A little more than two years later, the 5-foot-7-inch woman is down 115 pounds. She overcame self-doubt in the gym thanks to the guidance from her gym family.
In one year, Maria Mickles is down about 40 pounds. Now she feels confident and comfortable enough to hit the gym solo. She squeezes her workouts in around her full-time class schedule and job.
After about three months of regular workouts, Erin Wolfe is already noticing her clothes fit a little looser.
In the two years since Cole Beltz has been climbing at the indoor gym, he’s felt stronger than he ever did going to a traditional gym. Now he’s in the climbing gym three times a week with his wife and 11-year-old son.
As Heidi Donner gets older, she still wants to be able to carry her own groceries into the house. That helps motivate the 55-year-old woman during her weekly workouts.
About six years ago, diet and exercise weren’t part of Andrea Hennings’ daily routine. She was at her heaviest, about 187 pounds.
Jimmy Roberts, 25, and friends participated in an outdoor fitness series. The occupational therapy student joined with other gymgoers in tackling arm movements, lunges, kicks and shuffles set to upbeat music.
Age is just a number for Joy Mann. And she intends to prove that point to her family.
Five days a week, Julianne Schmitt leaves her kindergarten classroom and heads to the La Vista gym. Once she's there, the 30-year-old doesn't have to worry about planning lessons or teaching the pint-sized students.
Duane Linn has been operating his own martial arts school, Chung Shin Warrior Tang Soo Do, at the Sarpy Community YMCA since 2015. He hopes to coach some of his students toward their own black belts.
“I went from literally being nauseous every day because I was so nervous about the whole thing to it basically being the place I want to be every single day,” said Gail Seaton, 53.
Janakaye Brammer has never been a gym-goer. But since January, she’s been a regular at the Charles E. Lakin YMCA in Council Bluffs. The 24-year-old hits the gym six to seven days a week.
Jen Chinn wants to stay on top of her fitness game. Trainers at Black Clover fitness hold the Omaha woman accountable to showing up for class. But Chinn has some extra motivation getting her to the gym: her January wedding.
Gregg Learned was an average athlete growing up. But as he aged, arthritis made physical activity a challenge. Thanks to encouragement from his wife, he joined Dynamix gym, where he's gradually regained strength and flexibility.
A kid-friendly fitness studio is a must for Jessicca Krell, so she has been visiting Well Mama, a fitness studio designed for moms, for nearly two years.
"As lifting started to go on and on, I could see those changes of going from a little Butterball to somebody who looks like he takes his life seriously," Vincent Huerta said.
Deb Hill, 63, has worked out at a handful of places, but it took time to find one where she felt really comfortable. Hill found the right fit at Jazzercise in Council Bluffs.
The 36-year-old La Vista woman was drawn to the fitness studio because it offered daily instruction and was something different than solo workouts at a large gym.
“I’m at an age where people start to believe they’re not going to get any better. That’s not true,” H.F. Breard said. “It might be hard at first, but anybody at any age or shape can get better.”
Jim Shaffer's been working out with a trainer at Life Time gym in west Omaha for about eight years. He's since made exercise a routine and changed up his eating habits.
Chuck Svajgl struggled to find a fitness regimen he could stick with consistently. He tried different gyms and at-home workouts. During his search for a routine, he landed at Fit Farm.
Erica Mallette has always been a runner. But an injury to a disc in her back sidelined her from the cardio activity. Looking for something low impact, the 24-year-old tried barre classes — and loved them.
About 100 pounds lighter, the 51-year-old has adopted a regular workout and routinely meets with a dietitian. They help hold him accountable.
Hilary Sehring doesn't consider herself a natural athlete, so falling into a fitness routine took some time.
Ashton Kuchera is always stressing the importance of self-love and self-care to her pediatric patients.