20 Under 40: Rebecca Williams | SteamboatToday.com

20 Under 40: Rebecca Williams

Rebecca Williams (Photo by John F. Russell)

After teaching classes at Old Town Hot Springs for seven years, Rebecca Williams set out to open her own fitness studio.

“The reason I fell in love with teaching fitness classes to begin with was the community around it and just getting to know a bunch of people,” Williams said.

Williams, 37, said she absolutely loves teaching. She used to teach at Steamboat Springs High School and also served on the school board. By combining that love of teaching with her passion for fitness, Williams opened Steamboat Fit to help create a healthy fitness vibe in town.

“For me, fitness has become a mental health and a physical health must have,” Williams said. “It’s like the nonnegotiable of my life.”

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In early 2020, Steamboat Fit opened its doors for the first time, but just six weeks later, Williams had to close the gym as the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Williams adapted. She used extra gym flooring to retrofit her garage into a workout studio and started teaching daily lunch-hour fitness classes on Zoom.

When it became clear it wasn’t going to be just a two-week hiatus from the gym, Williams got the rest of her team involved, with everyone teaching classes from home. Soon, they created a library of prerecorded workouts and offered them for free.

“We had huge online classes. I mean, we had over 100 people,” Williams said. “We were really passionate about offering classes for free while we knew people were out of work.”

Laura Ritthamel, who nominated Williams for 20 Under 40 recognition, said Williams is dedicated to each person who walks through the doors of Steamboat Fit.

“She is the first to organize meal trains for those going through recovery. If you miss a week of classes, she will reach out directly to check in on you,” Ritthamel wrote in her nomination. “She isn’t a workaholic … she is a woman so full of compassion and love for others that she prioritizes checking in with those who are around her.”

Through Steamboat Fit, Williams partners with a local nonprofit each month, allowing staff members to take classes for free and donating a portion of proceeds to the organization at the end of the month. Steamboat Fit also offers pop-up donation classes, where all the proceeds go to a nonprofit or cause.

Williams, her husband and two children volunteer at LiftUp of Routt County and have allowed other entities in town to use Steamboat Fit’s space. When the vaccine rollout started, Williams was at Lyon’s Corner Drug and Soda Fountain volunteering at clinics nearly every Sunday.

When Lyon’s got more shots, Steamboat Fit hosted two vaccination clinics at the studio, giving shots to about 600 people.

What drives Williams is the community she found when she came to Steamboat 15 years ago. She wants to give back because Williams believes the community would be there for her and her family if they needed help.

“When I came to Steamboat what I fell in love with was the community. … I feel like we are very much all in this together,” Williams said.

During COVID, Williams had members of Steamboat Fit share pictures of themselves flexing their muscles in an effort she called “Stronger Together,” aimed at bringing people together when they were forced to be apart.

“It was really one of the most amazing things I think I’ve gotten to see come to fruition,” Williams said. “I just think there is power in community for me. That is a happy spot, and the spot where I feel most myself.”

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