The Faces of Fitness

Posted:  Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 6:00am
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The Faces of Fitness

A series on the folks over at CJ Strength & Conditioning, LLC in Rockport.

As a “woman of a certain age”, the daunting task of staying fit (or getting fit!) seems chock full of challenges, not the least of which is taking that first step into a gym or fitness center.  Every physical flaw, real or imagined, is carried with you and put on display for all to see.  You’re not as strong as everyone there.  You’re not as stylish.  You’re not as fit.  Actually, getting back in the car and driving like hell in the other direction sounds like a reasonable solution. 

 Don’t do it.  Be brave.

 Amie Hutchison was brave five years ago when she stepped foot - for the first time, ever - into a gym.  She fought off the little voices in her head telling her she wasn’t prepared, she wasn’t good enough for this.  Fast forward to today, and you’d be hard pressed to get her OUT of the gym!

 CJ Strength & Conditioning in Rockport counts ‘getting to know Amie’ among the benefits of membership, and for good reason.  During work hours, she serves as the Executive Director of Trekkers* in Thomaston.  But if you go to the gym before work, every morning and some Saturdays, you’ll be greeted by Amie’s warm smile and impressive physique as she busies herself with her daily regimen of exercise.  She downplays her success, and kind of shrugs it off as ‘no big deal’. Ah, but we know better.

 It IS a big deal, having gone from nervous, uncomfortable newbie to being the person who introduces new members to the gym routine.  Owners Jack Hauprich and Chris Chacon couldn’t be happier having Amie on board.

 “She’s amazing,” says Hauprich.  “Always upbeat, really knowledgeable about fitness, and really knowledgeable about how it feels to start a fitness routine for the first time.  She meets new members wherever they are on the spectrum of physical fitness, and then safely guides them through learning the exercises they will be doing during upcoming classes.”

“It’s about learning to move your body safely,” says Hutchison.  “It’s about learning the layout of the gym, where equipment is, and getting rid of the fear that you won’t measure up.”  After a few days of Amie’s introduction to fitness classes, a member is ready to join the throng of people who make up the CJ Strength community.  

“We keep saying it,” says Hutchinson, “because it’s true.  There’s such a sense of camaraderie here, we all support one another, regardless of whether you’re sticking to the workouts as prescribed for a certain class, or whether Jack or Chris or I have helped you modify the workouts to your abilities.”

When asked what she thinks is the biggest hurdle to getting fit and joining the gym, Hutchison doesn’t hesitate.  “Fear and routine.”  Fear of not measuring up or looking foolish is a large hurdle indeed, and one many of us can relate to.  And for the most part, we’ve developed a routine in our lives and can’t easily imagine fitting anything else into it.  But it’s a question of priorities, and perhaps shifting them a bit.  

 Most of us know that if we don’t incorporate exercise into our lifestyle, we’re going to live less-healthy lives.  We won’t be as flexible as we age, which inhibits our movement, prolongs our healing, and limits our activities.  We’ll keep that extra weight on, putting a strain on our hearts and other organs.  We won’t be as strong.  We will hold onto our daily stresses, and indeed, those stresses can and will compound until they become physical ailments.  

So what is it about this gym that makes it different from other gyms?  Amie laughs out loud.  “It’s right there in their philosophy - humor!  No one takes themselves too seriously here.  There will be a day when I’m on fire and no one can beat me, and then the next day I suck!”  Her laughter fills the front office.  “It’s all good,” she says.

“Aside from the health benefits, which are many, it just feels great to be strong and confident,” Hutchison explains.  “I’m happier than I was before I started a regular exercise program.  I have much more energy, and it sounds funny, but I feel I’m a better friend, a better wife, a better employee as a result.”

 That doesn’t sound funny to me at all.

 You can meet Amie and the gang at CJ Strength at 321 Commercial Street in Rockport, or phone them at 207-592-3004 or at  You’ll be glad you did.


*Trekkers is a non-profit, outdoor-based mentoring program that connects young people with caring adults through expeditionary learning, community service and adventure-based education.