We had the good fortune of connecting with Abbey Griffith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Abbey, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Clarity Fitness was an eating disorder recovery passion project for me. I was diagnosed with bulimia and anorexia in college, and was told that working out would need to be reassessed and adjusted in recovery. This was totally true, and turned out to be a major blessing in disguise, but at the time that felt really scary for me. Not work out?! How could I survive?! The reason why this reassessment is so important in my and others’ recovery journies is that many fitness studios and approaches out there are focused on weight loss, calorie burn, intensity, and tuning out signals from your body (ex: “Push through!” “Feel the burn!” “No pain, no gain!”). All of these messages are not only factually incorrect in terms of what’s needed to have a sufficient and safe workout, but could be dangerous, if not even deadly, to people struggling to fuel their bodies and find a path toward movement they enjoy. I became passionate about finding an empowered balance between health, body positivity (which contradictory to popular belief really is healthy when approached the way it is meant to be approached), and fitness. I wanted to create a safe space for myself and others in recovery, and a place where we could move our bodies because we love them, not because we hate them.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Here at Clarity Fitness, we’re a scale-free, diet-free, BMI-free, beating-yourself-up-free establishment online and in person, and Georgia’s FIRST full service body positive gym. We are a space welcoming to people of all sizes, focused on a Health at Every Size (HAES) approach to movement, fueling, and life, and we’re here to support the eating disorder recovery community as movement is reintroduced to lives in a safe, positive way. It’s an amazing feeling to realize that rigidity, pressure, control, and never-being-enough-ness is NOT what health really is, and we’re here to bring you that same sense of Clarity and relief, too! As we dive further into the world of body image, exercise abuse, and eating disorders, we’ve learned that over 90% of people are unhappy with their bodies – not because there’s anything “wrong” with them, but because the fitness and beauty industries makes serious money in leading you to believe that there is. This makes changing peoples’ minds about their enough-ness pretty tricky – it definitely doesn’t happen overnight. However, the people that are open to the idea of being confident in the skin they’re in by doing some work on the inside have been absolutely in awe of the science, experts, and community that support body positive wellness, and jump in head first to this way of living, too. We actually opened our business January 6th, 2020. Needless to say, we were for less than 10 weeks before COVID shut us down through the end of May where we were able to open with the most intense of COVID Safety protocols and policies in place. Developing our business, brand, and community in a global pandemic has been hard, but not impossible. We shifted to Clarity Online where we developed a really amazing body positive fitness library, some amazing mental health community groups, and tons of amazing guest speakers. We introduced virtual Personal Training which has gone beautifully, and we’ve gone above and beyond the CDC Guidelines of safety, social distancing, limited capacity, mask requirements, temperature checks, and regular sanitization to ensure our team and members stay safe. We’re beyond thrilled to bring this counter-cultural movement – movement both in terms of exercise and a shift to society – to Decatur Georgia, and are here to educate on, advocate for, and celebrate the emotional, mental, and physical relief that body positivity brings to health. After all, that release is exactly what “Clarity” means!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love this question! I actually just moved to Atlanta in 2018. I always knew I’d end up here, and set my sights on the fitness, mental health, and social justice presence in Atlanta as the perfect place to bring our mission. That being said, I’m no Atlanta expert and COVID adds a layer of complication, but if this was a weekend trip meant to be a fun, exciting explore of the city and we were outside of COVID, I’d say we’d check out the Coke-a-Cola Museum, head to Six Flags for some “rollercoast-ing”, go on a hike at Stone Mountain, check out the sights at Serenbe, of course attend some fun fitness classes at Clarity, take my dog Lola to the Piedmont Park dog park, and go rollerblading on Silver Comet Trail! We’d grab food at Iberian Pig in Decatur, along the belt line, at the original Chick-Fil-A, and eat on the roof of Ponce City Market and Hotel Clermont. We’d go out at night to whatever bar or club my friends felt fit the vibe of the night, spend some time shopping in Lenox, and hang out by my pool at my apartment! (Very open to additional fun ideas!)
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Where do I start? My journey, story, and recovery has been massively impacted by the Clarity Fitness team, our amazing clients, and our amazing partners. Thank you to every single one of the team members working at Clarity for supporting this massive mission of helping everyone have a happy relationship with the skin they’re in day in and day out. Thank you to each of our clients, gym members, and the Decatur community at large for giving our goal a supported, safe, and beautiful space. Thank you to my family for mentorship, unconditional love, and unwavering support as I follow this dream of mine. Thank you to EDIN (Education and Insight on Eating Disorders) for giving Clarity and myself a space to give back to the community and others struggling with eating disorders, disordered eating, and a toxic relationship with exercise, body image, and self-worth. Thank you to Jill Lewis Therapy, eatwellgeorgia LLC, NutriFit, Linda Buchanan, and the eating disorder, HAES informed, and body positive therapy, nutrition, and coaching community at large for understanding us, seeing us, and believing in us. Thank you to University of Miami for giving me the courage and skillset to follow this passion. Thank you to Kevin Scholz and Amy Jaffe for introducing me to this empowered, enlightened, and truly brighter energy world of body positivity and eating disorder recovery. I attribute my survival, success, and happiness to each of you. Thank you.
Aaron Scorch Photography Djaren Photography