We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with CKO Chatham
Owner (and Amazing Racer!) Marie Mazzocchi. We asked her a few questions about the Amazing Race
journey and how CKO Kickboxing played an integral part in the experience.So first things first… how did you get involved with The Amazing Race?
It was October of 2012, and Tim (my ex and race partner)
and I were just bored and coming up with ideas for something new to do... We saw a commercial for Amazing Race (neither of us had ever seen the show before) and thought, "Hey that looks cool. Let's try and do that." So we applied in November. CBS receives tens of thousands of applications so we never really thought any more about it. Fast forward to May of this year and there we were at the starting line!
Photos: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2013 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Did you follow a training regimen in the months prior to starting the race?
Yes. I hadn't been working out that much in the months prior to getting chosen, so I knew I had to step up my workouts to prepare. I teach classes seven days a week but hadn't taken a class in months. So I made it a point to start taking other instructors' classes as much as I could. I ran here and there, and I did some weight training as I always have, but I knew it would be the classes that would get me back into tip-top cardio shape.
How did Tim, your partner on the show, get race-ready?
When we got accepted, Tim was in a slump. He hadn't been to the gym in almost a year. He's a former pro-athlete and naturally in pretty good shape, but cardio-wise he would get winded going up a flight of stairs! I begged him for almost a month to just come to CKO with me. He had never been before, and like most guys was a little unsure about the whole "class setting" and whether or not it would be just women. Finally, he gave in and came one night... it was rough! I think it made him realize just how out of shape he was, but with three classes a week consistently, he was back in pro-athlete shape in less than two months.
For the people who may not be avid watchers of the show, what type of competitions
did you have to do?
The race is a combination of travel, physical, and mental tasks taking place over the course of one month, around the entire world. One of the more physical tasks we had during our season involved mountain biking miles through a salt mine in Chile, and then carrying 50lb salt bags from a salt to a brining pool, in which the object was to get about 30 bags in the water and mix it up in order to float. When we arrived at the challenge, we were already way behind the other teams, but because we were much more prepared for a physical task like this, we were able to make up a huge amount of time.
Photos: Taken with permission from Marie Mazzocchi's Instagram account.
How did CKO Kickboxing help you during the competition?
CKO got both of us back into top shape. There was no comparison between us and other teams when it came to stamina. We were able to run when others walked, and sprint when others jogged. There were times when we had no money for transportation and ran up to 5 miles at a time (carrying our 25lb backpacks) when other teams took cabs. In Poland, the leg ended with a three-way race to the finish line down "the longest pier in Europe". Instead of being nervous that it was so close, Tim and I knew we had it. There was no way anyone could catch us. And when we hit that check-in mat first, the first thing I said to Tim was, "aren't you glad you came to CKO all those times?"What originally attracted you to the CKO workout?
When I was in college, I was running outside with a friend of mine and complaining about how bored I was of running and going to the gym. She said, "You should come with me to this new kickboxing place. It's awesome." The very next day, I went to CKO for a trial class and instantly was hooked. Fast forward three months... I was down 15lbs and more toned than I had ever been! Six years later, it's still the best workout I've ever done.When did you decide you wanted to become a franchise owner?
I started teaching classes at CKO Whippany
and CKO Randolph
in 2009 and just couldn't get enough of it! I was so bored with my regular 9-5 job at a desk and loved the feeling I got from motivating people and watching their bodies change. It wasn't long before I decided, "OK, this is what I should be doing full time."
Photos: Taken with permission from Marie Mazzocchi's Instagram account.
Would you credit CKO to part of your success so far in The Amazing Race?
Absolutely. Not even just because it got me in great shape. Being an instructor at CKO Chatham
, it is my job daily to motivate people and get them to push past their limits. There were times on the race where I used that motivation on my partner and even with myself. When you work out at CKO you learn that your mind quits long before your body does, and that you're a lot stronger than you think. There were times I felt so exhausted I could give up, but I just reminded myself of what I learned from CKO and what I teach others, and it kept me going.What would you say to the person who is reluctant to try a CKO Kickboxing class?
The #1 reason I usually hear from people reluctant to try class is, "I'm too out of shape to start." And my answer is always the same, "You don't have to be in great shape to start, but you do have to start to be great." Any new fitness program can be intimidating, but at CKO Kickboxing we pride ourselves on making new clients and beginners comfortable. The workouts are designed for everyone to take it at their own pace. And real talk... No one cares what you look like, how out of shape you are, how uncoordinated you are the first time you try it... not the instructors, not the person next to you.. no one. You get your own bag and you do your own thing. We're all there for the same reason... to achieve whatever our individual goal may be. The hardest part is showing up. I always tell people, just get here... you won't regret it.
We just want to take a moment to congratulate St. Lucia (members of CKO Williamsburg
!) on their recent Jimmy Kimmel performance and upcoming North American "When The Night Tour 2014"
. Be sure to pick up your tickets
soon, because they usually sell out fast! Check 'em out below.
As a growth minded fitness franchise, we receive hundreds of inquiries from individuals looking at our business opportunity
. Many who look at buying a franchise in the health industry are driven by their passion for fitness. In addition, kickboxing and boxing franchises have a low start-up cost when compared to a gym or health club.
You don’t have to be a personal trainer or an athlete to be successful as the owner of a kickboxing franchise
. However, you must be personally passionate about Fitness & Health, along with wanting to help others improve the quality of their lives through exercise. At CKO Kickboxing, if our prospective franchisees do not posses the passion for fitness and a healthy lifestyle, they will never be rewarded a franchise.
So here’s the rub, it’s possible to be overly passionate about fitness when making an investment in a fitness or kickboxing franchise. I use the word investment because that’s what this is and it cannot be approached as a hobby. You’re probably saying, 'That’s crazy, why would someone invest $100,000 - $150,000 on a hobby?' When you are overly passionate about fitness and just want to teach kickboxing classes, you tend to forget you’re an entrepreneur and one of your main jobs is managing income and expenses.
Allow me to clarify, I’m not taking anything away from teaching the best kickboxing classes available, but as the investor whose butt is on the line, you need to be fixated on the numbers (marketing, sales and expenses). Our business model will allow you to recruit and train as many instructors as needed. You need to keep them trained and motivated, so they can bring the highest level of customer service to your members.
In reality, we invest a certain amount of money on a business with the expectation that the investment will grow. While nothing is guaranteed and there’s always a risk, that’s the intention when purchasing a stock, buying an investment property or purchasing a franchise. So the point is, we are making a business decision, and business decisions are based on finance and making money.
The best characteristics of a successful CKO Kickboxing franchisee are as follows; you must be passionate about fitness, detail oriented, organized, able to execute a plan, coachable, accountable and want to help others reach their fitness and health goals.
Most of all, we do not want anyone interested in reinventing the wheel, just those that can spin the wheel as fast as possible.
If you would like to learn more, feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience.
Office: 800 489 1964
Mobile: 917 748 6420
Director of Business Development
Be sure to stop by our newest club, CKO Somerset
, this Saturday, September 21st for an Open House. This is your opportunity to meet the owners, explore the club and discover first-hand why CKO Kickboxing is Not Your Typical Gym. It's Better.
Time: 10:00am to 3:00pm
Address: 1075 Easton Avenue, Somerset, NJ 08873
What happens when you combine a group of dedicated CKO Kickboxing faithfuls, the wonder of the NYC skyline, the beauty of Hoboken's Pier A, and the type of weather that makes you wonder why you ever spend any time indoors? You get CKO Kickboxing's Fitness in the Park
. Hosted by Hoboken Madison
& Hoboken Grand
, the event is held once a year and is open to ALL residents of Hoboken, NJ.
This year brought together well over 80 people, and was DJ'ed by Nick Lancetti of CKO North Brunswick
. Heavy bag racks were set up on the grounds and everybody was split into groups where multiple classes were taught by Susan Turner, Alex Santos, Lisa Michael and CKO Kickboxing CEO Joe Andreula.
This event beautifully sums up what CKO Kickboxing is about. As the evening air began to set in, and the remaining sunlight glistened off the CKO emblazoned heavy bags, it's hard not to wonder why you would ever step into a "regular" gym again. THIS
is what fitness should be about. Exciting, different, and done in a setting that fosters comoraderie and a strong sense of community. Why would you want to just go through the motions in a basic gym, when you can become part of something that you actually look forward to. Something that becomes one of the best hours of your day. CKO Kickboxing is about getting results. Not staying static or just maintaining your current fitness level... but elevating it, each and every day. The results speak for themselves. Take a look at our testimonial page
to see just a small sampling of the incredible progress our members have made. And if you're reading this and have never taken a class with us before, just ask a member their thoughts. Our members... our CKO Family, are truly our biggest advocates, and can tell you point-blank why you'll never want to go anywhere else.
Can the view possibly get any better?
Jab Cross! Jab Cross!
Photos courtesy of Lisa Michael and Rich Rosso
This post comes to you from the CKO Kickboxing - Franklin Location
I absolutely LOVE this story, as it really shows that with a GOAL, DEDICATION, RESEARCH and the RIGHT workout, you can really get your body back after having a baby! Brandi has a full-time job, two young children (her youngest is only a year old!) and a hectic schedule that did not leave her with a lot of time to spend countless hours in the gym, or working out in multiple locations to get the weight off from her last pregnancy. Brandi asked all of the right questions and listened to the answers. Consistency, eating right with our Nutritional Program, and being diligent with our motivating full-body fitness workout will get you the results you seek. One year after her pregnancy, she has lost a WHOPPING 65 pounds, countless inches and has more muscle tone NOW than she did when she first got married.
Brandi at the Kenny Chesney concert in 2012 (left) and going to the concert just one year later! (right)
These pictures show how with both the CKO Kickboxing workout and proper nutrition, you can accelerate fat loss and develop amazing core strength!
In Brandi's own words...
After tiring of the same old gym routine, I decided to try something new in 2010. After hearing about CKO Kickboxing, I took my first trial class
and I’ve been hooked ever since. The workouts are extremely intense, but the instructors are very motivating. I began seeing results much quicker than I had in the past with my normal gym workouts. It took me a year to lose 20 pounds doing cardio at the gym, and just 10 weeks to lose 25 pounds with the help of CKO Franklin's
Nutritional Program. I knew I had found the key to a successful weight loss strategy in CKO Kickboxing.
I took a break from kickboxing while pregnant with my second child. I had my daughter in July of 2012, and after seeing pictures of myself and how big I looked, I decided I wasn’t going to wait a year like I did before. I started out slow by going back to the "regular" gym, but I again found that routine very boring and was eager to get back to CKO Kickboxing. Since July, I have lost 65 pounds, dropped 4 pant sizes, and gained enough muscle to do pushups the “right way.” LOL I am now confident enough to wear a bikini for the first time in 5 years! I owe many thanks to the great instructors who kept me motivated along the way and helped me get my confidence back.
Fanwood Mayor, Colleen Mahr, and members of the Fanwood Council, graciously welcomed CKO Kickboxing to the business community with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, July 13, 2013.
“We are thrilled with the reception and feedback we’re getting from the community. We’re so glad to be in this Fanwood location,” said Steve Johnson, owner of CKO Kickboxing – Fanwood.See the original, full posting by Tom Kranz and Providence Manningof The Alternative Press here!
Cutting the ribbon for CKO Kickboxing are Councilman Tony Parenti, CKO Director of Business Development Rich Rosso, Mayor Colleen Mahr, CKO Head Trainer Samantha Erlichman, CKO Fanwood Owner Steve Johnson, Council members Kathy Mitchell and Russ Huegel. Credits: Tom Kranz of The Alternative Press
In honor of his friend Dan Gambardella, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2011, Mike Filippone wants to raise $10,000 for the Dan Gambardella Memorial Fund
by going for another Batting World Record attempt. CKO Copiague
has donated training to help get Mike in perfect condition for the attempt, and Dan's wife Linda has been a loyal and dedicated member of CKO Copiague
for years. All of us here at CKO Kickboxing
wish Mike the best of luck!
*This blog entry has been re-posted from Deerpark-North Babylon Patch.See the original posting here.
After swinging a bat for 19 hours straight last year in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record, North Babylon's Mike Filippone told Newsday that after two attempts to reach the 24-hour threshold for the continuous batting record, he was calling it quits on chasing the record.
Fast forward eight months and Filippone, the president of the North Babylon Youth League, is going back on his word and for a good cause. Filippone will shoot for the record once again starting at 8 a.m. Saturday at Phelps Lane Park in North Babylon.
"This year Mike is committed to going all the way and batting for 24 hours straight," Linda Gambardella told Patch, adding that Filippone has been training three times a week at CKO Kickboxing in Copiague
Gambardella's husband and Filippone's friend, Dan Gambardella, of North Babylon, was killed by a drunken driver on the Wantagh State Parkway while on his way to work in April 2011. All monies raised during Saturday's world record attempt event will go to the Dan Gambardella Memorial Fund
, which Linda Gambardella said she created to honor her husband while helping local families in crisis and supporting a true sense of community.
Filippone lasted 15 and a half hours batting during his first attempt at the record in 2009 and 19 hours last September at the age of 52, raising more than $5,000 for the memorial fund and other causes.
Filippone has set a goal of raising $10,000 this year and the Dan Gambardella Memorial Fund
and North Babylon Youth League are asking for the public's help to reach that goal.
"Baseball players of all ages and abilities are invited to come down to Phelps Lane to help Mike," according to a press release. "We need volunteers to help pitch to Mike and to field the balls. Spectators are encouraged to come down and cheer Mike on. Mike needs the excitement and inspiration of the 'fans' to keep him going. So, please come down and support him."
For more information or to register yourself or a team to help on the field, call Brigit Trentalange at 631-987-7449.
*This testimonial is written by CKO Franklin, New Jersey owner Darlene Pallay.
My weight loss journey started after the birth of my third child in 2009 at 41 years old. I had three children from 2006-2009 and gained quite a bit of weight. My goal was to lose 50 pounds. I never could have anticipated that the weight loss journey I set out to achieve could actually change my life in so many ways. I had driven by the CKO Franklin location for approximately 2 years before I actually decided to give it a try. I needed something new, something intense and completely different to keep me motivated. I found it hard to believe at first that you could burn up to 1,200 calories in one hour, so I tried a class – and after barely keeping up in that class, I realized this was the intensity and diversity I needed so I joined the same day. After about three months of steady weight loss and confidence building, my mother was diagnosed with cancer that was later proven to be due to her obesity after menopause. I was very concerned and upset that this too could happen to me if I did not get to a healthy weight. I decided to speak to the head instructor and tell her I wanted to push myself even further and she helped me challenge myself even more.
I later saw a flyer in the gym about owning your own franchise and decided that this was what I wanted to do! I lost the 50 pounds, gained muscle and confidence, trained to become an instructor and later bought the CKO Franklin
location with my husband. It has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life! Not only do I get to incorporate health and fitness into every day of my life, I also get to reach out to people with similar stories and help them get to where they want to be! I find it so fulfilling to give back to these people and help them achieve the best health they can. I have so many success stories in our little gym and it makes me proud to be part of such a wonderful and proven method. We have grown our membership, opened a second location in Augusta
, NJ in 2011, and moved our originally small location in Franklin to a beautiful new space of 8,700 square feet in 2013, continuing our growth. My husband is now an instructor as well and we live a healthy, happy lifestyle. CKO Kickboxing
is not just a workout, it is a way of life!
-Darlene Pallay, owner CKO Franklin
*After picture by Sara McManus Photography
There are no quick fixes to losing weight, and Janice (a member at CKO Great Kills
) can certainly attest to that. Over Janice's two years at CKO Kickboxing, she has not only learned the importance of exercise, but how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here is Janice, in her own words:
Two years ago this month I set out to change my life. To change my way of eating, exercising and learning to just live a healthy lifestyle. I was always a little "chubby", and even more so after the birth of my three boys. It was time for a change. I walked into CKO Kickboxing's Great Kills Location
not knowing what to expect. When Nick Orlando (the owner of Great Kills) went over the punches and kicks before class, I was immediately intrigued. My first class was all it took to get hooked! I weighed my heaviest when I first walked into CKO Kickboxing. 187 pounds and a size 14. This month is my two year anniversary, and I'm proud to say that I'm down to 140 pounds and a size 6! I've gone up and down that scale ladder, and I've learned all about maintaining my weight (which is harder than actually losing the initial weight) and at one point I was down to 133 pounds. So overall, 54 pounds down and still going strong. CKO Kickboxing has changed my life and I can only go up from here!