Building a Culture of Movement
"The culture of movement and sports in the city is what drives me."
When Terra Castro’s grandparents came over to Detroit in the 1950’s from Europe they biked everywhere. Her grandmother met her grandfather while biking on Bell Isle. They both lived in West Village and Indian Village at the time, and it was only three weeks later after meeting when they married on the island.
That was 61 years ago, but over the decades her grandparents shared their passion for biking in the city. Her grandparents helped grow a Wolverine cycling club that operated a 200 mile ride on the island every year. Movement is in Terra’s blood and bones. Biking is how she grew up and where she remembers coming from.
“I want to continue our family legacy,” Terra Castro said. “The culture of movement and sports in the city is what drives me.”
Terra herself has had an exciting career in sports, working as a pro-athlete in triathlons. She traveled the world competing in triathlons and was doing very well for herself. Then, at some point something had to change. In 2013, Terra retired from competing to try to save her marriage. When things didn’t work out she felt it was time to come home to Detroit.
"I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I love people. I believe in the city,” she said. “So I started a mobile endurance company called the Be Bold Crew. We’d pop up in the city and teach classes."
It wasn’t long until Terra was inspiring Detroiters to join her movement of creating a healthier way to live. Terra’s crew outgrew the local spaces she was using and soon she found her own space to call home back in her family’s neighborhood of west village. Detroit Body Garage now operates as a full time community gym inside the oldest bank in Michigan, a building that was built in 1849. The gym offers everything from yoga to senior classes, classes for moms, injury prevention awareness, triathlon training and more.
“We moved in in two weeks! Thanks to help from the community,” she said. “People helped us paint and lay the floor. We opened our doors and have hit our numbers every month.”
Shifting the Culture in Detroit
It’s more than just the movement that drives her, it’s also a mission to shift the culture for Detroiters to one that is healthy, active, and fulfilling. Terra sees a healthier lifestyle as a way to increasing longevity for the city and it’s people.
“For a city to thrive you need businesses and jobs, people moving Downtown. But you need the health of a culture and people,” she said.
The healthier people are the better decisions they make, Terra believes. She sees it as a key component to Detroit’s own revitalization movement. Those who are healthy make better decisions and can in turn run businesses better. A company with healthy employees improve a business’ bottom line costs.
Her classes also unite people of all walks of life to come together into one community space.
“I think this movement can unite community. When you’re sweating you’re also inspired to do great things! It’s sounds funny but it does tear down walls and barriers,” she said.
Walk into any of the class at Terra’s gym and there’s a mix of people from all ages and backgrounds moving together. They are all pushing together, working together, and cheering each other on. Terra goes the extra step to make sure people feel inspired too. When she doesn’t see a customer for a week, she sends an email checking in. She hosts potlucks, educates her customers, and brings them together to reach their goals.