Debby Barchi

I often wondered how the person for Member Spotlight of the month was selected.  How surprised I was when I received an email from Kerry saying that I was chosen to be in the November spotlight.

My story is not unique, probably typical to most of us.  I was very much in shape all my life, well into my forties.  I had studied dance since I was a child and is a passion that I carried right into adulthood, still even jumping into a ballet or modern class now and then.  Somehow as adults, life really does get in the way of what we love to do and how we stay healthy.  Having two babies at age 42 and 44, working a full time job, tending to an adult daughter that sometimes needed my help, being a wife and mother, started to take its toll.  When I got married at age 40, I was a size 2.  In the years following I found myself a size 10, not really huge but not thin and fit either. Having a small frame I hated it.  I did not like the image I saw in the mirror, more importantly I did not like how unhealthy I felt.  Though I walked a few times a week and was on the go all the time, it was not enough and I found myself very unhappy with the shape I was in and exhausted.  Add to this that my nuclear family, my mother, father and sister had all passed suddenly by the time they were 43, which for years scared me, especially with a young family to care for.  It was always in the back of my mind; would I succumb to this same fate as my loved ones, did I possibly inherit bad genes, was it a poor lifestyle that contributed to their early deaths, more importantly, was there something I could do about it so I did not have the same fate?

Eventually I decided to get off my butt and do something about how I was feeling.  I joined one of the big box gyms near my home.  It started out fine, getting accustomed to the weight machines, using the treadmills in front of big screen TV’s.  How Ironic.  It did not take long for me to lose interest in this.  I would plan to work out in the morning, only to find myself still planning to work out in the afternoon.  Procrastination is always a sign for me that something is not working.  There was one thing that did grab my interest in this gym and that was their one and only kettlebell class.  This was my first introduction to this type of training.  I was hooked.  I loved what I was learning.  I loved how fun it seemed and it kept my interest.  The only problem was there was only one class offered and the gym was not very supportive of the instructor.  Chris was over 40, had done all the personal training she wanted to do and just wanted to teach her classes and go home.   She eventually left and I was at a loss, not only for the loss of someone I had become close with, but at a loss of this new form of exercise that I had come to love.

I eventually stumbled across 212, when it was still Punch Gym.  I would peer in the window, checking everything out, as if I was going to ransack the place.  All of the equipment and weights truly intimidated me.  It took me awhile but one day I walked in to check things out.  Taking those few steps through that door truly was a life changer.  The first person I met was Sean.  His energy and jokes were infectious.  He explained a little bit about the place and what their goals were for their clients.  I explained a little of what I was looking for.  I felt relaxed and interested, but most of all I felt it was a place I could fit in, though I was still intimidated by all of the equipment.  I quickly made an appointment for the introduction and for the orientation and decided to join for the 5 weeks.  Those 5 weeks flew by but in that short period of time I could feel some changes.  I was on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday routine doing classes twice a week with a small group on Friday.  In those first few weeks I did not miss a scheduled day.  I could not wait to get to the gym and start working.  It was still overwhelming, learning all of these new moves and dealing with all of the weights, but I was there and doing it.  The one thing I totally appreciated was the focus on doing things correctly.  Having danced all my life, there was always a focus on technique and doing things properly.  Not only was the trainer teaching the class watching over you, it was not uncommon for one of the other trainers to come over from the sidelines and correct your form.  I truly appreciate this, for one of my goals even now is to master whatever move we are doing.  In the years I have been coming to the gym I constantly see this being done.  It makes you feel like you are never alone, that you are part of something bigger and that someone with more knowledge is watching out for you.  What else I noticed in those weeks was that my energy level had returned.  Though the training was hard and it exhausted me in the beginning, in a few hours I had recovered and had an abundance of it.  Everyday routines seemed easier and I could feel myself becoming happier.  I received the usual bangs and bruises as a beginner.  My daughter’s wedding was schedule right before my 5 weeks were to end.  I displayed a huge black and blue mark on my upper right arm as I walked down the church aisle.  My daughter was not thrilled about it but I wore it like a badge of honor.  It was a tribute to all the hard work I had put in the last few weeks.

When the New Year came I joined as a full-fledged member.  That was in 2012.  As I began my 4th year, 212 Health and Performance and everyone affiliated with it, has changed everything about my life.  The strength and muscle I have developed amazes me.  I am always striving to go a little heavier or work a little harder, (as Kerry preaches, “turn it up one degree”) to reach that next level.  I rarely miss class, as 212 is such a part of my life and my routine.  Everything revolves around getting to the gym, even when I had broken my hand right before Thanksgiving a few years back.  I did not know how I was going to cook that holiday, but I did know I would find a way to throw around a kettlebell while I was healing.  For me starting over was just not an option. 

I have progressed beyond my wildest dreams.  My weight is under control.  I have ‘wittled the middle’ as was always one of my goals.  I have muscles, am strong and I am happy.  There are people that I have met here at 212 that have become friends or have become part of my life in some way, both staff and members; for 212 Health and Performance is my home away from home, a place I am a part of, a place I feel happy at.  When Kerry announced a while ago that he was taking over another building in the complex, now known as Studio B, I was thrilled.  I was thrilled for Kerry as he was expanding his business and reaching his dreams, but I was thrilled for all of us; for when I started, Kerry was just breaking out of the franchise and going out on his own.  This expansion meant that 212 Health and Performance is here to stay and I am here to stay along with it.  With the changes I have made over the last few years I know I am doing the best I can for myself and with any luck, to stay healthy and fit.  Thank you all being part of my journey.  Thank you for listening.  Debby

(On a side note) I have to temper myself when I am in a big box store, picking up that case of water or throwing that 55 pound of dog food into my carriage.  When a well-meaning man approaches me and wants to help, I have to suppress the urge to say “do I look like I need your help”?!!  I politely say no thank you.  I can see the surprise in their eyes when I do this without their assistance.