System, Community Propel System of Strength to Third Central Ohio Location

All photos by Susan Post.

Last month, System of Strength opened its third Central Ohio location in Clintonville at 3560 N. High St.

Over the past five years, Founders Keri Croft and Gretchen Dusseau have expanded their system-based fitness facility from a bare-bones warehouse garage to three locations serving nearly 1,500 members.

Dusseau had made the leap and quit her marketing job to pursue her passion for fitness when she met then AT&T executive Croft in one of her classes.

“We started to exercise together and talk about what we liked and disliked in a workout, and what we would want from a studio,” Dusseau says.

Things they liked were leaving with results. As busy people they wanted to know the time they could dedicate to a workout would make an impact. Things they didn’t like were paying a lot of money for just one style of workout.

“Based off of Keri’s and my “workout wish list,” we created System of Strength,” Dusseau says. “A system of seven classes that blend cardio, strength, stretch and recovery.”

While growth has meant adding some bonus classes, like yoga, to create a more well-rounded experience, “We’ve really stayed true to system,” says Director of Operations Courtney Ruppert. “The goal of the system has always been to be able to give you everything your body needs in a week.”


From the first studio in Grandview, the goal had always been to expand and get the system to as many people as possible. When System of Strength was able to not only fill the Grandview classes, but have a waitlist, it was time to start looking for location number two.

Market analysis pointed the direction of Dublin. With its proximity to Grandview, Dusseau felt they understood the demographics of the area and it was a good first step for expansion. Similarity to Grandview again served as the benchmark for System of Strength’s most recent location.

“When it was time to open up our third location, we chose Clintonville because it was an eclectic neighborhood, with walkability and a strong sense of community,” Dusseau says.

The team believes that not only has the system led to their success, but the sense of community they have been able to build. What starts as a workout becomes more of a lifestyle. Ruppert says the amount of friendships that have formed from their clientele is mind-blowing. She finds people want to be a part of something positive, “And when you’re struggling and sweating on your mat, you start to become closer to those around you in class, which organically creates a strong sense of SOS camaraderie and community,” Dusseau adds.

It’s reflected in the name’s double-meaning.

“We truly want to be that system of strength for anybody in whatever they are going through in their life,” Ruppert says.


The System of Strength community appeals to a wide demographic – men and women from their 20s to their 50s running the gamut of physical abilities. Ruppert says each class will push a person to the max, but they meet their clients where they are.

“We ensure that all of our classes are taught to adapt to all levels,” she adds.

Other facets of System of Strength take the brand outside of hour workouts at their physical locations.

In early 2017, System of Strength launched its digital studio. Clients can join the workout from anywhere in the world and tackle 20-minute challenges or full-on classes. The entire system is offered online.

System of Strength not only focuses on the fitness, but the food when it comes to healthy lifestyles. The Check Yourself program introduces participants to clean eating over a three to four week time period.

“It is very much for real people,” Ruppert says. “Our goal is never to make it where you’re successful for the time of the program and then fall off the wagon as soon as you get back to real life. Our goal is to help you navigate the real world, your day-to-day interaction with food, and be able to set you up to make better choices.” (Spots are still available for the next session starting in January.)

Finally, System of Strength-ers can show their pride with a line of house-designed apparel. Focusing on stylish, on-trend pieces, merchandise is available in studio and online.

For more information, visit

All photos of the Clintonville Studio by Susan Post.