Austin Phillips

Austin Phillips



MBA and BS
CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
USAW Level 1
CrossFit Olympic Lifting
CrossFit Strongman
CrossFit Football
OPEX Assessment and Design

About Coach

From football to the mats of wrestling, my youth was marked by constant movement—both geographically and athletically. Each new school brought the challenge of making connections, and sports became my bridge, my way to fit in and find my tribe. Yet, it was not the competitions or the victories that defined me; it was the introduction to lifting weights, a practice that would become a cornerstone of my life.

My military service, spanning both the Air Force and Army across four deployments, was where my casual interest in fitness transformed into a lifeline. Amidst the stress and the chaos, the weight room was my sanctuary. Returning from Afghanistan in 2012, a conversation with a fellow serviceman sparked an idea that would grow beyond our wildest dreams—founding Ardent, a gym that has stood the test of time, evolving and growing over a decade.

The journey from what I once jokingly referred to as a "meathead" to a well-rounded health and wellness advocate was gradual. It was the thousands of conversations at Ardent, coupled with my academic pursuits, that shifted my perspective. I learned that health is not one-size-fits-all; it's nuanced, personal, and ever-changing. This realization shaped "The Ardent Way," a philosophy that champions personalized paths to wellness, informed by research and real-life experiences.

The most fulfilling aspect of this journey has been witnessing the transformative power of Ardent within our community. It's more than just a gym; it's a place where lives change—where relationships form, families grow, and personal milestones are celebrated. It is a testament to the idea that fitness is not just about physical health but about fostering happiness and community.

As I transition from a hands-on coach to more of a mentor, my vision for Ardent and its role in the Oshkosh community is clearer than ever. Our Fitness and Tutoring program and other specialized offerings are just the beginning. I see Ardent as a catalyst for transformation, providing diverse avenues for our members to discover their own paths to wellness. My mission is to ensure that Ardent remains a beacon of hope, support, and inspiration, proving that the journey to health is as unique as the individuals who embark on it.

Turning Point

Post-deployment, I found my turning point in the decision to start a gym. The uncertainty of transition, a universal enemy, was not just about creating a job for myself but about creating a community where others could learn to live their best lives. Ardent was born from this space of uncertainty, growing into a place where every achievement is a shared victory over doubt. My journey over the last decade has seen ups and downs, things I wish I had done differently, and mistakes made. The gym has morphed over this time, too, changing with every transition, evolving, and morphing into our current state. I know it will keep changing over the next 10 years as well. Just as a person who is the same as they were 10 years ago has wasted ten years of life, I believe Ardent holds itself to the same standard.

Motivation & Passion

My purpose for coaching extends beyond the physical dimensions of fitness; it's about fostering resilience, confidence, and community. While community can be defined in many ways, I like to think of it as a place where people always show up for you. This is how I view Ardent. My passion lies in guiding individuals through their transformative journeys, not just within the confines of the gym but in all aspects of life. I am particularly driven to serve those who, like myself, have faced transitions and uncertainties—veterans adapting to civilian life, individuals navigating personal challenges, or anyone seeking a sense of belonging and purpose.

I am impassioned to support those ready to commit to change, challenge themselves, and embrace the journey of self-improvement with an open heart and a willing spirit. My motivation stems from witnessing the profound impact that a supportive, understanding, and motivated community can have on an individual's life. The success stories shared victories, and even the setbacks that we've overcome together make everything from 2013 until now worth it.