Larisa Unger
48 years old
group fitness instructor, with specialties in indoor cycling, Pilates and barre classes at JCC & other locations
How did you get into group fitness training?
I was always a runner, and when I came here I kept running. As I got older, it started hurting a little so I started lifting weights at the gym. I met my husband, who encouraged me trying fitness classes and I noticed how it helped me improve tremendously in my sport. I got hooked.
Clients say you remember all of their names and call on them in class. Do you have a trick for remembering?
I came here 25 years ago from Ukraine and I didn't speak any English. Learning to memorize is a skill that I have. When someone tells me their name, I know how important remembering is, so I really care to listen. People are inspired by someone believing in them, and if you care enough to remember their names they can really feel how much you do believe.
gym/fitness activity
I love lifting weights. I think, as a woman, feeling strong is the best.
healthy snack
I don't snack! I eat meals!
unhealthy snack
Coffee is my vice. I love black coffee.
cool down activity
I love yoga and meditation. I love being able to feel the connection between the mind and the body. Emotional fitness and emotional health are connected to physical health and fitness.
fitness motto
“Believe in yourself and trust it to get you there.”
Client Love
“You're gonna sweat with Larisa, and she definitely pushes you to your breaking point, but she instills confidence in you at the same time. It's because of her personality. She's a very strong person; there's no weakness at all. Once she led a class with a broken toe! She's not for the weak, but she makes you even stronger.”
- Lanie Hurwitz, 49, Owings Mills
Proudest moment as an instructor
When I come into class and see people coming back and feeling and looking better. Even just the look on their face, you can see how much of a difference it makes to start exercising. That makes me want to jump for joy. I see it almost every day.