Generations – The Joy of Movement
SLS Fitness Offers an Individualized Approach to Whole-Body Wellness
Sherri Laffey Sarrouf long dreamed to use her passion for whole-body wellness and fitness to build an inviting fitness center where people of all ages and demographics would find a home-like atmosphere. With a holistic approach in mind, Sherri took her 20 plus years of experience and knowledge in the strength and conditioning industry and translated it to one of the Merrimack Valley’s most unique and innovative fitness centers — SLS Fitness. Its flagship site is located in Lowell, Mass.
Within a year of opening in 2010, what started as a small, 7,500-square-foot fitness center exploded to 18,000 square feet. From the beginning, it felt as much like a community as a gym — a place where individuals and families feel safe and welcome during their personal wellness journeys. SLS Fitness offers a variety of classes and workout programs tailored to individual needs and goals. Classes and programs include yoga, boxing, mobility, strength and conditioning, MMA and spinning — appealing to everyone from hardcore athletes to seniors. Her pioneering science-based conditioning program, Metabolic Effect, has proved to be one their most popular offerings for those looking to balance their hormonal responses and thus regulate appetite, improve mood and develop strength. Sarrouf has personally studied with Jade Teta, Metabolic Effect’s creator.
Beyond classes and the latest fitness equipment, SLS Fitness also features infrared saunas, chiropractic and corporate services and an organic juice bar. In addition, members have access to rehabilitation programs such as physical therapy, which Sarrouf notes can decrease the chance of injuries and allow for a safer workplace wellness environment.
Sarrouf’s emphasis on primal and ancestral movements, generated from everyday actions like walking, pushing, lifting and bending, serves to limit needless injury — this is something gym rats often forget — and keep the workouts fun and uplifting. Distinguishing the difference between the joy such a holistic wellness approach can have on the body versus modalities that focus on unrealistic fitness patterns, unhealthy dieting and excessive training is something Sarrouf considers critical for long-term vitality.
The center’s character is reflected in the unique look of their facility. After all, members are expected to form realistic and obtainable goals during their journeys. Sarrouf says it is part of her mission to help the 70% of people who may not feel welcome at a traditional box gym. To illustrate this approach, their specialty programs include a boxing program for Parkinson’s patients and one for participants over the age of 65.
That’s not all. Sarrouf is involved in a partnership with Lowell General Hospital’s oncology program, and the SLS Fitness team manages corporate fitness programs and facilities throughout the Merrimack Valley.
When the pandemic started and fitness centers were ordered to close, there was no doubt in Sarrouf’s mind that her 40 employees would not be laid off. Instead, she strived to adapt. She and her team decided to move classes, personal training and programs to a virtual setting.
Beyond the gym, Sarrouf is involved with philanthropic efforts. She is the founder of Fitness for a Cure, which has raised over $6 million dollars for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Accompanied by her son, Stephen, and her daughter, Elizabeth, the family together teach different types of fitness and dances to over 120 kids on the team during these successful fundraising events.
Coming in the fall of 2021 will be the new SLS Cafe, which will offer creative and nutritious organic food options. As she has already accomplished much when it comes to addressing the physical aspect of whole-body wellness, she sees this as a new beginning.