By Stacey Sharp
March 2020. The world hit the brakes and came to a screeching halt. At the time, I was enjoying a full life as a wife, mother of five boys, online law professor, and certified Schwinn spin instructor. I was home now, without a gym to teach my spin classes.
The kids were also now home but I still had more pedaling and inspiring to do. Being furloughed didn’t mean I was going to stop how I loved to start each day. Within the first week of the shutdown, I had a full screen of friends joining me on Zoom to spin, walk, run, and hike. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was off and running with my new Zoom gym.
Urockfit. The name says it all. A place where “You” and I can join together and become more fit - in body, mind, and spirit. People tell me they enjoy my classes because I am able to break down barriers, inclusive of all levels of fitness and for all, however, they want to join a class. People feel safe and comfortable, riding, walking, running, hiking, and some even join from bed when recovering from illness because they don’t want to miss the thoughts generated by the class.
And, I want people to leave my class feeling like they rocked it, putting their best foot forward. It hurts me when I listen to people who sell themselves short, whose confidence and self-esteem have been affected for one reason or another. So part of me just wanted to bring people together and say, “Hey, we’re tossing those negative thoughts out the window, jumping on the bike, the roads, the trails and we’re just going to rock it today.” Because in the end, don’t we all just want to walk into a business meeting, a court appearance, a presentation, a classroom, our homes and say the same? This is what Urockfit is all about.
When we returned from our trip, my training began. I am not a runner but my son the runner taught me proper form and stride. I am not a swimmer, but I learned the proper freestyle stroke with a swimming coach and friend. The biking part I had down.
So, why a triathlon when I only had 1 of the 3 sports somewhat mastered? For me, it’s about the journey… truly starting at a starting line and seeing who I meet, what I learn, and enjoying the adventure along the way even if there are unexpected setbacks or obstacles that need to be hurdled in order to make it to the eventual finish line. In mid-February, I registered for the Herbalife Triathlon. I was on a clear path to the triathlon when suddenly everything shut down due to the pandemic, including the Herbalife Triathlon.
On the morning of March 16, I went hiking with a friend when she asked if we could continue spinning together online through Zoom. I didn’t have a spin bike at home, but after asking around, my incredibly generous neighbor lent me hers, after all, there was at least a 3-month wait to order one. Soon I was back doing what I loved. Word traveled fast and by March 23, I had a full screen of people joining me on Zoom. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the roots were established for creating my new Zoom gym.
In July, covid restrictions continued, and Urockfit.com opened as a family business. Since the boys didn’t go to summer camp, summer camp came home. One son designed the website, one built the content, one did market pricing analysis, one took pictures, and one gave input. Urockfit became a family affair. Meanwhile, the Herbalife Triathlon canceled so Urock took over. The goals I set on camelback in the Jordanian desert quickly became a reality, as Urock opened and I was going to accomplish my tri Urock style with fellow Urockers. And, a triathlon done Urock style is where we customize three legs that best fit each individual to be our best versions of ourselves. For some of us, it is swim, bike, run while others select to read, write, dance. And, I haven’t stopped there.
Urockfit has also become a place to explore and learn about all the fun and delicious ways to incorporate healthy foods into our diets. While working in gyms, I found that most people shied away from talking about food; there were many taboos around the topic of “diets.” Healthy eating is critical to our mental and physical fitness. Without fueling the body appropriately, we can’t fully achieve our fitness goals. So, every Friday my friend Michele Doud (from Farm and Fig Catering) joins the class as we’re cooling down and stretching. She shares her ideas and recipes for fun ways to make healthier choices, often using something right out of her garden, or picked fresh from her fruit trees! Taking the concept of “farm to table” to its finest, Michele also explains how the nutritional benefits of the ingredients affect our bodies. Getting to know and love the foods we can grow at home, while making better choices as we shop, is key to our optimal fitness. Together, we hope to break down the taboo of food and truly enjoy the healthier choices that fuel our bodies.
Aside from daily rides and nutrition talks, we created monthly challenges. Each month, we complete a two-hour “Zoomathon” pedaling, walking, running, or hiking to a themed playlist. Our outdoorsmen and women take pictures to record their accomplishments while the spin zoomers enjoy the view they bring to the screen. Also, each month I encourage my fellow Urockers to try a new lifestyle from a “Good Habit Challenge” to a month-long of gratitude themed rides. Sometimes we pair up so that we develop deeper connections and sometimes we each take turns sharing thoughts about the theme of the week during recovery times throughout the hour workout. Some themes last several weeks as each person wants a turn to share depending on the topic. Others prefer to share outside of class on our private chat. Some days, I believe that class begins when the Zoom ends. While I always want the physical workout to be challenging, it is most gratifying to me when the deep thought continues in our private chat.
And still, we keep pedaling on and have so many more adventures ahead of us and so many more people to meet. We continue to challenge ourselves with monthly goals, even where it isn’t necessarily fitness based. It’s about trying new things outside the Zoom class that we’ve always wanted to do but never made the time for. Whether it’s trying new foods like marshmallow root, or being inspired to make your own bone broth through our Fresh Fit Fridays, or discovering you are stronger than you think you are, as we push our legs and fitness levels higher, it’s about leaving the Zoom and knowing that Urock.