We are a Rhode Island-based, all-inclusive, and family-friendly fitness company that offers private and group training for kids and adults, “ninja-themed” birthday parties, and guided obstacle course rentals.
We specialize in natural movement and emphasize physical competence and play; increased fitness is a side benefit of this practice. Our approach builds versatility and adaptability, empowers our clients to become more adventurous, and equips them with the mental strength and resilience required to overcome life’s obstacles!
We will be the local authority in natural fitness and obstacle course racing. We will inspire families, business, and teams to become the best versions of themselves – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
We will change people’s attitude towards traditional fitness and help them realize more of their true potential by teaching them a highly useful movement practice and coaching effective and sustainable lifestyle habits. We will utilize indoor and outdoor locations with continuously evolving apparatuses in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere!
Our founder is a former athlete and endurance junky turned Primal. In March 2009, he stumbled across an article that rocked his world. After reading (and re-reading) this convincing piece, he reduced his training significantly, altered his eating style, and became healthier and fitter than ever! Inspired by this way of living, combined with a growing disenchantment with the commercial construction industry, Ryan walked away from his career to pursue his passion full time in 2010! His engineering brain still gets stimulation through analyzing mechanics of human movement, designing practical training regimens, and building fun and new "equipment" to play on!
When it comes to training, Ryan is a minimalist! He prides himself on creating efficient programs for his clients (and teammates) so they can participate in events of any distance with the least amount of time and mileage investment. He is a Level 2 MovNat Certified Trainer, Level 1 Kettlebell Athletics Instructor, Level 1 Animal Flow Instructor, and won Providence Journal's Readers' Choice Award for Best Personal Trainer in 2017!
As far as helping his clients become healthier and improve their body composition, Ryan shares with them the Weston Price and the Primal Blueprint guidelines for nutrition. He also encourages his clients to participate in events to put their skills and fitness levels to the test.
Certification: ACSM-CPT, FMS, CPR
Hobbies: FAMILY first, fitness, watching/going to sporting events, and enjoy cooking!
Specialist in: Body building, Sport specific conditioning, Functional training/corrective exercise, Strength and conditioning, Group fitness.
Eddie's passion for fitness started at the young age of 14 after being picked on for being overweight and he decided to do something about it. Eddie learned a variety of skills and training styles through his hands on experience of over 15 years. He holds a wide range of sport & fitness experience and knowledge derived from his time as a track athlete, collegiate football player, experiences in various MMA styles, and bodybuilding. Some of his recent accomplishments include graduating at the top of his Personal Fitness Trainer class at MTTI and becoming an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer (ACSM-CPT). Eddie's mission is to help you reach your goal in becoming the best self you can be. We can reach your goals together with a combination of will power, motivation, knowledge, a little tough love, with a lot of fun.
Philosophy: "I coach people and train habits." If you're putting in the work, then make it count!
One of the original "basement members," Chris has evolved from client to teammate to business partner! While expanding his knowledge and competency in the MovNat system, Chris has earned his Level 1 and 2 certifications as a MovNat certified trainer! He is a 5-time Tough Mudder and has done several other events such as Bone Frog, Bold r Dash, Tuff Scrambers, Urban Mudder, and more!
When he's not teaching MovNat techniques in our OCR Skills classes, he's managing his chickens, ducks, and pigs at Jardin Farm which is home to the Laid-back Forest! Chris has been instrumental in the growth of LbF and is an extremely valuable resource to the LbF crew, Los Neuty Osos, and all of our clients!
Test your strength and skill on our Jungle Features!
"Laid-back Fitness pushes you mentally and physically to be your best. Other members are more like teammates, always by your side cheering you on!"
"This is the only place that has ever motivated me to work out with a group."
"During the process I've not only gotten into better physical shape & met some great people but learned some great life lessons."
"If you want to be challenged and educated at the same time- this is your spot!"
"One of the best experiences of our lives was training with Ryan at Laid-back Fitness! Ryan takes you out of your comfort zone of conventional training and pushes you to a level you did not know you could attain through a series of exercises that are rarely the same twice.
We had not intended to participate in the Tough Mudder when we first began to train at LbF as we are both over 50 years old. I was preparing for my first Triathlon and my wife wanted to improve her running technique. We both took personal training classes to achieve our individual goals, all the while taking hill training classes at Neuty and the Sand Dunes for an upcoming Tough Mudder in June 2013.
Finally, we both committed to push our limits and signed up for the Mt. Snow Tough Mudder in August 2013 as we were unable to attend the earlier session.
Karen and I both 100% agree that the entire experience exceeded our expectations! Our entire team of 24 participants was extremely prepared when the event day came all due to the hard work of Ryan and LbF. We are extremely proud of our earning our orange headbands with the team we had and look forward to the next Tough Mudder event and continuing training at Laid-back Fitness!"
-Brian and Karen Smith
"Ryan McGowan, a great big THANK YOU for a terrific weekend of fun at the Tough Mudder! Your training program was outstanding. Couldn't ask for a better team of Los Neuty Osos, who are now a great group of friends. Thank you for everything!! See you on the hill!"
"Highly recommended! Very personalized approach to fitness and well being. I just completed two Tough Mudder events within two weeks. I was fully prepared in every way thanks to Ryan and the LbF training methods."
"The only workout I look forward to every time!!!! No membership numbers or pass cards to get in past the desk, once you start, you are part of the LBF family….Highly Recommended!"
"Laid-back Fitness is awesome! I signed up for a Tough Mudder, which I would NEVER have done on my own. But with Ryan's training and team building , I completed it and my body feels great 2 days later! No major pains or soreness. As much as I detested training at "Neuty" it made climbing Mt. Snow EASY…Thank you Ryan and the Great team at Laid-back Fitness!!! I am doing it again!"
"It all started when I turned thirty and decided this was going to be the year I tried random things. My running had improved and I had a couple of 5k adventure races under my belt when I noticed Ryan's postings about the Tough Mudder on Facebook. I thought to myself, could I really do that? Could I do a Tough Mudder? My initial reaction was, no way could I complete such a difficult race. Then I thought what if I could? I went to an open house at Laid-back and got some information, but I still was not convinced I was actually going to go through with it. As I stared at the flyer every day on my refrigerator and remembering that this was the year to try new things, I said to myself well, if I am going to do it, I am going to need to train for it, and Laid-back Fitness was the place to do it. If anyone was going to get me to the end, I just had a feeling it would be Ryan, and I was right.
I started in January with the Los Neuty Osos, and it was the best decision I ever made. Ryan's laid-back approach to training is not only physically effective, but it creates an environment of camaraderie and teamwork. It was hard, and there were times at the sand dunes in the ice and snow or while running up Neuty hill, when I doubted myself and my ability, but Ryan and the team were always there to show support and tell me to keep going. When race day came, I felt ready, nervous but ready. As mile after mile came, on the Tough Mudder course, I saw the different skills Ryan had taught us over the last 20 weeks come into play, it really showed how much thought he put into his training. Everything we did in training had a purpose and we used all the skills and knowledge he gave us to make it through this challenge. He promised when we finished, we would all be smiling and sure enough, we were all grinning ear to ear.
I thought my time at Laid-back would end after the race and I would go back to my usual workout routine, but now I can't see that happening. After spending time in the studio and the experience of incline training,I've changed both mentally and physically and I can't think about stopping now. See you on the hill!"
"I had been following a Paleo/Primal diet for a little over three years before I started working with Ryan, and while the diet worked great for me, I was having a hard time figuring out how to exercise. I am in the Navy, and my goal was to get the maximum score on the physical readiness test before I turned 30 and the requirements got easier. That meant doing 101 sit-ups in two minutes, 46 push-ups in 2 minutes, and running 1.5 miles in 10:17 or faster.
While I was getting faster, it took a lot of effort. Then, I successfully over-trained and got a stress fracture in my right foot, which took away running and most other forms of cardio for three months. Enough was enough, so I sought out a trainer to help me just get in good shape without hurting myself again! I found Ryan through a lot of Google searching, and his "less is more" and laid-back approach seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. I wasn't even really looking to be a faster runner, just an uninjured one, but Ryan introduced me to the Pose Method, and it felt like I got faster literally overnight. He works drills into my training sessions and set me up with a plan to run a half-marathon and a full-marathon, both of which involve technique drills and two very focused, short running sessions each week. It worked: I ran a half-marathon with a colleague and hardly felt like I did any work. It was so easy that I found myself looking forward to whatever race cropped up next.
The real test came when I did my Navy PRT. Getting the maximum score on push-ups and sit-ups has never been a problem, but then I had to do the run. My final time was 9:46 — 31 seconds faster than I needed to get the score, and 33 seconds faster than my previous PRT. The best part was how easy it was. I never felt like I was struggling to get it over with. With Ryan's help and the Pose Method, I'm working out less, but I'm getting far better results than I ever had!"
"I am a big box gym drop out. I would join, go for a few weeks and drop out. So it is surprising to me that I've stuck with Laid-back fitness for a year now. The reason why I've stuck with it is, I'm having fun, working hard and seeing results. Ryan and Dave have such positive energy and outlook. Their workouts are creative and challenging. I have exceed my fitness goals and have set new ones that I never dreamed possible. I know that no matter what my goal is they will get me there. I've never heard "no you can't do that". They push me to my limits without breaking my limits, plus I'm having FUN. I never would have dreamed that I would find exercise fun, but Ryan and Dave have shown me the way. I'm no longer a drop out. I look forward to my workouts. They are fun and I'm seeing BIG results, mentally and physically. Thank you Laid-back Fitness!"
"When I decided to take the primal challenge I didn't have much knowledge about it, only what Ryan had talked about on occasion. I thought, how hard could this be? So I jumped on board.
I have always been intrigued by health and fitness. Working out and trying new eating plans have been a staple in my life. I have tried biggest loser challenges, counted points and cutting carbs, but I have never been satisfied or comfortable in my own skin. When I learned that the paleo lifestyle did not include eating any processed foods, carbs, rice or grains it absolutely intimidated me. It made it easier when i found out it included playing, getting sun and even having a good night sleep as a part of the lifestyle. Also, I love a challenge. Within the first week I felt as if my entire body was cleansed. Every week from then on got a little easier. My body was not missing all of the processed food and grains it was once use to. Since June I have lost 10lbs and my body feels stronger and healthier everyday.
In addition to changing my eating habits I started taking kettlebell classes. It is not your typical workout at the gym. Not only does Ryan use kettlebells in the class he incorporates other workout stations including ropes, balance beams, monkey bars, climbing stations and much more. It is basically a workout playground. An hour session is over before you know it and leaves you wanting more. As a trainer Ryan works with each client to set personal goals and overcome obstacles, his passion is contagious. I felt defeated after a class I had taken one night when we were challenged to climb the cargo net and I had failed to do so. The feeling afterwards was not gratifying. While training one day he helped me conquer my fear and I climbed up and over the net, the feeling of happiness that overtook me was indescribable. I will be looking forward to my next conquest."
"Laid-back Fitness – the jean shrinker!
I started going to Ryan in the summer of 2011, to get in shape for my wedding. Hoping to lose 5 or 10 pounds, and simply tone up, I had no idea how much fun I was in for! Ever see the Reebok commercial where they're flipping tires and throwing medicine balls against the wall? Well, it's kind of like that. If running on a treadmill inside a sweaty gym is not your thing, then LbF is definitely for you! Ryan provides a gentle yet firm and always-encouraging approach to fitness and nutrition. Working out with Ryan includes all kinds of fun activities (and toys!), like kettlebells, hula hooping, bear-crawling and walking on a balance beam. Before you know it, the 1-hour session has flown by and you feel stronger than ever. The best part? After just a few sessions, I had to make time to shrink my jeans in the dryer! Who doesn't love that?!"
-Martha Pesta Smith
"A few years ago I was working out at a large chain gym and I wanted to change my routine and work with a personal trainer but, I didn't like the tactics of the personal trainers at the gym. I would walk in and feel like I was a customer at a used car lot with salesmen swarming around me, waiting to go in for the kill. I then noticed that there was a new trainer and that he didn't need to harass the clients, his clients results were the best marketing he could have. Ryan's clients were losing weight, looking fit and he was encouraging, kind, and hardworking. I knew that Ryan was the trainer that was going to help me reach my goals and he did. In only a few short months I had lost weight, toned up and most importantly, Ryan helped build self-confidence. His approach to fitness is holistic. It is about mind and body. He cares about your nutrition, your fitness and your overall health.
Recently, I started to work with Ryan again and with his help I have set new goals to accomplish. With Ryan's encouragement I decided to sign up for Rhode Island's first ever military style obstacle course race, Bold-R-Dash. Ryan put together a team, lead team trainings once a week, and on race day he was by my side helping me and the team every step of the way. Team Laid-Fitness ran with boulders, swam in swampy water, climbed soapy walls, and crawled through sand. We started as a team and we finished as a team all thanks to Ryan! In the end my family was there and they were in awe of what we had accomplished. I felt like a million bucks that day!
Ryan is more than a trainer. He is a voice of reason and encouragement. He is a gentle push when you need one and a swift kick in the ass when appropriate. He looks at you as a whole person and not just a training session by keeping connected with his clients outside of the one hour training, sending helpful information and articles. I have become stronger, more toned and happier since embracing Ryan's training philosophy of Laid-back Fitness. As I continue to train with Ryan he continues to help me set new goals. This year I plan on wearing a two-piece swim suit for the first time ever in public and participate in the Polar Bear Plunge in Newport. Without Ryan's training expertise I would still be climbing the StairMaster in a stinky old gym and wondering 'what does it feel like to set a goal and reach it?' If you are looking to change your life around, work with Ryan and he will help you do it!"
"Ryan is an amazing personal trainer and a caring human being. He is extremely knowledgeable, a great motivator and a very personable. As my personal trainer when I was preparing for my Dancing with the Stars of Mentoring dancing debut, he pushed me SOOOOO hard I thought I'd die. Yet he did it in such a nice way, I couldn't help but feel grateful and motivated. I highly recommend Ryan. He's a kinder version of Jillian!"
"I've worked out in various gyms and with other trainers with little results, but working with Ryan has proven to be the experience I needed. Ryan assessed my goals and developed a plan designed to achieve the results I'm aiming for. In the last three months, I have gotten stronger and lost weight by following the plan. Ryan provides the right amount of structure while ensuring that proper form and technique are used. Ryan maintains an encouraging atmosphere without being overbearing. This has been a positive experience for me, and I would recommend Ryan's services to people of any fitness level that are looking for results."
"Ryan, I would like to thank you for being a positive influence in my life. As my personal trainer of almost 7 months, we have worked together on goals I had when I first started which I appreciate so much. When I started, I never thought I would feel as different as I do now. Because of your experience and modifying a challenging workout program for me (due to chronic arthritis) I have become more flexible, my balance is so much better and I am stronger. Even suggestions on foods, reading labels of ingredients while in the grocery market was very helpful. One of my favorite workout equipment is the kettle bell and the ladder pull (universal strength apparatus). I highly recommend you, as you listen to your clients, then gradually increase the program uniquely designed for them. It really shows when you have a passion for something that makes you happy and you can share it with others. Wishing you much success."
"I engaged Ryan specifically to help me train for my first ever triathlon, which I completed Sunday, August 14. I started working with Ryan about 6 weeks ago. I am not particularly athletic, and I am definitely not young, yet I now find myself in the best shape of my life after my workouts with Ryan, in spite of over 30 years in 'the gym'!
Earlier in June, I attended a triathlon that Ryan participated in, and observed him place effortlessly and competitively in his age group. More importantly, he revealed the essence of his Laid-back Fitness concept when he threw on a funky cowboy hat as he started the last leg of the race at the beginning of the run. I decided I wanted to have that much fun, too.
So fun it was, working out at an actual kid's playground, then at a high school track, and finally in a local pond. Naturally, we also had sessions in his cozy gym, filled with enormous surprises, where we also viewed video he took of me while working on running, biking, and swimming skills at the above locations.
It's also important to emphasize that Ryan defines the concept of personal in 'personal trainer'. He helped fine tune my bike, and attended my triathlon, cheering me on in every leg. He will also surprise you with what he understands about nutrition, and I'm not talking about supplements.
Although laid back is part of Ryan's company name, the results are anything but. Beware, however, because after working out at Laid-back Fitness, you may never want to step back into a 'normal fitness center' again, regardless of what color it is, if you know what I mean."
When it comes to nutrition, we like to frame it this way: besides the well-being of our loved ones, and perhaps our relationship with the man in the sky, our personal health is probably the most important aspect of our life! Since what we eat is by far the greatest contributing factor to our health, we find food pretty damn important! Of course, we believe in living a little and not letting a strict diet control our lives! Therefore, if we can eat well for at least 80% of our caloric intake, indulge sensibly, do a little intermittent fasting as damage control, then we can have healthy bodies and minds!
We find the two best guides for healthy and balanced nutrition to be Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint and the Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF). Both diets recommend eating whole, natural foods from reliable sources with the bulk of our calories coming from fat.
The Primal Blueprint was created based on the idea that humans have been around for thousands of years and although the conditions in which we live have changed, our bodies really haven't. So in order to thrive physically, it's best to emulate our ancestors in how they ate (and moved). In the Primal Blueprint's guidelines dairy is considered OK in moderation but not preferred. Grains and legumes are not recommended.
The Weston A Price Foundation aims to restore nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism. The work of Price is detailed in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration where he studied the habits of several modern and isolated tribes around the world in the 1930's and 40's. The common denominators shared by the isolated tribes with impressive and superior physiques were used to create the WAPF's dietary guidelines: essentially the same as the Primal Blueprint except for the use of dairy "from pasture-fed cows, preferably raw and/or fermented." Grains and legumes must be "prepared by soaking, sprouting or sour leavening to neutralize phytic acid and other anti-nutrients."
Foods to Eat:
- Mostly organic and preferably local vegetables and fruits, high quality animal products, nuts, seeds, healthy fats and oils, spices, herbs, supplements.
Foods to Avoid:
- Sugary foods and beverages, refined grains (wheat, corn, rice, pasta, breads, cereals, etc.), raw legumes, trans and partially hydrogenated fats, and high-risk conventional meat and produce.
Local Food Resources:
- Providence Weston Price Chapter, Rachael Bakes
- Farm Fresh RI
Products We Recommend:
- Juice Plus
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Check out our archive of healthy LbF-approved recipes!