- Associated Press - Saturday, June 25, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Zenergy changed Nick Staples’ life.

Making healthy changes to his entire lifestyle helped him lose 50 pounds and find “zenergy” in his life - and now, he hopes it will help others make positive changes, too.

After living in the hustle and bustle of New York City, the 2013 George Washington High School graduate moved back home to Charleston to slow down, make a difference and work toward leading a Zen-filled lifestyle.

Nearly a year ago, at only age 20, he took that mindset and opened Zenergy Cycling (formerly Spinergy Cycling).

As the cycling studio in the Bridge Road Shops continued to grow, he said he wanted to make his business reflect his newfound passion for healthy living.

“I wanted to make it not just as a place to work out, but as a lifestyle brand,” he said. “I wanted to do something that would differentiate us from any other cycling company in the world. That was really the lifestyle.”

And so, the Zen Blend smoothie bar was born.

Staples admits he didn’t know much about making healthy smoothies prior to opening Zen Blend in May - but he was willing to learn.

After countless hours of research and testing recipes, he opened the smoothie bar with just five options on the menu.

“I learn as I go. If I don’t know how to do something, I’m going to teach myself,” he said. “That’s how I live my life. That’s really important for anybody.”

Today, the Zen Blend menu touts more than two dozen options including fruit and vegetable smoothies, meal-replacement smoothies, breakfast smoothies and “trim and low-cal” options.

Add-ins like whey protein, vegan protein and creatine are also available, as well as options like almond milk and supplements.

Smoothie lovers can select from a variety of smoothies, ranging from favorites like mango and strawberry banana to a Java Jolt with chocolate, espresso and whey protein.

Staples said every ingredient on the menu is whole and natural. The fruits and vegetables are freeze-dried to ensure freshness without using preservatives. Every smoothie on the menu also includes a calorie count to help customers make conscious health decisions.

“There truly is something for everyone,” Staples said.

Zen Blend is open to the cycling studio’s nearly 2,500 clients as well as members of the community who do not take classes at the studio. The smoothie bar, which features a state-of-the-art preparation area, is inside the Zenergy Cycling building across the hall from the cycling studio.

“It’s truly not just for the riders here. It’s for Charleston,” he said. “Our mission is to inspire people to live a happy, healthy, energetic lifestyle. We wanted to tie that into Zen Blend as well.”

Zenergy Cycling will celebrate its one-year anniversary in Charleston in August.

Classes at the studio are taught in the dark by candlelight, Staples said, allowing riders to focus on their own experience rather than compare themselves to others in the room.

Riders can also purchase Zenergy apparel at the studio.

Staples said his entire goal is to transform bodies and refresh minds.

Now, with the addition of Zen Blend, riders and members of the community can freshen up their eating habits to live an even more balanced, healthy lifestyle.

It’s something Staples said he believes will help secure a healthy future for the state.

“When we first opened, as an owner, I tried to live the healthiest life possible - tried to. Sometimes that can be very hard in West Virginia,” he said, laughing. “I’ve struggled my entire life with living a healthy lifestyle. It’s really nice to come to work and be reminded every day that you’re doing the best you can and that’s enough. That is the Zenergy lifestyle just being the best person you can be.”

In the future, Staples said he hopes Zen Blend can expand and offer other products like juices.

As part of his efforts to expand and help West Virginians find their own Zenergy, Staples said the cycling studio will be opening a second location this summer.

Zenergy Cycling will open in Morgantown’s Suncrest Towne Centre in July.

As someone who knows how difficult it can be to live a healthy lifestyle, Staples said he wanted to “drill West Virginia,” to help as many people as he can to make healthy changes.

“We have a whole underlying theme and that is bringing Zen to the people. Spreading the Zen,” he said.

“There was nothing like Zenergy, so I went out and in four weeks created my own company. As a whole, we really need to bring West Virginia up. We need to get to where the other cities are and really hit on healthy lifestyles so that people can see that there are options.”

Zenergy Cycling and the Zen Blend smoothie bar are open from 5:30-10:30 a.m. and 4:30-7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

For more information, visit zenergycycling.com or like Zenergy Cycling on Facebook at facebook.com/zenergycycling.


Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, https://wvgazettemail.com.



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