Faces of Fitness: Another peek at the folks over at CJ Strength & Conditioning in Rockport

Posted:  Saturday, January 13, 2018 - 6:00am
- Private group -

It was 11ºF Friday morning, and I considered that a good enough reason not to go to the gym.  I silently added it to the forty-seven other reasons I had conjured up so far, as I climbed into my creaky, frozen car and made my way to CJ Strength.  The car was just beginning to warm up as I pulled into the parking lot.  Hearing laughter and music coming from inside the building, I hurried to get in out of the cold.

The friendly banter between the 6:00 class finishing up and the 7:00 class filtering in hits you first.  Each person there has their own trials and challenges, struggles and hurdles, large and small.  But for a short while, in the gym among friends, all that is forgotten and we work our bodies in hopes of becoming stronger, of gaining flexibility, of improving our endurance, regaining muscle after an injury, or just getting in exercise that we know is essential for a healthier life.

As our class circled around and stretched out before the workout, people chatted easily while I wondered if I could lift the 4-ounce PVC pipe over my wonky shoulder.  (Took a while, but I did.) Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, one of the group was planning on attempting a personal goal of completing an extremely challenging workout consisting of an ungodly number of exercises, and repeating them an ungodly number of times.  Another was secretly plotting to climb the ropes - a feat that had intimidated her since high school.  The two quietly stretched out with the rest of us.

During the hour, with constant support from fellow members and owners/instructors Jack Hauprich and Chris Chacon, we worked our bodies the best we could, while that determined woman began her workout.  As most of us were winding down and stretching assorted muscles, our determined goal-seeker Robin Botley was herself winding down, nearing completion of her workout.  She was in the midst of a 50-run stretch of burpees*, and the exhaustion was clear on her face. One member, having just finished our class, wandered over and quietly began doing burpees in synch, urging her along until she was through.  When they finished, we all cheered.  Goal achieved!  

Along the edge of the gym, another milestone was taking place - Emma Beaudry was successfully climbing the rope - to the top!  Something she never thought she could do.  

Robin and Emma came into the office afterward to chat with me.  The women were beaming from their individual accomplishments, and neither looked the worse for wear. Together, they talked openly about their experiences here.

“I got into fitness a couple of years ago, after having trouble during a hike,” started Beaudry.  “My knees started hurting, and I figured I needed to strengthen my leg muscles.  It worked!”

Robin’s story was a little different.  She was a college athlete, and felt like she was “getting lazy.  I made up my mind to join a gym this September, and was surprised to see Emma here!”  Both women work at Maine Sport, in Rockport, and now regularly attend morning classes at CJ Strength together.

Beaudry admits to being intimidated by joining a gym, but both she and Botley credit others for keeping them coming.  “Jack, Chris, Amie - actually everyone here supports everyone else.  I will never go back to a ‘regular’ gym after being here.”  Both women enthusiastically agree that the difference between an impersonal facility with dozens of machines crammed with people - and the environment at CJ Strength is like night and day.  

They also agree on goal setting.  “It doesn’t matter what the goal is - maybe just one pushup - just set the goal and come on in, and keep working at it.  You’ll get there,” assures Botley.  These ladies wouldn’t lie.  Listen to them.  Come on in.  You’ll be welcomed with open arms, and all judgment is left at the door.  We’ll see you in class.

*burpees are a unique form of torture that consist of dropping down, extending your legs, doing a pushup, sliding your legs back up underneath yourself, then popping up to standing position.


Meet Jack, Chris and the gang at CJ Strength at 321 Commercial Street in Rockport, or phone them at 207-592-3004 or at CJfitnessgeneral@gmail.com.  Take a free Saturday class, or just come watch. You’ll be glad you did.