get to KNOW Abby McDonnell
“The thing women have yet to learn, is nobody gives you power. You just take it.”
Hard work has never been an option for Abby McDonnell. Born into the world of entrepreneurship, she learned the power of working to be good at what she loves at a very early age. With a degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship, she opened her first fitness facility (South Charlotte CrossFit ‘10). Mirroring the same business model, she decided to open two more gyms: one in Knoxville, TN – Rocky Top CrossFit (now sold) – and one in Asheville – Beer City CrossFit. The facilities strive to improve the lives of its members & give back to the community by hosting events, which raise funds for causes that resonate with each gym. All the while, Abby has been raising a family of her own. Her husband, Jeremy, a full time Asheville firefighter and her partner in crime, as well as her two babes, Kinder (5yo) and Wyatt (3yo), are a huge part of her success.
What makes your crossfit studio unique?
The vibe. We have been in this industry for over 10 years and owned 3 gyms – above all, our goal is to get the individual to their goals, while maintaining a laid-back atmosphere. Not super competitive, not cliquey, we train hard and have free beer in the fridge to hang out afterwards. We encourage community and relationship building – its really quite unique.
What do you find helps motivate people the most to obtain a healthy mind and body?
Age, it rears its ugly head in many forms! Sometimes it’s a creaky knee, sometimes it’s a mental tough spot – but once you hit that rough patch, you find prioritizing yourself becomes less of an option and more of a necessity, might as well whip yourself into shape with a group of like-minded folks!
What moment did you realize you wanted to get into the health & wellness industry?
When I realized that the men around me were all stronger than me 😉
I had to prove it to myself (and all the other woman!) that we are fully capable of obtaining the same level of strength as them! Its been empowering to see the gender stereotypes torn down and to help the men AND women around me push to be the best version of themselves!
What has been a challenge you faced owning your own studio? What has helped you get past it? Share any advice for others wanting to get into the industry but don’t know where to start.
Honestly, the entanglement of identity has been the most difficult. Starting as a go-get-’em athlete, proving myself as a worthy owner, transitioning into the role of motherhood and maintaining it all, has been the hardest thing. Having a good life-coach and setting aside some serious time for self-reflection and goal-setting has been CLUTCH. Knowing what I value most, and sticking to that has helped me get past the overwhelm that the life of ownership can bring!
The biggest lesson or piece of advice you’ve ever been told?
Stay in your lane.
The start of a new year typically sparks new goals for someone’s personal fitness journey. What would you tell people to keep them from falling off the wagon?
Surround yourself with like-minded supporters. Be open about your goals, share it as often as you can so that the accountability of your community can help you stay motivated.
How do you continue to empower others for their health and fitness goals?
By training right next to them, and listening. There’s something special that comes from shared suffering, showing my vulnerability by just being real helps others to see that everyone has the same struggles, including myself. Really hearing them out, on a regular basis will shed light on what they truly desire – through that comes continued offerings, seminars and programming that fits the needs of the client base!
To stay in the KNOW with Abby McDonnell, make sure to follow her on:
You can also find Abby on pg. 35 of KNOW Asheville Vol. 1!