The Fitness Center that puts YOU FIRST
Son’s Legacy Survives in Brick Business
As printed in the Asbury Park Press on Oct. 16th, 2011
I am a master trainer and certified sports nutritionist. I own and operate CJ’s Personal Best, a personal training and wellness center in Brick, NJ.
I changed careers leaving the financial industry after 25 years. My journey to this career has been an emotional and inspirational one with twists and turns that have changed my life, taught me about courage, and brought me to where I am today.
I was athletic growing up and involved in numerous sports. I had always thought about a career in fitness, but at a very young age I got pregnant and gave birth to my son, Jeremy.
I took a job in a brokerage firm where I had a steady income. I worked hard over the years and was promoted numerous times into various positions at the corporate level and eventually ended up on Wall Street.
I always had a dream that one day I would leave the corporate world and get into fitness and health, but it was more important to have an income I could rely on.
My son, Jeremy, was very athletic and excelled in sports. As an adult he became a holistic nutritionist and master trainer. He was living my dream. Jeremy encouraged me to leave Wall Street and pursue our dream of opening a fitness and wellness center. I was afraid to change careers, so instead I decided to help him by investing in a place of his own. We found a property, but just before the real estate closing, Jeremy began to have difficulties with his speech. We thought it was nothing serious and forged ahead. During the first year of business, Jeremy began to develop other symptoms.
He was finally diagnosed with ALS. Jeremy, the picture of health, was diagnosed with a disease that would progressively stop him from walking, talking, swallowing and eventually, breathing.
He could no longer work alone because his symptoms made it impossible.
I began to work with him early in the morning, late at night and on weekends, all while I continued to work on Wall Street.
He would develop individualized programs, writing down specific details on every exercise. From his wheelchair he would oversee everything I did and communicate through an augmentative communication device. Clients were in awe of him and how we worked as a team. He was an inspiration to everyone.
Eventually, I was working more hours and sometimes without him because he was in too much pain.
After working with him for two years, I began to see the amazing results that exercise, and proper nutrition can have. Clients’ stamina and balance improved, medications were reduced, they were no longer prediabetic, or the pain in their lower back had improved. Ironically, we were able to help so many, but not my son.
Throughout his illness he continued to exercise. He never gave up. After his passing, I changed careers so I could continue his legacy by passing on his knowledge and passion for fitness.
My hope is that my story may inspire you to be active and live a healthy balanced lifestyle.