Interview with basketball player Nadezhda Grishaeva.

Founder of Anvil Fitness Club Moscow Nadezhda Grishaeva a famous Russian basketball player who played as a heavy forward and center. During her career, she played for the Moscow Dynamo, French Arras, Turkish Besiktas, and also for the Russian national team. As a member of the national team, Nadezhda took part in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, won the European Cup at the club level, twice won silver in the Russian Championship and the Euroleague.

Injury determined everything

I have been involved in sports in my life since birth, says Grishaeva. Maybe it’s a journalistic stamp, but I was born with a ball in my hands. My father is a former professional basketball player, world championship medalist, multiple USSR championship medalist, who later made a successful coaching career. I literally learned how to walk on a basketball court. I can’t imagine what kind of person I would be if professional sports were not in my life. Thanks to my sports career I managed to play for the best clubs in different countries, to become a participant of the Olympic Games in London, which I am very proud of.

Our national team achieved the best result in the last 20 years of basketball in Russia, and I took a direct part in it. No less pleasant is the fact that after that my picture was placed in the Olympic Museum in Lausanne as a member of the national team. The sport gave me the opportunity to study at the USA Basketball School in Philadelphia. It was an amazing opportunity to see and feel in practice how things are with sports in the United States.

How did you get into the fitness industry??

It was an injury that determined everything. In the 2014/15 season I got a serious injury and had a very long recovery time. This literally and figuratively fracture allowed me to realize the transience of my sporting career and to decide on my future. I realized the complexity of recovery and rehabilitation procedures by working for hours in the gym. There was a lot of time to read, think and find new challenges for myself. At that time, the books by American psychotherapist Irvin Yalom became a board book. I was able to rearrange my priorities and start communicating more with my favorite people. I think the choice was made.

After finishing my professional career, I got a higher education in economics at Moscow State University. The fusion of experience and knowledge made it possible to realize the plan to open my first fitness club in Moscow.

Russia A country with good sporting traditions, but only about three percent of the population is engaged in fitness, while in the countries leaders of this industry, the figure reaches 20 percent or more. The potential of the Russian market is simply enormous. In any club format, whether it’s fitness at home, mini studio, budget or premium segment, there is a high demand and a shortage of venues. I personally toured dozens of existing clubs in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and I was surprised by several things.

First of all, most clubs have the same face, no zest the top of the standard and functionality. There was a strong feeling that the design of all areas was carried out by the same team. Secondly, there is a problem with the selection of training equipment: there is no variety and variability, no choice, but a strictly defined list of equipment imposed by the supplier. On leaving the next club, I listed in my mind the shortcomings I saw and thought: I can definitely do better. This is my perfectionism and pursuit of ideals. I dreamed of doing something extraordinary and impressive A fitness that will stand out from the crowd, a club that you want to come to every day, a place for like-minded people, where you are drawn to and filled with positive emotions. My ideas were completely shared by my old friend David Barton American bodybuilder, talented designer and visionary. I decided to create a unique club. That’s how Anvil was born.

Nadezhda Grishaeva. Photo from personal archive

A club that combines three concepts

Tell us about your club.

Anvil It’s a real work of art. It is almost impossible to describe its beauty, you should see it with your own eyes. My main goal was to make a place that was different, first of all To create a club with an unforgettable and unique atmosphere for people who appreciate quality, comfort and unity of sports spirit. Based on his experience of creating exclusive gyms in the USA, David suggested some unusual concepts to me. I decided I wanted to combine the two.

First concept idea with a reference to Lewis Carroll’s famous fairy tale Alice in the Looking Glass. This is a space where the scale of the objects is enormous. You’d be surprised, but it’s really impressive: large space, high ceilings, panoramic windows, huge and amazing interior and decorative items in the form of a marble staircase, torches, fireplace, curtains made of steel chains, murals, mirrors over two and a half meters high. The second concept This is a masculine, brutal gym for those who know what it’s like to pump iron. Third idea an abandoned medieval European castle, where bikers made a rocking gym, hence the corresponding interior items: crosses, skulls, tattoos. Anvil embraces bikers’ inherent non-conformism and characteristic lifestyle-based association with like-minded individuals.

The style of the club lies in a bizarre mix of centuries and epochs, in the interweaving of seemingly completely incongruous things and interior items.

Anvil It’s a mecca for those who love strength training. Who understands how a dream body is created and how hard work it is. I adore people who are fanatical about sports, sparing no effort and time. The club offers the top line of Life Fitness and Hammer Strength equipment.

A large number of training machines of various types, which are suitable for training of any format, a huge number of free weights for real connoisseurs of bodybuilding, cardio zone, with the possibility of synchronization with mobile gadgets, which allows you to track the result of each visit. At the same time, wanting to make the club exclusive and unique, we made a special order for the color scheme of the training equipment, which is not available anywhere else in the world. Spotlights and spotlights, reflecting from the polished metal, create a play of light and shadow.

Club lighting That’s a topic for a separate conversation. I am grateful to David for convincing me and proving how important lighting solutions are. To get a special atmosphere in the club, we have worked out a theatrical stage light. When visiting at different times of the day you will be surprised how the club can change beyond recognition. While in the morning it may be a sun-drenched space, in the evening it is transformed by the manager into a theater of light and shadows, highlighting the beauty of the body, making you literally admire yourself in the countless vintage mirrors around the club.

What is your competitive advantage?

First non-conformism. A kind of rebellion and dissent in the fitness industry. Not to follow the standards, but to blow them up and set your own. Combine the incongruous. Second individualism. I personally selected each member of my coaching team because I wanted every resident to achieve their goals and great results when they visit Anvil. All instructors have higher professional education and work experience of more than 10 years. These are the people who show the utmost care and attention to every customer on a daily basis.

And of course, I wanted our guests to spend maximum time in the club with benefits for their body and soul. For this purpose, I have provided a spa complex. Its highlight a Russian bathhouse with a classic vaulted ceiling, finished with dried pine kelo. A paradise for true connoisseurs of steam rituals. Finnish sauna, various types of massages, figure correction programs, apparatus cosmetology, manicure room, stylist’s services, solarium all of which helps me to enjoy more than just training.

For a comfortable stay for a long time and it passes unnoticed at the club we have a café of author’s cuisine. The chef, who previously worked in Italian restaurants, was invited to create an author’s menu. Together with nutritionists, 80 types of dishes were developed. Anvil café menu? is based on the concept of healthy and balanced nutrition. And to be honest, I can call the result haute cuisine.

Anvil It is a place where Muscovites come for the special atmosphere, wanting to return to the club again and again. My project continues. Every day my team and I are waiting for like-minded people and are happy to share our passion, dedication and knowledge with you. Anvil is deservedly among the three best clubs in Moscow, and for me this is a special achievement.

Now I am thinking about new projects, in other locations, in other countries. I think that in the near future we will be able to see each other not only in Moscow!