We’re excited to showcase Sarah Lux, co-founder and CEO of uforia studios, for this post!

A long-time athlete and triathlon competitor, Sarah Lux founded uforia studios because she was excited about the power of a fitness community. Located in San Francisco and Palo Alto, uforia is focused on delivering high energy, music driven fitness classes and has built a loyal following for their cardio and dance classes and top-rated cycling instructors. It wasn’t long after she started uforia that Lux found that her clients wanted to host charity events at the studio, but didn’t know how to go about this, which is when she decided to launch a company-wide charity and fitness challenge to help give back to the community.

How uforia gives back

Four years ago, the studio launched the Embrace the Sweat Challenge, a 2-week fitness and wellness event designed to raise funds for two charities in the Bay Area that the uforia community is passionate about: the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto and St. Anthony’s in San Francisco. “LPCH is unfortunately a hospital my family has spent time in because of a complication my oldest daughter was born with,” Lux says. “They treat the families and kids so amazingly well and do such important work. St. Anthony’s also is incredibly valuable to the community as they serve 2,400 meals each and every day and support 70 people per day with addiction recovery services.”

As for the challenge, clients sign up with an initial $20 donation (and have the opportunity to donate more with special donation only classes). Once they join, they are assigned to one of two teams at either the studio’s Palo Alto or San Francisco location with a teacher or studio team captain whose job it is to motivate their team throughout the challenge and encourage others to sign up. The challenge pushes clients to earn points, which can be done by taking classes or performing challenges like a 1-minute plank where, if you take a picture, you get a point for each person in the picture. “Last year, we saw dozens of people in an office environment planking for Embrace the Sweat!” Lux shares. The team with the most points win the challenge and clients, on average, tend to take at least 5 classes in the 2 week period and participate in at least 1 bonus challenge. The point system and extended nature of the challenge incentivizes attendance in uforia classes over the two week period while also rallying her community around a cause. Encouraging attendees to promote the challenge with co-workers, neighbors, or on social media adds exposure for the studio and showcases it as a contributor to the local community.

Getting the greater community involved

With this year’s challenge, uforia decided to add to the competition by incorporating daily fitness and wellness content for all participants. This was a way for Lux and uforia to help support their community partners, such as Insight Float, CookSmarts and Bare Bowls. Three in-studio events bookmark the beginning, middle, and end of the competition to kick off and celebrate client successes, and many of the studio’s partners donate food, drink and other goodies for these events. The winning teams receive gift bags filled with swag from these partners. The studio also releases specially-designed clothing for the competition, with discounts for team participants.

As for uforia’s clients, Lux says they get very involved in the competition and are super competitive. She adds, “It’s all in good fun, and I think they love to know that even just by working out, they’re making a difference in the community.” This year, uforia plans to host an end of competition flash mob, which Lux says is a great way to involve their clients who love to perform and practice the choreography from uforia’s classes.

Studio impact and key learnings

As with any company-wide event like this, Lux acknowledges that it takes a lot of planning and internal communication to make sure the team knows what’s going on and gets excited about it, especially for newer employees. “It was a learning experience for us at uforia to understand what works best in San Francisco, as it’s a younger, more urban demographic than our Palo Alto location. But with the $20 price point for entry, coupled with fun, in-studio events and theme classes, our San Francisco clients were very excited to participate.” In addition to raising thousands for charity, the studio also notices a bump in attendance because of the competition and they’re able to sell special class packages and memberships for the event.

In future years, Lux plans to continue to amp up the studio’s community partnerships to keep giving back to clients who are dedicating their time and effort to support charity. With more uforia studios locations opening down the line, they hope for the Embrace the Sweat challenge to continue to have an even bigger impact on the community.

About Sarah Lux:

Sarah Lux is the co-founder and CEO of uforia studios. Before discovering her uforia, Sarah was a lifelong athlete and competed in the USA Triathlon Collegiate Nationals in 2007 and was a member of the Stanford Triathlon Team. At uforia studios, she now focuses primarily on developing the best fitness programs and Rockstars in the industry.

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