For David Peterson, the wonder and excitement of physically changing himself through exercise not only led to an improved body, but an entire career.
Peterson, the owner of Infinity Fitness in Darien and New Canaan, sees the possibilities as being, well, infinite.
"The idea that you could do some different exercises, eat certain foods and physically change your appearance and abilities was amazing to me," he said. "I had always been into working out and sports as a youngster."
In the summer of his junior year at Fairfield High School, he began bulking up to play hockey.
"I started reading different books about training and ultimately added 11 pounds that summer," he said. "That had me hooked."
Peterson took his passion to work, though originally that was the last place he wanted it.
"I loved exercise and fitness so much I didn't want to pursue it as a profession," he said. "That sounds counter-intuitive, but I just didn't want to spend my entire day in the gym and get sick of being there. It was too special to me."
In 2011, he opened his first gym at 264 Heights Road in Darien, after five years in the town doing a variety of individual and small-group training classes in private homes, at businesses, and sometimes even in parks during good weather.
"I knew that was where I wanted to start things off," he said, "and I haven't looked back since."
In 2012, Peterson opened a second facility at 70 Pine St. in New Canaan, which is in the process of getting a face-lift. He now works closely with his brother, Dan, who serves as a trainer and key part of Infinity.
"Infinity Fitness is not your average gym or fitness studio," said Dan Peterson. "When you join Infinity Fitness you join a family. Your fitness and lifestyle goals become our number one priority."
The large training spaces, which include a variety of weights, machines and devices, afford members the opportunity to enjoy a specialized experience under the guidance of enthusiastic and knowledgeable trainers.
"Unlike other big-box gyms, we know each member by their first name and we provide each of our members with all of our knowledge and experience to help them achieve their goals," Dan said. "If there is anyway we can help someone achieve their fitness goal, we want to make sure we not only deliver it, but that we over-deliver it with a smile on our face.
"Our passion for fitness is why we originally opened this gym, and it continues to drive us to this day," he said.
A client, Lauren Moir of Darien, said, "All of the trainers are personable, not intimidating, and are genuinely interested in helping each client achieve their goals. I have done every type of exercise class under the sun -- step, sculpt, kickbox, spin -- and I have never had the results that I have had from working out at Infinity Fitness,"
The mother of two, Moir was reminded how "incredibly out of shape" she was after being asked to run in a 5K with her 9-year old daughter.
"I participated in a six-week weight-loss challenge the gym offered in January and I won," she said. "I lost 15 pounds in six weeks. I have never had such dramatic results so quickly and I was motivated to keep going.
"I am 25 pounds lighter and a whole lot stronger than I was in January," Moir said. "When anyone asks what my secret is, I tell them it's diet and exercise, and I have Infinity Fitness to thank for it."
David Peterson maintains that Infinity is unique in a number of ways, primarily because it's the perfect size between a "big box gym that sees you as a number" and "a small studio that gives you an isolated experience."
There are also a variety of motivational techniques employed, he said, such as fitness challenges with prizes, one-on-one consultations and assessments, and even social events.
"We are not a typical gym in any sense of the word."
For information, visit infinityfitnessgym.com.
Jarret Liotta is a freelance writer.