As she approached the door of the airplane flying high above the Kansas City skyline, Barb Cirkl was feeling nervous but confident. She was about to jump out of that plane, on purpose, with her daughter and some new friends. Barb knew one thing for certain — she was strong enough to do this.
When Barb’s daughter received a skydiving gift card from her husband for Valentine’s Day, Barb mentioned skydiving was something she had on her bucket list, and then they didn’t talk any more about it.
Just a few months later on Mother’s Day, Barb’s daughter, son-in-law and grandkids presented her with a gift certificate to skydive — and the proverbial checkmark for her bucket list.
“I panicked a little because I wasn’t ready. I knew I wasn’t strong enough to do this yet,” Barb, a quality engineer for EquipmentShare, said. “I hadn’t set foot in a gym, and I knew I was weak. I knew I was going to have to be in better shape to do this jump.”
Barb and her daughter decided to put the jump on the calendar for late September, to allow Barb the summer to get ready. The first step? Barb decided to join the Fitness Foundations class at the EquipmentShare Home Office fitness center, led by Director of Health and Wellness Josh Gaskins, two days a week.
“I messaged Josh in June to inquire about attending his class. I didn’t tell him I was going to skydive. I told him I needed to gain more strength and flexibility,” Barb said.
Josh has a degree in health sciences, several certifications and 10 years in the health and fitness industry, and he brings his passion for health and wellness to his work with EquipmentShare.
“The foundations class is about building a base level of strength and fitness, which helps everyone accomplish day-to-day fitness and activities. We train for life,” Josh said. “Knowing she was going to jump out of a plane wouldn't have made the class any different from my perspective.”
Barb became a consistent member of the Tuesdays and Thursdays class, dutifully attending twice a week during the summer of 2022.
“Something as simple as a half-hour, two days a week. was a small commitment from me but led to a big reward,” Barb said. “Since beginning the class, I’ve been sleeping better, my stress levels are lower and I’m overall stronger and healthier. The jump was the reason I started, but now I keep going.”
“The landing wasn’t hard because I did the training. As I was jumping out of the plane, I was so grateful I could hang on tight and hold my legs up, because my jump partner used his legs to be the landing gear,” Barb said. “The core strength I gained was key because I had to keep my legs out of his way so we could have a safe landing, and we did. I had to hold them for almost two minutes, and there's no way I could have done that if I hadn’t taken the class and worked on my strength and core with Josh.”
Barb continues to attend classes and goes for walks on the other days. She’s even started recruiting others to join the classes with her, and her next goal is to climb the rock wall located at the Home Office.
“Affording yourself the opportunity to live your best life is the best part of being healthy — your health will not hold you back,” Josh said. “Just an hour a week made substantial improvements to Barb’s overall health. The goal of the program is to get people started, give them tools and resources and support, and then they can go look for other methods and modalities and live their life. The goal is to reach those who are not active and bridge the gap to get them started and keep them going.”
“I wanted to create an environment where each individual is a person first, and they all start their journey somewhere. I meet you where you are — where you are ready and able, and we work from the middle. Being intimidated is not something we want. We want you to feel like you can ask for help. I take care of you as a person first — not an employee first or a revenue stream for EquipmentShare. You are a person first, that is our mission.”
The Fitness Foundations class Barb has been attending is centered around body weight movements and smaller hand weights, rather than machines or heavy weights. Josh is able to modify and scale movements for individuals to their abilities.
“The group I work out with is not training for marathons — we are there to increase our quality of life and make sure it’s something doable and sustainable to keep us healthy,” Barb said. “I’ve always felt like I was there for my benefit and not that it was mandated or required of me to be there. The program EquipmentShare has provided can be beneficial for everyone and it truly is a benefit to me and my health.”
“I want to empower and educate each person that comes to our fitness center so that, down the road, they won’t need me anymore,” Josh said. “I’m here to get you started, and if they stick to these basics they can live a long and healthy life.”
“We are excited about 2023 and rolling out programs across the company at the branches, not just at the Home Office,” he said.
At EquipmentShare we believe when our employees are healthier, they’re happier — and not just at work. We want our employees to enjoy life to the fullest when they’re with family, friends and coworkers, and that’s why we offer a total team wellness program to make it easy to prioritize a healthy mind, body and spirit both in the field and at home. EquipmentShare provides seasonal fitness challenges and rewards for making healthy lifestyle choices (awarded time off and gift cards).
To find out more about EquipmentShare’s People First atmosphere and commitment to health and wellness, visit equipmentshare.com/careers.