Chuze Love: The Story of Our Team Members Chase and Melissa Pantoja
There’s a famous song by Frank Sinatra called LOVE that starts with, “L is for the way you look at me.” and that is just how this Chuze love story began—with a look. For those of us who are inspired by love, love-at-first-sight stories are those of dreams. So, today we want to introduce you to Chase and Melissa, who want to share with all of you how they found forever love.
The Very Beginning
This journey actually starts in Chuze Fitness, the Cypress, California location to be exact. Chase and Melissa saw each other in the gym and—well—we will let Melissa explain, “It was love at first sight if you ask me!” From then on, Melissa and Chase started dating, “I would say we have both been influential in each other’s growth as a person. We push each other out of our comfort zones, encourage each other, and have fun together. We’ve been a part of several big life experiences together, my college graduation, promotions at work, family vacations, etc. each of these experiences only brought us closer together.”
Their Favorite Things
Through all of this experience, they’ve found their favorite things in one another, Chase explains, “Melissa cares about people on such a deep level. She lives life selflessly, and anyone she encounters can feel that immediately about her.” And Melissa gushes, “When I first met Chase, his smile made my heart skip a beat! Now that I know him as a person, I really love how deeply he cares for people and his passion. He is passionate about his work, his family, and his friends.”
The Chuze Family
We see those attributes in each of them as Team Members. At Chuze, Melissa and Chase are an integral part of our work family, Melissa shares her history with us, “I am the Assistant General Manager of the Anaheim location! I started off with Chuze six years ago as a part-time team member at the Cypress, CA location. Throughout my journey with Chuze, I have helped manage several locations (Cypress, Westminster, and Anaheim, California). I started off as a Chuze member and fell in love with the culture and the atmosphere and knew I just had to work here!” Chase has worked his way up in operations, “I am the Regional Director of Operations for California which right now includes San Diego, Orange County/Los Angeles, and the Inland Empire. I have worked with Chuze Fitness for 6.5 years now and started my journey with the Chuze Family as a Supervisor/Assistant General Manager for our Westminster, CA location. I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity as expansion started in Orange County and found the listing for leadership positions for Chuze Fitness from a Craigslist ad crazy enough!”
And while much of their story happened within our gyms, their engagement did not. Melissa shares her side of the story, “OKAY! This is definitely one of my favorite things to talk about. So, after I graduated college we planned a trip to visit my brother in England (he is in the AirForce and was stationed there) and during our trip, we also planned on visiting Iceland. During one of our days in Iceland, we hiked around to different waterfalls. During the hike, Chase grabbed my hand and walked me to an open grassy area. We stopped in front of this HUGE waterfall, and Chase got down on one knee and asked if I would be his wife.” Chase’s story is filled a little more with nerves, “Melissa summed it up pretty well and was amazing! The ‘behind-the-scenes’ of this story was that I was a nervous wreck flying internationally with a ring in my carry on and hoping that security didn’t decide to search my bag for any reason! Nathan Muzquiz, our VP of Operations, lent me this small ring holder that was attached to my backpack that was key in keeping it low-key from Melissa for the big surprise!”
Since then, they have gotten married and started their life together as husband and wife, “We got married in Portland, OR. Portland was our first of many vacations together, and we fell in love with the city right away. The scenery, the people, and the coffee! When we were looking for wedding venues, it was a no-brainer that we had to get married in Portland. Honestly, people ask us all the time, ‘how is the married life’ and we always answer ‘the same.’ I feel as though we’ve always had that deep connection, and getting married just made it ‘official!’ Chuze was a HUGE part of our wedding…literally huge. 80% of our guests were our Chuze Family! Chase and I are extremely fortunate to have had so many of our Chuze Family members make the trip out to Portland to celebrate our wedding with us. It was absolutely incredible.” Shares Melissa. Chase tells us how life has changed since that day, “The only thing I can think of that has evolved since we got married is a deeper awareness of living in the moment, being present, and appreciating each other’s time. Each day is a blessing to be with one another, and it’s something we don’t take for granted. Post-wedding I think we have such gratitude for all of our Chuze Family (like Melissa said—80% of the wedding) who traveled all the way to Portland, OR for our wedding. We always loved them, but that took things to another level for us. It truly is family.”
Their Favorite Memory
Their favorite memory from Chuze (and a beautiful memory for so many of us) is from their wedding, Melissa remembers, “I would have to say spending the week with our Chuze Family in Portland for our wedding was our most fond memory together. Spending time with people we get to work with every day in a more casual setting—going white water rafting, attending festivals, going on hikes—was extremely special, and a week we will hold near and dear to our hearts forever.” Chase looks back, “If we were going to have people fly out to Portland, OR for our wedding, Melissa and I wanted to make it super special for everyone flying out, and a lot of them were from Chuze and had never been to Portland. We wanted to show everyone why we loved Portland so much, and since we had been there so many times, we knew exactly what places to take them for them to have an epic week. We shared memories of that wedding week that we will never forget, and all of us talk about it often. It’s very special.”
With work and life being so intertwined, we wanted to know how they strike a good balance, “While this wasn’t easy to do at first, we quickly realized we needed a work-life balance. Now, when we’re spending time together, we make it a point not to talk about work.” Melissa shares.
In the name of love, we need to know what each of their tips are for a healthy relationship, Melissa has advice we should all keep, “UNPLUG! When you are spending time with your significant other or any loved one for that matter, be present with them not with your technology. Since Chase and I have started being more mindful about being present we have really been able to grow our relationship even further and spend good quality time together.” Chase shares, “Communication is such a huge part of a healthy relationship and Melissa has taught me a thing or two about this throughout the years. We are very open with one another about our feelings and if something is bothering us we speak up, address it, and then resolve it. It allows me to understand her, and her to understand me and that’s what a good relationship is all about. When someone just ‘gets you,’ it’s such a great feeling, and for that to happen, there needs to be communication.”
Finally, Chase shared a special sentiment with us, “Love is about the journey and not the destination. Appreciate the hour you get to spend with your loved one before you go to bed at night, the kiss you get on the forehead when your loved one is off to work, the surprise dinner that was made, and the random ‘I love you’ text. The appreciation of these things is sometimes hard when life is coming at you a mile a minute, but taking the time to live deeply in the moment will allow for true happiness.”
Thank you, Chase and Melissa, for being a part of our Chuze Family and for inspiring us with our journey. We are so grateful to have you. And, to our members, we hope these stories give you a glimpse behind the scenes. If you would like to share your story with Chuze, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.