Four backpackers looking out at distance mesas.

REI and the American Council on Exercise Team Up to Help Consumers Get Fit and Reach Outdoor Goals

Collaboration Delivers New Classes and Online Content to Expand REI Outdoor School Fitness Offerings

Jan 20, 2015

SEATTLE & SAN DIEGO – REI and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) have joined forces to invigorate the personal fitness landscape. Beginning in February, people who love the outdoors will have access to specialized training for mountain climbing, backpacking and 5-10K runs in select REI store communities.

The partnership between REI and ACE brings a deeper level of fitness expertise to REI Outdoor School, the co-op’s signature outdoor education program, while enabling ACE to engage REI’s active members and customers in safe and effective exercise programming.

To kick off the partnership, ACE developed a progressive training series of classes exclusively for REI. The classes help people improve their personal fitness and achieve their outdoor goals, from crossing the finish line to reaching the mountain summit and beyond. Additionally, ACE contributed a set of informative, consumer-oriented articles to REI’s online Expert Advice pages.

“The people who come to REI want to get fit so they can enjoy the outdoor activities they love,” said Rebecca Bear, Outdoor Programs and Outreach Manager at REI. “By joining forces with ACE and integrating its training expertise into our REI Outdoor School class lineup, we’re providing customers with fun and energizing new ways to train for their next big run, ride or climb.”

The training series classes are led by NCCA-certified fitness professionals and structured as small-group sessions over a seven-week period. This unique format offers personalized attention in a social atmosphere that encourages progress toward common goals. Classes launching next month include:

  • Mountain Climbing Training Series: Building Strength and Fitness to Reach Your Summit
  • Backpacking Training Series: Get Fit for Your Weekend Trips and Thru Hikes
  • 5K - 10K Run Training Series: Enhance Your Run with Improved Strength and Fitness

Each class incorporates an initial baseline fitness assessment and six 45- to 60-minute field training sessions. Participants receive instruction in stability and mobility, strength training, balance and cardiovascular conditioning. Priced competitively with conventional fitness programming options, registration begins at $120 for REI members and $150 for non-members.

“REI is a trusted name in outdoor recreation with a large national reach and a strong base of members and customers who enjoy being active,” said ACE President and CEO Scott Goudeseune. “Collaborating with the co-op enables us to expand access to well-qualified fitness professionals who are delivering evidence-based programming and content designed to help people live their most fit lives.”

In the coming months, REI will launch additional training series classes focused on cycling, mountain biking, skiing and snowboarding. Beyond the training series, the co-op is also rolling out an expanded set of single-session classes and outings focused on running, hiking, yoga and other fitness activities. For more information on REI classes and outings, visit

About ACE

The nonprofit American Council on Exercise (ACE) educates, certifies, and represents more than 55,000 fitness professionals, health coaches, and other allied health professionals. ACE advocates for a new intersection of fitness and healthcare, bringing the highly qualified professionals that ACE represents into the healthcare continuum so they can contribute to the national solution to physical inactivity and obesity. ACE is the largest certifier in its space; all four of its primary certification programs are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the gold standard in the U.S. for assessing professional competence. ACE also plays an important public-service role, conducting research and making available science-based information and resources on safe and effective physical activity and sustainable behavior change.

About the REI Co-op

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 23 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 184 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.comREI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.