Shockyard Fitness and Social Club in Plymouth, MA has been on my radar since the day I started Body Positive Fitness Alliance. Just by arriving at their website, you can tell they are a different kind of gym.
They absolutely instill the values of the Seven Pillars of the Body Positive Fitness Alliance. Their main mission is health and fitness for all- regardless of where you are in your walk of life. Being at Shockyard is being a part of a family.
I interviewed the owners of Shockyard- Laura Vineyard and Casey McGrath- to learn about how they're instilling the following Seven Pillars in their facility.
Q: Tell us about how Shockyard Fitness and Social Club instills the following in your facility and with your members:
It was important for us to be in a handicap-accessible space that is in an area people can reach either with or without a car. We are hosting a yoga class for The Arc of Greater Plymouth, an organization that provides support to individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. We choose not to have mirrors or scales in an effort to make clients feel comfortable and get them to focus on what their bodies are doing, not how they look or how much they weigh. Also, our group strength training classes are structured using time intervals where we encourage the participants to focus on form over reps. This style of training allows us to accommodate clients from a range of ages and fitness experiences.
We strive to promote the idea that everyone is welcome at The ShockYard through the language and images we use on our website and when meeting people in person. We focus on programming that is tailored to the individual as much as possible so that clients can feel confident and comfortable with their workouts. We also strive to promote a happy, healthy, body-positive lifestyle by letting our clients get to know who we really are and letting them see us living out those ideals ourselves.
We are all about enjoyment at The ShockYard! We know that the people who succeed in sticking with a fitness program are those who truly enjoy it, so we strive to make our programs fun and enjoyable for all. We call ourselves a “Fitness & Social Club” because we try to get people doing fun social events outside of the gym so that they can get to know the people they see working out alongside them and feel like they have a support group. Here are a few examples of Social Club activities: Thanksgiving to New Year’s Holiday Run/Walk Club, a group ski trip, a Halloween PUMPkin workout, and putting teams together for local races.
One of our primary business objectives is to support the Plymouth, MA community and economy by collaborating with other local business owners. Through the ShockYard Social Club, we encourage our members to frequent a variety of Plymouth establishments. For example, every month we organize a “Fruity 4th Friday” smoothie happy hour after our morning group strength training class to Vela Juice Bar. Vela is a brand new business in town, providing high-quality juices and smoothies and we want to support the great work they’re doing!
Another element of the ShockYard Social Club is our Community Service initiative. We encourage folks to “break a sweat while giving back” by organizing active service opportunities. In the last year, these events have included participating in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, cleanup days at Billington Sea and the Wild Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center, and fielding a ShockYard team for “Kickball for the Pups”, a local dog rescue fundraiser.
5. Scope of Practice
We are both biology Ph.D.s and ACSM-certified personal trainers. With the help of our backgrounds in science, we design training programs to foster whole-body strength, coordination, and balance. Our gym focuses on functional movements using just body weight or small equipment, which affords us the ability to tailor workouts to the needs of each individual.
We also use scientifically proven methods to retain clients, including incorporating a social aspect to our training and fostering self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation in our clients. We are not nutritionists, so prescribing specific diets is outside of our scope of practice. Instead, when our clients inquire about strategies for healthy eating, we encourage them to incorporate more unprocessed foods into their nutrition practice like fruits and vegetables that are as locally sourced as possible.
We recently brought in a local Registered Dietitian, Nicole Cormier, who owns Delicious Living Nutrition to do a nutrition seminar for our clients. Nicole empowers people to make better nutritional decisions by using intuitive nutrition practices and outlining simple strategies to get the most out of mealtime. We also are partnering with a local farm to host a farm-share pickup for our clients and other Plymouth residents who want to get their fruits, vegetables, and eggs locally.
6. Full Health
We understand that everyone is at a different place in their life journey and fitness journey, and therefore everyone has different needs in a fitness program. We encourage our clients to listen to their bodies and give us feedback on how their program is working for them. We never shame clients when life gets in the way and they have to cancel or reschedule an appointment. We encourage them to take small steps in making changes in their lives and to find a fitness regimen that works for them and fits into their life.
7. Body Positivity
Our love of fitness was born out of joining our local roller derby league, Bleeding Heartland Roller Derby in Bloomington, IN back in 2006. Roller derby is the fastest growing sport in the world, in large part due to it’s body-positive mentality. Whether you are small, tall, wide, narrow, whatever, you can become an asset on the track. Of course nothing is perfect, derby included, but we know many people who, in strapping on their skates, began to value what their bodies could do more than just how they looked for the first time. (See the Body By Derby photo project, http://therollergirlproject.blogspot.com).
We wanted to bring that same kind of attitude to a broader audience with our gym. This philosophy permeates everything we do at the gym, from workout program design to client interactions to website content to promotional materials and social media. We are thrilled that more and more fitness professionals are thinking in the same direction as us in this regard.
Keep up the amazing work, Shockyard! You are changing the world and the Body Positive Fitness Alliance is behind you 100%.
Stay tuned- later this week we will be featuring a rockstar client from Shockyard and telling their story about their quest for fitness.