GLEN ROCK, N.J. — Erika Goldberg Schwartz of Glen Rock aims to motivate others through her love of exercise.
The wife and mom to three youngsters gives back through coaching spin at Ridgewood's OneLove Bike and Barre, and knows how to motivate others both on and off the bike.
She encourages people in her classes to “switch off the outside world and focus in on yourself,” she said. “Attitude is everything, and it’s alright to be selfish a slice of the day.”
Schwartz, and Ardsley, N.Y. native, has been an avid exerciser for more than 20 years, which made having back surgery this past April all the more difficult.
Still, she found ways to inspire off the bike — in and out of classes.
“[Teaching spin] is my favorite thing to do," she said. "As women, we need to focus on not what our bodies look like, but what our bodies can do.”
Six weeks into recuperation, Schwartz returned to OneLove and Girls on the Run, a national program that encourages young girls to accept and love themselves, and learn how to navigate social issues.
“It’s about connecting the girls so they have a safe place to discuss peer pressure, and do some positive self talk," the coach said.
At the end of the season, athletes compete in a 5K run where each and every girl will cross the finish line.
Doing so shows the girls — often for the first time — that they have the power to do anything.
While being engaged in the community keeps her plate full, Schwartz delivers for Meals on Wheels and often brings her kids along.
Through her contact on social media with animal rights activist Beth Stern, Howard Stern's wife, Schwartz was encouraged to adopt two abandoned kittens, which Stern named Emoji and Pancake.
She wants to show not only her kids how important it is to give back, but those around her as well.
“I don’t try to push my agenda, but I think we’re all so fortunate on so many levels," she said. "It’s important to sprinkle around kindness like it’s confetti. It comes back to you.”