Brian Lopipero

Thank you, what an honor it is to be chosen for the December member spotlight. Let me start by saying 212 is so much more than gym. It has become another place to call home, full of friendly and encouraging faces. Without the members and staff, I don’t think I would be where I am today. All of your dedication and hard work has inspired me to reach beyond my known limits and stray well outside of my comfort zone, helping me to grow and be more confident in myself.

I’ve never been an “athlete”. While growing up in Central New York, I was more interested in singing, playing the cello, and marching band. All of these activities gave me a creative outlet and provided me with a close knit group of friends and a place where I belonged. Moving to Rhode Island to work for Hasbro Toys after college was such an isolating experience. I left all of my friends, family, and music behind. After a year in RI, I found a fantastic professional choir, The Schola Cantorum at St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Providence. Everyone in the choir is so incredibly talented, and I’m beyond lucky to perform with them. I’ve been singing with them for about 4 years now, but the choir alone was never enough to keep me occupied. A co-worker and current 212 member, Robin Matusik, informed me of the Friday afternoon Hasbro class at 212. I had never really been to a gym and was skeptical at first. I had enough of always being the scrawny kid though, so I decided to go anyways. After a few months of the Hasbro class I joined full time. On January 18th, I officially named 2014 “The Year of the Pecs” and set a personal goal of getting in shape/ stronger.

212 still has me engaged! I’m so lucky to have found another place where I feel like I belong. It’s a place filled with encouraging people, even if they do throw Indian clubs at my face! Strength Fest really was the defining moment for me, and really cemented my thoughts on 212. First of all, strength competitions are well outside of my wheelhouse, but Heather encouraged me to compete anyways. Then I was amazed how everyone stepped up to help; Colin put together workouts, Alicia stayed late to push me beyond my limits, Sean always provided encouraging words that eliminated any anxiety, and Kerry screamed in my face as I tried to lift that stupid rock over my head. No, I was not the strongest, but every single person (members and trainers) provided support that day. That continued support has encouraged me to push beyond my comfort zone, from the dragon boat race to starting a new job outside of my professional field of study. We’re coming up on my 1 year anniversary as a 212 member, and I can’t think of a better time to say thank you to everyone for all your help over the past year! I look forward to continuing my/ our journey together in 2015, “The Year of the Ass”, as I work towards achieving my goal of staying physically fit.