By Seth Daniel
As Chad Flahive arrived at Heartbreak Hill Running Club on Tremont Street Monday evening, he welcomed several of those in tank tops and running shoes outside the store with the greeting of a friend and not just a trainer.
It’s not enough for Flahive to just lead an exercise program, but in reality he said his goal has been to lead a closely-knit and growing fitness community – and it’s something his ‘Public Body’ workouts in Franklin Square Park have done since 2012.
Flahive’s Public Body has picked up for another summer and is growing, meeting outside the Heartbreak Hill every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and then running to Franklin Square for an invigorating evening of push ups on the fountain, laps around the Square and challenging cardio maneuvers in the grass.
“The biggest selling point about Public Body is not so much about the exercise as much as it is the community we’ve developed around it,” he said before Monday’s session. “So many people have become great friends here. It’s been goo to see like minded people come together around fitness and become very good friends too…You have to have the right mindset behind it when you’re the leader. The community part is the driving force behind things. The pole need to feel they are part of something bigger than workout classes. If it’s just about the workout, then there’s not as much value to it. You need to feel part of the community, and that’s what we’ve done here.”
Mike Flynn is a regular at Public Body after joining last summer and coming to almost every session. Since that time, he has made friends socially and within the workout space that have endured and, he said, have become a big part of his life.
“I love being outside and you don’t find that consistently anywhere else,” he said. “Of course, the South End is fantastic for this. It’s something that’s seasonal and I look forward to. When spring comes, I say, ‘Oh yeah, it’s time to get back out and workout with Chad.’ He’s been able to build up a core group of followers and friends. Even to this day, I’ve become such great friends truly with people I met here last year. We do things in a workout space and outside of that socially. We been able to become such good friends because of this environment that Chad created around fitness.”
Flahive began his career in fitness about 10 years ago, going around to area gyms and finally decided to lead his own efforts. He began Public Body in 2012 and has built it up slowly, moving to Franklin Square last year.
He is certified in group fitness, Pilates, cycles and CrossFit Level 1 – which means that every workout brings something new and unexpected to the mix.
He said he is excited to be part of the ‘Summer of Fun’ promoted by the neighborhood association and the Friends group. Being outside, he said, is liberating.
“I feel like so much of the year we are cramped up inside working out,” he said. “When the spring comes, Boston changes. You see it in the way people carry themselves differently. There’s a whole different mood when you can get out of the gym a few months of the year. I think it’s totally priceless.”
Eric Huang, president of the Blackstone Franklin Square Neighborhood Association, said