FOX61 News story screenshot of people working out at Chapter 126

Strength from within: Bristol gym is designed for adaptive athletes and people with disabilities

Strength from within: Bristol gym is designed for adaptive athletes and people with disabilities

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BRISTOL — With all the workout machines, weights and mats it looks a lot like any other gym. But Chapter 126 in Bristol, Connecticut isn’t just about helping clients get physically stronger: their mission is helping people find new life and strength from within.

“It has absolutely changed my life not only physically though, I mean it truly has made me mentally stronger,” said Lori Spector.

Lori was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis twenty years ago. She said it didn’t impact her much for the first ten years, but slowly things changed. About a year and a half ago Lori realized she needed to change too.

“I never associated working out with getting better,” she said. “Really didn’t know that working out would make me as strong as I’ve become. I’m not going to flex my muscles for you, but they are there. They never were before.”

“Everybody who comes in already has the strength within them, and kinda what we do here with the staff is just make sure everybody has the tools to realize that strength,” said James Przybylski, trainer at Chapter 126.

Chapter 126 helps people of all ages with a variety of disabilities fulfill the need to be physically stronger.

A special anti-gravity treadmill allows clients to walk again. It builds up muscles in a way that no other conditioning can, but the sensation of being able to walk again, is just as liberating.

Harry McKinstry uses the anti-gravity machine regularly.

“You can’t beat it,” McKinstry said. “Just to get to be walking again without everyone holding you, right there is a big plus.”

His incredible drive and leg strength is taking him to the New York City marathon this year. He’s going to be using a specially designed road wheelchair. It’s his legs that will be doing all the work, pushing him along the marathon route.

For Harry and Lori, Chapter 126 isn’t just about getting stronger, it’s transforming them with a new passion and empowering them in all aspects of their lives.

“When you’re diagnosed with a disease that is degenerative, it only get worse, never get better,” Lori said proudly. “And you can start to feel hopeless, but coming to a gym and getting stronger, I am getting better. I am a better person.”