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There’s a saying that Gerry Haeger loves: “You either have to be fun, or hang out with somebody who’s fun.” She strives to be the former, so that those around her can benefit from her energy. Her husband even refers to her as “77 and sunny,” comparing her outlook to a perfect-weather day.

As a fitness performer at Life Time in Edina, Minn., Haeger brings this attitude — along with a passion and love for the role and the people in her classes — to her work. “While ‘performer’ may be just a fancy word for ‘instructor,’ perform is really what we try to do when we’re delivering a workout,” she explains.

Haeger ran marathons and triathlons for years (along with completing two Ironman races) and says she accidentally discovered her purpose in life through working out. “I realized the love and desire I have for exercise, and now I get to motivate others.”

Twenty years in as a performer and Haeger is still as committed and passionate as ever. “Every day I’m helping someone new,” she says. “I often tell my classes, ‘We don’t have to be here, we get to be here.’ I feel that personally too. I am grateful and I am thankful.”

In each of her classes, members get to spend about 50 to 60 minutes with Haeger — and she makes sure every minute is intentional. She encourages members to simply show up, no matter their fitness level, mood, or degree of preparedness. “If you can just get here, I got you,” she says. “If you forgot your shoes, I’ve got extra ones. I’ve also got socks and leggings — everything.”

Haeger refers to the four walls of the studio as a sacred space and emphasizes that if you give her an hour of your day, together you can get through tough times.

She recognizes the privilege it is to be able to make a difference with the many members who cross her path at Life Time. “It’s such an honor that I can impact people in the short amount of time they’re in class with me,” Haeger says. “I’m blessed to have this purpose in life.”

Life Time and Hoka
Also see how gymnast Mya Hooten and 70-year-old Life Time member Richard Westbrook, who trains to compete in ultra-marathons, are redefining what possible means for them.

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