Customer Story: Shawn Carl Watkins
Freeplay’s mission is to bring people and exercise together in as fun a setting as possible.
To do this, we’re spotlighting our fantastic Freeplayers and their recommendations for the best gyms in Utah. This week’s list includes a crossfit gym with a focus on safety and the best Sauna for muscle recovery, so make sure to check out the bottom of the post!
Shawn Watkins - MBA Student and Lover of All Things Active
Shawn, who formerly did a stint as BYU’s Cosmo, has been a Freeplay member since early 2018. He finished his undergrad in 2012 and is currently working toward his MBA. In his spare (or not so spare) time, he enjoys doing yoga with his long-time girlfriend and former professional dancer Lorén, competing in St. George’s Ironman course, and rock climbing.
Make sure to check out his insta: @swatkins27 to see some awesome pics and keep up with his competitions!
So what does an uber-active, young business man like to do to stay fit?
The Importance of Varying Your Exercise
“I like to switch it up a lot,” Shawn says, “because there’s a lot of enjoyment in all the different types of exercise, and for me, doing just one thing turns into boredom.”
And how often does Shawn exercise?
“I am in the habit of working out everyday and I’ll do that regardless of whether someone is with me or not. It’s just a part of me.”
“I’ve done a lot of different types of activities with Freeplay. Lorén has a membership as well. It’s funny, prior to my MBA program, I had a membership at VASA and was working out everyday, but I wanted to do more stuff, especially on dates.”
“I got Freeplay to check out some of the other gyms and went to a lot of other places. I found some I liked and ended up going there a lot. Lorén had a punch pass to Brick Canvas at the time and I realized it was on my Freeplay pass and I could actually go there, too. She ended up jumping onto Freeplay with me and we started a group. It’s been great.”
Why Setting Goals with an Accountability Partner Makes Exercising More Fun
When I ask Shawn if he has any fitness goals for the year, he doesn’t hesitate.
“I’m going to complete another half-Ironman. I just started doing Crossfit a year and a half ago and I’m going to join some competitions. I also want to complete a Spartan Race. My other fitness goal is to climb Mt. Rainier. It’s more mountaineering, which is different than rock climbing. It’s like extreme hiking with ice picks.”
And even though Lorén’s never done a half-Ironman, she’s game for it. “We are going to sign up for a couple races together and do that. We take a lot of enjoyment in exploring each other’s interests.”
“That’s one of the reasons we like Freeplay so much! It makes it easy for us to try new things. We’ve used it for yoga, pilates, and cycling classes. We’ve even tried aerial yoga, the one with all the silks. It wasn’t my normal type of exercise, I prefer high intensity workouts, but I enjoyed it for sure.”
“One of the first things that Lorén and I did when we started dating was go to a Jiu Jistu gym,” Shawn recollects. “I had done it before--I wrestled growing up for 6 or 7 years--but she hadn’t, so she was brand new to it all. The place we went to was semi-pro, like a club team that goes to tournaments together, so they were really good. We rolled around and practiced and she was a good sport about it. But she showed up to work the next day with bruises everywhere and I’m sure people were wondering what her new boyfriend had done to her,” he stops and chuckles over the phone. “So that was an interesting experience because now we know what to expect going to a gym like that.”
Habits, Habits, Habits (Hopefully, the Good Kind!)
In the end, Shawn says the secret to his staying active comes down to one thing: consistency.
“It doesn’t necessarily matter what you do if you’re consistent in doing it and turn it into a lifestyle and seek to improve in it. If you’re plateauing, you have to get yourself out of your comfort zone, but as long as you are pushing your limits and being consistent in that, then exercise should be enjoyable.”
So why does Shawn work so hard to form good exercise habits?
“Health and quality of life,” he says simply.
“You live longer and die faster. That’s what I want. You’re able to live a good life, a healthy life, and an active life spending time with your kids and not worrying about cholesterol, but when you’re ready to go, you’re not extending your life bed-ridden and miserable. So when it’s your time to go, you just go. That’s the way I look at it.”
So how does Freeplay help Shawn reach his goal of living long and dying quick?
Freeplay Builds Muscles, Health, and Relationships
“I’d say Freeplay has affected my relationships in a positive way.
“I have a group of 6 friends, and we’ve gone to Freeplay events and gotten to know other people in that community and circle.”
“There’s also this gym I go to now for daily workouts called The Grid, and the guy who runs it has become a really good friend and someone I like to go in and see. And I wouldn’t have met him if it weren’t for Freeplay.”
“It’s also improved relationships with my rock climbing friends and my girlfriend. It just gives us something to do on date nights to spend time together. It’s given us a lot of ability to get out of our comfort zone and to just experience life together more than just watch a movie and go get something to eat together that may be unhealthy.”
Shawn continues, “Freeplay helps me work out on my own, but it is also a social tool. I am very passionate about relationships, I think the most important thing in life is your relationships with others. So I’ll invite my friends to come exercise with me. Sometimes they don’t want to come because it’s out of their comfort zone, but sometimes they do. In that way, Freeplay enables me to keep up with relationships in a way that I wasn’t able to before.”
“I would definitely recommend Freeplay to get out of your comfort zones, expand your horizons, live a healthier life, and strengthen your relationships. But number one - to just do more things. Life and time are so limited, that we limit ourselves when we do things we don’t want to do or that are just easy. Freeplay is a unique business model that allows you to try, and experience, and do more things.”
In the end, Shawn sums up his feelings about Freeplay in one sentence:
“I think Freeplay is fantastic because we’re able to have so many options available to us, and I love that.”
Best Gyms in Utah
Shawn’s recommended list of favorite Freeplay gyms:
A personalized, safe crossfit experience. In this awesome gym, the owner structures workouts with simple movements and more complex substitutions so everyone can safely participate, and focuses on warming up and cooling down so no one gets hurt.
An awesome studio in Lehi, Utah for stretching and recovery. It offers a personalized Sauna experience.