A former professional basketball player with sports running in her DNA, the founder of Anvil Fitness Club Moscow, Nadezhda Grishaeva reveals what makes her high octane fitness club the best from the rest.

The inspiration

Sports have always played an intrinsic role in Grishaeva’s life from a very early age. She explains, “I was in love with sports as my father was a professional basketball player, and most of my childhood was spent travelling with him and participating in his games. The level of performance brought out something unique in him which I observed early on.” Her father enlisted her in basketball at age seven to which she adds, “it was not like I immediately realized that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I started step by step; I wasn’t good in the beginning, but I really embraced the competitive spirit and the idea to aspire to be the best.”

The path of entrepreneurialism

As she went on to play for top clubs in diverse countries followed by an opportunity to play at the Olympic Games in London for the Russian national team, she was amazed to see the expansive gym where all the athletes went to stay in shape, says Grishaeva. She also travelled frequently and visited gyms to stay in shape, but noticed something was lacking in every gym she visited.

After an injury at age 24, Grishaeva realized she could not play sports for the rest of her life. She adds, “I began thinking of starting something that would help others, given the fact that there were not many gyms in my native Russia where you can obtain solid training, with good quality machines and great people around you.” With her experience lent from the Olympic Games, she decided to take the leap of faith to embark on launching her own fitness center.

Following your passion

According to Grishaeva, it’s all about achieving the goal you have and doing it in the best way possible. “Setting Anvil Fitness Club up took time to organize, to find a team, to source the right location and gather the people who would help me accomplish my dream,” she says, but believes that business and sports are similar. “It is the same as everything else in life; if you are doing it with passion, it will always work out.”

A footprint in Russia

As Russia showcases key sports traditions, Grishaeva reveals that only three percent of the population is engaged in fitness. She elaborates, “When I was a teenager, I studied in the US and was enthralled to see the outdoor fields, basketball courts, and gyms; and that everywhere you look, there was sports and fitness. My family that had hosted me worked out in the gym daily, quite different to my native Russia where they are more invested in professional sports.” The bigger hurdle for her was in attracting people to this concept and went beyond curating a top professional team. “I aspired to build a place where people would want to come and have a good time,” she says. “It is not about sports but having a community that loves sports. In my beautiful club, you can not only practice, but develop a full routine, eat balanced meals at our healthy restaurant, visit the spa, and of course, imbibe the design aesthetics of our space.”

A dream set in motion

Her dream was set in motion with her acquaintance David Barton, an American bodybuilder, talented designer and visionary. Originally from a simple neighborhood in St. Petersburg, Grishaeva recalled her visits with her father during his training. “These gyms were very old school and not at all glamorous,” she says, while she loved the posters of famous American body builders on the walls. She says, “I decided that I wanted to create a club for brutal men. The meaning behind ‘Anvil’ is something that helps you create anything you want in the desired shape, so if you put effort into your body, you can have the body of your dreams.”

Driven by original concept of a brutal muscle gym for men, the second concept was based on the story ‘Alice in Wonderland’ with showstopping objects, huge mirrors and objects, while the third concept was an abandoned castle. She also wanted bikers’ paraphernalia included in the space. “When I saw these concepts on paper, I couldn’t choose one, so I chose them all.” And with Barton’s experience at creating clubs out of fitness spaces, he merged these together. “As I am a fan of music, we also brought that energy into fitness.”

Attention to details

The aesthetics are completely unique to other gyms, says Grishaeva, as is the quality of their machines. “I brought the best machines here and personally tried the machines which David (Barton) had personally set in a specific order with edgy lighting to create an ephemeral glow.” With an immense thought process behind the concept of Anvil, Grishaeva explains that prior to launching her own gym, she visited many gyms and conducted her research. “I observed that besides price points, there was not much difference between them, and that I needed to create an impression,” she says. She placed key masterpieces in the club, big mirrors where the male clientele would see themselves bigger than reality. “I placed steel curtains and torches on the walls to support the concept of a castle,” she says. “I wanted something special because all my life, I have felt special; so, what I am doing should be a reflection of this.”

Wellness tips

A fan of a healthy diet, her first tip is to invest in your nutrition. “Our health starts on our plate; you can avoid many health issues if you eat healthily,” she says. “Secondly, sleep, which is key, and includes sleeping as early as possible.” Lastly, engage in sports of some kind and make it fun and productive, but suggests investing in beautiful sports clothes which will make you look and feel good.


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