“Our motto for this year, 2012, is Strong and fearless. I chose it because I want every woman to be strong physically and fearless, meaning not letting fear get in the way of succeeding in life whether at home, at work, or at college,” says Angela Zapien, age 31, founder of The Pink Ladies Boot Camp in San Jose.
After Angela lost her job in 2009, and after months of searching for a job and questioning what she wanted to do with her life, she created The Boot Camp to accommodate women’s workout needs.
The Pink Ladies Boot Camp was launched on May 7, 2010, when Angela reached out for participants on Facebook. “Does anyone want to work out? I am studying to be a trainer.” She started with five women.
“It really kicked off that summer. Everything that I knew about fitness I wanted to share.”
When the group grew to 20 plus ladies, Angela invited her husband, Alex Zapien, 32-years-old this February, for feedback while he was on vacation from his job.
“He basically taught class that day.” The ladies liked the couple’s training dynamics. Angela adds, “So I hired him.”
In April 2011, seven Boot Campers including the Zapiens, participated in Walk by Faith a 5K walking event.
“Some people never thought they would participate. Never thought they would run or walk. For some of them it was their first 5k in their life.” Tearfully, Angela continues “And it’s because, we inspire them. I get emotional because I am very passionate about what I do. And just seeing someone walk or run three miles… That’s big.”
Alex adds, “That’s the biggest gift we can give someone is to inspire a person that has never done 10 or 5K and have then say, ‘Thank you so much! You have changed my life’.”
“It takes las ganas to do it. You know?” says Eva Carbajal, age 59, currently the eldest participant. Carbajal is not new to working out because she bikes 10mi every other day, and has been a marathon runner for over 25 years. She pointed out that her daughter Lisa comes with her and brings a group of friends.
Many of The Pink Ladies continue to walk and run marathons as a group. Seven (Five ladies and two men) including including the trainers joined Marsh Madness 10K (6.2 mi) held at the Palo Alto Baylands and another group participated in the 2011 San Jose Rock n Roll Half Marathon last October.
“Men are invited and join the boot camp, as well, but they never come back.” Along with Alex, there is one male participant in the group.
“I started with the Pink Ladies in September 2010 and since then have lost over 40lbs,” states Pink Ladies Fitness Assistant Elena Bermudez, age 35. “It’s just an inspiring place to come when I am feeling really down. It’s not just about getting in shape it’s also about support and spiritual growth and that’s what keeps me coming.”
Angela began working out with Alex over 10 years ago, and she tried out for the San Jose State University Sabercats cheerleading squad. Since then she pursued individual training and workouts, is certified in CPR and in TRX a Fitness Anywhere LLC bodyweight-based training. Currently, she is training for for a full marathon San Francisco 26.2 miles this July 29, 2012 on her birthday.
Alex is trained in Martial Arts since 14 years old and the power lifting of weights. He works for Comcast during the day, but holds an obstacle course one evening every week, called VIP Tuesdays.
Sonja Garcia, age 34, has been with the Camp since April 2011. “A lot of us are on Facebook and Angela puts a lot of quotes and assignments.” This week they created a vision board and last week they listed five achievement goals to be accomplished within 60 days. “Everything that we do, we post on Facebook.” Not all participants are on Facebook so Garcia adds, “Also on Tuesdays she emails recipes, and then there are Motivation Wednesdays where she sends out emails to everyone about a quote or the lady (Pink Lady) of the month.”
These fitness motivators offer this workout camp to the community for a reasonable fee; it includes support via story time talk sessions, cooking workshops, along constant social-media communication. Alex suggested incorporating prayer into the workouts but Angela didn’t agree immediately, yet after attending a retreat in October of 2010, she embraced the concept and incorporated it into the Camp.
Angela believes, “You can look amazing on the outside but if you don’t feel amazing, it’s not going to work … It’s so important to fix the inside, too.”
The Pink Ladies Boot Camp is open to people of all sizes and beliefs. Angela and Alex will accommodate workouts to one’s physical condition and needs like pregnancy or as per doctor’s recommendations.
Written by Eydie Mendoza | Photos by Patricia Ruiz