Chamene has worked with Figarelle’s Fitness for over two years, and in that time she’s made dramatic changes in her body that have influenced her mindset in many ways. She regularly works out with her husband, Jeff, and her son, Joe during fitness Boot Camp classes. She’s a very influential and inspiring woman, to say the least. Chamene took some time to share her thoughts on training and explain a little more about her transformation. Check it out!   -S.Figarelle 

SF: I still remember the first email that I received from you over two years ago. You wanted to give your family the “gift of fitness” for Christmas by buying them all a boot camp package. What specifically inspired you to seek us out?

Chamene, just starting out with Figarelle's Fitness in December 2012.

Chamene, just starting out with Figarelle’s Fitness in December 2012.

CM: Our family has lived an active lifestyle for many years. Jeff and I started our marriage in Prince William Sound at remote fish hatcheries. There was always fishing, shrimping, snowshoeing and beautiful areas to walk. When we moved to Cordova we maintained some of the activity but not quite as much. To supplement our new city life Jeff and I started working with ‘Muscle Mary’ in Cordova. She ran some weight lifting classes out of the town gym. When we finally made the big move to Anchorage we got caught up in all the usual city life activities; taking kids to various lessons around town. We were spending less and less time taking care of our bodies. It was not just our bodies that were changing for the worse; for me personally my mindset was changing too. There were more and more things that were suddenly off limits. I was telling myself ‘I can’t pick that up, I better get someone strong to do it’. It was time for a change!

In picking a trainer I knew we needed to have a commitment to a person, both financial and mental. ‘Yes I will show up every day, because I am paying you!.’ I knew just joining a gym would not provide the extra incentive that we needed. The internet helped me to find personal trainers and when I saw the Figarelle no nonsense approach I thought it would be what we needed. (Yes, I read all of Steph’s blogs prior to ever signing up!)

Chamene, just starting with Figarelle's Fitness.

Chamene, just starting out with Figarelle’s Fitness in December 2012.

SF: You have managed to get your husband Jeff, your son Joseph, and your daughter Mikal all to boot camp. What is it like to work out with your husband and your kids?

CM: I would consider our family close knit. We enjoy each others company whether we are working out or hanging out. Family is very important and there are more ways to share time with your loved ones than sitting in front of a TV or eating together. I reflect on my own Mom and Dad and the energy they had when I was growing up and it has always guided me in getting my kids out and about. My dad would work all day then come home and ride motorcycles with us for 2 hours. It takes a lot of energy to get yourself moving when all you really want to do is sit down for a bit. I don’t think just signing my kids up for a class and then sitting and watching is the way to go. Involve your kids in things that get you moving too. Our society has it all wrong; sign up little Joey for hockey then you sit on your butt for 2 hours waiting for his lesson to finish. It is so much more fun when you can do something together!


SF: You won our very first Transformation Challenge almost 2 years ago. How did your body change during that challenge?

CM: I was so excited to see some of the fat I had gained come off, but the true benefit was how much better I felt. Having the stamina to go through some of the bootcamp stations without stopping was its own reward. I felt my strength returning to my body, resulting in my attitude changing!

SF: Figarelle’s Fitness has seen a lot of changes since you started with us. What keeps you coming back for more?

CM: I think being able to support a small business has its own rewards but more than that has been the personal connection to the Figarelle Family. When you develop a positive relationship with someone you only want to see them succeed. The Figarelle family has helped me achieve so much and I am only too happy to see you achieve your goals as well. As with any relationship it is all give and take; if you make changes I am more than happy to give you my two cents about those changes. I can truly say you all have handled the transition well. It is my belief that your focus on the client has only led to positive change for you as a business. Sounds cliché but we are growing and changing together!

IMG_4772SF: You’ve been pondering a new, big goal for quite some time. Can you tell us what that goal is and what has motivated you to want to achieve it?

CM: I am finally ready to declare that I will do a bodybuilding competition and will compete in Physique. I plan to compete in one of the shows in the fall. I still need to pick which date but I know for sure that I want it to be the competition that is held at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium, that way friends and family who come to support me have a better venue for watching the show!

SF: During our recent Goal Setting seminar you created a vision board. Can you tell us what you put on it and why?

CM: I knew I wanted to commit to a Physique competition so my vision board has a picture of the national winner of Physique! The picture of Dana Linn Bailey reminds me every morning why I am working so hard. My other new passion is street bikes (motorcycle). I have a 2009 Yamaha 600cc that is yellow like Bumblebee from the Transformer movies! I have only been riding for a year and a half now but I love it! I have a picture on my vision board to remind me how being in better shape will help me be a better, safer rider.

SF: You recently told me that your 50th birthday is coming up in the fall of 2014. What does it mean to you to be 50? What do you want to show the world about age and physical prowess?

Chamene, checking out her progress during a recent workout.

Chamene, checking out her progress during a recent workout.

CM: I see the wrinkles that come with age but I would never go back. I will turn 50 in September and what better way to celebrate my 50th birthday than to stand up in a bikini on stage and show off my muscles! With some hard work my body at 50 is more capable than it was 20 years ago. By breaking down barriers I hope to inspire other people who are not ready to sit back in the rocking chair just yet!

SF: You regularly attend Boot Camp classes, small group personal training and private personal training. What do you like about each of those different programs and how have they helped you in your life?

CM: I really like the weights that we do in personal training and small group training but the bootcamps really provide the cardio that makes me feel so accomplished when I make it through a workout! In so many ways the workout is a side benefit. The friendships and camaraderie of all 3 types of workout are what draw me to the three different programs. Bootcamp has a lot of energy with the larger groups which keeps me motivated and pushing myself. Small group training has let me get to know some terrific ladies who push me to be a better version of myself. Finally, getting to work with Steph, one on one in personal training, has really made me into a more confident version of myself.

SF: You often tell me stories about how the kids at school are always impressed with your muscles and your physical ability. How has physical fitness changed you as a teacher? Tell us about some of the “pushup challenges” you have with your students.

CM: I enjoy teaching immensely, and sometimes one of the best benefits to teaching is helping students to see the world in a different way! Junior high and High school students are still forming many of their impressions of the world and if I can break through some stereotypes then I have done a huge part of my job. There have been times when students begin arm wrestling and I have ‘taken them on’, some of the boys are in for a surprise when their teacher beats them. Recently some students were restless and trying to ‘storm’ the door so I announced that anyone standing at the door had to beat me at diamond pushups! There was one student brave enough to try and I managed to outlast him!

SF: What are some of your favorite exercises to do at both personal training/small group and boot camp?

CM: There is no one exercise that I would consider my favorite. I really enjoy things that test my balance and strength simultaneously. I think I felt the most accomplished when I could finally flip the semi tire at bootcamp!

SFHow has your nutrition changed since starting with Figarelle’s Fitness? What’s a typical day of eating like for you?

CM: My diet has changed from high carbohydrates and low protein to the exact opposite, higher protein and lower carbs. I was really neglecting my water intake as well when I first started with Figarelle’s fitness.

Chamene, working hard during a recent Boot Camp class.

Chamene, working hard during a recent Boot Camp class.

SF: You’ve dealt with some minor tweaks and twinges here and there over the course of your training. What advice would you give someone who just wants to “work through the pain?”

CM: It is so tough to be making progress and then have to slow down, or stop, in order to let your body recover. I have had some ‘overuse’ injuries and as soon as I took time off, foam rolled, and got a massage I was back in about a week. It took some resolve to tell myself I was OK to take time off! I think if I had pushed through the pain I would have seriously hurt myself.

SF: What advice would you give a woman in her 40’s or 50’s who might be intimidated to start a fitness program, specifically weight lifting?

CM: Taking the first step is intimidating, I won’t deny it, but finding people who will support you along the way will make the whole experience life changing. I found the right trainers and a supportive group of folks to work out with! Many ladies my age fear weights but there is nothing to fear. I get complements all the time and I lift weights 🙂