Chris Larisa

My story is probably similar to many others at 212, I was an athlete in my youth. I swam competitively for 10 years with my specialty in long distance events (200 yard and 500 yard freestyle) when I competed in high school. Swimming is one of those sports you really have to love in order to be any good. You must be willing to spend hours upon hours staring at a black line at the bottom of a pool while going back and forth and to tolerate some bad swimmer's hair as a by-product of that time in the pool. We had two a day practices at the height of our high school season, swimming 6,000 yards (about 3.5 miles) a day. I do know that the hard work, discipline, and dedication I put into swimming all those years provided a foundation for me for other parts of my life, like work, family, and exercise. 

I stopped competitive swimming when I go to college and promptly gained the freshman 15. I joined a gym the summer after my freshman year and have belonged to a gym or exercised on my own ever since then. I've participated in every popular fitness thing starting with aerobics in the late 80's (complete with lycra and leg warmers), step aerobics, nautilus weight training, aqua aerobics when I was pregnant, spinning, you name it. I also started running in my 30's because I'd always wanted to try a triathlon. I did a few triathlons, mostly to have a goal of getting outside on my bike or running. I thought I was in good shape, but I was going to eventually find out that there was A LOT more work to do.

I drove up to the gym I belonged to one day in late January almost 5 years ago to find it dark and closed without notice. Well, I thought, "now what?" I decide to check out that kettlebell gym in Seekonk that same morning. There I met this petite, soft-spoken woman named Kim, who put me through the orientation session. Halfway through I thought to myself, "WHAT have I been doing all these years because I'm pretty sure it wasn't exercising." Intrigued, I decided to join. Fast forward about 4 months and the gym moves to Rumford. Meet Kerry Taylor, Colin Aina, and the rest of the crew. 

Before I know it, I'm swinging more kettlebells, doing more (real) push ups than I ever thought I could do, starting to lift some really heavy things, climbing ropes, and sometimes I begin to think I may have joined the football or track team with all of the ladders we are doing. I'm having so much fun and begin to look forward to what the next class will bring. (Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of nauseas moments in there too!) I also started to notice some pretty amazing changes, I was getting strong and fit, but I was also the most physically balanced I'd ever been in my life. 

Over the past nearly 5 years, 212 has become part of my almost daily routine. I'm constantly challenged, energized, and never bored with what each class brings. There is something so unique and special about 212. I think it's a combination of many things like Kerry's energy and leadership, the combination of all the trainers' knowledge, expertise, and their personalities, the physical space, and then the members themselves. I'm so grateful for all I've learned here, the people I've met, and the friends I've made. I'm so happy to be part of what I would say is the best.gym.ever.