Fitness for mind and body: Lynn’s Cotter opens gym in Wyoma Square

Robin Wilson Cotter, the owner of Body Rock Fitness by Robin, hits a punching bag during a private kickboxing session at her studio in Lynn. (JAKOB MENENDEZ)

LYNN — Robin Wilson Cotter has spent the past 23 years of her life dedicated to fitness of the mind and body by focusing on the physical and mental aspects of health. 

In 1999, when Cotter weighed 250 pounds and suffered from postpartum depression, she was looking for a way to lose weight. 

This led her to take Tae Bo classes, a body-fitness system that incorporates martial arts techniques like kicks and punches, at East Coast Karate in Swampscott, where she fell in love with exercise and eventually became a certified trainer. 

Cotter has now been teaching for more than 20 years, and recently opened her own business, Body Rock Fitness by Robin, at 323 Broadway, where she teaches small-group and personal-training classes. 

“I love my job because of the relationships I’m able to build with my clients, which keeps me motivated,” Cotter said. 

When Cotter first started working out at East Coast Karate, she lost 100 pounds in six months; she knew she wanted to become an instructor five minutes into the workout, she said.

She started training with Sensei Lou Hopkins at East Coast Karate and then went to California to train with the creator of Tae Bo, Billy Blanks. 

Cotter received her certification and returned to Swampscott to continue teaching classes at East Coast Karate until 2006, when she went on to train at Paradise Gym. 

This was when Cotter began to implement her own personal workouts and training, ultimately leading to the creation of her own brand, Body Rock Fitness by Robin, which focused on cardio kickboxing and boxing. 

“Kickboxing and boxing is something that comes so easy to me and is a passion that I love to do,” Cotter said. 

She now has a location at 96 Swampscott Road in Salem, which she shares with a friend, and opened her own location in Lynn in September. 

“I’ve built such great relationships with so many great people for so many years now and it’s just great to finally have my own space to do what I’ve always wanted to do,” she said

What she likes most about her job, she said, is the relationships she has with her clients, which keeps her motivated. 

“Seeing the changes in them and how they put so much trust in me is amazing,” Cotter said. 

“They say I’m their motivation, but they don’t realize they are my motivation.” 

Her goal as a trainer is to not just help people transform and feel good physically, but also mentally. 

“My clients don’t just come to me for physical fitness … They feel comfortable enough to talk to me and ask for advice and know that I’ve been through a lot,” Cotter said. “Especially after everyone being trapped inside for over a year, people are going through a lot, so it’s not like they come in and I’m just training them physically, but mentally we’re getting stronger also.” 

As a woman who had her own fitness journey and struggled with postpartum depression, Cotter said she thinks those parts of her past help her clients see that anything is possible.

“My motto is ‘don’t think, just do,’ because sometimes people overthink everything and don’t realize they are in their own way,” she said. “Even if they’re not losing weight, they’re losing inches.” 

Before COVID-19, Cotter said she had a large following where she worked in Swampscott, but the pandemic caused her to lose some of those people. With her personal training sessions now being offered in Lynn, she was able to bring in new clients and work with new people. 

“People see what I’m doing with other women and that they’re losing weight and ask ‘where are you going? What are you doing?” she said.

Cotter is big on telling her clients to not worry about the scale because it’s all about how you feel. 

“If we have to adjust some things, there’s a way to do it without having to starve yourself,” she said. “A lot of times, people don’t understand that muscle weight is more than fat, so they’re losing inches but the scale is not moving.” 

Her personal training sessions at the Lynn location are just for women, but her other classes are for men and women. In the Lynn location, Cotter does High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts for small groups and personal training, but still hosts her larger group-training sessions at her Salem location. 

Personal training at the Lynn location is $45 for 45 minutes, and $60 for 60 minutes. The small-group training, for up to six people, is around $150 for a 60-minute session. 

For more information, visit her website at

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