Faces of Fitness: Part III

Posted:  Monday, November 20, 2017 - 5:30am
- Private group -

The third in a series on the folks over at CJ Strength & Conditioning, LLC in Rockport.


“We’re not here to outdo the other guys; we’re here to compete against ourselves.  I can’t stress this enough.”

So claims 32-year-old Amber Southard of Lincolnville, about CJ Strength and Conditioning, as she joins me after a morning workout.  Her candid story belies the strong, healthy young woman sitting in front of me, full of vitality.

“When I was twenty-six, I was extremely overweight.  I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, and had to undergo cardiac ablation (surgery intended to “readjust” the electrical signals that control the heartbeat).  I knew something had to change.”  A friend brought her to a Crossfit® gym in Bangor and she watched on the sidelines, convinced that there was no way she could join a gym like that.  But join she did.  “It was the best decision I ever made,” she states with no hesitation.  

Southard eventually joined a gym closer to home, and has been with CJ Strength since they opened in their new location in Rockport.  She speaks enthusiastically about the place, and doesn’t mind a bit that since changing ownership, the facility is no longer a Crossfit® affiliate.  

“This place caters to everyone,” she explained.  “There are people doing Crossfit®-style workouts next to people who have an extremely modified workout.”  The common element, it seems, is the camaraderie inherent in all the classes.  

“Oh yeah,” she agrees, “and I totally credit Chris (Chacon) and Jack (Hauprich) with the atmosphere here.  It’s all about support and community.  They do an incredible job of integrating everyone’s wants and needs, whether you’re sixteen or eighty-nine!  We talk about nutrition, cooking, and we can check in on a Facebook page, too.”

We discussed more “traditional” gyms, where walls are lined with equipment and people waiting their turn to use them, correctly or sometimes not-so-correctly.  

“Boring,” she said.  “I’ll never join another gym like that.  Jack and Chris do a great job of walking around and talking to every single person, making sure exercises are being done safely and correctly.  But even the more seasoned members themselves will lend a hand.  We’re never made to feel less than, or inadequate.  Never.”

Amber has worked as an advanced Emergency Medical Technician for the past nine years in Bangor, as well as serving as a firefighter in the Lincolnville Fire Department.  Staying physically fit is integral to her performance in each.  She encourages anyone who feels shy or uncertain about starting an exercise regimen to give it a try.  “Step out of the box.  Give it a try.  Come in for a free class on Saturday morning, and bring a friend if you like.  Just take the first step.  You won’t find such hands-on trainers and coaches like this anywhere.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”


See for yourself.  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.  You’ll be glad you did.