Stephanie Kopecky’s always been somewhat active. She played sports growing up, but in adulthood, she struggled to find a routine at the gym.
The Omaha woman’s parents often invited her to try classes at Torva Fit Club. Then they gifted her one month free. It was tough, but the routine stuck.
“That led to me becoming addicted to it, loving it and getting my own membership,” the 37-year-old said.
Kopecky started hitting the gym three days a week. Each workout was a challenge. After more than a year at the gym, she’s noticed improvements. She felt so much better after starting days with a workout that she decided to go daily, and now it’s a morning habit.
Sign up for the Live Well Nebraska newsletter
Get the latest health headlines and inspiring stories straight to your inbox.
Q: When did you start working out and why?
A: I started really working out, especially at Torva Fit Club, about a year and a half ago. My parents were members there. They invited me to come to a class.
Q: Describe your workouts. How many days per week do you exercise?
A: The great thing about Torva is every single workout is completely different, and that’s what I enjoy about it. You never know what you’re walking into. It’s a mixture of cardio and strength, depending on the day. It’s just a good mixture. I shoot for five days a week and make it sometimes six.
Q: What is your current fitness goal?
A: My fitness goals are all just really about feeling better and being happier. It’s not really about losing weight or becoming more fit. I just want to feel better. I want to develop healthy habits and show my kids that they can develop healthy habits as well.
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?
A: Being able to prove to myself that I can make working out a habit. I’ve always wanted to be that person who works out every day. I’ve always been somewhat active, but I never made it a true habit in my life. I’m happy that I’m finally there.
Q: What has been the toughest hurdle and how did you overcome it?
A: Being a mom and having a full-time job, it’s always hard to find the energy or the time. I really just made the choice to do it. Once you make the choice to change a bad habit into a positive habit, anything’s possible. I have an extremely supportive spouse, and he’s doing his own thing as well. It helps because we’re both encouraging each other. The struggle is always finding the time, the energy and getting enough sleep.
Q: What helps you stay on track?
A: Now it’s a habit. It isn’t a struggle anymore. It’s part of my routine.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t in the gym?
A: I play golf, hang with the kids. I have summers off, so we do a lot of swimming. We’re outdoors as much as possible.
Q: What is the piece of equipment, supplement, clothing, etc. that you can’t live without?
A: People. The people that I work out with motivate me even if they don’t know they are. It’s partly because I’m competitive and partly because they’re great people to be around. Everyone’s having fun and pushing each other to go farther.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their fitness journey?
A: I went from not working out ever to working out six days a week in a matter of months. It’s making the choice to make it a habit in your life, and that’s it. It helps having a supportive spouse, parents and friends that motivate you, but you have to initially make that choice.
After Joe Adams had a heart attack, he underwent numerous procedures to get his heart in working order. Just when it seemed things were on the right track, his heart started to fail again. Read more.
Tamara Mosby-Montegut started working out as a stress reliever. Now she wants to keep up with her husband when he tackles 50 pushups in a row. And she wants her daughter to follow their healthy examples. Read more.
Varun Narayanan wanted to shed the pounds he packed on during the holidays a few years ago. He dropped from 230 pounds down to 195. Now he treks up active volcanoes. Read more.
After giving birth to her fourth baby, Susan Sawyer wanted to drop the baby weight. She took up Jazzercise. Sawyer’s stuck with the dance-based exercise for nearly 35 years. Read more.
Jessica Hawley thought her third pregnancy was different because she was having a girl. But baby number three was another boy. The pregnancy felt different because she was more fit this time around. Read more.
When Gary Gundy started having trouble getting up after squatting down for target practice, he knew it was time for a change. The La Vista man dropped 80 pounds in three years. Read more.
Valerie Heath started shedding pounds by using the family’s Wii. Now she belongs to a CrossFit gym and works out six days a week. Read more.
To be around for her family, Ashlei Spivey needed to get in shape. She joined a boxing gym. Now her workouts leave her feeling like she stepped out of a movie. Read more.
Betty Watt survived a sometimes trying career as a middle school teacher. Then she beat cancer twice. And the whole time she was a regular at the gym. Watt and her husband Charlie workout at least five days a week. Read more.
Erika Hanna sometimes has a pint-sized workout buddy during her morning classes. Her son Henrik, 18 months, offered hugs as she held a plank position and occasionally chased a loose exercise ball around the room. The studio gives Hanna a chance to stick close to her kids while staying on top of her own health and fitness. Read more.
Gwen Leyden wound up spending a week in a wheelchair because of a chronic condition. Leyden gradually was able to walk without using a cane. Later she started using the treadmill and eventually worked up to weightlifting. Read more.
With high blood pressure — and the possibility of needing cholesterol meds — Rich Hazuka was headed down a dangerous path. He dropped 75 pounds thanks to diet changes. When he plateaued, he took up exercise. Now he’s off his blood pressure meds and has no need for any cholesterol medication. Read more.
George Mach can’t help but wake up well before dawn. With that free time, the early riser started a gym routine. He hits the gym three days a week. Read more.
As Gregg Learned aged, arthritis made physical activity a chore. He struggled to walk across the parking lot at work. But joining a gym has helped Learned to stay on his feet. Read more.
At one time, Laura Adams could barely finish a lap around the walking track. But the Bellevue woman, who weighed 300 pounds, stuck it out and dropped 115 pounds. Read more.
Vince Huerta has always tried to keep active. He decided to give powerlifting a shot and now, the Omaha South grad holds a number of records for the weight he’s hoisted. Read more.
Paul Stultz takes swimming seriously. He joined a Masters Swimming club and is working on nailing strokes like the freestyle and butterfly. But one of his biggest accomplishments was hiking the Grand Canyon. Read more.