Ron Theriault weighs almost the same as he did 12 years ago — he’s just a lot thinner. At 270 pounds and 44 inches at the belt, the Corunna man had been dedicating most of his time to his job as a cabinetry carpenter. “I thought that work and money was the answer,” said Theriault, now 41. “I thought the more I worked and the more I made the better off my future would be.” As it turned out, he said, all he gained was a bunch of weight and he felt unhealthy and unhappy. But it wasn’t until he and his wife Shelly, also 41, decided they were going to have a child that Theriault decided to make a change. “I wanted to live a lifestyle that I could play with my child,” he said. “I wanted more out of my life.” So he hit the gym. “I always liked lifting weights and who didn’t want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger when they were a kid?” he asked. Now, 10 inches thinner, Theriault is trying to parley that passion into a new business venture with the recently opened Corunna Fitness Centre.
The gym opened at 201 Hill St. in December, and includes a slew of equipment Theriault bought from the former Workout Room, which closed last year. He’s also added a number of other machines, from plate-operated and pin-loaded equipment, to spin bikes, treadmills, and even a 40-degree climbing machine — a half-vertical treadmill where the person climbs as if on a ladder. “I just saw a marketplace and something I’m passionate about,” said Theriault, who quit his job of 18 years in carpentry to pursue his dream. “I did the math,” he said. He has about 160 clients already in the gym that boasts about 5,000 square feet for equipment, spin classes, and other classes like yoga. “I’ve got a pretty good support in the community,” Theriault said. “Everybody seems to like it.” He’s trying to appeal to folks who live in Corunna and don’t want to make the 60-minute round trip to Sarnia to work out, he said. “We do have everything you need,” he said. Theriault is the business owner, but Shelly also helps him with the books, while she balances a full-time job in customs. They have a 10-year-old daughter, Laurren. For Theriault, who said he’d someday like to pursue bodybuilding, there’s no better lifestyle than fit. “I’ve got friends who are competitive body builders,” he said. “It’s a dream of mine; I always say I’m going to some day.”