So, I’m coming off a year long battle with a hereditary illness (which I so beat) when I decide it’s time to hit the gym and start to sweat out all these chemicals and start burning off the weight I’d gained (a whopping 46 lbs). Now, I’m not one for gyms, as a matter of fact my weight maintenance routine for the past 20ish years has been smoking a pack or so of cigs each day but, that was no longer an option so I joined the ranks that joins the gym. This woman that seemed to be a mucky muck there was the one to give me a 30 minute orientation on the massive array of equipment. She had an ”I take no bullsht excuses” virtual stamp on her forehead and as I hinted to all the reasons why I’m so overweight or its been so long since I worked out she just nodded and kept on orienting without a break in her step or pace. After a couple weeks of fumbling around the place on my own I decided to invest in some personal training to speed up my tortoise like progress. I chatted with the friendly people behind the counter and their first response was “if you really want to get results and fast you should go with….Candace”. Candace being the one who gave me the orientation. I smiled and said “I’m looking for someone very patient, who understands I’m going to have to go at a slow pace and can essentially hold my hand through it all” to which I got the hot guy from Denmark . Ohhh how clever I thought I was. I got all this male attention from a guy that looked like Dolph Lundren’s younger, smarter brother and I didn’t have to break much of a sweat to impress him. After five enamor-ably enjoyable weekly sessions I wasn’t any lighter but, I hadn’t gained any more weight either which I considered a small victory since I still had two more chemo sessions to go and I averaged a gain of 2-3lbs each one. When the 5 were done he wished me well and said I didn’t need him to continue on with the personal training routine. This (not so) little birdy was ever so gently booted out of the nest. I felt so accomplished and so I celebrated with a pizza that night and have gone back into the gym a good 2 or 3 times since that last session about 3 months ago.
While I was at the peak of my personal training stint I convinced 2 other friends to join the gym and one in particular was looking for the 5 weeks. I suggested Dolph Jr. but, she wanted her “ass kicked” so I immediately thought of CC (cold Candace) and kicked her ass she did. B loved to go on about the pain, the torture, the no excuses approach and I smiled and was glad it wasn’t me in those sweaty shoes. Then she tells me that her trainer is partners with someone who’s opening up a place in Oside and needs some IT help (my field of expertise) and would I be willing to help get them setup…I agreed as long as I didn’t get pressured into exercising there or anywhere siting the excuse that I was “just too tired yet”. We met up at our favorite sushi spot and as I walked in the door I put on my business face and braced myself for what I imagined would be a rather aloof, facts and numbers meeting. Instead I was greeted by this wide eyed exuberance from both her and her boyfriend/business partner (though he did have a more reserved…Oh I like you alright but, I’m not buying it until I see some proof – vibe to him). I like that about him. It creates a key balance to the success of any business and he has genuinely calming effect on our sometimes overly exuberant personas.
Through the following weeks I worked with them off site and on getting their POS system in place, their website built, their facebook page launched and somehow found myself on a bike and cycling through 5 sessions, an Aqua Zumba class, a TRX training, a day out skydiving and I think I promised the other day to get into a cage and let great white sharks attempt to make me their afternoon snack. I’ve donned her with several nicknames (something I tend to do when I warm up to people) far more suited for her than Cold Candace: CC rider, Candy Cane, Matsu-chan, CC (Crazy Candace). No matter what ye call her, she is relentless in her pursuit of changing people’s minds about fitness. To make it something attainable for anyone, regardless of their physical or financial limitations. It’s a tough love for sure. She admits (almost kind of proudly) that she does make people cry sometimes and she’s been called all kinds of things from Dragon Lady to Ming the Merciless but…”but, they keep coming back”. As do I apparently because long after my work for the day is done I seem to find myself still there at the studio running over ideas for expanding and reaching out to those who like me, have become resistant to the words “gym” or “fitness”.
Another element to all this is Ani. She was hired to be the Training Director and she has this warm yet powerful persona that makes you believe you can do just about anything. Between the four of us I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in a work week or been quite so sure that no obstacle was insurmountable.
Each day I see them live out their motto of: Inspire, Challenge, Motivate in the way they relate to others and jump at opportunities to live out any of the three (if not all at once). Every time someone brings her a challenge she meets it head on. “What about those who can’t afford it?” “I’ll teach a free class every week at the community center”. “What about those with out of shapes who can barely afford it?”. “I’ll start a Power walking class along the beach every morning and charge half the price”. “What about single people who are looking for a more relaxed, healthier way to meet people?” “I’ll turn our Friday night class into a social event and we’ll start inviting our fans on facebook to join us on our SD excursions”. No matter what gets thrown her way she’s determined to fill the gap. As a matter of fact she intends to continue at the gym as well because she says the new studio is designed to augment what she’s already doing elsewhere and was built with those you can’t normally get to or drag to a gym in mind.
I think she might be a re-incarnation of the Pied Piper. No, really…A Japanese-Hawaiian female version…or maybe it’s Genghis Khan I’m thinking of…
All I know is I looked in the mirror the other morning and realized I’m starting to recognized myself again…the puffiness is starting to give away to curves and I don’t have to breathe in quite so deeply before pulling up that zipper. That, and as of yesterday I traded in my normal work attire labels of the Gap, Old Navy, Rocket Dog etc for New Balance, Nike and the like and start my day off with a power walk with CC and AJ and then to the studio to work as their new Director of Operations. Dream job? Yup and I can’t wait to see all their visions unfold. This ever evolving community is much the better for their presence (as am I).
If you haven’t experienced it yet, check out the ever growing schedule, then come on by and see yourself. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you when you find yourself dragging your feet as you leave…