A hard workout makes Jami Kotera feel good.
Although the Springfield woman has been working out for more than 15 years, she started seeing — and feeling — results within the last few years. It really has changed her body, the 59-year-old said.
It took time for Kotera to find the confidence to hit the gym’s weights. Now she hits the gym five days a week for a mix of personal training sessions and strength-training classes. She’s able to offer advice to fellow gym-goers, particularly women around her age.
“People ask me a lot of questions about what I do and how long I’ve been doing it and what they can do to get rid of flabby arms and that kind of thing,” Kotera said.
During a recent session with her personal trainer, she went from bench press to deadlift, slowly adding weight as she went.
Q: When did you start working out and why?
A: It was probably 2003. A gal I worked with was real enthusiastic about the gym. I’d been talking about getting in shape for years, and it clicked.
Q: Describe your workouts. How many days per week do you exercise?
A: It’s all strength training. Three days a week, I do personal training. Those are your basic moves — deadlifts, squats, bench. The two classes I do are strength training and weight lifting. I work out five days a week.
Q: What is your current fitness goal?
A: To keep up. I got into this because I wanted to be more fit, to stay active. I finally accomplished being able to do pullups. My goal is to do 15.
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?
A: Probably the pullups. I’m able to do them and some other exercises the right way. We started all over with a lot of things I thought I was doing properly, but personal trainer Tyler Kottas retrained me. I’m focusing on doing everything right.
Q: What has been the toughest hurdle and how did you overcome it?
A: Having the confidence. I always used to be so worried about looking stupid or looking like I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t care. I’m in there, I’ve got a job to do, and I get it done.
Q: What helps you stay on track?
A: Having a trainer and knowing that it’s a scheduled appointment. I don’t think I’d have the discipline to go in there myself and do the things he’s going to have me do. He knows my limits. He keeps track of what I do. That just keeps me going.
Q: What is your gym pet peeve?
A: People being on their cellphones unnecessarily. When they sit on the equipment talking on their phones, I don’t want to hear their private conversations.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t in the gym?
A: I’m trying to get used to being retired. It is an adjustment. I’m trying to get things done around the house. My husband and I like to ride our bicycles. I’ve got a lot of houseplants. We’d like to travel more. We’re just getting in the groove of that.
Q: What is the piece of equipment, supplement, clothing, etc. that you can’t live without?
A: My lifting shoes and my weight belt and my deadlift shoes.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their fitness journey?
A: If you can swing a trainer, get one. For women, especially, do not be intimidated by the weights. You’re not going to get crazy big, huge by lifting weights. I’m not, and I’ve been doing this for 15 years. So don’t be afraid of that. Get in there and do it.
Gym-goers 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.