Oct. 11, 2023

When Zackary Opheim first moved to Sioux Falls five years ago, it was a role with an area church that convinced him to move from Minnesota.

A few years later, he knew it was time to get back in the gym.

“I was pretty sedentary and out of shape,” he said. “I looked at almost everywhere in town, and when I came to GreatLIFE, I knew that was it when I got there.”

He was looking for powerlifting, “and they were set up well for that,” Opheim said. “There was a broad range of people just starting out and something for everyone. The people were friendly, and I just enjoyed being there.”

Trainer Ross Steineke was still working the front desk at Woodlake Athletic Club and studying for his training certification when he met Opheim.

“He would stop by to talk to me every visit, asking if I was certified and able to train with him yet. It was super motivating to finish up the certification in a timely manner, and he was my very first client as a result,” Steineke said.

“He has a really fun attitude and personality; every session is a blast.”

When they started working together, Opheim was 39 and beginning to feel it.

“I thought I was going to have to have a knee replacement. I had lower back pain. When I woke up, I felt old,” he said. “Ross knew just how much to have me do. I gained so much muscle, but I lost about 10 pounds. I’m in pretty good shape and feel great.”

Now, Opheim is literally Steineke’s strongest client.

“After working with each other and helping to push him to his potential, he has hit some pretty impressive lifting numbers,” Steineke said.

Those include a 315-pound bench press and a beltless 500-pound dead lift.

“Both of them easily put him in the top 1 percent of gym-goers,” Steineke said. “I joke that I have to play catchup with him on the big lifts now.”

Opheim gives Steineke “a glowing review,” he said. “Ross is a bodybuilder, so he’s got the goods, and that’s what the trainers are like at GreatLIFE. They do it themselves, and that’s what I like. That’s what I want.”

Opheim enjoys some cardio and high-intensity interval training but mostly focuses on resistance training.

The idea is to make the gym a positive and fun environment for people to reach their goals, Steineke said.

“I would say the absolute biggest obstacle for people reaching their fitness goals is just making it to the gym in the first place, whether it be due to time or motivation,” he said.

“As trainers, it is important that we make our sessions for clients fun so that they want to keep making it into the gym because consistency is one of the most important aspects to achieving fitness results. Going to the gym should be a fun hobby that you look forward to, not a chore that you dread. GreatLIFE feels like a community first and a business second; that is what helps distinguish it from other gyms in my opinion.”

It can be intimidating coming into a gym, Opheim noted.

“I think a lot of people go to gyms where the approach doesn’t really help long term like it should. I tell my family members to come to a gym like GreatLIFE,” he said. “My life has just changed. I can’t put it into words. I’m way stronger, way fitter. I look better; I feel better. It helps with mental health. I should have done this a long time ago. It’s just a blessing.”

Want to learn more about beginning your GreatLIFE journey? Take advantage of a free consultation session called a GreatStart.

“We love to go through that with new aspiring clients,” Steineke said. “Myself and the other great trainers we have at GreatLIFE would love to be of assistance. Test it out, and see if working with one of us can help you reach your fitness goals.”

Ready to get started? Stop in any convenient GreatLIFE location or click here to learn more about all GreatLIFE has to offer.


From feeling his age to stronger than ever, how this gym membership became a life-changing move

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