Claire LoPresti - 1.5 Years at OPEX
Honestly, this place became my constant in a critical time of my life. Every time you step into a new gym, you feel a little uneasy. Am I going to get along with everybody? Will I be the odd person out? That was never the case in this gym. We operate as a pack, and from the first second I walked into the door I have felt welcomed by EVERY SINGLE PERSON, not just the coaching staff. This gym gives me the freedom to be my loud and crazy self that usually has to get squashed at my 9-5. We push each other if someone is struggling, and encourage people to push harder even if they don’t think they can do it themselves. We believe in each other, and that does more for everyone outside of the gym than they realize.
I’ve started to walk with my head held just a little bit higher since I know I have a group of humans that believe in me without judgement. There is something to be said about the environment at Opex Bethel Park. It’s okay to fail, it’s okay to not understand, and it’s okay to struggle. Name one other place in this world that people will still accept you for doing those things? They have created a culture that fosters growth both mentally and physically, and that is not just by chance. They take the time to understand every single person who walks in the gym, and how to coach them individually. You can feel how much you matter even in a sea of people at the gym with you.
Moving to my coach, there is no one else I’d rather call my coach. She understands me as an athlete, and are always HONEST with me about what I need to be doing, or what I could be doing better. My goals have ranged from just getting back to a gym consistently, from wanting to train for a half marathon and she has coached me through everything with ease. The biggest difference for me was when I hurt my back. I didn’t handle being “sidelined” well in the slightest. I was devastated and angry that my progress I was making had to take a back seat. My coach looked at me and said you’re allowed to be frustrated, it’s okay. The reassurance that we would work through whatever was ahead was enough to keep me coming back. Being able to fully trust a coach is what makes this sustainable, and I’m lucky to have my coach in my corner. This place is my outlet and without it I have no clue where I would be at mentally. I’m so lucky for the deep conversations when we are the only ones left, the “you should add ten pounds” and the side eyes saying “come on now.”