Finding Balance, Finding Happiness.

May 30, 2019

My story with CKO is a complete story of a physical, emotional and mental transformation, as well as one of raw and pure gratitude. To say that my life changed completely when I first walked through the doors of CKO Roxbury is an understatement. Sometimes I still have trouble really articulating the whole story simply because it encompasses every part of my life and my being. It is a story that only takes place at CKO and one that I hope goes on for many many chapters.

My life was also super boring. Wake up every day, go to a job that is so completely unfulfilling and negative that I felt useless and had me so convinced I was just that dumb, go home to just watch TV. That’s it. I needed something more and I didn’t know what or how to go about that.

All of this lead to some bad anxiety and depression to really set in during my 20’s that I did not realize I was experiencing. I never dealt with that before so it went ignored for a long time, which helped cause a lot of weight gain because food becomes a good friend when you’re in that state. My doctor also put me on the pill despite my strong objections because I had had a bad reaction to it in the past, and THAT helped finish balloon me up to 225 lbs and MORE depression piled on to my plate. It also heightened these feelings of rage I never ever had before. At the climax of it all, I remember walking around the office, my hands in tight fists and I had a primal urge to just hit something. I woke up from that 5 seconds later completely shocked at what I had just experienced. Needless to say something needed to change ASAP.

A really good friend of mine suggested I find a place to do kickboxing because it would be a great way to blow off some steam. A quick Google search directed me to CKO Roxbury in Succasunna, NJ. I was super nervous. I had never done anything like this. I’ve done the “gym” thing before and hated it but this looked so different. I looked up videos on Youtube and it looked so much fun. I made the call that Friday afternoon – someone named Athena picked up the phone and we started talking. She somehow convinced me to take her class the following Monday night. I had no idea she was the owner of the gym and that she was about to help change my life completely.

Before and After 2018.

I took Athena’s [owner of CKO Kickboxing in Roxbury, NJ] class that Monday and this wonderful journey I never planned on was officially started. She told me about the 10 week body transformation challenge where I dropped my first 23lbs and I learned how to properly fuel my body, which are are skills I still use today! I started going to more and more classes until I ended up at CKO up to 6 days a week. Last year, Athena approached me about getting on stage at Fitness Atlantic to represent CKO in their Transformation division. I had never in my life worn a bikini but she got me ready and helped me complete probably the scariest thing I would have ever done in my life at that point. Immediately after, I started working at CKO Roxbury at the front desk where I also got to learn how to give orientations for new prospects. I never imagined that job could be so rewarding! Athena then taught me how to coach the 10 week challenges and have been able to help others get their own stories started. I had the honor of gracing the Fitness Atlantic stage again this year for CKO Transformation and I was proud of how much more progress I was able to show off. I looked stronger, I was more confident and I even have baby abs!! And most importantly, I got to help new participants through the process and help them see just how bright they were shining. And my most recent accomplishment? I am now a CKO instructor at CKO Roxbury.

Even as I write all this out again I get emotional reliving it. It goes way beyond the physical changes I have gone through and continue to go through. The last 2 years have been a constant running list of things I never in my life imagined doing. Finding a gym that’s more a family/home/community than a gym. Working at a gym. Having a personal trainer and reshaping my body. Coaching other people. Participating in fitness competitions. Teaching kickboxing!! I am still getting used to seeing my name on the schedule as an instructor. If you had told me 3 years ago that all this would happen, I would laugh so hard I’d probably have the abs I’m working so hard to get now.

My mental and emotional health has improved significantly as well. I carry myself differently these days and use different words to express myself. Athena’s guidance helped me realize I was not useless like I was lead to believe. I take on challenges in a different manner than I used to. I am fueled by all those who have called me an inspiration, which is something I am also still getting used to. I try to use all the things I have learned to give back as much as possible, to give to others what was given to me.

I used to say that thanks to CKO that I am a different person than I used to be, but I think that’s actually wrong. I think now I am the person I was meant to be this whole time, I just needed the right environment to help nourish it, and CKO is the most nourishing and enriching environment one could possibly ask for. If you can find a CKO near you I strongly urge you to stop in and get a taste for yourself.

Before and After 2019.

I can’t end this without thanking Athena again for the umpteenth time for everything she has done, for seeing in me what I simply did not and trusting me with what she does. We are a pretty awesome team and I hope we work together for a long time.


– Esty, proud member and trainer of CKO Kickboxing in Roxbury, New Jersey