By now, I’ve visited endless fitness studios and workout classes and I can say, without hesitation, that no two are ever the same. That’s the beauty of modern fitness – the options today are incredibly diverse, compared to the handful to choose from 20 years ago. (You know, when I was three.) I can walk into a kick-ass gym in any of the lovely greater Providence cities and know that I’m walking into a new experience, fitness community and inspiring tribe of driven and relentless staff and members.
The moment I opened the door to Rumford’s 212 Health and Performance to join their circuit class, I had no doubts I’d fit right in. Glancing around, the open-spaced room showcased all kinds of goodies that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. Endless kettlebells, battle ropes, globe barbells and dumbbells, weighted pins, Indian clubs, sleds, medicine balls, plus more happily crowded my vision, in a room with chalkboard walls displaying workouts and inspirational words, and a perfectly laid out circuit station with more chalked out exercises written on the floor in front of each station. I was impressed (and happy) that it was all written out for us and that this class wouldn’t require that I have to memorize anything (since I stop using my brain after the 23rd time I hear “mommy” for the day, which is by 8:30am). After feasting my eyes, 212’s owner, Kerry Taylor, greeted me, walked me around the facility and began to chat about their space and mission.
Kerry’s athletics and fitness training runs deep, dating back as captain of his high school and college football, basketball and track teams (which included UMass Amherst National Football Champs). After his collegiate career, he went on to play football for the NFL for both the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions. Continuation of his professional experience in both the XFL and AFL led way to retirement into his passion of training and coaching. Kerry’s certifications include Strength and Conditioning Specialist HKC (Hardstyle Kettlebell), AOS (Advanced Oxidation System) Instructor and is also the Speed and Conditioning Director for the state, as well as a high school football coach. Working as the head trainer for a large gym chain for years, he decide to make the jump into opening his own place five years ago, where he could utilize and share all of the knowledge he has acquired, in teaching proven and effective techniques that he believes in. These techniques paved way to one hell of a workout.
After a run-through demo of what exactly we’d be doing and a good warm-up of kettlebell carries, stretches, Indian club swings and jumping jacks/running/jump rope, we partnered up, two to a station, and began the circuit. Spending 30 seconds at each station, we moved through eight different exercises for two sets (with a break between sets), and then all eight changed and we ran through those two full sets of 30 seconds each, again (switching station partners so that we’d get to know someone new in the class). Included in the 16 different exercises we performed were heart-pumpers like kettlebell swings to flip with squats, man makers, plank kettlebell pull-throughs, various forms of battle ropes, TRX rows (using rope rings), ball slams, one-armed kettlebell bottoms-up carries, kb clean and carries, side lunge jumps, lateral slide squats and some core plank work that probably has a legitimate name but I refer to as “those things that kill your abs.”
As we worked through each station, the music pumped loudly and Kerry walked around, helping class members with form while motivating and pushing us through, which was necessary for someone like me, who hadn’t done all of the exercises before. I never felt lost or out of place for one second in this class, even if I was confusing the hell out of my workout partner (and myself) when I was forced to use the metric system when deciding which kettlebell to use. I don’t do math on Thursdays, so I was thankful that someone was there to do it for me. The team camaraderie and individual enjoyment around the room was palpable, even if we were all sweating our asses off while silently counting down the seconds.
What I’ve come to love most about circuit classes are that they consist of short bursts of intense work, which improves overall conditioning, endurance, strength and aesthetics. Every muscle in your body feels the burn. And they are never boring. I especially loved that this class switched up the exercises halfway through and the overall vibe of the facility was inviting and stimulating.
212’s philosophy is all about pushing beyond what you think you can do. Going that extra second, and, by doing so, your progress and transformation begins. I couldn’t agree more and I’m happy to have found a new team-building, gut-busting atmosphere to revisit.
212 Health and Performance
20 Newman Ave #2002 Rumford