Cassandra Oum


02 Jun Cassandra Oum

I first came across Anne through Instagram when she was just emerging into the fitness scene. I was on my own fitness journey(losing 30 lbs through consistent cardio and extremely limited amount of caloric intake) but was in quite a rut as I had hit a plateau and was beating myself up over not losing any more weight. I was unhappy with my physical self and although I was interested in weightlifting as another alternative to aid my weight loss, I was intimidated by the gym’s large machines loomed over by bulky meatheads.

When I witnessed Anne challenging and rejecting the Asian standard of beauty by having a defined muscular body and promoting weight lifting, I was inspired to do the same and not beat myself up over not being “skinny”. When I found out she was starting a bootcamp, I knew this was the best introduction into a new form of fitness without feeling intimidated. I joined her 2nd session of bootcamp in November 2014. Instantly I felt welcomed by Anne and my fellow bootcamp girls when we had our first orientation. I was challenged physically as Anne introduced conditioning and strengthening exercises that left me dripping in sweat but stronger after every bootcamp session.

Anne created an atmosphere that was empowering for women and always emphasized support for each other. We all had varying body shapes and sizes but no one was different and deserved more or less. We all had our own goals in mind and lifted each other equally to reach them. That is what I enjoyed most from bootcamps. I’m thankful for the friendships I’ve developed with the extraordinary women I met in bootcamp who I would’ve have never crossed paths with if it weren’t for Anne.

As a person, what Anne displays through her social media accounts is exactly who she is in reality. There is no filter. There is no photoshop. There is only her true self that includes the raw emotion and thoughts she voices out, regardless if it is positive or negative. She is thoughtful and kind but is not afraid to give you the truth, with no BS involved. She has had a profound impact on my life when it comes to my body image. Because of her I am confident in my body and other’s perceptions of how I look do not affect me and do not matter. I am proud to have her as my friend as she has given me and her bootcamp girls unconditional love and support.