After my son was born in 2009, I had a really hard time figuring out my place in the world. Not only was I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life, but I was struggling emotionally. While I was happy with my new role as a mother, I didn’t understand how to find the balance between being a mom and and making room in my life to be my own person. I would lose a bit of weight here and there, but never anything that was consistent. I was bored with my workouts, unmotivated, and felt a bit of “mom-guilt” every time I would leave my son to go to the gym.
In January 2016, I walked into CKO East Brunswick for my first class. It was tough, but I’ve always loved a workout that helps me push harder and achieve more. I loved CKO instantly. It was different than anything I had ever done, but I wasn’t sure how I would be able to fit the classes into my life. I went back for my second class a week later. A few days later, I attended my third class. Right after that, I became a member. Within a few short weeks, I was attending class 5 days a week. I referred to CKO as my “daily attitude adjustment” because no matter what was going on in the rest of my life, being on that bag for an hour was enough to reset my head and put me in a better frame of mind. I quickly made friends with other members and I loved that it became like a little second family to me. After a few months, I was in the best shape of my life. I was in a good place mentally and I realized I was starting to find that balance I knew was missing.
In February 2017, Kelly (co-owner of CKO East Brunswick) approached me to become a CKO Instructor – dream come true (It really was, as in my first month as a member, East Brunswick mentioned that they were looking for instructors and I told my husband that one day it would be me). But I almost said no. Why? One person, who I considered my friend, told me over and over that it wasn’t for me and that I didn’t have the personality for it. I figured maybe there was something about me that she was seeing that I didn’t, and that she had to know better than I did, right? After some thought and encouragement from my family, I realized that she was clearly wrong. I was stronger than I gave myself credit for. This was something I had secretly wanted for over a year and I was going to go for it. I just celebrated 2 years as a CKO Instructor and it’s been the best two years of my life. Every time I walk into that gym and put on the microphone, I’m proud of the fact that I took a chance and rocked it! This is a feeling that has carried over to everyday life. I know, thanks to CKO, that I can do just about anything I put my mind to. This self-confidence helps me motivate everyone else around me. If I can do it, so can you. YOU just have to believe in YOU.
I’m a different person than I was before CKO. When my son was little, I remember taking him to the beach and being afraid to take my shirt off on a not so crowded beach. Just this April, I made the decision to stand on a stage in a bikini in front of more than 1000 people as part of the CKO Transformation Division at Fitness Atlantic. Standing on that stage, I was confident and proud… Not because I had a perfect body, but because I knew just how hard I had worked for that moment and that it represented 3 years of me taking a chance on and believing in myself. I don’t know that would have happened if CKO hadn’t been such a large part of my life.
I am so glad that I walked into CKO for a trial class back in 2016. I’m so grateful for Kelly, who took a chance on me, and for all of the members and instructors who have become my friends and extended family over the last few years. But my journey with CKO is far from over. I can’t wait to see what comes next!
I tend to roll my eyes when people say something is life-changing. But CKO East Brunswick really HAS changed my life. It’s not just a gym and it’s not only about weight-loss. In addition to being in the best shape of my life, I’ve found an extended family where instructors and members support each other no matter what. First as a member, and then as an instructor, CKO has taught me over and over that I can do anything I put my mind to. I’m stronger physically and mentally every day and it’s all because of my CKO family.
– Jen Alexander
Proud CKO East Brunswick Member & kick-ass Instructor (if I do say so myself!)