A mother, a teacher, a coach, a wife... amongst all else, an athlete because her life depends on it. Meet Karen Hunzeker, one of the most driven females in the state of Nebraska. This always-on-the-go mother of three teenage girls, whom with there is never a dull moment, has very little time for herself let alone excuses.
Karen came to a 57Fitness nutrition seminar on a Saturday in June with her daughter, Erika. At the time, she was running pretty consistently on her own, but Erika kept pushing that she needed to do the REX classes because she would like them. Sure enough, Karen decided to start REX classes that following Monday morning and really has not missed too many days since.
"What pushed me to start attending REX classes and 57Fitness were my daughters, what keeps me going is the people in them. The REX class has a lot of great members who are friendly and all at different fitness levels. Kesha does a great job of making the REX class fit for every fitness level and the wide variety of ages for those that attend. She does a great job of pushing me and helping me to obtain my goals.
Thanks Kesha for all of your hard work to make me feel better both physically and mentally."
I am genuinely impressed and motivated by Karen daily, but I am by no means surprised in everything she has accomplished. Her strength, her improved race times, her decreased body fat (all in less than 6 months time) - is all because of her hard work. Good things come to those who put forth the effort, and if you have ever met Karen, you would expect nothing less. She looks great and her athletic performance is advancing almost daily it seems. Karen serves as an inspiration to not only other REX and 57Fitness athletes, her daughters, and other busy mothers, but also to the athletic teams she coaches. Speaking on behalf of the high school girls she coaches, I think having a coach who can attest to working hard makes it more imperative that every person on the team should be able to do the same.
Karen is one of those people you know never wanted to hang up her cleats for the last time. However, just because a person hangs up their cleats does not mean there is any reason reason for him/her to not continue through life as an athlete. Karen is the epitome of a lifelong athlete and I am incredibly thankful for what she brings to 57Fitness, REX Classes, and the Johnson County community.
When you see Karen, give her a thumbs up, compliment her on how incredible she looks and then tell her to figure out a goal already - she is way too talented not to climb mountains with her eyes closed. :)
"My name is Barb Vrbka, I am Kesha’s Grandma and one of the Bank Ladies she mentioned earlier in her blog, along with Margaret Wenzl and Karen Lempka. We are the oldest members of her REX Classes.. I don’t know where to start when it comes to telling you what Kesha has done for me. She has always been a very smart and talented kid… her one downfall would be finding ways to cheat at games if she knew she was going to lose, “I saw the White Horse first, Grandma!"
I, along with Margaret and Karen, were a few of the 'Bank Ladies' that she started working with her about 3 years ago. At that time I had never heard of a burpee and I think our reply was, “You want us to do WHAT!” She heard that reply many times in the year she worked with us in the basement of the bank, but not so much anymore. About a month ago we were finishing up a 5:00 am REX Class when she told us that she was going to time us to see how long it took us to do 100 burpees. I seriously didn’t think I heard her right, but these old gals gave it our best and if I remember right we did 50 in about 11 minutes. Not as good as the young fit girls, but not bad. That’s one of the things about Kesha’s REX Classes, nobody thinks a thing of someone that is a little slower or maybe can’t do a certain exercise - she is pretty good about making individual modifications. Not to mention, everyone is so busy trying to get through the workout themselves they pay very little attention to others' faults. When I first started I would never have believed that at my age I would be able to run, lift what I do, jump rope, or jump on a box.. but I can, all because of Kesha and 57Fitness. Of course, I may be a little different than the rest of the pack because what motivates me is Kesha herself.. I don’t want to let her down.
57Fitness is a great place to go with a good atmosphere. It is a place to make new friends or to get to know the people you have known for years in a different light.. it is like a family. We learn about nutrition along with fitness. Kesha is a great inspiration for us all and sets a good example. She practices what she preaches, which makes it a little tough for me to have a traditional family dinner.
Our motto is “We are going to be younger next year” and because of it we have all not only improved our body composition, but have improved our overall health with screenings and doctor's check ups to back it. If you think you are too out of shape, I don't think so... look above. If you think you are too old, I don’t think so… I will be 65 in January and Margaret will be 68 on Wednesday! If you want to improve your appearance and/or your health - this is where you want to be no matter your weight or age.
I love you Kesha. Thanks for everything."
- Barb Vrbka
A few words about my Grandma Barb:
My grandma has always been one of my biggest fans (besides that whole cheating story she made up) and I have always been one of hers. Prior to working with my grandma and the other gals at the bank who are practically family, I did not realize the severity of high blood pressure/cholesterol, diabetes, etc. when it comes to your overall health. I did not realize the amount of people who skip exercise and nutrition and instead are prescribed medication to treat those health concerns. I did not realize the amount spent on those medications. And something, even though I had presented on the topic numerous times in school, that I really didn't fully understand was the impact exercise and nutrition can have on reversing those health concerns. Why? Because I took these things for granted, and still do. But after experiencing the celebration of reducing and eliminating prescriptions, being able to walk up stairs, etc. because of making changes to their daily exercise and nutrition, it gave me an entirely new outlook on helping others with their health and why it is so important. They are family – the kind of family I do not want to lose.
Grandma Barb and Margaret are pretty consistent at coming into the 5:00 am class throughout the week. They both give everything they have, taking breaks when needed ;), and have immensely improved their strength and functional abilities. The combination of their two personalities at that time with everyone else provides for some good laughs to start the day. When my Grandma commits mentally, she's hard to stop... and I love when that side comes out of her! Grandma Barb has been a driver of 57Fitness since day one. With her on board, it has gotten my Grandpa Rod into the facility as well and impacted both of their nutrition for the better!
I cannot thank my Grandma enough, and am excited to see what she accomplishes in the next year, let alone by her 70th birthday. Grandma, if you are reading this, good work so far… your work is paying off in more ways than one. You inspire me and thanks for always believing in this.
P.s. Happy birthday on Wednesday, Margaret! : )
Blaming and shaming anyone for being over weight will never help resolve an epidemic that has not only taken the nation by storm, but our own lives and the lives of people closest to us as well. While being overweight alone is not the sole cause of why people acquire diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, or even metabolic syndrome just to name a few, there is certainly a large correlation.
Living in a rural area, I hear quite a few reasons as to why people do not workout and at this rate, I am convinced I could probably write a book telling you why you shouldn't workout according to what I hear. So today, I am going to list five statements (in no particular order) that I hear quite frequently, and if you are guilty of any of the following, consider this the perfect opportunity of me shaking your hand via internet and saying, “Put those thoughts aside, lace up your shoes, and come see me this month. 57Fitness would be glad to help you!”
"Start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline."
Not my line (you can actually thank Richard Branson), and probably not what you had in mind. However, a few concepts come to light that are good to be reminded of in life.
1. Perspective. Your perspective will absolutely differ from the person next to you. When it comes to health there are so many different and ever-changing principals and practices... bring on information and opinion overload! Keep in mind (an open mind for that matter) that just because something works for you or someone, doesn't mean it is right for everyone and just because something is different from the norm or perhaps the way you do it does not always make it wrong.
2. Do what you can with what you have, pursue a life you actually want to live and you will become a millionnaire of your own health.... you do not have to be rich to have a life that is rich. Not all of us have a billion dollars to begin with, but most everyone can do something with what we already have. Most people also have something they believe in and can invest either time or money whether it be going back to school, helping out a charity, investing in stock, improving your health, etc. All of us have something worth investing in that will reap reward sometime in life. Whatever it is that you are contemplating with good intention, plan it out, then execute. Do it and do not look back.
3. Titles/headlines are catchy; so is marketing and advertising specifically in the world of health (exercise, nutrition, weight-loss, etc.). We are genetically designed as human beings to want results as quickly as possible, and the marketing industry is no dummy when it comes to this. Be smart. Do your research. Health is a lifestyle, not an overnight makeover.
From growing up competing in sports and constantly battling a chubby physique to failing at a half-marathon and waking up in the hospital, I have had quite a few aspects change my own view on fitness over the years.
It is called exercise.