Our next Decade of MADness feature needs no introduction. Whether you call one of the Charlotte studios home or are from elsewhere in the MADabolic network, you
probably definitely recognize her, love her reels, and feel super empowered by her badassery around building a healthy relationship with the way you fuel your body (ICYMI, Finley developed MADabolic’s Nutrition Blueprint – check it out).
Finley has worn many hats over the eight-plus years she’s been part of the MADabolic system, and she has been truly integral to defining the brand as we know it today.
Finley grew up an athletic junkie and started with MADabolic as a client in 2013. In true MADdict style, she recalls taking her first class at Charlotte’s Southend studio on July 22, 2013 at 6:00pm with Matt Hooker. She had recently graduated from Davidson College, where she played D1 field hockey, and she was missing the culture, structure, and discipline that a competitive team sport had promoted through her college career.
“My college field hockey coach, who lived in Charlotte at the time, had invited me to class,” recalls Finley. “I bought the new client promotion and came eight times during my 10-day trial. Clearly, at that time, I had not yet educated myself in the value of rest.” But she was hooked, and over time she grew to appreciate MADabolic’s unique ability to execute a progressive yet sustainable training protocol.
Fast forward a year, Finley became a trainer, and in 2017 she left her full-time corporate job to absorb the role of General Manager for MADabolic’s Southend and Elizabeth studios. A few years later, she and her husband joined MADabolic’s Co-Founders, Brandon Cullen and Kirk Dewaele, as partners in the business, fulfilling a personal dream to become a business owner before the age of 30. Today, in addition to holding ownership in MADabolic Charlotte, Finley is the brand’s Director of Culture and Experience, where she enjoys the opportunity to deep-dive into the industry she’s most passionate about. Beyond local impact, she has the opportunity to expose new markets to what she views as a life-changing approach to a healthy relationship with food, rest and recovery, and strength-focused training.
“Walking into MAD for the first time was a breath of fresh air,” she shared. “I came for the workout back in 2013, and I stuck around for the lifestyle and quality of life this place has gifted me over the last eight-plus years. MADabolic has been unapologetically edgy and bold from day one, and, over time, put the wind into my sails to let go of all the bullshit and do the same. The growth I’ve experienced in my fitness, in my personal development, and in my career has been nothing short of amazing. But the real highlight has been the people. As Brandon and Kirk like to say, ‘ya plant corn, ya get corn’. And they planted the seeds to attract a true tribe of like-minded go-getters. The lifelong relationships I’ve found within these walls will forever be a rose in my MADabolic tenure.”
When Finley started training with MADabolic, the Momentum, Anaerobic, and Durability disciplines had yet to be defined. “The evolution of this now-infamous trio of starkly different interval styles may be the most impactful change I’ve seen to the program to-date,” recalled Finley of the early days. “Deload Week programming has become something that our members now respect and crave after each 12-week training cycle. As a fitness product, recovery isn’t always the sexiest concept to promote. So, witnessing us, as an up-and-coming nationally-recognized fitness brand, integrate and outwardly encourage MORE rest and recovery, when everyone else is pushing ‘more, more, more’ has been special.” A third notable transformation over the years? “Kirk’s hair. Long live the mohawk.”
Finley admires MADabolic for all the ways it is the ultimate disruptor in the fitness industry. “We disrupt everything you assume about ‘group fitness,’” she explained. “We disrupt the expectation of high fives, hugs, and microphones placed upon the average group fitness instructor. We disrupt the notion that strength training only happens under a barbell. We disrupt the assumption that variety trumps consistency. We disrupt the sweeping and toxic ‘quick fix’ mentality to results and progress. We’re here to shake the f*cking room.”
And as a 30-year-old mom, she has found herself training less, lifting more, eating more, and resting more now than she was as a 22-year-old college athlete. “Consequently, I am currently far healthier, fitter, and more confident as a 30-year-old mom than I was as a 22-year-old college athlete. Had I not stepped into MAD back in July of 2013, I would not be able to say that right now.”
Finley has been foundational to developing the MADabolic we know and love today. As MADabolic Co-Founder Brandon Cullen put it, "she is the third point of the triangle that makes our team work." Thank you for the passion and enthusiasm, and the blood, sweat, and tears, you’ve contributed to our Decade of MADness, Finley, and for the many ways you’ve helped support and build up the MADabolic family that has meant so much to so many.