New Roanoke gym raising the bar – WSLS 10

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Brooke Leonard, Sports Reporter
Published: July 1, 2022, 10:46 PM
Brooke Leonard, Sports Reporter
ROANOKE, Va. – There’s a new gym in the Roanoke Valley that is different from your typical weight room. Operated by strongman competitor and world record holder Aaron Blackford and his wife Taylor, the duo have opened the doors for functional fitness that specializes in strength and combat sports.
“I created the space and this atmosphere because its something that I would want, and something that I felt like Roanoke was lacking,” Aaron said. “A good space that’s a competitive atmosphere, that’s also welcoming to all experience levels. I want a space for really good athletes to come in and train seriously for their sport but also be welcoming and take newer people under their wing who don’t have experiences 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,” Taylor said. “So come in and lift and put it down on the table.”
The gym will house coaching, squat racks and free weights, in addition to functional weight training and martial arts classes. The couple also hopes to see more women involved in their gym. You can sign up for a membership 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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Brooke Leonard is the newest addition to the 10 Sports team, joining in June 2019.
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