New fitness center is a passion project for the owner

You walk into Allied Group Fitness on a Saturday morning for your first cycling class. You’re a little nervous—all your friends tell you how intense spin classes are! But you’re greeted by a bright studio space, just starting to fill up with fellow cyclists. A multi-colored LED splays light across the walls while class-goers chatter happily as they start to pedal. The instructor greets you cheerfully and helps you set your bike up, explaining the class structure and encouraging you to do what feels best for your body during today’s ride. 

Forty-five minutes later, you’re a sweaty mess—but you can’t stop smiling. You pull out your phone to check the class schedule so you can sign up for your next class. And as the lobby bustles with new arrivals for the Saturday afternoon tie-dye party, you think you might actually look forward to going to the gym for the first time in your life. Welcome to Allied Group Fitness!

Opened in December of 2022, Allied Group Fitness is a passion project of owner Ali Huntoon. “I fell in love with fitness a few years ago when I first connected with the spin bike,” says Huntoon, “Our goal at Allied Group Fitness is to help you rediscover your inner drive and reconnect with your authentic self through mind & body fitness!”

Ali began offering online group fitness classes through Zoom in 2021, after the studio she was teaching at had to shift directions due to  the COVID-19 pandemic. Left without that source of joy and income, Ali turned her basement into a home studio she could instruct from virtually. Carrying certifications in Spinning, yoga, TRX strength-training, and group fitness, she hosted daily classes for indoor cycling, yoga, and strength training for $5 per class. She spread the word through social media and local networking groups, and built a website where clients could register and pay for classes. 
Allied Group Fitness is located at 420 Waldo Avenue in Midland.
Ali’s goal of taking her business from virtual to in-person came to life in the form of the 1200-square-foot space at 420 Waldo Ave. in Midland. The studio is next door to the human resources consulting business Ali owns and operates alongside her husband and business partner, Scott. While small, the space is bright and welcoming, boasting floor-to-ceiling storage cubbies for clients, a bathroom stocked with any amenities you might forget to pack in your gym bag, and plenty of equipment for the 10-15 clients each class can accommodate.

Along with the new studio space came the capacity to offer more classes taught by a team of instructors. Allied Group Fitness now employs 11 additional fitness instructors carrying various certifications for cycling, yoga, strength training, Zumba, WERQ, Pound, and personal training. Classes are offered seven days per week, with a total of 25-30 classes offered each week between 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. 
Membership is not required to attend classes at AGF. Participants pay a drop-in fee of $10 per class; discounted class passes are also available, that meet certain criteria. Though the studio space is easily accessible just off US-10, Zoom attendance is still an option for participants who might prefer to exercise from home—or face limitations that make it difficult to attend in person. Zoom attendance is offered at a lower rate for drop-in and class pass fees. In addition to flexible, reasonable-priced attendance fees, Allied Group Fitness also offers a free first class to anyone interested in checking out the space and atmosphere.

Huntoon notes that what sets Allied Group Fitness apart from other small boutique fitness studios is the focus on fitness for all bodies. Looking at AGF’s website and social media sites, it’s impossible to miss phrases like “All levels welcome!” and “No diet culture talk or body shaming here!”. 

“It was a total game-changer for me when I found movement that actually made me feel joy!” says Ali. “Exercise shouldn't be agony—it should energize you!” Step foot into any class at Allied Group Fitness, and you’ll find like-minded instructors. Instead of pushing you to earn your cheat meal or burn off last night’s dessert, the staff encourages you to listen to your body: “As long as you’re moving your body, you’re doing it right.” 

Make no mistake, classes are challenging regardless of experience or fitness level—but rather than forcing participants to tears or teaching complex movements, instructors encourage participants to work hard, but know their limits. Varieties of instructed exercises are presented as options rather than modifications, so participants feel empowered no matter their level of experience.

“I feel so welcome at Allied Group Fitness,” says Renee Raushi, who enjoys cycling and strength classes. “Ali was the first ever fitness instructor who so loudly encouraged me to do nothing that didn’t bring me joy, to listen to my body, and who actually said ‘I’m tired, too’. These are my people… the ones who know we are human, who welcome everyone into classes, and who don’t perceive someone resting or changing it up to be some kind of failure.”

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Emily Doyle is a Mid-Michigan native and lover of all things local. She enjoys writing about music, fitness, local interests, and pop culture. Emily can usually be found outside, often with a cup of coffee in hand. She can be reached at