Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t want to lift weights because then I’ll get bulky”? As someone who enjoys strength training, I only wish it was that easy. If it was, we would all be walking around in spaghetti-thin muscle shirts flexing our chiseled guns at every crosswalk. But what if you wanted to be strong, to feel like you can get through your day without hurting, and didn’t care so much about getting huge?
Anna Marie Oakes-Joudy is the founder of AM Strength, a Tacoma-based strength training business focused on small group and 1-on1 training. Anna Marie is a competitive power-lifter with a clientele that encompasses all ages and body types. I interviewed Anne to learn more about AM Strength, and here’s what she shared with me:
Andrew: Who are your ideal clients? Age, goals, etc. Why are they coming to you versus joining a gym?
Anna Marie: My ideal clients are everyone. Every person can get stronger regardless of where they are starting. Strength training is infinitely scalable to any skill level or lack thereof.
Clients come to me because I take good care of them. I listen to their needs and goals and tailor the training to what it is they wish to accomplish. Here they have a more private environment where there is very little intimidation factor and there are other like-minded folks. We laugh and struggle together and they see me struggle through the training too. I don’t ask them to do things I don’t myself do. Shared struggle is a huge bonding tool!
“Every person can get stronger regardless of where they are starting. Strength training is infinitely scalable to any skill level or lack thereof.”
Andrew: I’ve heard you mention the Starting Strength program a lot. What does it mean to you? For an outsider it sounds like a beginner program, but it seems to be much more than that.
Anna Marie: I found Starting Strength through another lifter at the CrossFit gym I was training at. She wasn’t doing all the extra things in the classes. She was just doing squats, bench, deads, press and conditioning. She was getting leaner and could squat 300lbs. I took her class and started training. Starting Strength IS a basic program, but it’s the start of so much more.
Andrew: Why did you decide to start AM Strength?
Anna Marie: After I had been training with a coach for about 6 months, I decided to try and coach. I read the book and it made perfect, scientific, physical sense. I knew trainers in other gyms and saw all the different things they did. I would ask them why they chose this movement over that movement. I never got science-based answers, just personal preferences. Starting Strength just made sense. It is the hardest certification to get in the industry and I had a very heavy background in the lab sciences. I went to my first seminar and thought I was ready to test. I wasn’t. They told me I had a good eye and to keep coaching. I came home and started coaching and never stopped.
Even Anna Marie’s kids are known to get in on the action, making cameos in her Instagram account. This is a garage turned professional grade home gym after all, with five children that Anna Marie home-schools when not training her clients.