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How CKO Working Parents Balance It All: Part I

How CKO Working Parents Balance It All: Part I

CKO Kickboxing has a variety of people who attend classes. From college students to retirees and everything in between. Included in that are parents. CKO classes are no stranger to members who are parents that are killing it in the gym, at home, AND at work. It is truly inspiring to see how they manage to balance it all.

We reached out to five working parents who amaze us on the regular. In this three-part blog series, they share their personal experiences and what has been effective for keeping their priorities in check.


How do you balance kids, work, health, relationships without becoming overwhelmed?

Jennifer Thayer: Certain times of year are more difficult than others. School is always a challenge the first few weeks because we are so used to summer and doing activities and things whenever we please. I set a plan and stick to it for the week. We have a three-month calendar on the fridge where I put my activities and obligations, as well as our family stuff. I include my CKO workouts on it so my family can also plan for the week.

Each Sunday I schedule my workouts by booking them on the CKO app. Once they are booked, I am more likely to truly prioritize them. One thing the winter 2018 10-week Transformation Challenge did for me was explain how vital meal prep was in order for me to reach my goals. As a result, I prep my lunches for the week and set up a plan for dinners and prep as much of that on weekend mornings as I can when I have time.

As a teacher, I could work 24/7 and never have enough time to get everything done for my job. This last year I told myself I will give a half hour daily outside of school, and if I can’t fit it in, then it happens the next day. It’s made a huge impact on my time for myself and for my family. It allows me time to fit in workouts.

I made “me” a priority. I schedule at least two to three nights of CKO during the week and one weekend class. My husband works at 5 AM, so I am not able to work out at CKO in the mornings but will sometimes get on my treadmill or exercise bike for about 20-30 minutes before I get my kids up to get ready for school if I know I can’t get to CKO that night. I also make time for my friendships. I try once a week to do something with friends, even if it can only be for an hour or two.

Jenn Herring: Let’s be honest: It isn’t easy! I have a great family with lots of support. I decided long ago that early mornings were the best time for me to squeeze in “me time”, so after work is family time and I don’t feel guilty. Now that I am used to getting up early, I cannot imagine life without my morning sweat sessions. I strongly believe you have to take care of yourself first so you are able to take care of others.

Meal prep is key to eating healthy during the week in a timely manner. I prepare and cook my weekday lunches on Sundays and I make sure I have things (fruit and veggies cut up, or gathered) in order for quick grabs for snacks and preparing dinner so my time isn’t spent during the week in the kitchen. The kids will grab whatever is easiest when they get home, so I try to have healthy, easy options available for them after school.

Michael York: I try to prioritize things into just that order. I’m a single parent with a half time parenting schedule. I tend to increase focus on relationships and trips to the gym on the days that I don’t have my kids, but on days I do, they’ll come with me to the studio. The intensity level can be so varied at CKO that it fits anyone. I’ve brought my girlfriend, my niece, my buddy and they all had fun at the bag next to me.

Bringing someone along never stopped me from training at the level I wanted, either, which is something you can’t get from running or biking together. Someone always gets left behind or if you stick together, you might not get the workout you wanted. Kickboxing is really something I’ve turned to because I’m a little burnt out from my normal go-to workouts. Most adult recreational activities don’t train this energy system. Lifting is focused on power and running on endurance. This is a good mix. It’s the first time that I’ve done any activity since HS wrestling that does that.

Carley Heinz: Planning ahead!! My husband and I both value our gym time, and we make sure we both get the chance to make it three to four times per week. We always look at the week ahead and set the schedule, including who will get the kids from school or daycare and run them to their activities. Once it is decided which classes jive with my schedule, I book those classes in advance which helps with accountability. When my husband works weekends, the kids come to class with me.

Marielle Shuster: I am a planner. I have found that if you do not plan your workouts, meals and even family time, life easily gets away from you. I’ve also learned what fits in my schedule, with my commitments to my salon and family, I know a realistic goal for me is to workout four days a week. I used to feel bad because I felt I could do more but, I had to let that go! You need do what works for you!


What keeps you motivated to regularly attend CKO classes?

Jennifer Thayer: I love my CKO family. I love the workouts. I am the person who can’t sit still. I love workouts that are high energy and found this to be perfect for me. About a zillion years ago I was on the Tae Bo craze and it was my favorite workout to do both in the gym and at home with videos. I stumbled upon the downtown CKO while heading to check out my friend’s new brewery, City Built. I said to the friend I was with, “WE HAVE TO DO THIS!!!!” but was worried I wouldn’t be able to make it work being so far from my house, my family, and work obligations. About a week later I saw the sign for the CKO South location, which is about a mile from my house. The rest is history.

I have gained so many wonderful friends through CKO and it keeps me motivated to go.  It’s time for myself. I enjoy the workouts and the music so much that the hour of class flies by! A couple of us have a group text to check in with each other to see when we are going to class. This holds each other accountable to our workouts. Having friends there makes it so much more fun. Everyone at CKO have been so nice and friendly from the start and that helps because I am typically a pretty shy person with strangers.

I also like that I can go at my own pace during class. I have knee issues and am still able to get a great workout in, even with modifications. There are some days where I am a rockstar and then there are days I struggle. On days I struggle, I think to myself, “I am here, and I am making time for myself.” Even when I am tired or know that I have a million and one things to do, I show up because my health is important to me.

Marielle Shuster: I love the community that CKO has created. I now not only look forward to a killer workout, but I look forward to seeing the friends I have made through CKO. We help keep each other accountable and schedule our workouts together. This way you will be meeting someone there, which makes it much harder to hit snooze or cancel.

Carley Heinz: CKO classes are amazing. They push me the hardest I have ever been pushed during a workout. Fortunately, the trainers are so motivating that they make me want to keep going and get faster and stronger. Through CKO I have seen such amazing results including lower BMI, weight loss, lower cholesterol, muscle definition, increased overall strength (I can do more than 10 push-ups on my toes, I couldn’t do one when I started), and reduction in stress.

Michael York: My weight has fluctuated over the years where I will get into something, then, when work or relationship stress got too much, I’d eat for comfort and discontinue the daily workouts. No other workout, including running, cycling, and weightlifting, has made me feel like I was getting in shape from the inside out like kickboxing. It’s also new enough that it is not the same old. I never was taught how to throw a punch until I was in my 40s. It is a skill set that is always ready for improvement.

Jenn Herring: This workout is like no other! I love the instructors and participants at CKO. There is a real sense of community and camaraderie when I walk into the studio. The classes provide enough variety and intensity to keep me interested and continually challenge me in both mental and physical ways, and let’s not forget about the stress relief of getting it all out and leaving that stress on the bag.


Stay tuned for the next two parts in this three-part blog series. In the meantime, are you interested in attending a CKO class? Click Here to sign up today!

Stephanie, Health & Fitness Enthusiast

What to Expect Your First Class!

What to Expect Your First Class!

Are you hesitant to attend a CKO class? Is your hesitation preventing you from trying a class altogether? It can be difficult to step out of our comfort zone and try new things, especially when we are uncertain about an experience.

I am going to lay it all out on the table on what you can expect at your first class at CKO Kickboxing. My hope is to alleviate any fear, uncertainty, or hesitation you may feel about attending a class. Once you go, however, you will be hooked and wonder why you had any fear or hesitation in the first place.

What to Expect


CKO Grand Rapids’ location is very close to the heart of downtown. You might be worried about parking, but thankfully there are plenty of options. If you are lucky (and usually I am), you can park for free right in 820 Monroe’s parking lot. If the lot is filled, there are plenty of meters in the surrounding area. Metered street parking is free after 5pm and on weekends.

CKO’s Studio

The gym is quite easy to find. It is located on the first floor of the building, Suite 150, and has signage on the doors and windows which makes it impossible to miss. If you have trouble finding the location, give the front desk a call at 616-920-0335.


Once you find the suite, walk in and immediately take off your street shoes on the mat to your left, then check in at front desk. You will undoubtedly be met with a friendly, smiling face. The CKO team members are amazing and very welcoming! Let them know your name and that you are there for your free trial day or Triple Play pass. They will help set you up and direct you.


After you are done at the front desk and you’ve stow your belongings in a cubby, you will be met with the CKO trainer. They will bring you to a bag and do a run-through of the punches and kicks, plus some key safety cues and techniques which will enhance the experience. If you forget everything they tell you, just look at the person next to you or get the trainer’s attention for extra instruction during a set.


Every CKO trainer runs their workout a little differently, but there is one thing they do the same. There is always a warm-up, main workout, and cool down. The warm-up is generally about 10 minutes and includes dynamic stretches, the main workout about 40-45 minutes, and cool-down/static stretch about 5-10 minutes.

End of Class

The CKO trainer will end the cool-down and remind you to wipe down your bags. There are two buckets by the main posts filled with wet wipes. You can grab one or two wipes depending on whether you used one or two bags. You’ll wipe down the entire boxing bag and the surrounding mat. After that, grab your belongings, change into your street shoes, and head on home. Don’t forget to have a healthy post-workout meal and drink a lot of water after!

Now that you know what to expect, are you ready to attend a CKO class? Visit one of our two websites to sign up today:



Stephanie, Health & Fitness Enthusiast



Sweet, sweet summertime! Who else is enjoying all the fun and the sun? I sure am! I’ve also been crushing some of my fit goals. As I gear up for vacation, I can’t help but fear getting off track from everything I have been working toward. Thankfully, I know some ways I can still work toward my goals on vacay. I am still able to relax and soak up the sun while I am gone but also not have it be so hard when I return and get back into a normal routine. Here are my three tips to stay the course while on vacation:

Tip #1: Plan workouts

If you’re going away on vacation, chances are you will not have access to the same equipment or workout classes you usually do. Before you head out of town, look up body weight or “no equipment” workouts or programs requiring no or limited equipment like a set of dumbbells and jump rope. The key is to know what you are going to do ahead of time and are prepared for it.

Tip #2: Work out in the AM

I am not one to consistently log the pre-sunrise exercise routine, but on vacation I find it so important to make this happen. While everyone is waking up and slowly getting ready for the day ahead, I quick get my workout in. Or, maybe you wake up a little bit earlier than everyone else and get it done. The last thing I want to do after relaxing out in the sun all day is come back and workout. It’s nice to know it’s out of the way, then kick back, have dinner, play games, and sit by the fire.

Tip #3: Choose physical activities

My favorite activity while on vacation is sitting in a beach chair and not moving for hours on end if I can. However, I try to include exciting activities into my day that are truly a workout, but I don’t view them as so. Examples include volleyball on the beach, going for a hike, taking a walk, running along the water’s edge, swimming, kayaking, etc. Grab your family and/or friends and get them involved too!

You don’t have to get off track from your summer fit goals if your plan is to maximize time off to camp, fish, explore the outdoors, or plan a couple roadtrips. If you plan your workouts, get it done in the morning, and/or choose physical activities throughout the day while you’re away, it will be so much easier to return to your normal routine once you return. Enjoy your time off and soak up every minute of our beautiful Michigan summer! And, hopefully we will see you around CKO Kickboxing when you get back.

-Stephanie, Health & Fitness Enthusiast



It’s that time of year again! We are SO close to summertime! Our minds are beginning to think about all fun activities we have planned for the warmer months. But, have you thought about your health and fitness routine? Did you know that CKO offers an exclusive summer special? You can sign up for unlimited kickboxing classes between Memorial Day and Labor Day for just $275! I personally signed up for the Sun’s Out Guns Out Summer special two years ago and here’s why YOU should too!

Invest In Your Summer Body

The Sun’s Out Guns Out special helped me stay active all summer long! Even though summertime is filled with a lot more travel and vacation for many, the majority are still around town to work every day Monday through Friday. I easily added these classes into my normal weekly routine.  If you’re worried about losing precious Summer hours after work, you can sign up for the 5:30am or 6am classes to get your class in for the day! Click here for some tips on joining the morning crew!

A Steal!

The price for signing up is $275, plus you score a commemorative t-shirt with this year’s “sanctuary” symbol. Your enrollment fee is rolled into the price at the time of sign up for the summer special, too, if you decide to continue a month-to-month or year-long membership after the special has commenced. This $400+ package is priced at a major discount, making the SOGO special the ideal opportunity to become part of the CKO family for a longer duration of time with a lower financial commitment.

I took advantage of the Sun’s Out Guns Out Summer special and haven’t looked back. This was the perfect opportunity for me to get a feel for CKO and see how it fit into my life. After those three months were finished, I could not imagine not having CKO part of my life and regular health and fitness routine. Now, here I am two years later, still loving the instructors, other CKO members, and the way I feel when I leave class. I encourage everyone to take advantage of the Sun’s Out Guns Out offer! You will not regret it 🙂

To sign up for the Sun’s Out Guns Out Summer special, buy it for a limited time at either website below:




Stephanie, Health & Fitness Enthusiast

CKO Member Spotlight: Alex Reister!

CKO Member Spotlight: Alex Reister!

This month we would like to turn the spotlight onto Alex Reister, a new dad and participant in the CKO 10-week Transformation Challenge winter session. Alex crushed his goals during the Challenge, and his determination served as motivation and inspiration for many! Read more about Alex and his health and fitness journey.

How would you describe your lifelong health and fitness journey?

I was always active. I played football and wrestling in high school. Through college and working office jobs, it became harder and harder to stick with a workout routine as life often would take priority. This became harder the older I got.

Two years ago, I hurt my lower back, and then I really ballooned up. My confidence was barely hanging on. If it wasn’t for my wife helping me, I don’t know where I’d be. She is my rock! One day last August when I was dropping off some dry cleaning, and I saw that CKO’s new location just opened. I wasn’t sure at first if I was going to be able to keep up. After my one Triple Play class with Shelby, I knew this was for me and immediately signed up.

What was your CKO 10-week Transformation Challenge journey like?

At this point I had been going to CKO for about six months. I had improved my flexibility and conditioning; however, my diet was not on point. I was not eating a ton of junk food but there were choices I was making which were unknowingly were sabotaging my results. Things like the amount of sugar I was consuming and the total amount of fat that were in my food portions. I learned to balance and right-size my meals while increasing my water intake. Making these adjustments truly helped me begin to safely and effectively shed the weight.

What made you decide to do the 10-week Challenge?

My newborn daughter, Emma, was the impetus to me signing up. The timing was perfect because she was due right at the end of the Challenge. I knew with becoming a dad, I needed to become healthier so that I can live long to see her grow up and have the energy to do things with her. I also knew I needed to set a better example with eating habits. This was a chance for me to re-program myself and have the support of the other Challengers to stick with it and see things through.

What was your favorite part about the Challenge?

My fellow Challengers were my favorite part from the support and ideas we shared to knowing they had their own reasons for doing. If they could tough it out and stick with it, so could I!

What was an obstacle you overcame during the 10 weeks?

I never really had a sweet tooth but the most challenging thing was not having a single cheat meal. I knew if I had just one cheat meal during the Challenge, it would be a domino effect, and I would just trickle back into my old habits and be back at square one. The biggest struggle for me was not to give in once.

What were your take-aways from the Challenge, and how has your life changed?
  1. Plan ahead. The more you have things figured out before your day starts, the less decisions you have to make during the day. Available, prepared snacks and meals became more automated at that point.
  2. Drink lots of water. I remember one point I was like “I have so much energy!” and I felt like a zombie before. Once I learned how to stay hydrated, I was bouncing all over the place with energy.
  3. There is always a healthy alternative to what you want to eat. If you’re looking for a taco fix, make turkey tacos. If you’re wanting pizza, make a cauliflower pizza. It may be harder since you can’t just go to a drive through and pick it up, but this way you know what is going into your foods but not sacrificing those joys in life.
What is your best piece of advice for the Challengers participating in the current spring session?

Losing weight doesn’t make you instantly feel happier about life. Think about what you are looking to accomplish by completing the Challenge. Is it new recipes, making new friends, pushing yourself in the gym, or losing weight? Find what makes you gets you out of bed in the morning and use the Challenge to help you become the best you to go out and achieve your goals.

Also, eventually the hype starts to fade. Find ways to help motivate yourself. To keep myself motived, I decided that every two weeks I was going to reward myself for meeting all my goals. I also started to get others in the Challenge to do something similar in the Facebook Transformation group page. I would post a pic of my reward, show that I made my goals that two weeks, and then use the #TreatYoSelf afterward!


Interested in joining the next Challenge (fall edition beginning mid-September)? Contact to be added to the communication list. Interested in attending a CKO class? Click Here to sign up today!

Stephanie, Health & Fitness Enthusiast

Spring into Your Fittest Self

Spring into Your Fittest Self

Spring is in the air and it is time to come out of your winter “hibernation”! This “hibernation” looks a lot like this: Go to work or school, go home right after work or school, stay inside at all costs (preferably under a blanket on the couch), and repeat. If you fell into this routine, now is the time to break it. Spring forward into healthier habits and mindset!

Form Healthy Habits

Between the increased sunshine and warmer weather, Spring ignites motivation. Use this energy to motivate you to form and stay committed to a solid routine. If you begin now, you have several months of established clean and active living practices before next Winter. The hope is that it has become an integral energy-producing part of your life, that it will carry you through the cold, dark winter months.

Build Confidence

Summer is just around the corner and we only have a few more months before we are all hitting the beach in our swimsuits. I am 100% for loving the skin you’re in just as it is. Or, as they say, “every body is a bikini body.” However, when I get into the gym on a regular basis and am nourishing my body with healthy food, my confidence soars. I feel strong and love to see the changes in my body and mind. Your body may not look drastically different after a couple months of healthier habits, but your perspective likely will be. Use this time to build up both your inner assurance and your outer physique if you are feeling dreadful about bathing suit and shorts weather.

One suggestion for the perfect place to implement these long-lasting healthy habits and build your confidence is at CKO Kickboxing. Interested in attending a CKO class? Go to to sign up today!

Stephanie, Health & Fitness Enthusiast

What to Bring Your First Time at CKO!

What to Bring Your First Time at CKO!

You’ve signed up for your first class at CKO and are getting excited to hit the heavy bags. Then, uncertainty hits you. “What do I even pack for a kickboxing class? What do people wear? Am I really prepared to attend this class?” To put your mind at ease, I’ve listed out everything you should bring to your first class, and really every class from there on out, at CKO Kickboxing.

Workout Threads

Bring comfortable clothes to sweat in. Believe me, you WILL break a sweat. This can be anything from Lululemon leggings and a matching top to a basic pair of shorts and t-shirt you’ve had in a drawer for years. No one cares what you look like in class, so wear an outfit in which you will be most comfortable. On the other hand, don’t wear tops which are super-fitted because with gloves on your hands, it’s a challenge to pull it back into place. Conversely with pants, if the waistband is too loose, gravity will take over and they’ll sag as you’re moving and bouncing. There are bathrooms and a changing room but it is easier if you change prior to arriving at class.

Clean Gym Shoes

Leave your outdoor shoes at the front door and then change into your clean gym shoes. Let me say it again, CLEAN gym shoes. Our hands and feet share the mat. No one wants an accidental and unknown step in dog poop or sharp pebble to meet their hands during class. Am I right?

Water Bottle

As mentioned above, you will be breaking a sweat during class. Bring a water bottle to help replenish the water that your body is losing. Stay hydrated, friends! No need to worry if you forgot your water bottle. There is a drinking fountain conveniently located inside the suite.

Gloves & Hand Wraps

We are hitting heavy bags during class and gloves are REQUIRED to keep your hands protected. A glove allows for strike force to be distributed across the fist, which allows you to punch a thousand times in class. The hand wraps you wear under your gloves help protect your hands in a few ways. Wraps offer wrist support, palm compression, prevents knuckle chafing, and sops up sweat in your gloves, making them last longer. Many people start only with the gloves and eventually purchase hand wraps. If you have your own, feel free to bring them. If not, there are gloves available for purchase on-site for only $20 plus tax and hand wraps for $9 plus tax.

Now that you know what to bring, you are ready to attend your first class! If you haven’t already, go to to sign up today.

Stephanie, Health & Fitness Enthusiast

CKO Kickboxing “Swolemates”: Couples Who Sweat Together, Stay Together!

CKO Kickboxing “Swolemates”: Couples Who Sweat Together, Stay Together!

CKO Kickboxing “Swolemates”

What is a swolemate you may ask? Although there are a couple ways to define this term, overall Swolemates are just partners (soul mates) who are on a lifelong health and fitness journey with one another. They workout together and are each other’s motivation to live a healthy lifestyle.

At CKO Kickboxing, there are several couples who come and sweat it out on the bags together on a regular basis. They keep each other accountable, push the other to do their absolute best, and ultimately have a lot of fun! We asked three of our regular CKO swolemates to share about their health and fitness journey as a couple and about working out at CKO together. Here is what they had to say!

Couple #1: Emily and Doug

Exercising / working out has always been a hobby for us. Prior to CKO we found ourselves doing our own routines separately and occasionally together, but never really shared in those experiences. Joining CKO has changed that entirely – we’ve found that going to classes together has become a hobby that we can both thoroughly enjoy, most importantly, together. While we use each other as motivation and tend to push each other to go harder, we also find that we are very light-hearted and laugh with one another before, during, and after classes – we feel that it is important to have a good balance in this aspect. There are no other workout buddies that either of us could ever ask for – even if Doug does drip sweat in my face during partner work. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our time at CKO and feel as though it has impacted our lives, our bodies, and our relationship for the better. Having a hobby in common is important in any relationship as it provides something that you both find enjoyable to do together, something to talk about and share together, and we are very happy that we’ve found this with CKO.

Couple #2: Tina and Bobbie

A CKO kickboxing triple play package was given to my wife, Tina, just over a year ago. She encouraged me to join her, but I was hesitant due to my total hip replacement.  Shelby Reno, the owner, assured me I could move at my own pace, adjust the moves, and still reap the benefits of kickboxing.

Finding the motivation to exercise can be challenging especially after working a long, full day.  It’s helpful to have someone you can rely on that knows all your excuses and will convince you to push forward even if it takes tough love. Working out together transcends into other aspects of our lives; our energy levels have increased tremendously while our stress levels have reduced significantly. We enjoy the positive energy of the instructors and getting to know other members. Our transformations over the past year have been immeasurable as we have grown stronger both in health and happiness and having someone to share this amazing experience with makes all the difference.

Couple #3: Tina and John

Big year for John and I – we will be married 30 years July 9 and we will both be 50 this year.  Two girls Ashley is 26 and Niki is 24.  Physical fitness has always been a part of our schedules. Ashley is a GVSU grad in physical education and Niki is a CMU grad in early childhood development and learning. Ashley is the assistant girls varsity basketball coach at Rockford and Niki played college volleyball – starting at GRCC and walked on to CMU team with a full ride.  Growing up the girls we encouraged the girls to participate in sports and they were always busy with one sport or another.  John coached them in t-ball and basketball in the elementary years.  John is all his girls inspiration – he has always worked out from the day I met him he has always belonged to a gym.  After our girls were old enough to drive is when I started getting serious with my fitness as the girls did not need me as much.  We encourage a healthy lifestyle with Whole Foods and exercise. I am a Young Living Essential Oil Distributor and we use oils everyday in our home. From diffusing to topical – it is a lifestyle 😊

These couples and swolemates have found an incredible benefits to sweating it out at the gym together. These testimonials serve as an inspiration to grab your significant other and head to CKO, your home gym, or hit the pavement for a run. Whatever it is, it will be even better with your loved one by your side.

Interested in attending a CKO class? Go to to sign up today!

Stephanie, Health & Fitness Enthusiast

How to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) this Winter

How to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) this Winter

How to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) this Winter

Here we are, amidst winter, with no end in sight. Anyone else already over having temps in the negatives and the sky be consistently gloomy? I know I sure am.


One thing about winter I find particularly challenging, in addition to driving on slick and icy roads, is dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is “a type of depression related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer,” (Mayo Clinic, 2017). According to Mayo Clinic, this is caused by a change in your biological clock and/or a decrease in serotonin and melatonin levels primarily due to the lack of sunlight. Some of the symptoms include (Mayo Clinic, 2017):

  • Feeling depressed most of the day and nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Experiencing problems with sleeping
  • Noting changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Dealing with difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide



There are many ways to combat SAD. You do not have to suffer through the rest of the season! Experts suggest light therapy (I personally love and use “happy light”), therapy, medication, and exercise. Research shows many people suffering from SAD are able to avoid their symptoms by incorporating 30 to 60 minutes of exercise and 20 minutes of sunlight each day (Summit Medical Group, 2016).

Exercise increases the production and release of serotonin in your brain, which many SAD sufferers are lacking (Ullrich, 2011). You can start to incorporate exercise by walking, running, weight lifting, or taking group classes, just to name a few. In addition to this, don’t forget to take some of your activities outdoors. Bundle up and get outside to sled, ski, snowboard, or just take the dog for a walk.

One suggestion I have for exercise would be kickboxing. CKO Kickboxing classes could be just the solution you need to add to your routine to help combat your SAD. The classes are 45 minutes to an hour of high intensity interval training and you’ll also be surrounded by motivating individuals who will help encourage you to keep coming back.


Let’s power through this Michigan winter and SAD!

Health and Fitness Enthusiast,



DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to raise awareness on Seasonal Affective Disorder and provides simple suggestions on how to combat it. This post should not be relied on for personal medical advice. Please be sure to consult with your doctor on any concerns to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.



Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 25 Oct. 2017,

“Summit Medical Group Web Site.” Regular Exercise Protects Against Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) | Summit Medical Group,

Ullrich, James. “Defeating Seasonal Affective Disorder.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 6 Nov. 2016,

CKO Member Spotlight: Maureen McCormick!

CKO Member Spotlight: Maureen McCormick!

This month’s member spotlight is Maureen McCormick! Maureen has been a CKO member since August and in that time has lost 35 pounds! Pretty amazing, right? I wish we could all give her a round of applause for taking charge of her health. This did not involve any weird pills or quick fix, crash and burn diets. Maureen is putting in the work and she’s reaping the benefits! How is she doing it? She has cut out fast food entirely and attends kickboxing classes at the new CKO South location.

Maureen shared that in the past she has tried everything from beach body’s 21 day fix program, t-25, buying TRX bands, working out at planet fitness, and also bought an elliptical for her home. This seems to be a familiar situation for a lot of people! She was looking for a magical pill to help her lose weight and she found that in CKO. Maureen says of the CKO classes, “the classes go so fast. You are drenched in sweat and held accountable. It is something I didn’t have before.” Before she would be doing a workout and give up because no one was there to push her to do her best.

Cutting out fast food from her diet has also made a huge difference for her over the last few months. Maureen admitted that she ate a lot of fast food and it quite frankly had become an addiction for her. Now, she has not had any fast food since August and does not plan to ever again! CKO is her new addiction (a much healthier addiction!). Let’s all give it up for Maureen as she continues on her health and fitness journey and continually improves her life!

I asked Maureen for any advice she may have for someone who is in a similar position as her before she started at CKO. She shared before she came to CKO she felt afraid and too overweight to make it through a class. After a lot of encouragement that it was just her and the bag and that no one else was judging, she finally went and fell in love with it. You are never too out of shape or overweight to take steps to make a change and achieve a healthier life.

If you are interested in making a change, just like Maureen has, sign up for a class and discover the amazing effects it can have in your own life! Click here for the GR location and click here for the South location.