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Meet Rayn Hookala of Happy Hour Fitness in East Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rayn Hookala.

Rayn, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My name is Rayn Hookala and I’m the founder of Happy Hour Fitness. Simply put, I love to move. I began dancing at the age of four and eventually earned both a BFA and MFA in dance from Arizona State University. I trained in modern dance, a very physically demanding dance genre that required a high level of upper body strength and explosive power. Over time, I began cross training and developed a passion for fitness. Eventually, I became a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer as well as a Corrective Exercise Specialist. After a difficult pregnancy that led to an unexpected break from the professional dance world, I had to rehabilitate my body. I was accustomed to hurling my body through space and feeling the rush of velocity in motion. Suddenly, I was unable to pick a pacifier up off the floor. This “starting over” experience humbled me and gave me a new appreciation for the barriers many beginning exercisers face.

As a professional dancer, I struggled throughout my life with body image. As I aged, I began to rebel against the idea of the perfect body. My own journey allows me to relate to others who are struggling with psychological barriers. I understand the healing power of movement and the healing power of community.

And that’s where my two journeys collided into one. I realized I had a platform to reinvent traditional approaches to exercise and wellness. I could create, entertain, empathize, and educate.

I collected the beautiful misfits, the underdogs, the regular people, and crafted them into a family. My tribe. With encouragement from my students and peers, I started coaching a few small boot camp classes. We focused on fun, but we worked hard. We encouraged each other and we challenged each other. We developed an ethos that permeated each class. We crafted an experience that included weight lifting, dance, martial arts, functional training, and corrective exercise. We formulated a methodology that was equal parts goofball antics and badass grit. We collected a diverse mix of people, some of whom might not have ever crossed paths otherwise. We relished the laughter and we believed in each other.

Now, four years later, Happy Hour Fitness is still growing, one member (rhino, as we call ourselves) at a time. We offer a safe place for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to feel empowered, to get some sick gainzzz, and to ultimately become the most authentic version of themselves. It’s Happy Hour, Baby!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Facilitating and growing the Happy Hour Fitness family has been organic, smooth, and fun. But as with any new venture, of course, we’ve had our share of challenges. Finding a space to conduct our classes has been difficult at times. And for me, finding a work/life balance is a constant issue. This past year I found myself overwhelmed and at a potential breaking point, wondering if I could continue pursuing this dream. I decided I needed some help and selected a Business Director to help with many of the ‘behind the scenes’ items that were consuming me. Turns out it was one of the best business decisions I’ve made so far. Whitney Hayes is a long-time member of Happy Hour Fitness so she understands the culture from the inside out. She’s kind, articulate, intelligent, and even has a chemistry degree! We make a dynamic team and she has helped me navigate the rough times.

Tell us more about your business.
Happy Hour Fitness provides high energy boot camp classes, coached by a professional, in a party atmosphere. We have teens and we have seniors. We have ex-pro athletes and we have people who have never exercised. We have men and women, tall and short, big and small… Everyone is invited to the party.

My background as a collegiate faculty member infuses my approach: I constantly strive to educate my clients and enhance their understanding of body movement and exercise science concepts. My delivery, though, is influenced by my experience as a performer as I attempt to make the learning and working environment fun and silly. Happy Hour Fitness is known for diversity, music, lifting, dancing, badass grit, love and heart.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My ability to create a community is my greatest attribute. I also have an intense passion that drives me to persevere when obstacles present themselves. I’m fortunate to have the education required to bring my dream to its fruition. I also have unique ideas about what health and wellness should look like and I’m not afraid to voice my opinions. I am hopeful for a shift that will permeate the industry. I dream of a time when people are no longer talking about or chasing the superficial: bikini bodies, 6-pack abs, and always counting calories burned. I want to see a shift towards focusing on the important, but often overlooked, benefits of exercise: better mental health, improved muscle mass, increased bone density, mental and physical resilience to overcome illness and disease, the empowering feeling of gains in strength and power, and the importance of having a support network.

Pricing:

  • 5-Pack Class Pass $60
  • 9-Pack Class Pass $100
  • 12-Pack Class Pass $120
  • Unlimited Class Pass $145

Contact Info:

  • Address: 221 E Willis Rd Unit 5
    Chandler, AZ 85286
  • Website: RaynFit.com
  • Phone: 4803266596
  • Email: Rayn@RaynFit.com
  • Instagram: @_happyhourfitness
  • Facebook: Happy Hour Fitness

Image Credit:
Russell Chandler, Whitney Hayes, Stuart Chandler, Rayn Hookala

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