Connie Ryan is no stranger to a workout routine.
She was a swimmer through her teen years.
As an adult, she joined a small women’s gym. That led to boot camps, Pilates and eventually a home gym.
A friend encouraged Ryan, 67, to try Invictus Fitness, near 132nd Street and Giles Road. The Omaha woman gave it a go and was hooked.
Now Ryan, CEO of Streck Inc., is in the gym up to six days a week. She credits some of her success to trainers and fellow gymgoers.
“It’s a group. We feel very much like a community,” Ryan said.
Q: When did you start working out and why?
A: I’ve always really liked physical activity. I have always worked out. I’ve always loved weightlifting and the technical stuff. (Owner and trainer) Micha Solomon always challenges us to do more. I’ve been at (Invictus) about a year and a half.
Q: Describe your workouts. How many days per week do you exercise?
A: They change every day. It’s usually a blend of some type of weightlifting. A lot of times, it’s combined with aerobic stuff, like running, rowing and biking. It’s more fun as it changes. I go five to six days a week.
Q: What is your current fitness goal?
A: I’m fairly fit and I’m mostly working on maintenance. I was in good shape, but I was never, ever this physically fit until I worked out with Micha.
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?
A: Doing some of these weightlifting moves that I’d never done before. I have a lot of hip and leg strength, so I can do squats really well. Doing them and having all this weight is actually not hard. It is challenging, but you can do it. It feels like a really great accomplishment at my age to be able to do all of these things I want to do.
Q: What has been the toughest hurdle and how did you overcome it?
A: Adjusting to a keto diet. Making the transfer from a lot of carbs to low carbs and a lot more protein and fat, that just felt so alien. The things that were OK in a keto diet were a little bit hard for me to get used to.
Q: What helps you stay on track?
A: Making a commitment to a lifestyle of working out. I paddleboard. I hike. I ride a bike. It’s a commitment. It isn’t, “Well, I want to do this and lose 10 pounds and then quit.” This is a lifestyle. I start my day with working out. Even when I don’t want to get out of bed at 5:15, I usually manage to throw myself out. I would feel lumpy if I got to work and hadn’t worked out.
Q: What is your gym pet peeve?
A: People who don’t pay attention and are there to socialize rather than to work out.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t in the gym?
A: I run a big business, so I’m pretty busy with work. I have grandkids and I paddleboard with a friend when the weather’s great. I ride my bike and I’m a big reader.
Q: What is the piece of equipment, supplement, clothing, etc. that you can’t live without?
A: I wear support gloves that wrap around your wrist. I wear those when we’re doing really heavy weights. I’m kind of bony, so when we do anything that’s a back squat and the bar rests on my back, there’s a special pad I use. You just have to use things that support your body as it gets older. Your wrists and hands aren’t quite as strong.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their fitness journey?
A: Don’t have huge expectations. Just go and enjoy it. Don’t feel like, “Oh, somebody over there is so much better than I am. I’m never going to be that good.” You’re just there for yourself. You shouldn’t be disappointed that all of a sudden you don’t look different. It’s a matter of sticking with it and getting to that point where you want to be at the gym.
Gymgoers 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.