I was in a bad place. I was on hormones for about 6 months to help with an issue I was having. These not only made my issues worse, but they also left me operating under two moods: deep depression and raw rage. Work and general life frustrations didn’t help either. I felt stuck. My life consisted of getting up, going to work, coming home, lather-rinse-repeat the next day and every day. I wasn’t living, I was just going through the motions. Everyone else’s motions.
One of my best friends recommended I try kickboxing to try to blow off some steam. Google told me there was a CKO Kickboxing in Roxbury, New Jersey, really close to work. It took me two weeks to build the courage to even call, but when I took that first class, my entire life changed. There was no question in my soul about signing up for a membership. It was completely exhilarating to punch and kick a bag for an hour. Just that first class alone made me feel SO much better. I was practically throwing my credit card at the front desk to sign up! I had found the thing that would break the monotony and be just for me. That is the day I met Athena, the owner of CKO Roxbury, who would become my biggest inspiration and driving force.
What started out as just taking classes 2 or 3 times a week became an addiction. The 10 week challenge taught me how to eat better and push myself more where I lost 23 lbs. Personal training taught me about my body, how to use it and how it works. In January this year I found myself preparing for a fitness competition where I dropped more weight, got even stronger and I would get the opportunity to show off on stage with fellow CKO friends. Me. On stage. In a bikini. In a fitness competition. Even now I am still wrapping my mind around this. That happened! Athena was there for all of it. Always seeing the things in me I couldn’t see and pushing me and cheering me on. I would never have done anything on stage like that without her encouragement.
I must take a minute to mention that while I have always been relatively strong and agile, I have never considered myself athletic per se. I’ve never played any sports, and phys ed in high school was always so geared toward athletes that I never enjoyed it. I have been at CKO Roxbury for a little over a year and I have learned a lot, not just about fitness and health, but also a LOT about myself I literally didn’t know. This has been a journey of self discovery as much as it has been about losing weight. That was just a super awesome bonus. Everything that had happened in this last year are things I NEVER imagined doing.
I have lost a total of 60.5 lbs in a little over a year, but CKO has done more than that for me. It gave me a healthy outlet for my frustrations. It taught me how to live a healthier life. My body has physically changed not just in losing weight but it is actually toning up. I have never ever looked the way I do now. I used to have a lot of digestive issues which are now all gone since changing my eating habits. I have found a new sense of purpose and a passion I was so lacking in my life. And the people? It’s not just a gym, it’s a family. I have made the most wonderful, inspiring friends at CKO. There is a level of support both from instructors and fellow members that I was not used to having and for which I am eternally thankful.
And the journey continues. As my amazing trainer always says, “it’s a journey, not a destination.” I have learned to trust the process - another thing she always says - and enjoy the ride. There is always something to learn and a new goal to crush and I am always looking forward to seeing where this adventure is taking me.