TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?
I live in Andersonville with my awesome husband Manny (I’ve tried to get him to Hardware more times than I can count…he’s not perfect). We’re both hustlers with too many jobs and creative pursuits, but we wouldn’t know how to live any other way. In a nutshell, I’d say my favorite things in life are cooking, making music (primarily on the piano), tending to plants, and consuming art in all its forms. I’ve been in Chicago for over 20 years. Despite our many problems, I love this city and am still amazed at how it feels like a well-kept secret.
My entire career has been dedicated to the performing arts here: I’ve run some theaters, produced a ton of shows/festivals, raised some money, and done just about anything else I could to help the community thrive. Last year, I started my own company helping small businesses with financial management. I will hop on my soapbox and proselytize about the importance of small businesses any chance I can get and am excited to have a chance to support them in this way.
WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO TRAINING AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?
I got bullied a lot as a kid and teenager for being shy and gay and weird and almost comically unathletic; gym class was a fresh kinda hell every day. It took me a while to work through those emotions and I didn’t get back into group fitness until my late 20s, primarily through yoga. I slowly began to understand that workout spaces could be supportive and uplifting and I started challenging myself to classes that took more skill and stamina.
I would frequently pass by Hardware when walking through the neighborhood and think, someday I’ll really push myself and try it out. The first time I walked into the gym was in the middle of a WOD and the room was packed with people heaving around loaded barbells; I almost turned around and walked out. But I’m so glad I didn’t. It took me a while to open up and get comfortable, but over the years, I’ve met fantastic people and achieved more physically than I ever thought possible. Anybody can program a good fitness routine, but for a place to build a community culture that makes someone like me feel at home in a gym is very rare and special.
Also, I’ve had Crohn’s Disease for over 30 years and mention it here to let folks know that you can absolutely train effectively with a chronic illness. Some days I don’t go as hard as I do other days and have learned scaling is my friend, but overall, the net benefit to my health is huge.
WHAT ARE YOUR FITNESS GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?
I’m a workaholic and struggle with placing fitness as a top priority. Therefore, my main goal is always to just Get. To. Class. If I do that, I’ve already won. I’m also very analytical, so a continued goal is to keep learning more about each movement and how to do it the most efficiently….a shout-out to Coach Dana and Coach Vasilis, who really break things down in a way my brain understands.
Unlike many aspects of my life, I’m not tied to an outcome with my fitness, which feels liberating. I just want to keep showing up and keep getting better and wherever that leads, I’m there for it.
Oh, and a handstand push-up.
WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED AT HARDWARE THAT MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?
Participating in the Open has been so rewarding. I’m very good at breaking my own rules and coming up with excuses for myself, but when I’m part of a team, I feel obligated to try my hardest to get those team points! And when I do, I realize I’m capable of so much more than I thought possible, like 50 TTB in a row, or heavy snatches, or an absurd number of wall walks. It’s such a testament to how mental all of this is. Not standing in your own way is really the coolest.
Double unders all day. Deadlifts. Biking. I also love a super complex chipper WOD, since I’m so in my head staying on track with the workout that I forget how tired I am.
LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
All of the gymnastics movements, especially on the rig. This is why I don’t look at the workouts in advance, because if I do and see rig work, I’m obviously making up an excuse for why I can’t go to class that day.
ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT HARDWARE?
I mean, the only useful advice is to just go and try it out! The proof is in the pudding. Hardware is the rare gym in the sweet spot: somehow both holding you accountable for being your best but also not taking things too seriously. There’s room for someone like me, who would never describe themselves as an “athlete,” to learn and grow and become a better version of themselves. 15-year old Cameron would never believe that one day he’d emphatically recommend that someone go to a gym, but here we are. And it’s because of Hardware.