As Heidi Donner gets older, she still wants to be able to carry her own groceries into the house.
That’s what helps to motivate the 55-year-old woman during her weekly weightlifting workouts.
Donner started working out with other people her age to drop some weight she couldn’t keep off. But then she wanted more from her workouts. So she joined Life Time gym, near 168th Street and West Center Road.
“You work your way up,” she said. “I would’ve never had the guts to come into Life Time when I was overweight.”
Now she’s in the gym five to six days a week.
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Q: When did you start working out and why?
A: I started only three years ago. I quit smoking and gained some weight. I would diet and lose some and then gain it back. I was about 10 pounds heavier and had the roll and no muscle.
Q: Describe your workouts. How many days per week do you exercise?
A: Mostly I lift weights. I do very little cardio. I’ll do a mile as a warmup. I’m at the gym five to six days a week.
Q: What is your current fitness goal?
A: Right now, I’m working on my legs more. My long-term goal is to keep muscle and age well.
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?
A: Turning working out from a “have to go” to a routine to a habit. It’s almost a “fake it till you make it.”
Q: What has been the toughest hurdle and how did you overcome it?
A: To change my habits and lifestyle. Also injuries. As you get older, you have to work around your injuries.
Q: What helps you stay on track?
A: I have a personal trainer twice a week. That helps keep me on track for exercise. Then I copy what she gives me on other days.
Q: What is your gym pet peeve?
A: When people put weights on and lift, but don’t put the weights back when they’re done.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t in the gym?
A: I like to garden and do anything outdoors. I’m also still involved with the Shriners.
Q: What is the piece of equipment, supplement, clothing, etc. that you can’t live without?
A: My Pumas. I have them in 20 different colors. They keep my feet so stable.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their fitness journey?
A: Don’t compare yourself to other people. You look at 20-year-olds and go, “Wow, I’m never going to look like that.” Nutrition is just as important. You can’t run away from your fork.
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.