I grew up in a low-income apartment complex on the East Side of San Jose. We played basketball with no hoops, yelled "car" when a car was about to interrupt our touch football game and was chased by an unruly stray dog on a weekly basis. I remember during the holidays, they would pass out toys in our community center for all the kids in the neighborhood. One year, I got a purple My Little Pony with a bright pink tail.
Perhaps this is where I got my first taste of community. All the families in that complex had their own stories on how they got there. They all struggled to make ends meet but were fighting for a better life for their children.
Sometimes when I'm in a testy situation, I joke about how the "East Side" Janet is about to come out. It's a euphemism for being tough and suddenly forgetting how to use conjunctions properly in my speech. But it's also the side that's a survivor. The little girl inside of me who would stand up for herself and fight boys who made fun of her younger cousin. What can I say? She's always going to be a part of me.
When I started CrossFit, it further defined what community was about. It ingrained in my mind that community is essential for success, not just in fitness, but in all that you do. When people who were once strangers root for you it creates a continuous cyclical movement that is entirely positive; positive for the individual and positive for the community.
When I started Blue J., my goal was to help create healthy companies, but I made a note to myself to work into my business plan a way to be involved in the community that shaped me. I wanted to help create a healthy and positive environment in the side of town where Hot Cheetos flow like wine. Working with CrossFit Kindred, in the heart of East Side San Jose, starting a FUNctional Training class that is designed for everyone answered that call. I have been lucky enough to teach fitness all over the world, but I am most excited to start my classes here in June.
Whether you're in the East Side or not, come in and join me! Classes start in June and you can find all the info at crossfitkindred.com.