With a passion for "changing people's lives, not just their bodies,” Debbie Rocker created WALKVEST® by Debbie Rocker in 2003, drawing from her experience as a former professional athlete, World Record holder in cycling, fitness expert, and personal trainer for thousands of individuals, including health and medical professionals, and some of Hollywood's best-known celebrities. Also one of the original developers of Spinning, operating the company and establishing Spinning gyms in Los Angeles and New York, Rocker brings an attuned sensibility to the business of fitness.
Born in Manhattan and raised in L.A., Rocker often competed with her three brothers and proved her natural athletic abilities early on. In school she segued from swimming to basketball to varsity tennis. Her competitive spirit also manifested through myriad businesses starting at age seven.
On a challenge, and with no prior experience in the sport, she and a female friend decided to cross the United States on a tandem bicycle for a Women's Tandem Cross Country Cycling World Record. After training for a year and a half, securing a major sponsor (Bud Light), and assembling a 12-person support team, including a motor home and a film crew, she and her riding partner set out on her 28th birthday - May 30, 1986 - riding from Huntington Beach, California to Atlantic City, New Jersey and in a mere twelve days they finished. Her point-to-point World Record remains undefeated and is still recognized by the Ultra Marathoners Association.
Sports, fitness, and cycling in particular continued for a period of time, to steer Rocker's professional course and, in the early 1990s, she became integral to the popularity of Spinning. She partnered with another ultra-endurance cyclist Johnny G, and ran their new company, The Spinning Group. She sold and delivered the first Spinning package to Crunch Fitness in New York, and nurtured the growth of Spinning until she branched off and began opening and operating Spinning and private training facilities in New York and L.A.. Rocker gained a reputation as the "Spinning Guru" for her dynamic coaching style and positive effect on her students and for effectively training and mentoring Spinning instructors in the art of motivating students.
Embracing her preference as "a distance athlete,” Rocker concurrently began running marathons, and earned herself a personal best time of 3 hours and 18 minutes in the Los Angeles Marathon. But with a training regimen that kept her pounding the pavement for hours on end, and its ultimately negative effects on her body, Rocker switched her personal exercise routine to progressive resistance (weight-bearing) walking, and noticed an immediate improvement.
"I started to love my workouts again” says Rocker. "I felt no pain, and my body became stronger and even leaner than before. Best of all, I looked forward to walking, and I could do it with friends of different fitness levels, since we could all choose our own variable weight to carry.”
Rocker started walking in her neighborhood early in the morning, but felt "like Rambo” with weight bandoliers strapped across her chest. True to her entrepreneurial spirit, and utilizing her fitness knowledge and expertise, she soon designed an adjustable weighted vest, one that was ergonomically safe, comfortable, and attractive to wear too. Dozens of renditions later - informed by countless hours of research, and testing -WALKVEST® by Debbie Rocker was born.
While committed to helping everybody everywhere "stay on the road” to fitness, Rocker has also provided her services to the entertainment elite, including, Ellen Barkin, Valerie Bertinelli, Michael Chiklis, Marcia Cross, Kristen Davis, Joely Fisher, Rachel Hunter, Judith Light, Lisa Rinna, Courtney Thorne Smith and Rod Stewart. Debbie is certified by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), and is President and CEO of Dare To Be Fit Inc., a company that she says is, "dedicated to providing efficient and affordable fitness solutions for everybody through safe and effective products, and dynamic, motivating programming.