NEWS Harrison Fitness Studio Wants to Offer Locals a Customized Training Experience


Tarentum’s Javon Thorpe and Kristen Rue wanted to give their clients a friendly, personal fitness training experience that larger gyms might not be able to provide.

Thorpe, 28, and Rue, 39, achieved just that when they opened Flexwork Fitness at 2418 Freeport Road in Harrison in February. Thorpe’s client base as a general contractor continued to expand to such an extent that he realized he needed his own position.

Co-owners jointly provide nutrition and exercise program training to up to 40 clients.

“No. 1. We care. It’s not just our salary. We have developed a very rapport with our clients,” Thorpe said. “I would definitely say we’ve changed people’s lives. You’ll see a huge difference between when they first come here and when they start to build their confidence. It’s like night and day.”

Thorpe, who is also a touring musician, photographer and firefighter at Tarantum, said he has always been interested in fitness. But the way he became a coach was unpredictable.

While Thorpe was working the front desk at Planet Fitness in Natrona Heights in Harrison, a trainer quit on the spot, Thorpe said. He discovered his passion after his manager jokingly told him he should keep the job.

“I fell in love with it immediately, and I thought, ‘This is my calling,'” Thorpe said.

Thorpe and Rue have a long history together. Rue took care of him as a child until they finally became friends. Since then, they’ve become gym buddies, best friends and now business partners, she said.

Thorpe described Rue’s foray into the fitness world as “inspiring.”

“I’m a recovering addict,” Rue said. “So I decided to do something different. I had an eating disorder at the same time and I had to make a choice before I died. I decided to hit the gym. I got a trainer and then within a few years I started competing. That’s what drove me Reasons to train clients.”

The trainer acknowledges that some people may be hesitant or nervous about starting their fitness journey.

Thorpe said he asked clients about their hobbies, noting that any activity can be difficult at first. He then cites his own entry into photography.

“Take me filming my first concert, for example,” he said. “I don’t know where to go. The more you do it, the more humble you become. It also helps, and I think that’s why a lot of people come here, do they have that kind of guidance. They have people who hold them accountable.”

Both Thorp and Rue emphasize the connection with customers. Rue, for example, says she always answers the phone, even though she has a separate full-time job as a single mother.

Flexwork Fitness offers a variety of programs, including one-on-one training; group training; distance training; weight loss coaching; nutritional coaching; and workout programming.

Rates per 45-minute session can vary widely based on individual needs, Thorpe said.

Those wishing to contact Flexwork Fitness for more information may call 724-472-7357 or email

More information and pictures of the client’s progress can be found on their Facebook page.

Logan Hullinger is a staff writer for Tribune Review. You can reach Logan at 724-226-7744,, or via Twitter .

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