By Elyssa Goodman
Portraits By Eduardo Schneider
With a physique that looks as if Michelangelo carved her from pure marble, Hannah Eden’s visage is as much a reminder of persistence and commitment as are her accomplishments in the last three years as a fitness professional. In that time, Eden has become not just an elite trainer, a sponsored athlete and the face of training videos for some of the world’s best fitness publications, but she’s also opened her own gym, PumpFit Club, a 2,600-square-foot space in the heart of Fort Lauderdale. But, as we’ve discovered, Eden’s strength isn’t only on the surface.
By her own admission, Eden didn’t have much direction before finding her path as a fitness professional. Originally from Maidenhead, a town just outside of London, she moved to Fort Lauderdale after high school and spent a few rebellious years partying. Then in 2012, she was introduced to CrossFit while studying photography at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Although she originally planned to become a fashion photographer and photo retoucher, she realized she loved rising to CrossFit’s challenges and began training as an athlete and coach in her spare time.
By January 2013, she made a New Year’s resolution to train every day for the next year. Before accomplishing her resolution, she was invited to curate a fitness program at Nikki Beach in Miami. She began coaching at a gym, and in 2014, she competed to become the face of ReebokONE, making it to the final four. While Eden didn’t win the competition, she says coming up short was the best thing that could have happened to her.
“I left extremely hungry,” she says.
From there, she founded her own gym at just 24 years old. PumpFit Club opened in Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village in October 2015, two months after the competition. It features a unique fitness experience of Eden’s own design, with small classes and personalized attention. While coaching at other places, Eden noticed a demand for CrossFit-style classes that were light on what she calls the “scary” aspects of the sport (such as Olympic-style barbell weightlifting with a set amount of repetitions). Those intense, weight-driven activities are feats Eden says one can really only accomplish without getting hurt if he or she has prior experience as an athlete.
Instead, Eden wanted to create a more inclusive fitness experience. “I wanted everyone who walked through my door to feel like an athlete,” Eden says of PumpFit, which is based on a high-intensity cardio and resistance-training program.
PumpFit classes are done on a time schedule, so participants can move as fast or as slow—and lift as much or as little—as they want. PumpFit participants have included everyone from a Miami Dolphins linebacker to septuagenarians.
“We wanted to create an atmosphere where all we’re here for is to build a community within fitness, where people come together for a similar goal, which is to better themselves,” Eden says. The gym itself, which is one big room set up boot camp-style, doesn’t even have mirrors. “Don’t worry about what you look like,” Eden says. “Just let your body perform.”
Since opening her gym, Eden has also begun starring in fitness videos for Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Bodybuilding.com and more. She is also sponsored by RSP Nutrition, RockTape and NordicTrack, and is a Reebok athlete. She is featured in the latest fitness DVD from Men’s Health fitness director B.J. Gaddour and will be included in an upcoming Women’s Health DVD. This year, she was highlighted in Bodybuilding.com’s “Bodies of Work” series, which celebrates the human physique at its fittest. She has launched PumpFit online classes that are accessed by people around the world, from Hong Kong and London to Australia and France. In October, Eden will teach a PumpFit class and judge a fitness competition at Fort Lauderdale’s first-ever TheFitExpo at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center.
Eden’s next goals are not just to continue growing PumpFit’s online courses but also to make a difference for communities in need. Earlier this year, she joined fellow fitness celebrity Ashley Horner on a three-day, 230-mile run around Haiti to raise money for the country’s Maison Fortuné Orphanage.
“At the beginning, it was like, ‘I want to spread my fitness, and I want people to see what we’re doing around the world,’” Eden says. “Now it’s like, ‘Wow, we’re reaching millions of people who support our cause, so why do it only for ourselves?’”
Their goal was to raise $28,000, enough for the children to be educated for one school year. Instead, they raised more than $70,000.
Overall, much has changed since the beginning of Eden’s journey, both physically and mentally. “I was so concerned that people would think I looked different,” she says. “But I’m proud of the muscle I’ve built, and I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do physically and emotionally. Now it’s not necessarily about what I look like—it’s about what my body can do and what I can push my body to do to see its true potential.”
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2017 Issue.