Workout of the Week: The Hepker Challenge One-Year Anniversary

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- A year ago, Aaron Hepker, WHO-TV's Digital Director, thought he might be better off dead.

"Life isn’t enjoyable. It feels like I can’t do the things I want to," he told us at the time. "I just hate existing like this."

He weighed close to 600 pounds. It took a trip to Colorado and passing out on Pike's Peak, to make him realize he needed to do something, or he might not live to see 40.

"As cliché as it sounds, I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired," says Hepker. "So, as opposed to being a victim, it was put up or shut up."

A year later, Hepker has lost more than a hundred pounds and gained more confidence than he could have ever imagined.

"Coming to the gym is part of my routine. It's part of my day. I feel off if I don't come to the gym," says Hepker, after banging out an interval workout with his personal trainer, Terri Good.

"It's just been an honor to be part of Aaron's journey," says Good, the owner of Infinity Training Center.

She notes that Hepker hasn't always been perfect, but adds, "No one ever is. We all have peaks and valleys."

Hepker says it's been hard to be patient.  He's also struggled with his nutrition.  But when it comes to his workouts, Good says Hepker always gives 110 percent.

This year, when he visited Colorado he had no problem hiking up to Red Rocks Amphitheatre. It's one of many milestones on his journey.  From completing his first 5K race to playing soccer with his nephew, Hepker has learned even the smallest accomplishment is a big deal.

"I’m so proud of him that he hasn’t given up," says Good. "You know, 570 pounds, that’s a big hole to be in and he just keeps pulling himself out one step at a time. And if he slips a little bit, he takes another step forward and that’s how you win. That's how you win."

Hepker also has some advice for others struggling with their weight.

"It might seem like you have a mountain ahead of you, but you have to take it on bit by bit. Eventually, you’ll get there. So take the first step. It might seem overwhelming, but keep at it and you’ll get there eventually.  I’m not close to where I want to be, but I’m a lot closer than where I was a year ago."


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