Elvia Campos had a plan for her life. She had worked hard to gain scholarships to attend college when a head-on collision flipped her world upside down. Due to injuries she sustained from the accident, she was forced to take time away from school.
School had been Campos’ source of self-confidence and focus for much of her life. Now, faced with the prospect of not being able to return to school for many months and losing scholarships, Campos fell into a deep depression and didn’t know where her life would go next.
Her brother encouraged her to go to the gym and start to work on her physical fitness first. What Campos says followed were renewed mental strength and then a new life plan.
Campos is now general manager at 24 Hour Fitness Woodland Hills, and she’s featured in the latest 24 Hour Fitness ad campaign. We asked how she started her fitness journey and how she found the strength to shift her life course.
EC: My brother took me to sign up in 2008 after a really bad car wreck. That head-on-collision precipitated this whole journey of self-discovery.
I felt about school the way a lot of people feel about sports. It was the most important thing to me, and I had worked really hard to get scholarships. I had to take a break from school because the injuries were so bad. After the accident, I became depressed, and even though my brother didn’t really know how he was about to impact my life, he just invited me to the gym. I had fun working out, and that became my new sense of whether I’d had a good day. I was getting stronger, faster and that gave me a sense of achievement. It had a domino effect on the rest of my life. I was healthier and making healthier choices. The relationships I allowed into my life became healthier.
I was a consistent member and the whole team knew me. One day when I tried to cancel my membership, the manager asked why, and I was too embarrassed to say I couldn’t afford it. The manager pressed me to explain, and he said there was an opening and that he would like to interview me. My personal transformation became my career.
I think about that a lot. There are so many members whom we love to have in our clubs. How many of them also can become great team members? Eleven years later, I’m still with the company and I still keep in contact with that manager because it was such a pivotal moment for me.
EC: I come from a very big family and it’s been hard to not see anyone. Early on, I hadn’t seen my mom in a long time and she FaceTimed me at Costco and I just started crying. I was supposed to get married, and we postponed the wedding because we want all our family to be able to attend.
There were days where I felt lost and days were very repetitive. This experience has really affected people. Through our Fitness Is Essential events, I’ve learned how important fitness is for people. When I talked with participants, I was shocked by the deep answers that I heard from people. COVID-19 can affect someone and their whole circle around them. I stand strong behind our mission statement now, more than ever, to build a happier, healthier world.
EC: It’s ironic that despite COVID-19’s impact, I have never felt more connected to our members. I talk to them on Instagram DMs regarding opening or see them at our Fitness Is Essential outdoor events. These are people I knew by face, but maybe I didn’t know their names. Now they’re sending messages and voice messages. I’ve never had more one-on-one conversations and that’s one of the blessings that has come out of the hard year. I cherish those conversations. When we get back to some semblance of our new experience, I hope to keep that connection with these members.
Photo credit: Elvia Campos