Lee and Isis Hargrave’s enduraLAB brings like-minded people together

Lee and Isis Hargrave are the husband-and-wife team who own enduraLAB, the strength and endurance gym in Fort Worth that offers so much more than just a workout. The couple has two children, ages 10 and 7, and this year enduraLAB turns 10. The Hargraves say it’s been an amazing journey bringing up this baby, which was born when Isis worked at Lululemon and was tasked with organizing a “fun run.” Lee, a passionate endurance athlete, jumped at the opportunity to provide a new direction for run groups. Before they knew it, one thing led to another and theenduralab.com, an online endurance community, was born.

“Runners wanted programming for training,” Isis says, “And that became an online resource.” EnduraLAB grew from a small group to what Blue Zones Project calls the Power 9 principles of Right Tribe -- a collection of like-minded people who support each other’s health and well-being. “In a big box gym, if you stop going, nobody notices,” Lee says. “Here, someone checks on you. We help keep people accountable.” Now a decade in, the LAB combines all facets of the things that endurance athletes need, from strength training to recovery.

“Everyone wants the next fad, a magic pill, or the next big thing,” Lee says. “We are not that.” To that end, Lee and Isis examine everything about an athlete’s performance, from movement to how they fuel their bodies. Isis promotes nutrition coaching as just as integral to an athlete’s performance as how much they can bench press. “I love helping people balance fuel and performance,” she says. In the Nutrition Lab, Isis encourages people to move beyond the fads of the day “to know what their food is made of.” The Blue Zones principle of eating with a Plant Slant is important Lee says –– people who are consuming fruits and vegetables tend to be healthier. “A lot of times when people are trying to figure out their health, they’re only thinking about fitness,” Isis says. “I love helping people balance fuel and performance.”

Another part of fitness is the Power 9 concept of Downshift, which the Hargraves say doesn’t get enough attention. Downshifting includes incorporating some kind of stress reduction that can battle chronic inflammation. The prevalence of stress hormones like cortisol, the lack of good quality sleep, and the non-stop influx of smartphone-generated images are costing Americans a significant toll in their health. “We encourage athletes to program breathing and a wind-down routine,” Lee says. “We’re all workaholics. We’re all overloaded. We have to start focusing on recovery. Downshift is going to be huge in a few years.”

It’s not rocket science (although Lee is actually a rocket scientist –– technically an aeronautical engineer). Along with strength training, enduraLAB employs a physical therapist and a licensed massage therapist on site to help athletes modify routines if injuries occur. One of the most interesting things about the Hargraves is the intensity with which they approach almost everything around their fitness business, and the way they approach challenges, like the closure and reopening of the gym last year. “Covid-19 emphasized how unhealthy we are in the US in general, and in Texas in particular,” Lee says. The gym is not at 100% capacity yet, and the Hargraves continue to include social distancing. “There are 15 spots, and everyone has their own workout equipment set out,” says Lee. At enduraLAB you’re getting a clean, safe space to work out among a group of like-minded people.

Like the Blue Zones Power 9 principles, the Hargrave’s philosophy is all about balance: making small improvements to different aspects of your life that have a cumulative impact on well-being. As Lee says, “It’s the simple things people can do to be healthier.”