Kara Kelley

Aaaargh! Yes, chances are that’s me grunting and yelling - attempting to summon my inner Amazon for rock cleans or barbell push presses.

My fitness journey started, like many, from a low point. I left the Army after serving in Operation Desert Storm and came home overweight and a bit of a mess. Sitting around in the desert eating Army biscuits and drinking hot chocolate with extra creamer was not a good fitness recipe. I think I did go jogging once around our perimeter and was pursued by a stray dog. Making the military weight standard was always a struggle and I was well over the upper limit when they brought the scales out in the desert.

Coming home to regain some equilibrium, I discovered aerobics in the Jamestown community center and became a devoted follower, then instructor. Spending a fair amount of time in gyms, weight lifting got added to my routine as well.  

Work and exercise were major components of my life for about 6 years. Then I started an Executive MBA program, met and married my husband and quite a few years later had my two boys. Other than the occasional stroll, I didn’t exercise with either pregnancy and gained 50 and 75lbs respectively.  My exercise routine after each pregnancy consisted mainly of cardio and was squeezed in during morning nap times.

About 4 years ago a fitness minded friend told me about what was then ‘Punch’; intrigued I checked out the schedule but didn’t see how I’d make it to the classes. The next year, however, with my younger son in preschool and with Neile Hartman also interested, I finally made it over to what is now 212.  

I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight but I was intrigued. For a while I despaired of ever mastering snatches or the Turkish getup. The constant encouragement and corrections from Kerry, Sean, Colin and the other members kept me at it. Almost 3 years later I’d say I do them right 85% of the time.

I love the excellence of the trainers and the environment at 212.  I feel good the moment I walk in the door and Sean yells out “Hi, KK.’  Kim and Kerry always push me in small group; the imminent relief I feel when they count down the last 5 seconds of an exercise is ridiculous.  All that hard work has paid off - both in terms of the mental tranquility I gain from working hard and my happiness with how my body looks and what it can do.

Thank you to everyone at 212 for creating a community of people who encourage and motivate each other to excel. I'm proud to be a part of it.