What country were you born in (if first generation, where is your family from?), and how long have you lived in Cleveland?  

I was born in Vietnam and I have been living in Cleveland for about three and a half years.  

Tell me about the inception of your business! Why did you choose to open this type of business? Is this part of your culture? Take me through your creative process.   

I opened up Amplio Fitness because, through personal experience and shared ones from community members, I realized there was a giant gap in care when it came to Queer Wellness. Public resources (like gyms) were severely undereducated to unique Queer experiences, which created an unsafe and anxiety-provoking experience. Many folks didn’t even attempt to engage with wellness/fitness because of the fear of how they would be treated. Personally, my own gender journey inspired my interest in wellness. I wanted to take care of myself and my body and the utter lack of resources and information guided me to get my certification in Health Coaching and fill in the gap of care. 

Culturally, Jikiden Reiki was inspired by my desire to reclaim parts of my identity and culture and become more in tune with my spiritual health. I chose Jikiden Reiki specifically because it is an Asian (specifically Japanese) holistic healing method. When it was brought to the Americas, it was extremely Westernized and white-washed due to anti-Asian sentiment from World War 2. Jikiden is a specific branch of teaching, intentionally using methods and intentions from the founder of Reiki to preserve its original meaning. Being able to provide comfort and restoration to my clients while also intentionally honoring the authentic intentions of Reiki has been a blessing.  

The pioneers and supporters of International Women’s Day believe that “from challenges come change.”: What has been the largest challenge in building your business?  

The largest challenge so far has been COVID-19. We’ve been in business for a little less than three years, and in 2020 we were set to break even. With the arrival of COVID and the shutdown proceeding, our client base and source of income were erased. In 2021, we are still trying to recover from that damage. 

How does your business enhance your community? What does it introduce to people, or what can people learn from it?  

Access to wellness is a right. There are so many systemic mechanisms that prevent Queer folks from accessing wellness resources, from public gyms to medical services. We as a community should not have to fear physical danger, social isolation, ineffective programming, and other forms of violence based upon our identity. Specifically, the Transgender and Nonbinary communities are subject to elevated levels of violence and persecution, while arguably being the group that needs these resources the most. 

Amplio Fitness recognizes these gaps of care and begins to remedy them. From preferred names and gender pronouns on our intake forms to specific Gender Affirmation Fitness and Nutrition Programming, we seek to reclaim wellness spaces for our community. We are a queer founded and led organization working to dismantle the systemic inaccessibility to wellness that we face. 

For more information, please visit our website: https://www.ampliofitness.com/ 

My business is called Amplio Fitness, located in Rocky River, Ohio. We are a wellness studio dedicated to increasing accessibility for the LGBTQ+ community. Currently, we are able to provide personal training, nutrition coaching, and Jikiden Reiki sessions (both online via. Zoom and in-person). Our mission is to reclaim wellness accessibility for marginalized communities by providing a safe space for clients to explore what wellness means to them and receive guidance and support to achieve their goals.  

Amplio Fitness 

FB: https://www.facebook.com/ampliofitness 

IG: @ampliofitness 

Belle Ursa 

IG: @truepersuasian