By Emily Clark
Jan., 9th 2014
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"Plymouth - Sometimes, business professionals say they stumbled into their future. Casey McGrath and Laura Vineyard skated into theirs. McGrath and Vineyard met in the Voices Rising chorus in Boston in 2006 while working as lab technicians at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts General Hospital. The two biology majors fell in love, moved to Indiana to complete their PhDs at Indiana University and skated in their spare time. It was roller derby, to be precise, and it became a passion for them. If you’re not familiar with this contest, it’s quite athletic, involving blockers on both teams that try to prevent jammers from skating laps around the rink. Players wear pads and helmets and there are strict rules and penalties regarding illegal contact. Players can hip or check one another on the side, but not in front. McGrath and Vineyard played in the Bleeding Heartland Roller Girls league, and they succeeded in their goal to push the roller derby league into the top 40 worldwide.
Their goal was to also pursue careers in biology, but when they had completed their PhDs it soon became apparent that competition in their field would be fierce. One of them would likely be forced to take a position in another state, and separation was not an option. Meanwhile, they realized their love of roller derby and fitness had eclipsed their other ambitions. They opted to become certified personal trainers and open their own gym in America’s Hometown, armed with a biological expertise that gives them an edge, Vineyard said.
Their background in science helps them ferret out the bogus studies and the data that just doesn’t add up to the conclusions being pitched, they explained. McGrath and Vineyard said they are committed to health and wellness, not fads and antiquated ideas about exercise.
“There’s tons of bad science out there about exercise,” Vineyard added. “The body mass index is a perfect example.” The approach is flawed and used a tiny sample of test subjects to draw sweeping conclusions that have little foundation in fact, she said.
“So many gyms and health professionals assume that the primary goal is to lose weight. Fitness is about being able to pick up your grandkids, or do an awesome jump on a snowboard. It’s about living well, not just about weight.”
McGrath and Vineyard moved back to Massachusetts, married and have just opened ShockYard Fitness & Social Club at 19R Court St., offering an innovative approach to training that they say not only creates results but fun because it incorporates teamwork and social workouts.
"The sense of community and friendship and the experience of working with a team toward a common goal helped us get in the best shape of our lives,” McGrath said. “We wanted to bring that same atmosphere of camaraderie and fun to a more traditional gym setting, where a broader range of people could experience it.”
To achieve this, each ShockYard bootcamp class is a team, competing against other teams for prizes and glory. Yes, there is a touch of roller derby here – without the hip checking.
“If you know your teammates are counting on you, you’re less likely to skip a day of class, no matter how early that alarm goes off in the morning,” McGrath added.
The ShockYard also hosts social club events with an active bent, such as fun runs or live-action board game nights.
The ShockYard Fitness & Social Club offers semi-personal training with one trainer teaching multiple gym members at a time, thereby cutting the high cost of the one-on-one session. The semi-personal training package includes personalized monthly strength and cardio programs, supervision from a certified personal trainer, small group sessions and flexible workouts. Eight sessions cost $169 per month, 12 sessions go for $209 per month and a $60 initiation fee and three-month commitment is required.
Team bootcamps speak for themselves, with groups of members working together to accomplish goals and compete against other teams. Workouts are always led by a certified trainer and are different every day. Team bootcamps cost $84 per month for eight sessions or $104 per month for 12 sessions. A $30 initiation fee is again required, as well as a three-month commitment.
Lunch-Punch bootcamps are held from noon to 1 p.m. every weekday, giving attendees a chance to work out for just an hour with no commitment or initiation fee. Four sessions are $60, eight cost $110 or 12 sessions for $150.
The ShockYard Fitness and Social Club will host its grand opening party and open house, “ResolutionFest 2014,” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, at 19R Court St. The event was originally scheduled for Jan. 3 but was postponed due to last week’s storm. There will be games, food, giveaways, special offers and a chance to check out the new 1,500-square-foot facility.
For more information on ShockYard or to sign up for classes, visit www.ShockYard.com or contact ShockYard at 508-808-9699 or ShockYard@gmail.com.
Follow Emily Clark on Twitter @emilyOCM.
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