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Chris Merritt, ’09, Exercise Science

My Kinesiology courses gave me the knowledge and opportunity to better serve my clients. 

Chris Merritt Professional

Chris had always been passionate about fitness. From his early days at Penn State Berks to his final years at the main campus, his love for helping others achieve their fitness goals never wavered. Now, as the proud owner of Beyond Strength and Beyond Strength Performance Tactical in Sterling, Virginia, Chris looks back on his journey with gratitude. 

Graduating from Penn State in 2009 with a focus in Fitness Studies was just the beginning. Chris was determined to make a difference in people's lives through health and fitness. Currently, he holds certifications in Precision Nutrition, Strong First Kettlebell Instruction, Functional Range Conditioning Mobility, and more, he is ready to take on the world. 

Reflecting on his time at Penn State, Chris can’t help but smile at the memories. The friendships he forged at Penn State Berks laid the foundation for a supportive network that would carry him through his move to Happy Valley and beyond. Transferring to the main campus opened new opportunities and connections, enriching his experience even further.

Chris Merritt Action

Living in Beaver Hill and Park Hill apartments, Chris immersed himself in campus life. But it wasn't just about the social scene; it was about combining his academic pursuits with real-world experience. He was proactive, becoming a certified personal trainer before even stepping foot on campus. This decision proved to be pivotal, as he was able to apply his knowledge directly to his clients while still in college. 

From LA Fitness to Lionheart and Victory, Chris honed his skills as a trainer, gaining invaluable experience along the way. Each interaction with clients reaffirmed his passion for fitness and strengthened his resolve to make a difference in people's lives. 

One particular memory stood out among the rest – the American College of Sports Medicine trip to Long Beach, CA. It was a transformative experience, exposing Chris to new ideas and perspectives in the world of fitness. The trip fueled his drive to constantly learn and grow, shaping his approach to training and coaching. 

As Chris looks around his gym, Beyond Strength, he can't help but feel a sense of pride. Every piece of equipment, every training program, is a testament to his dedication and hard work. Beyond Strength it not just a gym, it is a community built on trust, support, and a shared commitment to health and wellness that started in the kinesiology department. 

For Chris Merritt, the journey from Penn State to owning his own fitness business had been challenging, but incredibly rewarding. And as he welcomed clients through the doors of Beyond Strength, he knew that he was exactly where he was meant to be – helping others go beyond their perceived limits and achieve their true strength, both physically and mentally.

This profile was published April 2024.