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The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Women are Relentless too

Relentless’s team of all female coaches is dedicated to helping female athletes grow stronger inside and outside of the gym.
Submitted Photo
Relentless’s team of all female coaches is dedicated to helping female athletes grow stronger inside and outside of the gym.

The smell of sweat pulsates the air. The clanking of metal plates vibrates the ground. All that is left is the sound of men grunting as they push for that final rep and you have yourself a gym. But what if instead of men grunting, you had women cheering? Cheering for what, you may ask. Cheering for each other. For Relentless Athletics owner Emily Neff, that sounds more like a gym.  

For several years, gyms have always been held to certain standards. A gym was always the place flooded with large masses of men, working on building a “masculine” figure of pure muscle. While women would often go to the gym, the norm usually consisted of men using the weights and women using the cardio machines. Weights have been viewed as a more masculine form of exercise for as long as humans have existed. Whether that is because men are associated with the stronger gender or because women are intimidated by all the clanking and grunting, this norm has been ever-lasting. But not anymore. 

“We are teaching confidence in these young women. It can be scary to try new things, especially when the gym has often been pictured as a male-only environment. We are changing the script, because strength training is just as important, if not more so, for females than for males,” Relentless coach Ally Fayard stated. 

Relentless Athletics is an all-female gym located in Hatfield, Pennsylvania which provides training for female athletes in the North Penn school district and neighboring schools as well. Owner, Emily Neff, first opened the gym in 2015 as a safe place for female athletes who didn’t necessarily feel comfortable or confident starting their lifting journey in a traditional gym. Neff quickly hired other female instructors who were just as dedicated to helping build a strong female community as herself. 

“I was inspired to start working at Relentless because of the culture of the gym, as it presents an amazing opportunity to train and inspire young female athletes to become better, stronger versions of themselves,” Relentless trainer Ashlyn Kefauver revealed. “Another factor was the injury rehab program at Relentless, which helps athletes come back from any injury they may be dealing with and is a rewarding process to be a part of, to watch an athlete overcome and encourage them throughout the process”.  

Many female athletes, including those from North Penn, have found that Relentless has prepared them in several different ways. 

“Relentless has helped me become stronger physically and mentally. It has prepared me for exercises I will be doing in college and has even taught me about my nutrition and how important it is when you are a student-athlete,” North Penn softball player and Relentless athlete Casey Sokol shared. “They have also helped me learn about my muscles and how to maintain my strength during my on and off-season”.

North Penn softball player, Casey Sokol (right), after completing 350 sessions with Relentless Athletics.

While the word relentless can typically be associated with not giving up, Kefauver and Fayard believe that the word has an even deeper meaning. 

“The name relentless describes the type of female athletes we strive to build in our gym, both mentally and physically,” Kefauver shared. “As a coach, the word relentless means our athletes are prepared to take on any of their goals, whether in their sport or daily lives and continue to pursue those until they’re achieved”.  

“The word relentless perfectly describes my coaching philosophy and a very important skill for young women to learn. I love teaching young athletes how to be relentless in their pursuits to never give up on their dreams, but also realizing that their dreams take work,” Fayard added. 

Fayard first heard of relentless when she was a senior in college while studying human nutrition and dietetics at the University of Maine. Fayard, a division one female track and field athlete herself, was thrilled at the idea of getting to train all female athletes and immediately applied to become a trainer at Relentless. After she began working at the gym, Fayard quickly noticed how unique Relentless truly is. 

“Relentless is different from many other gyms because every athlete goes through a movement assessment where we discuss your training load, injury history, personal goals, and recovery habits. We then put you through a small training session to introduce movements and see how you like it,” Fayard explained. “From there, every athlete receives a completely individualized program that is delivered in a semi-private setting with a 6:1 athlete-to-coach ratio. This allows us to focus on your individual goals that we discussed in the assessment, while still working within a group setting”. 

Not only is Relentless unique in that the training is personalized for each athlete, but the gym also has a very encouraging environment that you can’t get anywhere else. 

“By being an all-female community, Relentless is a very open and caring place. We understand the changes your body is going through, we know about your sports season, and we love connecting with each athlete individually. We ask a question of the day every day to increase engagement among the athletes because most of them don’t know each other when they start,” Fayard revealed. “The QOTD helps spark conversation and lets athletes get to know each other. We also have gym rules that include acting like a team. This means we are constantly cheering for others in our group and making sure the energy and positivity are high”. 

“The environment at Relentless is really positive and helpful. All the coaches push you to do your best and always help you when you need it. It is also so encouraging when you have the whole gym cheering for you,” Sokol added. 

Making Relentless an environment where all athletes feel comfortable is each instructor’s main goal. Fayard and Kefauver hope that by creating a space where athletes know they can turn to better themselves physically and mentally, they can continue to build a strong female community and encourage more female athletes to start their weight training journey at Relentless. 

“To any girls that are afraid to join Relentless, I would say that is totally normal, all of our girls have some nerves coming in on their first day and typically don’t have a ton of prior lifting experience, but our goal is to create a welcoming environment and for you to feel comfortable as soon as you step in the gym,” Kefauver shared. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to us, we would love to answer any questions you may have and hopefully help you get stronger and reach your goals”.  

If you are a North Penn female athlete or even a female athlete in the area, and you are interested in training at Relentless Athletics, you can get in contact with the Relentless team through their email at [email protected] or by phone at 215-918-9748. If you want to learn more you can also find more information on their website

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  • E

    Emily NeffFeb 21, 2024 at 10:37 am

    Thank you for such a beautiful article about our program!

  • W

    Willa MaglandFeb 19, 2024 at 10:00 pm

    Thanks, Peyton, for this fantastic article about a great place I didn’t even know our community had! It makes me proud to see how uplifting small businesses can thrive here 🙂