August 21, 2014

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South Amherst fitness club a family effort

SOUTH AMHERST — Sue Kuhn and her daughter, Karen Armstrong, have partnered to open Armstrong Health and Fitness.

Karen Armstrong leads a Resistance, Interval, Power, Plyometric, Endurance and Diet class at her fitness club on state Route 113 in South Amherst. (CT photo by Rob Swindell.)

Officially opened in October 2011, Kuhn acts as the general manager, managing the club’s daily operations, including marketing and advertising, while Armstrong will draw upon years of training experience as the fitness director.

As a former gymnast, the journey and commitment to fitness has taken Armstrong to California and back.

“I was a gymnast for 13 years. When I quit I was about 16 and gained a ton of weight,” she said. “I kept that weight on the whole time I lived in California. When I moved back home in 2001, I decided I wanted a lifestyle change and starting dropping my weight with the help of a doctor.”

After meeting her husband in 2003 and having her son, Armstrong again committed to getting healthy.

“I decided I wanted to be at my gymnast weight, healthy and fit, and I was working towards a main goal for myself. After I delivered my son, I went from 183 to 114 in six months,” she said. “I joined a gym here in Amherst. I just started going to classes and walking, and I changed my diet probably 95 percent from what I was doing before.”

A couple years later, Armstrong made the transition from student to instructor.

“In 2007, I was asked by my former boss to start teaching (fitness classes) for her and started with one class. And by the time I left her, I was pushing 13 classes per week at two gyms,” she said. “Then I decided I wanted to start helping people in small groups to reach their goals.”

After practicing privately, Armstrong was ready last year to own her own club.

“We made the decision in 2011 to rent this facility. My husband and I had talked it over. Mom and I partnered, and she backed me,” Armstrong said. “It is a convenient location at a very reasonable price. It was a small enough place, but big enough space to accommodate what I needed.

“Not only that, it is located on state Route 113, which is a busy street. I like the windows being open in the front and I love the floor space. So basically, for what I needed, it suited everything.”

Armstrong Health and Fitness offers classes all week, including cycling, cardio and body blast classes and their enthusiastic Resistance, Interval, Power, Plyometric, Endurance and Diet class. Members love the challenge and workout.

“RIPPED is fantastic, I love it. I get great results, I am very happy, and it’s so fun,” said member Missy Beck.
On the diet side, Armstrong Health and Fitness has partnered with Visalus Sciences to offer Body by Vi Challenge Kits for purchase.

Armstrong Health and Fitness offers different memberships and class passes, including month-to-month, annual rates and spousal discounts.

Armstrong would like to expand, and Kuhn recognizes the potential.

“We would like to grow to cater to everyone. We have preliminary plans — and we love what we do. That makes a big difference” Kuhn said.

Armstrong Health and Fitness, 102 W. Main St., South Amherst, (440) 714-0067 or (440) 225-6012, www.armstronghealthfitness.com.

New business news

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Contact Rob Swindell at 329-7155 or ctnews@chroniclet.com.