A fitness center in O’Fallon features both stationary bikes and surfboards. Owner Jessica Hance leads exercise classes on LeMond RevMaster Pro stationary bikes and 10 SurfSet indoor surfboards. She invited business writer Will Buss to her new studio to talk about this blend of biking and surfing fitness:
Q: Where did this idea come from?
A: “My passion has always been biking. I love biking. I love being outdoors. Always have. But the thing is that there is no place for kids to really go. Everybody always tells them the word ‘no.’ I kind of get upset about that. I have two kids, myself. I have a 12-year-old and I have a 10-year-old, and the word ‘no’ just doesn’t work with me. So we were sitting down watching TV and watching Shark Tank, which is one of our favorite family shows, and this surfboard was on there, and my kids were really enamored with it. They thought it was really cool. And I thought it was just another fitness thing. No way, it’s probably really easy. And my son said, ‘let’s try it.’ So I said, ‘well, OK.’ So I ordered one, got it home, set it up, got on it and I thought, ‘Wow, this is like a real workout. This is cool.’ So then my son got on it and then my daughter got on it, and then there was no time for me. So we had to make a chart of who would go, what day and what time. So we scheduled that and everybody got on it and had a ball, and we couldn’t get them off it. The next thing you know, the neighborhood kids were there, their friends were there. It was in and out, and I never got on it. I thought, you know what? This is actually something that kids could actually have fun on working out with their mom or dad at the same time. So I have bikes that if you are 4 (feet), 11 (inches) or taller, you are allowed to get on. I will not tell you ‘no.’ You may ride. The cardio is great, you can get on the boards, and there is not an age limit. You just can have fun.”
Q: What can you do with the surfboards?
A: “You can do everything on this board. It’s a full workout. It’s a core workout. It’s balance, core and strength all in one. Later on, we will add resistance bands and we will add a few weights. You can do that, also. Right now, we’re just trying to get everyone on the base before I can add a few things. I don’t want it to be overwhelming to people.”
Q: How do they work?
A: “It is two straps here on the side. So these two straps hook onto this side of the board and gives it more stability. And then as you get better, you can take one off and then take another one off, and it is less stable and it is all based on you and your control. You have this thing in control the whole time. There are three rubber balls, or what they call discs, underneath. They kind of give.”
Q: What kind of stationary bikes do you use?
A: “These are the Greg LeMond bikes. They are super nice, super easy to rise. They’re so quiet. They’re belt driven. All you have to be is 4’11” or taller to ride them. It’s easy to adjust them. Everybody that’s ridden them says they love them. They’re really nice. They’re so nice on your knees.”
Q: Do you have a background and training in physical fitness?
A: “I do. I have been in fitness for a long time. I have been a spin instructor, certified personal trainer and all that fun stuff. But my passion has always been kids.”
Q: Who can participate in your exercise classes?
A: “It is for all ages. I have family classes; I have teen classes, adult classes and kid classes.”
Q: How do the stationary surfboards help your clients?
A: “You’re working both sides of the brain. So you really have to think about it. We always have one dominant side, and we always have one weak side. And now this is going to make you think about your weak side, totally. I can see it when kids get on, and especially adults. When kids get on, they’re like, ‘Woah, what am I doing?’ Because they have to think about the opposite now. They have to think about that other side of their leg that they don’t think about.”
Q: What do you enjoy most about your new fitness studio?
A: “I love the fact that I don’t have to say ‘no’ to anyone. It is very welcoming. I love seeing families working out. I have a lot of moms who come in with their daughters. When you get into those teen years, as they get older, they start thinking about their self-image and this really helps that bond come back together between the kids and the adults and the whole family.”
Name: Jessica Hance
Job: Owner, CycleSurf Studio at 633 W. Highway 50 in O’Fallon (618-974-6720)
Outlook: “I would just love to see kids just really coming in here, wanting to see them actually doing something that is fun and not just sitting in front of the TV, playing video games or watching TV shows.”