Today we’d like to introduce you to Jason Wimberly.
Jason, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My passion for movement started young with my father who was a competitive bodybuilder. I found my path in dance, and after attending the Idyllwild Arts Academy, a prestigious boarding school for the arts, I was a professional dancer by 17. As they usually do, my original plans didn’t go exactly the way I thought they would, and I fell into the fashion world at 20 years old as a brand specialist with GUCCI. My time with the brand landed me in NYC, which is where I found indoor cycling. My first class with Will Ashley at Equinox left me in tears, and absolutely hooked.
When the luxury bubble burst in 2008, I packed up and relocated to San Diego as the Global Sales Director of a menswear line called RUFSKIN. At the same time, I had started teaching indoor cycling at 24HourFitness four times a week while having a full-time job in fashion. While I had taught dance, and even Jazzercise (yes, THAT Jazzercise) since I was a teen, I fell in love with the bike. My popularity got the attention of SoulCycle who flew me back to NYC in 2011 to audition, and put me on the schedule the next week. That same year, I spent 3 months in Missouri shooting with MTV as a coach on their series “MADE”, and 6 weeks in Montreal competing on a Canadian reality show called “Queer of The Year”, which I won.
2011 was a big year for me with everything going on, not to mention in 2010 I had two accidents in a row (one skiing, one during gymnastics) that left me unable to walk with 3 of the 4 ligaments in my knee having to be replaced with cadaver tissue. The biggest realization though, was that fitness, which had been a passion since leaving dance as a full-time job, could be a career. I moved to LA with Soulcycle to open the first studio in CA which is in West Hollywood, but didn’t last long. I created and launched WIMBERLEAN the classes and DVD, and after taking it on tour ended up finding a home teaching with Equinox.
Los Angeles has been the best thing I did, in that it allowed me to build and create. After moving across the country twice with Soulcycle, I never would have imagined I would end up a solo agent, but I needed space to grow. In NYC I always felt like I was in a race, and never really felt like I fit in with the companies I was working for. L.A. gave me space to create, and grow, which is how I thrive.
By 2013, my fitness career was on fire. Brand endorsements, celebrity clients, and teaching engagements all over the country. I had never been happier in what I was doing, but the fitness industry still presented its own series of challenges. My unique brand and appearance made me somewhat of a misfit in the business, not really knowing where I fit in. It only made me more steadfast in what I believed and wanted to accomplish, and it is finally realized in my new studio, THE WALL.
Early 2016, I was contacted by e-mail about a Master Instructor position with a new spin studio coming to LA. A popular franchise on the east coast and mid-west. I was quick to point out over our first meeting that the strict structure of a franchise did not interest me what so ever, to which I was asked “Well, what do you want to do?” Once again, I was given the freedom to dream and create, which is how THE WALL was born. When I was fully challenged with the question of what I wanted, I had to think about what kind of movement I wanted to share with the world. What kind of dialogue is important and needed. What kind of environment I wanted to created. With an amazing team working behind the scenes to help me bring my vision to life, we opened the first Pop Up location in December on Sunset Blvd, and plan to open my flagship studio later this summer.
The signature class I created at THE WALL is new in many ways, and backed by numerous scientific studies in the industry. My “123 Stack” includes 10 minutes of core activation, 20 minutes of high intensity circuit training (not HIIT), and 30 minutes of indoor cycling. In nearly every fitness class I have taken, core conditioning is an afterthought, and at the end of class. With my training clients, we begin with the core, as a strong center is fundamental to a strong body. It has also been proven time and time again, if your goal is to build lean muscle and burn fat, strength training should always happen before cardio for your muscles to perform their best. Finally, after engaging big muscle groups through circuit training, we can actually burn more calories on the bike to finish class.
A lot of classes promise big results, but it was important to me to deliver them. Part of that is our digital platform which tracks your heart rate during class, to deliver your results either in your email or on our app afterward so you can keep track your progress. Calorie burn, max heart rate, and more, all at the touch of your hand. Unlike many studios that are using screens during class as means to either instruct or compete, I don’t believe in competition in class. Not only is it distracting, but to compete means everyone is competing on the same level. I prefer to empower our clients with the tools and knowledge they need to excel and be their best, without distracting TV monitors or “zones” to reach. It’s my belief that we can only truly change our body when we are present in it, and if you’re constantly checking a screen, that just isn’t possible.
Our name THE WALL is a simple metaphor. We have to recognize our limitations in order to strive and grow. THE WALL reminds us to seek what lies beyond these boundaries. I built THE WALL, so you can breakthrough.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Nothing has happened as planned. And I think as an entrepreneur you learn that early on. My grandfather always told me, “Success is in how you handle Plan B, because Plan A doesn’t always work out.” I was fired from almost every teaching job I had. At 24 Hour Fitness, I would regularly turn off the lights to create atmosphere in my classes, and got in trouble for it constantly as it was against corporate policy. I eventually was fired after I had the idea to challenge my member’s intentions, and brought stickers to class. I asked the attendees to write the word “stronger” on their sticker, and place it on their bike or on their person. I then removed the clock in the room, and instead of teaching my normal 50-minute class taught a 90-minute class to prove that their intention could carry them further. Needless to say, my antics were not well received by management and got me fired, but it only inspired me to push further in what I believed.
I also had two very bad accidents, one skiing and one during gymnastics in 2010 that left me in a wheelchair unable to walk. I had torn 3 of the 4 ligaments in my knee, and had to replace them all with cadaver tissue. For someone like me who has been so active for so long, it was devastating, and a blessing all at once. While my recovery was not easy, it made me even more aware of possible injuries that can happen and I studied hard to be able to correct imbalances I see with clients. This is one of the reasons that no matter what I am teaching, form and posture are always paramount.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with THE WALL – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
As a personal trainer I quickly became known for my ability to help clients lose fat, and built strong and lean bodies, in an entirely supportive environment. Pulling on my experience as a professional dancer, and even lessons learned from my father, I built a conversation around fitness that wasn’t just about the exercises, but about a full mind and body approach. With every client, I begin not by weighing or measuring, but by talking about their lives. Finding out if they’re happy, and if they’re here to work with me for the right reasons. Fitness and weight loss can never come from a negative place, it always must come from love. If a client is choosing to train because they hate the way they look in a bikini, or their partner told them they need to lose 10 lbs., the changes will never happen. The first step to achieving the body we want, and feeling our best, is to truly accept and love who we already are.
In my classes, I am known for my mix of high kicks and ass kicking. I don’t believe you need crazy movement or props to reinvent the wheel when it comes to training. I focus on precise moves and perfect posture, and throw in pirouettes and splits for entertainment value along the way. While a class at THE WALL is far from easy, and the struggles along the way will be many, I strive for all our clients to leave feeling empowered. To feel like they truly accomplished something. To breakthrough their own wall.
The signature “123 Stack,” is also the first of its kind. While there are plenty of fusion classes, no one has done it like I have and broken the class into segments in a specific way. In our Pop Up location on Sunset we only have 10 clients per class, and the space is small and open. It’s been great for building our community and introducing the curriculum. In our flagship studio, there will be multiple rooms that the class will move through, and our schedule will grow to introduce even more signature classes I have under my belt.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I cannot wait to introduce THE WALL flagship to LA later this year. We have some exciting partnerships including a juice bar and grab and go food concept. I’m holding my tongue with any official announcements on when it will be open for now, but hope to share more info soon. Until then, the Pop Up is going strong.
I am also ecstatic to announce that my father and I are writing a book together. It will be the first of many collaborations from the Wimberly men as a team. His dedication to fitness and wellness my whole life, is a huge reason I do what I do now. Our book will look at what inspires us to do what we do, and look at how you can create habits in your life to do the same. We are meeting and talking with various geneticists, neuroscientists, and psychologists to help understand and create more than just a workout book. Although, we will have plenty of old school advice in there too, thanks to Dad. We have our first photoshoot next month, and are currently shopping the book around, but we hope to have it finished by the end of the year.
- Classes at the Pop Up are only $15 throughout the summer.
- Address: THE WALL
7503 Sunset Blvd
LA CA 90046
- Website: www.thewallfitness.com
- Phone: (323) 745-0031
- Email: email@example.com
Jason Wimberly/THE WALL