Phil Ayoub

First, I have to say that it’s an incredible honor to be chosen 212’s “GREATEST MEMBER OF ALL-TIME.” I didn’t even know such an award existed! (And in fact, it actually might be something I just made up. But either way, I’m gonna go with it and am thrilled to be chosen this month to share some thoughts on my 212 experience!).

As I would imagine with many other members, I first came to know 212 by spending way too much time sitting next door at Seven Stars Bakery. Then finally one day, having grown tired of my lazy routine at a different gym, I finished my chocolate chip cookie and popped into 212 to grab a brochure. Soon after, I signed up for the initial 5-week program.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that 212 was the perfect balance of motivation and intensity for me, without being overwhelming or intimidating. I knew early on it was exactly what I was looking for. If there was a website that connected gyms with people, 212 and I would be one of its success stories. 

It starts with the staff and the membership. So many times I’ve walked in there in a tired or lousy mood, only to have it change, not just by the end of the class, but within the first few minutes. That’s a tribute to how the staff makes you feel and the friendliness of the members.

And I think that helps address the biggest hurdle most people have when it comes to working out, which is finding consistency and motivation. Now I find myself wanting to go. And dare I say, it’s actually even fun. I’ve never had fun working out before in my life.

Now, my goal has never been to participate in any strength competitions or run in any races. I’ve always fluctuated in and out of shape over the years and I’ve realized how much that has an effect on my overall mood and happiness. Now I simply want to look and feel better (ok, mostly look) on a consistent basis.  And in the last year and a half I have definitely noticed myself more fit than I have been in a long time, and feeling more athletic. And I’ve noticed that a lot of normal day-to-day physical activities feel a lot easier, whether it be being on my feet for long periods of time, or helping friends move (ok, I actually never help friends move), etc. Those things aren’t supposed to get easier when you get older, are they?!  

Kerry and the staff have truly created something special not only with the gym itself but also the 212 community. I love running into members and staff on the town somewhere and getting to know them away from the gym (if you happen to see Alicia at karaoke night somewhere, stick around for her version of “Killing Me Softly”).

I don’t give out compliments very often (well, at least not sincere ones), but I really can’t say enough about 212. I think a good example would be when a friend visited recently and asked, “Is that the gym you love so much?!”

So I thank 212 for choosing me this month.  I promise I won’t let it go to my head. And I don’t want any special treatment at the gym from now on. I’m still the same regular guy I’ve always been…I carry my kettlebells three at a time, just like everyone else.