After Austin Nelson wrapped up his high school baseball career, he decided to give umpiring a shot.

It wouldn’t hurt to make a few extra bucks in college.

Then he realized how much he enjoyed it — and he was pretty good at it.

Nelson attended a local umpire clinic before signing up for professional umpire school in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Omaha man barely missed the cut.

“It was pretty frustrating,” Nelson said. “I wanted to prove to them the next year that when I got back, I was ready and I could do it.”

When Nelson got back to Omaha, he joined Ish Fitness. He wanted to bulk up and be in better shape.

He went back to umpire school in January 2018. This time, he made the cut, and that summer, he was hired by Minor League Baseball.

Nelson, 20, makes it a point to stay in shape. He’s working out regularly during the season and in his off time. In minor league baseball, he said, they operate with two umpires. That leaves them on their feet, covering a lot of ground during a game.

“You’re dealing with professional athletes,” Nelson said. “You have to be in good physical shape and you have to be sharp through a three-hour game.”

His ultimate goal is to become a Major League Baseball umpire.

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Q: When did you start working out and why?

A: I played sports when I was younger, so I remember running and lifting a little bit, but I never took that seriously. I started at Ish Fitness about three years ago. I wanted to get stronger. I knew that I needed someone to guide me, and I wanted to get in better shape for my job.

Q: Describe your workouts. How many days per week do you exercise?

A: Basically, I kind of focus on one or two muscle groups per day. One day, I might do legs, and then the next day I’ll work shoulders and back. We try to hit every major muscle group per week. It’s a mix of free weights, squat bar and machines. I’m at Ish Fitness two or three times a week, and then I work out on my own at another gym.

Q: What is your current fitness goal?

A: I want to increase my strength by lifting heavier weights. I want to continue making progress with what I’m currently doing.

Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?

A: I feel a lot more confident when I work out on my own. I know what I’m doing when I get there. I used to be a little intimidated when I’d go into a big gym. Now, I go in there, and I know what I’m doing.

Q: What has been the toughest hurdle and how did you overcome it?

A: I travel for my job during the season, and a lot of times we’re in a city for three days and then we move to the next city. That’s been tough trying to get workouts in. I have a preworkout that helps give me more energy if I’ve been on the road all day. That’s been the biggest challenge.

Q: What helps you stay on track?

A: I definitely think Ishmael Cole does. He keeps my workouts interesting. I never know what he’s going to tell me to do. When I work out on my own, I get bored because I do the same stuff. He helps keep me motivated.

Q: What is your gym pet peeve?

A: It gets on my nerves when people use a machine and don’t wipe it down or don’t pick up their weights. You don’t know if they’re done or not. I think most people do it, but it’s the few people that don’t.

Q: What do you do when you aren’t in the gym?

A: I’m a pretty big golfer. I try to go out once or twice a week. I hang out with family and friends.

Q: What is the piece of equipment, supplement, clothing, etc. that you can’t live without?

A: During my workout, I use the BCAA supplements. I put it in my water and mix it in. I really like that when I’m working out.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their fitness journey?

A: I would say allow enough time to get results. It won’t happen overnight. Try to find a fitness routine you like, and once you find that, stick with it. It’s cool to look back at where you started and say, “Wow. I’ve come a long way.”

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