Jen has been with us just shy of 2-years, starting her CKO Seattle journey back in February 2013. During her time here, she has made amazing progress, specifically in the quality of life category. Jen who was a former cardio kickboxing instructor, found her way back into the kickboxing world after suffering from fairly severe depression. However, if you know Jen, than you know she is definitely a fighter, and while she was down, she definitely was not out!
During the 10-week challenge Jen mentioned numerous times that she really struggled with the recommended diet. However I have a really hard time believing this as she seems to be a master chef in the kitchen. When I would review her weekly food logs, I was amazed at the quality of food she was preparing. Seriously, I was secretly jealous of how well she was eating. Then as if to confirm her food magic, Jen showed up to the CKO Halloween party with the best salads I think I ever had (did someone say bacon?), and if you don’t believe me just ask Jon Rogers (we had to physically remove the salad bowl from his hands so other could enjoy). In fact I even talked about this amazing salad in the 21-day eat like the Renon Challenge...
So congratulation Jen you are definitely an amazing person, and whatever you are doing in the kitchen please keep it up 😉
Read more about Jen’s story below:
Besides being a CKO Superhero, what is your day job?
I am a 5th grade teacher. So, basically, a full-time superhero. My superpower is not hurting myself or others. Breve lattes are my kryptonite.
Do you have any hobbies?
I love gardening and fussing around in my yard. I have a dog that I like to spoil. I love to read and am part of a really fun wine (I mean book) club.
How did you first learn of CKO?
I used to take cardio kickboxing classes and teach (secret blown!) at MMAA in Wallingford with Keven Caldwell, but he closed up shop and moved to Arizona a few years ago. I took a break from kickboxing and really missed it. My husband pointed out CKO to me, and I dragged my lazy feet for a while because I was nervous about being out of practice and I was suffering from depression, but I finally walked in the doors a little over a year ago, and I’m glad I did!
What are some of your fitness goals?
I’m just on a rampage to be the fittest and strongest I’ve ever been in my life. I’m getting close. Oh, and abs. I want abs. I know they’re under there, under a diminishing layer of fat. They WILL be revealed!!! I’d like to get in good enough shape that you ask me to teach for you some day 🙂
What is your favorite aspect of CKO?
One of my favorite parts is that it’s never easy or boring! There’s always that next level to shoot for, whether it’s doing burpees at every break, or banning yourself from doing knee push-ups (working on that). The instructors are fantastic and inspirational. I’m always gassed at the end of a class, and intend to keep it that way.
What was the best part about the challenge?
I think it was the community part. Before the challenge I really just kept to myself – I showed up, worked out, and walked out. I’m an introvert at heart, and it’s hard for me to make connections with people. I feel like the challenge gave me an opportunity to get to know a bunch of great people that motivate and inspire me.
I was also PSYCHED about my results – 12 inches off and 7 pounds lighter! My 1 min. push ups, squats, and sit ups all went up significantly as well. I couldn’t tell I was changing because it’s a slow process – 10 weeks felt like forever. So I was over the moon about my results.
Another great part was breaking my sugar and alcohol addictions – I was ingesting far too much sugar, and drinking way more than I should have. I still struggle with cravings for these things, but have them much more under control than before. I don’t miss bread or pasta much, surprisingly. Except for naan (see “What’s one thing you still find yourself struggling with”, below).
What was the hardest part about the challenge?
The hardest part was definitely the change in the way I eat. The first two weeks I would go to the grocery store to try to buy stuff for dinner, and each time I felt like crying (or actually did, once I got to the car). So much seemed off-limits. I had headaches for 3 days from sugar withdrawal. I mourned beer as if my best friend had died. The struggle was real.
What motivates you to walk through that door day after day and continue to push yourself?
I think my current mid-life crisis is what keeps me going (woo hoo!). I am resisting getting older and fatter and uglier and wimpier. I want to better myself, have more energy, get stronger, keep the depression demons at bay. Age is just a number, baby!
What’s one thing you still find yourself struggling with?
I wish I could say I have no cravings left, but that’s not true. All I want is a goddamn piece of hot fluffy naan straight from the tandoori oven. You know????
What can we do better to help you actualize your true potential?
Yell at me more during class. Make it personal. I won’t cry (in front of you)
Share any relevant information you’d like about yourself that other CKO team members might not know about you (also a good place to talk about any success you have had since joining CKO)!
CKO, along with other therapies, helped to dig me out of a deep depression. Several years ago I had 4 miscarriages in the span of less than 2 years. I know this is personal, and the subject seems taboo, but that’s exactly why I’m sharing it. There’s a real stigma around the subject, and little in the way of support systems to help a woman cope with pregnancy loss. Anyway, once I started working out hard and letting out some of the grief and the anger on the bag on a regular basis, things slowly started to get better. I started living life for myself, and focused less on my losses. I don’t know if I’ll ever ‘get over’ the trauma I experienced, but I definitely have better coping skills now, and CKO was an instrumental part of that healing, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.