About two years ago, Ramona Ash-Saulter took a look in the mirror.
Enough was enough.
The Bellevue woman wasn’t happy with how she looked or felt.
She got serious about her workouts. She had been in an on-again, off-again relationship with the gym, depending on what was happening in her life.
In the last 10 months, she’s dropped 18 pounds. Ash-Saulter went from around a size 14, sometimes a 16, down to a “comfortable” size 8.
Tests from a routine checkup at the doctor came back “perfect.” Her cholesterol and blood pressure were normal. Before, her blood pressure, especially, had been “up and down.”
The 52-year-old is in the gym five to six days a week for a range of group fitness classes. She’s been able to modify her workouts to account for arthritis, plantar fasciitis and a bum knee. She’s still hitting her goals.
“I am reinventing myself and living my best life,” Ash-Saulter said.
Sign up for the Live Well Nebraska newsletter
Get the latest health headlines and inspiring stories straight to your inbox.
Q: When did you start working out and why?
A: I’ve always been active my whole life, but I went through a time when I kind of got lazy. I was going through a life transition, and this was the healthiest way for me to deal with that.
Q: Describe your workouts. How many days per week do you exercise?
A: It can be anything from barbells to step classes. There are also dance classes. I don’t look at the schedule to see what’s going on or who’s teaching. I just show up because I know that’s what I need. I’m there five to six days a week.
Q: What is your current fitness goal?
A: I am 2 pounds away from my goal. That will be 20 pounds. It’s been about 10 months. A lot of it’s muscle. I’ve gone down well past my size goal. I was a size 14, hitting a 16. I am now down to an 8. A very comfortable size 8.
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?
A: My biggest accomplishment has been going to the barbell classes consistently. I did not like the weightlifting part. I go at least once a week. If I’m feeling good, I’ll go twice. I’ve been upping the amount. I usually do 15-pound barbells, but I upped it to 20 last week and I made it through the reps with it.
Q: What has been the toughest hurdle and how did you overcome it?
A: I cheat on eating sometimes. I eat well, but it’s my balance. If I want to have that Hershey’s candy bar, I’m going to have it because it makes me happy. There’s no struggle with going (to the gym). There’s just an awesome group of people there. The camaraderie, more than anything, is what keeps me going back.
Q: What helps you stay on track?
A: Looking in the mirror and being happy with myself. I want to stay there. I feel good. Having children, you put them first. When I go at 5 a.m., then I’m putting myself first.
Q: What is your gym pet peeve?
A: When someone shows up and doesn’t give it their all and then complains about their body. That bothers me. I don’t have a very high tolerance for excuses. If you want something, you just go get it. I modify everything, and I’ve still been able to reach my goals.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t in the gym?
A: I hang out with my girlfriends. And I spend time with my daughter.
Q: What is the piece of equipment, supplement, clothing, etc. that you can’t live without?
A: I can’t live without my fashionable workout clothing. That’s the place I can go out of my comfort zone with my clothing. I like the colorful outfits. I always have my BCAA (supplement) with me and my towel.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their fitness journey?
A: Set your goals and keep sight of them. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You have to be consistent. My biggest thing is never let your buddy be the only reason you go to the gym. Don’t use that as a crutch that if they don’t go, I don’t go. It’s a personal goal. It’s about what you want and how consistent you want to be.
Gymgoers share what motivates them, pet peeves and their proudest accomplishments
You never know who you might run into at the gym.
There's the man who's exercising as he waits for a heart transplant. Or the woman who's made Jazzercise workouts part of her life for more than 30 years.
Some workouts see moms accompanied by babies. Elsewhere you'll find folks well into their 90s who stick with exercise.
Check out their stories.