Oak and Iron Fitness

Farris Holliday, the January 2024 Oak and Iron Member of the Month

We are very excited to announce January 2024’s Member of the Month – Farris Holliday!! Farris recently made Raleigh his new home, quickly found Oak and Iron, and has spent the last six months as a personal training client of Andrew’s. He shows up 4x/week, works hard, and brings humor to some pretty grueling workouts. 

Now, a disclaimer – you will see photos of Farris on the sled in this blog, but know that we forced him to take those pictures. The sled, or “tank” as he refers to it, is Farris’ least favorite piece of equipment in the gym… but we think it makes for good pics 🙂 

Join us in celebrating Farris Holliday as our Member of the Month. A big CHEERS to his achievements, and the joy he brings to the gym whenever he’s in it. Read on to learn more about Farris and his hobbies (golf!! podcasts!! Dua Lipa!!). This is a longer interview, but you’ll quickly realize why it was hard to edit – so well worded and entertaining! – and why we wanted to recognize Farris. 

Farris Holliday, the January 2024 Oak and Iron Member of the Month

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

Like many folks I’m a recent transplant to the Raleigh area. My wife, our goldendoodle and myself moved to the triangle about a year and a half ago after AirBnB hopping to figure out where home was going to be after 6 years in Seattle, WA.

I rolled into O+I one sunny Monday morning and haven’t looked back since. Started 1:1 training with Andrew (proud first client) and it’s been quite the last 6 months! 

I’m a marketing strategy consultant and avid golfer, musician, bourbon collector, and podcast aficionado (self titled, of course). 


What inspired you to start your fitness journey? Have your goals changed over time? 

I don’t come with a unique story. I got too acquainted with the couch, and let my career and family goals outweigh my need for self care. You Know Who (I mean Covid) brought about some wild golf adventures and I’ve spent a ton of time investing in my swing – I figured it was time to start investing in my body. 


What’s your favorite exercise? And what’s one thing you wish Andrew would just forget about? 

I hate the tank (sled). No, but for real, if it gets “lost” – I hate to say I’m the most likely suspect. That thing can gather rust forever. 😀 

My favorite exercise has changed over the last few months. I’ve learned more and more about my body and what moves feel good, and what just isn’t it for me (looking at you here lunges). 

Lately, I’ve really enjoyed moving heavy weights (back squats and RDLs mainly) but have a soft spot for burning myself to the t-rex arm level fatigue with dumbbell presses. 

Farris Holliday, the Oak and Iron Member of the Month, pushing the sled down the turf.


If you could share your next PT Session with anyone in the world – who would it be?

This is gonna be lame, but probably 16 year old me. Any chance to spend some quality time with my younger self, sprinkle whatever laughable thing I’ll call wisdom, and just provide some guidance for my future, that’d be it. I’d remind him it’s not silly to meet people on apps because you’ll find your wife there, and for the love of God, invest in bitcoin. 

If you’re holding me hostage for a real answer, it would probably be my high school offensive line coach to show him that I am strong and I can do it and NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT DOESN’T HELP, COACH LEACH. 

Nah, nah, alright – real answer. The 90’s Chicago Bulls.

1990s Chicago Pulls Team Members including Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.


Can you share a specific accomplishment (fitness related or not!) that you’re particularly proud of?

Welp, during the Time That Shall Not Be Named (still Covid), I set out to golf in all 50 states. And a little over a year and a half later, I wrapped up Massachusetts. It was a too short lived dream, but was one of the wildest experiences of my life to see the whole country, the good and the bad, and find out the story of golf and self care hidden in some fairway bunker in Nebraska. Outside of that, I was fortunate enough to participate in Bandon Dunes Solstice golf tournament and walk an insane 72 holes of the most perfect golf you can find in one day. I still have blisters on my heels. 

Bandon Dunes Golf Course


What’s one treat you can’t resist?

Cinnamon rolls. If anything results in my A1C levels going through the roof, it’s going to be those little tasty devils. I love cinnamon rolls. Like, we had them at our wedding instead of a cake. Don’t ask me how long it took to convince my wife that it was a good idea. 


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

My wife and I spend a lot of time traveling and finding the best carbonara and glass of red wine we can. We’re pretty big travel people, so if I’m gone for any amount of time, you can bet I’m either three-putting my way around some too-hard-golf-course or somewhere with my wife arguing about which direction the train is. She’s usually right though. I’ll give her that. 


How do you stay positive and focused in the gym?

This one is something I’m constantly struggling with. As a dude who spent way too much time not investing in self care, the crawl back towards health is a long, and most of the time a grueling trench of negative self talk, being sore, and generally unsure of yourself. I spend a lot of time working on mental toughness outside of the gym, and there are a few meditations I go through, and visualization exercises I use to get myself out of the way and do the thing. I also really like listening to Dua Lipa. That helps too. 


What motivates you to stay consistent?

Honestly, I struggle with this, but having an accountability partner in my trainer has made a world of difference. I’m pretty sure Andrew would show up at my house if I ever no-showed, and he’d probably have the tank sled with him. That and my wife and I share our activity logs on our watches and I am CRUSHING her. So that helps. 

Farris Holliday training with Oak and Iron Personal Trainer Andrew Barsuhn. Farris is about to perform Safety Bar Squats.


Do you have a favorite thing about Oak and Iron?

The people. I think you can put any equipment on a gym floor in any facility anywhere, and without the people and the community, you won’t have somewhere people want to be. The trainers and staff, and the folks who I’ve met are just good people. And that can be tragically difficult to find. 

I don’t want to gas him up too much, but having a trainer like Andrew taking me on the journey we’re on together has been a real treasure. He’s been a driving force in getting me going, and keeping me going, and those are the kinds of people you want around you when you’re in that trench I mentioned. 

Farris Holliday, our Member of the Month, with Oak and Iron personal trainer Andrew Barsuhn.


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

In the great words of Ted Lasso: “Taking on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse. If you’re comfortable while you’re doing it, you’re probably doing it wrong.” 

Just get out there. I’m not the ‘if I can do it so can you’ type of guy. But if I can do it, so can you. Embrace the discomfort. Hurt. Be sore out of your mind. But show up. Leave those little puddles of sweat behind to pay homage to what you’ve said yes to. Lay on the floor and groan and be uncomfortable. but show up. Because when you show up, things happen.

Ted Lasso

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


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