Melanie Dasovic got her first taste of serious exercise in college.

She tried a weightlifting class. The Omaha woman liked it enough, so she tried to make working out a habit.

But her gym memberships went unused.

“I always joke that I used to donate monthly to other gyms in town,” Dasovic said. “I never followed through. I never committed hard enough.”

Dasovic, 29, got serious about adding fitness to her lifestyle after a college acquaintance mentioned a multiweek challenge at The Bodysmith, near 120th Street and West Maple Road.

It piqued her interest and got her to join the gym.

When Dasovic first started two years ago, she struggled to complete a traditional pushup. Now, she can tackle multiple sets of pushups and can lift the gym’s heaviest kettlebells.

“I had no idea I could lift as much as I do,” she said. “The number on the scale might be the thing people go by, but it’s what makes up that number that helps you learn how healthy you are.”

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Q: When did you start working out and why?

A: I didn’t do sports in school. I was in drama and choir. I took a weightlifting class in college, and that was really my first taste of (working out). In October 2017, I started going to The Bodysmith. I tried an eight-week program before I joined as a member.

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

A: They switch up the workouts at the first of every month. You never get used to a workout. The variety is awesome. I’m in smaller group fitness classes. The classes have about 10 minutes of high-intensity cardio. Otherwise, a lot of deadlifts or things with kettlebells. Some body-weight and core things are tossed in as well. I try to go at least twice a week.

Q: What is your current fitness goal?

A: To feel good. The longer I’ve been going there, the better my body bounces back from things like a cold or an illness. I sleep better. I feel better. My goal is to keep feeling amazing.

Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?

A: When I started at The Bodysmith, I could not do a pushup unless I was on my knees. It just did not work. Now in a workout, if we’re doing pushups, I can do a set of 15 maybe three times through in a circuit. That’s a huge accomplishment to me.

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

A: My schedule and making time to go. It’s not a 24/7 gym, and I like that. It’s a commitment to go to a class, and I need that to get me motivated. It’s something I have to plan to do. Making sure I commit the time has been the biggest challenge. If you have any setbacks, it’s not like you have to throw in the towel for the rest of the week. You can start over every day.

Q: What helps you stay on track?

A: I love the people at the gym, the owner and all the trainers. They’re nice people. It doesn’t seem like, “Oh, I’m just going to this huge gym where no one knows me and no one cares.”

Q: What is your gym pet peeve?

A: I have no pet peeves at The Bodysmith. As someone who used to frequent other gyms, it’s hard when people are very oblivious or inconsiderate of others around them. You’ve got to be considerate, because you’re not the only one there.

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

A: I’m an Omaha lifer — born and raised — so I’ve made some incredible friendships. I like meeting them at cafes or bars to grab a drink. I’m a season ticket holder for Creighton basketball. I love to go for walks or hit a yoga class.

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

A: Definitely the hex bar for deadlifts. I love to deadlift.

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

A: Do your research on where you want to work out. Yes, you can go to a gym where you pay $20 a month, but that doesn’t always lend to a good experience. Go visit and talk to people before you sign up. The second thing I would say is try everything. Variety in your workout routine is important. Give it a shot, because you never know when you’re going to fall in love with something.

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