New Roanoke Gym Raises the Bar

ROANOKE, Va. – There is a new gym in Roanoke Valley that is different from your typical weight room. Led by strongman and world record holder Aaron Blackford and his wife Taylor, the duo opened the doors to functional fitness specializing in strength and combat sports.

“I created the space and that atmosphere because it’s something I would want and something I missed in Roanoke,” Aaron said. “A good space that is a competitive atmosphere, that is also welcoming to all experience levels. I want a space for really good athletes to come and train seriously for their sport, but also to be welcoming and take under their wing new people who have no experience and teach them the right things.

“I think that’s the whole point of coming somewhere with a coach, we’re not here to judge you, we’re just here to help you,” Taylor said. “So come in and pick it up and put it on the table.”

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The gymnasium will house trainers, squat racks and free weights, in addition to functional strength training and martial arts classes. The couple also hope to see more women involved in their gym. You can sign up to be a member on Facebook at Blackford Barbell Strength and Combat or you can visit them in person. The first lift will be free.

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