Ashton Kuchera is always stressing the importance of self-love and self-care to her pediatric patients.

But the Omaha nurse realized she wasn’t practicing what she preached.

Always an athlete, Kuchera felt lost when her college volleyball career ended. She missed an exercise routine and a coach in her ear. The 26-year-old found a good fit in Orangetheory Fitness.

Kuchera, who works full time at the hospital and is juggling classes for a doctorate in nursing, carves out time in her schedule for the workouts.

“It’s nice to know I have 60 minutes to myself,” she said.

Q: When did you start working out and why?

A: I started at Orangetheory a little over a year and a half ago. I’ve been an athlete my entire life. I played volleyball in college. When that ended, I really struggled to find a routine that worked for me.

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

A: The workouts are different every single day, which I really like. They’re a mix of endurance, strength and power. They’re varied between the treadmill and water rower for cardio. On the weight floor, we use weights, TRX straps, Bosu balls and resistance bands. It’s a 60-minute workout. I usually come four to five days a week.

Q: What is your current fitness goal?

A: In the next year, I’d like to see myself get my mile time down. I’ve never been able to run a mile in under 7 minutes in my life. I feel like I’m back to my fastest mile time. On the rower, I’d like to see my 500-meter split time come down as well.

Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?

A: Gaining a lot of self-confidence back and finally feeling like myself again. Being an athlete, I felt like I lost myself when I lost sports. I finally feel like I’m as in shape as I was at the peak of my fitness. That’s inspiring me to keep going.

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

A: I would say the toughest hurdle was just starting in the first place. Walking into a studio of people I didn’t know was intimidating.

Q: What helps you stay on track?

A: The coaches and staff here are all incredibly supportive, as well as the members themselves. Having made this my routine, it holds me accountable to keep coming back and push myself every day. And my job (as a nurse). I want to know I’m taking care of myself right.

Q: What is your gym pet peeve?

A: At Orangetheory, you stay at a station during your workouts. Not that anyone knows I prefer that station, but it bothers me when it’s not available.

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

A: I have my job, and I’m in school to get my doctorate in nursing. I like hanging out with my boyfriend and my dog. I go to movies, hang out with friends and go to UNO hockey games.

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

A: I’ve really fallen in love with the water rower. If I’m not at Orangetheory, I would still incorporate the water rower into my workouts.

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

A: Try a bunch of different things and find something that works for you. There’s no one fix for everybody. A lot of us get hung up on fad workouts, but it comes down to what’s going to get you to the gym consistently and make a routine of it.

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

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