Susan Sawyer wanted to lose the baby weight after giving birth to her fourth child. So she took up Jazzercise.

The now-68-year-old has stuck with the dance-based exercise classes for nearly 35 years. For a 17-year stint, Sawyer taught classes.

The handful of times her family has moved states, Sawyer sought out a Jazzercise location in each new place.

Q: When did you start working out and why?

A: I saw in the paper that someone I know was teaching Jazzercise in the Cedar Falls, Iowa, area. It was dance-based, and I’d danced in college. It looked fun. I went to class, and a couple years later, they asked if I would be willing to teach.

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

A: There are lots of different formats. There’s always a dance component. Some include more strength training. I go to class six times a week.

Q: What is your current fitness goal?

A: To maintain my health and all those things that happen when you get older. I want to see my grandkids.

Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?

A: Staying with (Jazzercise) for 35 years.

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

A: When I was teaching (in Cedar Falls), I was at a school gym. On a Wednesday, a child was playing with matches, and the gym burned down. All of my equipment — my stage, my sound system — went up in flames. By Friday, I had a new place and new equipment.

Q: What helps you stay on track?

A: I love this. It’s not always the same thing. It’s seeing everybody in class.

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

A: I read a ton, so I sit a lot. I play with my grandkids. We see them frequently. I hang out with my family and we travel.

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

A: The weights.

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

A: Don’t expect results tomorrow. You have to stick with it to reach your goal and to maintain it. There’s no magic bullet. It takes dedication and work. It’s not just coming here. It’s nutrition, too.

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

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