Ashlei Spivey wants to be around for her family, especially her 3-year-old son. But that meant the 31-year-old needed to get in shape.

So the Omaha woman took up boxing at a local gym. Now, Spivey feels like she’s in a movie while she’s busy getting healthy.

Q: When did you start working out and why?

A: I started working out about six months ago. I really wanted to take back control over my health. I’ve always struggled with weight, especially food. I really wanted a way to be active and get in shape so I can make sure I’m healthy and here for my son and sister.

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

A: I wanted to feel like a boxer. It reminds me of “Creed” or “Rocky.” Boxing is one of the hardest workouts ever. There’s core work and getting your endurance up. The fun part is doing the bag workouts and working on our combinations. I also feel like outside of health, there’s an element of self-defense. It’s a lot of full-body work. I’ve been going four days a week.

Q: What is your current fitness goal?

A: Definitely to build up endurance and to lose some pant sizes. The nice thing about the workout is it removes you from the scale mentality. I’m getting away from the scale, and it’s more about how I feel and how I look in my clothes. It helps with body image issues.

Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?

A: Understanding the combinations. When Treven Coleman, my instructor, puts on the mitts and I’m boxing, I know what he means when he says “1, 2, 3” or “1, 2, 2.” I know what those are and what I’m supposed to do.

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

A: The actual workouts. It’s a lot of mental pushing to get through a workout or through the last 10 seconds to finish. I need that mental strength to push through and say, “Yes, you can do it.”

Q: What helps you stay on track?

A: Well, Trev does not play. He will check in on you. He’ll check what you post on Facebook and where you say you’re going to eat. He’s also built a community at the gym. We have that peer support, too. At my class time, the same people are coming, and we’re checking in with each other. It has really been a community that’s been built around our workouts. I’m not just going to the gym and then going home.

Q: What is your gym pet peeve?

A: When people act like you should already just be in shape and get through it. Clearly I’m at the gym because I’m trying to get healthy. I’m not going to automatically know how to do it. We’re all struggling together. With improvement comes a learning curve.

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

A: I spend time with my son and my sister. Having a 3-year-old keeps me very busy.

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

A: Don’t be discouraged. It’s minute-by-minute, day-by-day. If you get off track, there’s always tomorrow. Don’t give up.

Kelsey covers health and fitness for The World-Herald. Follow her on Twitter @kels2. Phone: 402-444-3100.

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