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!
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.
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."
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.