A few months ago I came across an Instagram profile that immediately caught my attention: it was that of Dr. Laura Miranda, creator of PURSUIT, a new training program that challenges the fitness status quo. What made her page stand out for me (even more than its vast array of photos and videos) was the authentic voice and deep-rooted passion that shines through each of Laura’s posts. She seems determined to motivate, educate and even dare us to be our best selves; having since interviewed Dr. Laura Miranda, I can confirm her real life energy is even more powerful. As a physical therapist and fitness entrepreneur of more than 10 years, and someone who learned at a very young age how to transform difficult circumstances into something positive — Laura is beyond inspiring. Below are a few excerpts from our conversation and more about Pursuit, the new outdoor workout method that is taking the fitness world by storm. (Attention all fitness rebels seeking a change!)
“You can either use your less than perfect life circumstance to tear you down or you can use it as a catalyst to get to the next level.” We all know this to be true, but when these words are spoken from the heart and echoed through action they are all the more cogent. Dr. Laura Miranda began our interview by sharing a bit about her struggles during childhood and how her experiences have shaped her into a strong woman with a natural desire to pay it forward. “I was definitely born an athlete, but I realized at a young age that sports were a way for me to gain attention in a very challenging home environment.” As the child of an alcoholic parent, Laura notes, “Luckily, my drug of choice was fitness and not something destructive.”
An Unexpected Turning Point + Reinventing Herself. Although her love of sports was always unquestionable, Laura recalls team practice ending around 6pm in high school and afterwards “literally just running around town to avoid what was going on at home.” So when she tore her ACL during senior year of high school, she was all the more devastated. And having little parental guidance or encouragement even in suggesting she might be interested in playing college sports (after being a 3 season varsity athlete for 4 years), Laura found herself having lost her sense of identity as a college freshman. “I had to suddenly re-invent myself and who I was. Sports were basically what I had lived for as a kid and teenager, so I suddenly felt completely lost.” Thankfully, her injury inspired Laura to study physical therapy as a means of healing the human body.
From A Successful Outdoor Bootcamp in 2007 To Starting Over. It’s clear within seconds of speaking with Dr. Laura Miranda that she’s all about action. So I wasn’t too surprised to learn that she co-founded a successful outdoor bootcamp in Central Park almost a decade ago (before these workouts were trendy). Despite its almost immediate success, she and her business partner had a falling out and Laura realized they could not continue working together. Rather than waiting too long, Laura promptly decided to leave the area (she had been living in the Upper East side) and move downtown and start anew. “I basically left everything I’d worked for and that was going amazingly well, and decided to move to Battery Park. I remember this conversation and saying out loud that I would start over and make it amazing. And somehow I did. It never occurred to me that it wasn’t going to work. I handed out flyers around Battery Park and everything came together.” (Incidentally, one of Laura’s early bootcamp regular attendees was Well+Good co-founder Alexia Brue).
PURSUIT. A Defining Moment + Turning Obstacle into Opportunity. “A few years later, one morning the cops at Battery Park stopped my class at 5.30am – our group was over 20 people and therefore needed a permit – and our group was forced to move. In that moment, I felt like everything in my life was falling apart again. My reaction this time was for us to continue the workout, but keep it moving. So our group left Battery Park and continued running around the city and using the infrastructure around us to get a bootcamp workout. In many ways, this moment served as the inspiration for what later became Pursuit. Looking back though, I had actually been training this way personally since I was a student in Columbia, South Carolina at USC; I’d go on runs and use the structures around me to train. I actually didn’t make this connection until I began speaking about the Pursuit program to others.”
When you look at the world through a different lens and don’t have preconceived notions about everything, you expand your potential. A bench is not just a bench. Stairs are not just stairs. When you look at the world through a different lens and don’t have all preconceived notions about everything, you expand your potential. It applies to life, it’s much larger than fitness. This is the essence of the Pursuit Training method.
On Challenging the Fitness Status Quo. “For trainers, I think it’s important to recognize that working in a gym isn’t your only option. It’s about touching more lives – unfortunately for women, in fitness the bar is set by a few people and everyone seems to accept that this is where they have to go. But in reality, you don’t need to shoot for that. You absolutely have the ability to create your own success outside of the traditional model.”
Feeling Stuck? Ask Yourself This Question. “Am I too busy to grow and too scared to change?” I think a lot of us get into trouble here – I was there for years. When you have tons of jobs, it’s easy to get overwhelmed working at gyms and having private clients. It’s easy to get stuck and limit yourself without realizing it; meanwhile, time passes. It’s important to be self-aware and to face challenges head on rather than allow that to happen for too long.”
1 / Get really good at your craft. Spend your money on education and surround yourself with people who are doing things. This takes a few years and you can’t shortcut this.
2/ Carve out your unique spin on things. Find your differentiating factor because this is why people come back.
3/ Think about how to grow and expand your business. This may take time but it’s important to get right so be patient and stay open to new possibilities.
Free Webinar on How to Create an Outdoor Fitness Group Business: here.
Learn More About Pursuit. Learn more about cutting edge fitness training program Pursuit. If you’re a trainer (anywhere in the world) seeking to expand your business and work outdoors, this is for you!
* In NYC? Check out the class that started it all: click here
A Winning Mindset. Dr. Laura Miranda notes, “There hasn’t been a second that I didn’t believe something great wasn’t going to happen – even when things were really falling apart for me. Looking back sometimes I wonder, “Who the f*ck did I think I was?” (smile) Smile or not, Laura’s mental toughness and unwillingness to compromise her personal goals are incredibly admirable. May we each take in a dose of this beautiful confidence for, as the saying goes, “We become what we believe.” And may we each rise stronger and more empowered each time we fall.
* Song For This Moment: “We Are The Ones” by Myon, featuring Jenn Blosil.