There is always one! Yes, we have learn that at the end of every challenge there is always one participant whose transformation is so amazing it is almost unreal. And that “one” was Jessica Ketola! I remember when Jessica first started, she really struggled to make it through class, but she never complained and never quit, she just kept showing up day after day. In fact Jessica is a great example of what is possible.
See, we have an unwritten rule in the gym which is 1% improvement, because in the fitness world, slow and steady wins the race. Fitness/nutrition is meant to be a lifestyle not a quick fix solution, so if you can focus on just improving 1% every day, slowly but surely, those 1%’s start adding up. Then one day, 10 months later…BAM, you lost 48-lbs, numerous dress sizes, and have an entire new out look on life!
So thank you Jessica for showing/reminding us what this health journey is all about! Because it is all about small daily improvements! Too many people get caught up in the “big picture” focusing on how much weight the still have to lose instead of focusing on just being better than yesterday!
Congratulation on all your success thus far! If you continue down this path anything is possible. I look forward to writhing part 2 of your story this time next year 😉
The Jessica Ketola interview:
Besides being a CKO Superhero, what is your day job?
I’m the Executive Director for a small nonprofit in Shoreline, Turning Point, working to build a strong community of care for at-risk youth and families. We run an afterschool tutoring program, summer day camps, provide healthy snacks and free summer lunches and cultivate a giving garden that donates fresh, organic vegetables to the HopeLink food bank. I love my job and am a big believer in the idea that if we all offer our gifts to the community, there will be more than enough. Alone we can so little. Together we can do so much.
Do you have any hobbies?
I am a mother of four so spending time with my family is my biggest “hobby.” Attending games, concerts and keeping up with all their activities keeps me busy, but it’s a fun season as they are now young adults (ages 14 – 22). They make me laugh everyday!
I am also an artist-singer-songwriter and I enjoy singing, writing, playing piano, and performing. Two years ago, I did a fan-funded project, releasing my debut album. This was after a rockstar moment I had singing with Sting at the Gorge a few years earlier (I know, long story) which inspired me to pursue my dreams as an artist.
I also enjoy hosting parties, cooking, reading, and days all to myself.
How did you first learn of CKO?
Trying not to be too discouraged that I was back up “here” again (on the scale and feeling pretty miserable in life), I was looking for something different, high intensity, and a location that worked good with my schedule. CKO came up on my internet search and as I began to read through all the testimonials and comments, I became increasingly convinced that I would get the results I was looking for.
What are some of your fitness goals?
My primary goal is to feel good in my own body. To be strong. To be fit. To be FREE. My fitness journey has been fraught with self-hate, self-rejection and harm, and it has been a long journey to learn how to love myself and honor and care for my body. Yes, I want to drop some weight and be able to do real push ups and pull ups, but more than that, I want to drop the self-consciousness and harsh cycles of hiding and striving and learn to love and accept myself as I am.
What is your favorite aspect of CKO?
I love the community, the energy, the intensity and the challenge. I love hitting the bag and channeling my inner “bad ass”. I have loved that everyone is welcome at CKO – all different flavors, sizes and ages. It is inspiring to work out besides so many people who are fighting back and changing their lives.
What was the best part about the challenge?
I loved getting to know people better and the sense of encouragement and motivation I felt because of it.
What was the hardest part about the challenge?
Five times a week was brutal. My life is very full, working, being a mom and involved in my community. Often this meant waking up at 5:15 am and making the early classes, sometimes right after I had worked out the night before. In addition, the boot camps were sheer torture for me — I felt like I was literally going to throw up, they pushed me so hard. I had to try not to think about that as I made my way to the gym on Saturday mornings.
What motivates you to walk through that door day after day and continue to push yourself?
You guys do! The CKO community is very inspiring. I have worked way too hard to stop now. I’m beginning to see and feel the fruit of it, and I want to be an inspiration to myself and to my family.
What’s one thing you still find yourself struggling with?
Meal prep and planning is still challenging. Sometimes my diet can be missing greens or enough protein or I find myself hungry if I don’t plan ahead.
What can we do better to help you actualize your true potential?
I think you are already out there ahead of us. I love the blogs, the challenges, the events, the personal training, and I am excited to see what 2.0 looks like.
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)!
Since joining in January, I have lost 48 pounds! I began working out 3 times a week and eating Paleo (even though I could barely get through a class!), and I lost 30 pounds by the time July rolled around. I had wanted to do the spring challenge only to find out it was full, but I just kept going. I coasted through the month of August with a move and vacations and then did the 10 week challenge this fall (I think I was one of the first to sign up this time!), losing another 17 pounds (now 18). I am very proud of myself as I met my goal of completing 50 classes and staying on track with my eating. I lost a total of 11.5 inches and improved my fitness stats across the board! My goal is to keep going with the lifestyle changes, continue to drop extra pounds, build strength and feel great!