement presented few problems for Rael, unlike the task of marketing her business. To find her way through that problem, Rael consulted the Small Business Development Center. She was given directions in all aspects of business organization. She refers to the SBDC as “a great resource.” She explained, “If you are willing to take the risk and do the work, the SBDC will be guiding you along the way.” She considers her partnership with the Small Business Development Center as her best investment.

In less than one year, Diana Rael has established a successful fitness program reaching out to clients who are overlooked by other fitness businesses. She has established her own clientele, leased and outfitted her own space, and designed a business plan for her business’s continued growth. One of her goals for her future is to qualify to become a state provider for the special needs population.