Through her All Athletes Welcome Gym in Prescott, MJ Stock lives a dream while supporting others as they build strength and confidence
By Katie Chatham
A lot of people dream of owning a business, but for so many, that dream doesn’t materialize until they’re long down the road of clocking in and out of the daily grind. Local gym owner MJ Stock tells a different story. She has certainly put in the hard work to see her dream come true, but for MJ, it happened early and fast.
At just 23, her passion for fitness, health and wellness went from idea to reality in what seemed like the blink of an eye when she opened All Athletes Welcome Gym in Prescott.
While MJ has many passions, from riding motorcycles to ballroom dancing, she said, “My true passion is teaching others how to connect and move together, and the importance of the mind, body, and human connections that are expressed through movement.”
Through health and fitness, MJ has incorporated that passion into her life, and opening All Athletes Welcome Gym is the way she gets to share it with others.
MJ is the kind of person who thinks a thought and then puts action behind it and although opening the gym happened quickly, the passion behind the idea has been lifelong. When she was younger, her mother encouraged her to participate in triathlons.
“I begged my dad to train me like he trained in the Air Force,” she reminisced. “That was when I was eight!”
Her passion for fitness, training, and competing took off. It led her later to join and graduate from the Fire Academy.
During the academy, she said, “I noticed some key aspects of my training were weak because the requirements were so diverse. So, I increased my regimen which rekindled my love of training, and training with an end goal.”
At this point, MJ had applied to several fire departments all over Arizona and was expecting to start her career as firefighter. Everything changed in a day. One evening while training, MJ experienced back pain that she’d never felt before.
“I’ve struggled with pin-point back pain my whole life,” she said, “but I didn’t think it was abnormal.”
The pain on this evening was entirely different. She went for emergency x-rays and found out she had a large bone mass protruding off her spine. After lots of research, consults, exams, imaging, injections, therapies, and more consulting, MJ was devastated to learn she’d need surgery. She had grown a fiery passion (pun intended) learning to build her self-confidence through strength, but as she waded through the tough decisions around surgery and firefighting, she realized that her passions and her career did not align. MJ made the difficult choice to say goodbye to firefighting for now, and put her passion for training back on the burner.
MJ walked through the hardship of planning for surgery, all the while focusing and planning on on opening her own gym.
The atmosphere at All Athletes Welcome Gym embodies exactly that. The athletes who train there come from all sorts of fitness backgrounds. There are rock climbers and yoga instructors, cyclists and runners, and heavy weightlifters (both competitive and non-competitive).
“I want everyone to feel like they have a home here,” MJ said. She especially loves being able to help people, women most of all, build confidence and strength. “I knew I liked training and helping people, but I did not know that the result of my back injury would lead to becoming an entrepreneur,” she laughed. “Seriously, though, I didn’t know what the outcome of surgery would be, so I said to myself, ‘Do it now, because sometimes later becomes never.’”
And that is how MJ’s dream became a reality so soon and so fast.
All Athletes Welcome Gym in Prescott is open 24/7 at 697 6th Street, Unit 223. For more information call 928.582.0752 or visit https://aawgym.business.site/ or https://www.facebook.com/AllAthletesWelcome/