Oak and Iron Fitness

Meet our outstanding February MemberS (!) of the Month, Heather and Brian Fields – our first duo! These two are *dedicated* to say the very least. They are 5am regulars during the week, and Weekend Warriors on Saturdays and Sundays. As devoted parents to twin high school boys, Heather and Brian understand the importance of balancing a busy family life with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Their contagious energy and positive attitude have not only contributed to their own well-being but have also inspired and motivated fellow Oak and Iron members. 

Read on to learn more about this very dynamic and STRONG duo!

Tell us a bit about yourselves and how you’re affiliated with Oak and Iron.

We’re Heather & Brian Fields, married for 20 years this July, parents to Ben & Jack, and 5 am O&I regulars. We met in college at UNC Chapel Hill–Go Heels-and settled in Raleigh when we got married.

What are your individual sport/fitness backgrounds?

Heather: I played softball and volleyball in high school, but I would never call myself an athlete.  You’d know if you ever saw me play – hahaha – but, fitness has always been important to me.

Brian: My days of organized sports ended in high school, but I learned to enjoy working out soon after. Initially, the gym at the campus rec center was a great place to pass time between classes – mainly weightlifting- but I’ve also tried swimming, being a distance runner, and spent a few years at a crossfit gym before finding O&I.


Has working out been part of your relationship since the beginning? Tell us a bit about how you began working out together.

Heather: It’s hard to remember that far back, honestly. We’ve been together for over 25 years.  My earliest memory of working out together was when we were preparing for our wedding.  I remember working out together somewhere in Mebane, which is where we were living at the time.

Brian: Millennium Fitness in Mebane circa 2003. Definitely a bodybuilder’s gym. But we’d go in there and spend some time on the treadmill or elliptical and do some lifting on the various machines. Looking back, it doesn’t resemble the programmed group fitness classes we’ve come to enjoy in recent years, but it was all we knew at the time.


You have two sons. Tell us a bit about them. Do yall ever do Family Workouts? Are you a “Turkey Trot Family?” 

We have twin boys, Ben and Jack, who are 15 years old, and they are our everything.  Parenting teenagers is not for the weak, but we’re learning to love the roller coaster.  The boys are sophomores at LRHS, and they are athletes at heart!  They’ve both played several sports–football, basketball, lacrosse, one very bad season of soccer–throughout their childhood, but they have settled on baseball as their true love.  Our favorite place to be is on the side of a field watching them do what they love.  We did a lot of family workouts when they were younger…it’s always been an important part of our lives and theirs.  But as they’re getting older, they prefer to program their own garage workouts while blaring their music. 🙂  And yes we are 100% a Turkey Trot family.  We completed a Turkey Trot in Hatteras, NC this past Thanksgiving with our entire extended family.  Fun Fact: Mom & Dad beat the boys. 


What are your favorite exercises? and what’s something you’d be totally fine never doing again?

Heather:  I love love love battle ropes and most exercises found in the DRIVE day workouts (except the echo bike…ugh).  And I tend to dislike exercises that make me feel like a failure. Ha. RFESS, pull-ups….  Also, I don’t love a kettlebell. Sorry, Mel!

Brian: We couldn’t be more different here. A heavy deadlift is my favorite lift. I also enjoy high intensity short intervals like bike/row for calories – pair it up with a dumbbell or kettlebell, even better. I am ok without the Battle Ropes.


If you could have a small group session with anybody else in the world – who would it be?

 Heather: Obviously, Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce.

Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift


How do you support each other in achieving your fitness goals?

Heather: I’d say we’re a nice combination of cheerleader and accountability partner for each other.  By that, I mean he’s the cheerleader and I’m the one who’s going to call him out if he doesn’t follow through on a plan to workout.  Beyond that, we make a plan every week for our workout goals…which classes we’re going to attend, what other activities we can fit in, and how it will work with everything else going on in our lives.  Our workout time is non-negotiable most of the time.


What’s your pre-5am routine?

4:02 First of 2 alarms (turn off)

4:03 2nd alarm; Snooze to 4:12; Snooze again to 4:21

[Coffee made the night before]

4:42 Out the door


What’s one treat you can’t resist?

Heather: We both have a really serious sweet tooth–like it’s a problem.  And it only takes the hint of a suggestion to get Brian to go on a candy run. 

Brian: Jelly Beans…preferably those generic dollar store bags, but Starburst Jelly Beans don’t last long either.


How do you spend the majority of your time outside of the gym? 

We have children. What do you mean?  Seriously, though, it’s Ben and Jack’s world and we’re just living in it.  That’s why we love Oak and Iron so much.  It’s a small chunk of time each week during which we get to do something for ourselves and with each other.


Have there been challenges you’ve faced together in the gym (or outside!) and how have you helped one another overcome them?

When you’ve been together for as long as we have, challenges are inevitable. We’ve experienced a lot of highs and lows.  What doesn’t change is our commitment to each other and to being a team. That is how we have approached every challenge, from something as small as a workout to something as big as the death of a loved one.  We both have very different strengths, and I feel like we’ve been able to pick each other up in different ways over the years.


How do you incorporate a healthy lifestyle into your relationship outside of the gym, such as in your nutrition and daily activities?

As a family, we love sports, games, anything competitive–it’s just who we are.  We’re always up for a new challenge. Frisbee golf, paddle boarding, pickleball, a mud run…  We’ve made some of our best memories as a family being outside and active together.


What motivates you to stay consistent?

Heather: #1 My mental health.  #2 Not wanting to start over again.

Brian: I am a believer in momentum. It’s much easier to keep going if I don’t stop. And, although the gap is narrowing I want to hang on to being faster and stronger than my kids for a little while longer. 


Do you have a favorite thing about Oak and Iron?

Heather: I love a lot of things about Oak & Iron.  I love the people, including the staff and the members.  I feel a real sense of community with people who I might not ever have met otherwise.  I feel a part of something, and that makes me want to keep coming back.  I also love that Matt and the trainers create opportunities for members to grow in ways beyond fitness.  What other gym has a Book Club?!?!  Also, the service opportunities are awesome. And on a very basic level, I love that I can show up at a given time and someone will just tell me what to do. Ha.  It’s one less thing for me to plan, think about, stress about.

Oh, and I love that the atmosphere is supportive rather than competitive.  I don’t get the sense that people are showing up and trying to beat someone else; everyone is just trying to be the best version of themselves.

Brian: Before joining O&I, I worked out in my garage for a couple of years (still at 5am). After a while, I realized I started cherry picking my workouts, and I missed the people. It’s the coach-led group class format for me.  


Do you have a favorite fitness memory together?

Heather:  Before Oak & Iron, Brian was a pretty big CrossFit guy.  He decided to compete in some local CrossFit event with his gym at the time, and I was really proud to take our boys, who were 9 years old at the time, to watch him compete.  It was so sweet to see them look to their dad as a role model in fitness/health but more importantly as an example of how to set a goal, do the work, and see it through.  



Any words of encouragement for other members or people hoping to start their own fitness routine?

Heather:  I’ll leave this one to Brian.  He’s the cheerleader, remember? 🙂 My answer would be there are no words.  It’s not easy. It never will be. You have to do the work. Show up.  It’s always worth it, and you’ll never regret it.

Brian: Personally, for a fitness routine to work for me, it has to be fun. So make sure you’re having fun. But also I think it’s ok to be a little bit selfish and competitive; take pride in the wins and feel good about that. Sure, lifting something heavier than last time is a win, doing something faster than the group beside  you is a win. But so is getting up early to work out, or showing up on a Tuesday because Monday was too busy. Keep chasing the wins, but make sure you’re having fun.



To nominate a peer for Member of the Month – email team@oakandironfitness.com


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