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Susan Zemke working with her Dynamic Personal Trainer.

Susan Zemke wants to be able to do whatever she wants for as long as she wants. “And I can’t do that if I’m not strong,” the 71-year-old says.

Zemke is a member at Life Time in New Hope, Minn., where she trains — focusing on weight lifting — with Dynamic Personal Trainer DJ Zmachinski. “She’s fierce, she’s competitive, and she’s driven,” says Zmachinski. “She’s all about defying those age norms.”

Zmachinski supports Zemke’s efforts to keep her body in the condition to be able to compete at the Highland Games, which she’s participated in since 2018. The Highland Games are outdoor events that feature sports requiring skill and strength, such as caber toss, tug of war, and hammer throw. In the 2023 games in Switzerland, Zemke set seven age-group records.

Zemke’s training hit a setback in 2021 when she was diagnosed with cancer, which required surgery. She was cleared to continue training seven days after the procedure, but she lost strength because of radiation treatments.

Zmachinski witnessed how tough this was for Zemke because she has high standards for her lifting goals. Yet in continuing to work together, they built Zemke’s strength back up — she even set new personal records through treatment.

Zemke is now cancer-free and credits her base of fitness and early diagnosis with her ability to fight the disease. Her story was recently shared on CCX Media. Watch the full story:

You can view the CCX Media story here: “New Hope Gym Helps 71-Year-Old Set Weightlifting Records

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