Physical Fitness and Mental Health Awareness

May 29th, 2020
Posted In: Uncategorized

By: Madison Yerke

May is Physical Fitness and Mental Health Awareness month and especially in these challenging times, it’s more important now than ever to be there and support youth as they navigate life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out this movement exercise from Ryan McGowan, owner and operator of Laid-back Fitness, demonstrate a fitness and movement game that mentors can play with mentees virtually anywhere, without needing any equipment!


Ryan McGowan is a mentor and the owner of Laid-back Fitness, a Rhode Island-based gym with a focus on the benefits of natural movement. McGowan has combined his passion for fitness and mentoring through his “Young Ninja Warriors” program that trains the young ninjas in learning the mental and physical skills needed for success on and off the [obstacle] course.

Carson Dean, a young ninja warrior from McGowan’s program, competed on this season of American Ninja Warrior Junior, presenting the competitors with similar courses and obstacles challenged on the NBC parent show, American Ninja Warrior. Carson attributes his success to his mentors and trainers through the young ninja program:

“When I first started coming to Laid-Back Fitness I was nine and there were a lot of obstacles I didn’t know how to do. I didn’t have a lot of confidence. But after working with Zak in classes every week he made me feel like I could do anything. I felt like there were no limits, just new challenges to overcome. Now I am old enough to help out in the Young Ninja classes and birthday parties and I hope I am able to inspire the younger kids to feel confident the way that Zak inspired me for so many years.”

Through Laid-back Fitness, McGowan also created and organized an annual New Year’s Day polar plunge, as well as obstacle course challenge that would create the Frozen Clam Dip Obstaplunge to support MENTOR Rhode Island – one of MENTOR Rhode Island’s biggest fundraising events of the year. 

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