Retired CMPD Officer Becomes
ac·cu·ra·cy ˈakyərəsē/ noun: the quality or state of being correct or precise.
Accuracy is also one of CrossFit’s 10 General Physical Skills. Pam’s accuracy seems to be pretty darn impressive, doesn’t it?! One of the millions of reasons we love her so dearly. She’s protected our city for decades and now she’s a stellar coach for MissionFiT, superb follower of Christ, and a stinkin’ amazing athlete! She’s definitely in our top list of “Fierce Leaders for the Lord“!
“My name is Pamela Hollars. I am married and my husband and I have enjoyed the company of our cats over the last 27 years. I am a retired police officer in Charlotte and now, a Coach with MissionFiT. I work with a small group of folks from the veteran’s community at Independence Place in Charlotte, NC. I grew up in the Hudson Valley in New York State and moved to Charlotte in 1980 with my family. My Dad worked with IBM, retiring after 45 years of service. My parents moved to Arizona for a time until my Dad passed away in 2010. Since then, Mom, age 90 this year, moved back to the Charlotte area and I help her out as needed. My brother and his family live in the Raleigh, NC area.
When I was approaching retirement, I prayed about what to do, where God would want me. I knew I couldn’t be sedentary, but I didn’t want to just jump into the corporate world, either. I wanted what I did to benefit of others and in service to Christ’s Kingdom. Along came MissionFiT.
I enjoy working out and riding my bicycle through local greenways. I also enjoy day trips with my husband and visiting new “diners, drive-ins and dives” we hear about on foodie shows or find accidentally while traveling. Really, no one can resist eating at a drive-thru sporting a very large hamburger, extra long hot dog, fries and shake on its roof!!”
MissionFiT: When you think of your fitness journey, what 3 words come to mind?
Three words: “From nothing, something”.
“Aside from playing little league softball in NY, I had no recognizable “fitness background”. When I began work as a Police Officer, 16 weeks of training was marked by almost daily exercise including running (lots of running), calisthenics and Universal machines. I was NOT prepared. The “test” was an 8 mile run. I completed the run, without stopping. Upon graduation, I stopped exercise…for 10 years. Then I transferred to the Training Academy where my job as a Recruiter/Background Investigator allowed me to help others become police officers. From there, I started working out with recruit classes, offering support and encouragement. It wasn’t until 2-3 years before I retired that I was assisting in training, having attended an intensive two-week state certification course to become a Physical Training Instructor. By this time, I was working out 5 or more days a week and completing CrossFit workouts. I also participated in several annual Special Olympics Torch Runs sponsored by CMPD and other local police departments, running distances up to 13 miles. I also participated in a 13 mile Recruit Class fundraiser run for a local firefighter who later died of Leukemia. One item on my “bucket list” is to participate in the Ride to DC, the annual bicycle ride from Charlotte to Washington, DC in honor of fallen law enforcement officers.”
MissionFiT: What has been the biggest area of growth, and the hardest area to overcome with your fitness journey?
“I think the hardest area to overcome for me was just getting started. Over the first 10 years of my career, my ‘mantra’ was “elevators go up and stairs go down”. During that time, I also watched my waist size go up. Things began to come together after I tried chasing a suspect on foot and found myself floundering. My Sergeant on duty that day made the comment I was eating too many cheeseburgers!
The biggest area of growth for me has been confidence and realizing that no matter what I do, at work, in fitness or other endeavors, someone will always be better than I am and I will always be better than someone else. While working with police recruits, one of the Recruit Trainers constantly repeated “Leave your ego at the door” . I can think of two specific times in my “gym” life when I haven’t left my ego at the door, became frustrated and walked out. Not a good thing. ”
MissionFiT: What ways have you implemented in your life to allow you to actively pursue wellness?
“I like to workout in the morning. I think that comes from early morning routines with police recruits. Over the years, I have also learned to eat better. In college, I discovered biscuits and gravy, a “food” unknown to Northerners in that day. Later, my diet was low fat cereals for breakfast and other lower fat foods, bread and pasta. After experiencing several bouts with mood swings and feeling poorly, I saw a dietician and was diagnosed with hypoglycemia, correctable by diet. The Rx? More fat and vegetables, less sugar and carbs. A container of M&Ms sat on my desk at work. The next day, I gave it to a co-worker. I stopped eating and ordering bread with my hamburgers or just not eating the bun. I made other changes and saw a dramatic change. I lost weight and felt better, even-keeled. One month later, I ate ice cream and Ben & Jerry’s and was promptly thrown under and driven over by the chuck wagon. Even though I didn’t gain all the weight back, I remember that day and continue trying new things for my diet. Some have stuck, others I have to take in moderation. Now my go-to breakfast is a baked dish with egg white, vegetables and a protein, usually ham, some fruit and a portion of plain greek yogurt. Coffee is black, diet soda is (mostly) a thing of the past and I pepper meals with lots of vegetables, a variety of meats and some healthier fat choices.”
MissionFiT: Aside from personal relationships, what motivates you on your pursuit of wellness and your fitness journey?
“From a personal standpoint, fitness, working out, the whole picture is so a part of my life now and I cannot imagine living without it. Professionally, I recognized the change fitness made in my life when I was in a short foot chase with a suspect while working at a local department store…and caught him! I remember the feeling and knew I was on the right track. The reason for my being involved with MissionFit is so that others can experience the same type of feelings of accomplishment through fitness. The “runner’s high” extends not just to the physical aspect of life, but to the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of one’s life, too. Recently, one athlete in the IP class said this in a note: “It is a joy being in your class. I have learned a lot about doing a lifestyle change not just dieting or exercise. Thanks a bunch for your overall effort to keep me engaged.”
“That’s why God put me in this place!”
MissionFiT: Among your personal support system, who do you find has been your biggest fan and given you the most encouragement to maintain your training?
“My husband has been supportive in small ways, noticing changes and complementing me.
I think the recruits I’ve worked with over the years have been an encouragement to me. While a coach doesn’t have to perform better than those he/she trains, sometimes, that was the little extra push getting me through a spring training day in the pouring rain, or staying with a friend and co-worker as we trudged through 13 miles on a humid summer morning. Fun fact: During this run (the aforementioned fundraiser), we were the last to arrive, excluding the MEDIC truck that followed us from start to finish. We did not stop!”
MissionFiT: What has been your experience of fitness training in groups vs. alone?
“I think I prefer training in a group because of the camaraderie that forms within the group, especially if the group is small. Over and over, I have received more encouragement by encouraging others and being around others who encourage me, each one doing his or her best.”
MissionFiT: How has investing in wellness and fitness changed your life? Have you seen an affect on your spiritual life?
“Well, the physical changes speak for themselves. Overall, I eat better and I’m better able to cope with stress. Spiritually, I don’t think I really put the two together until I became involved with MissionFit. Part of the initial training included, reading and learning about lay ministry “potholes”, nutrition, anatomy (made easy), leadership, and where I fit in service to God’s Kingdom. Many of these topics were new to me and helped me really understand how my body is a temple to Christ, representative of His teaching. It is often said to caregivers and, in a similar way to police officers, that you can’t take care of another without first caring for yourself. The same is true in fitness. When I coach, I take on the responsibility of caring for the folks with whom I work. I want to see them succeed and take what they’ve learned from fitness and apply them to everyday tasks at work or in their personal lives. I hope those lessons include the discipline of working hard to achieve a goal, making the hard choices in order to see progress and learning not to beat yourself up when you eat that piece of cake or go off your diet.”
MissionFiT: What do you feel the connection between faith and health is?
“A radio show host on the Truth Network in Greensboro likes to close his weekly Saturday program with ‘Jesus walked everywhere He went and got it all done in three years’. The Bible tells us that God made man in His image (Genesis 1:27). As Believers in Christ, we are reminded by Paul that our bodies are living temples, that we no longer belong to ourselves. Instead, we belong to God because we were purchased with “the precious blood” of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We are encouraged by Paul to “put on a new self…living in a way that expresses to God [our] gratitude for [our] salvation” (Ephesians 4:24 Amplified Version) and to dedicate and set apart ourselves, our bodies, as “a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is [our] rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship…and to be transformed…by the renewing of [our] minds (Romans 12:1-2 Amplified Version).”
“I say all that to say this: This doesn’t mean we won’t get sick, break bones, succumb to various diseases and so on. These things will plague (no pun intended) us until Christ’s return, brought on by original sin, resulting from disobedience. However, as Believers in Christ, we can purposely make positive lifestyle choices giving testimony to God’s healing power in our physical lives and spiritual lives.”
A side note: I’m reminded of what Dr. J. Vernon McGee (www.ttb.org) has said several times during recent radio lessons studying the Old Testament books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. The laws and regulations of God were given to Israel for their safety and security. Israel was a pure nation, separated from others by God for His purposes. The nation was entering a new land of nations foreign to them, of practices that, if spread among the Israelites, would put them at risk for disease and death, which as Dr. Mcgee points out, happened to Israel because they failed to obey God. Thankfully, believers are to live under grace and not law. We are forgiven by Christ and brought under His wing of protection. We are not promised a sinless life. We are promised an eternal life. We should enter that life knowing we have given positive testimony of our walk with God, not just through our spoken testimony, but our lifestyles as well. It is said the only Bible some people may ever read is you.”
MissionFiT: Encouragement for others?
“I think the first and foremost reason is for yourself. This was my experience. My rock bottom was going to Property Control for yet another chit to get a larger pair of patrol pants. There were other alarms, like the aforementioned failure in a foot chase, but this was the one that got my attention.
Once the decision is made to start, then start slowly and at your level. Don’t walk into a “one-exercise-fits-all” gym and expect instant results. It took you ___ years to get to the weight/physical state in which you find yourself. It may not take that long to get back to where you want to be, however, there will be days you do not see progress. Look at the big picture, analyze the steps you’re taking (get help if necessary) make changes and continue moving forward. Once folks start, then I think they can add in “I keep doing it for _________” (my family, my kids, etc.).
Personally, I started walking on a treadmill for 45 minutes after work. It was a way to wind down. I added a simple 15 minute/day weight program, then slowly collected challenging workout videos and new routines, including working out with recruits.”
“Now, fitness is an essential part of my life.”