A Fit Mom’s Story: Being Koko Strong is the new skinny… at any age!


This month, we celebrate all the strong moms in our lives, role models who seem to do it all, and still find time to make health and fitness a priority for themselves and for their families. 

The Stronger Blog would like to recognize one special mom and KokoNut, Diana Shaffer, who recently earned her Millionaire Koko Points status, and who reminds us that changing lives is the most important thing we do here at Koko. At age 63, Diana’s stats speak for themselves:

  • 1,000,000 points (over 100 perfect strength routines)
  • 91 ‘Q’ (Weight to Strength Ration) Score
  • 99.06% Average pace score
  • 67% Strength gain
  • Excellent cholesterol numbers (lowest in 7 years)
  • EBMI is great (even going through menopause challenges!)
  • Increased bone density  (no longer at risk for osteoporosis)

 I hope you enjoy meeting Diana and reading about her journey to better health and fitness as much as I did.  – Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub

Being Koko Strong is the new skinny!

– By Diana Schaffer, Koko Member and Koko Point Millionaire

I’ve always wanted to be a good role model for my children, Angela and Ian, by demonstrating persistency counts, whether it’s with work ethic or taking care of one’s self.  I hope they can learn from me that good nutrition and consistent exercise pays big dividends with aging.  We’re only human, not perfect.  Staying healthy as we age helps with finding balance in our lives between work, family, and home.  My kids are awesome and healthy, and I pray they stay diligent with good habits so they pass them onto my grandchildren.

I was a ‘fat’ teenager, very depressed, and eating was my comfort.  When I married the first time I weighed 170 lbs.   After having my daughter, now 43, she and I loved to bake and cook, and my top weight as a happy homemaker Mom was 210 lbs. That’s a lot of weight on my small frame. When my daughter went to school fulltime, I joined Weight Watchers and within months lost over 30 lbs.  I started walking and lost more weight. With new confidence, I went back to school fulltime, but needed stress relief.  My daughter and I started jogging.

I was fortunate to land a good job, and started running at 4am so I could get some exercise in before taking my daughter to school and going to work at my desk job. I was running in the dark on highways in Kansas 5 miles every morning. Running was magical for me, I loved it, but after many years of running I suffered from foot injuries and broken bones and eventually gave it up.

I went through a divorce, was a single Mom now with a teenage daughter, still working and running every day.  Aerobics/high impact workout places started popping up in our community, so I tried that.  That’s where I found my strength and confidence as a 30-something woman back in the early 80s… doing it all, like many women today. My daughter, Angela, always remembers those challenging days for us as the time her Mother became a ‘strong woman.’  That’s very cool, something every Mother needs to hear.

It was also during that early 80s era when I met the love of my life, Ken, 9+ years younger than me.   He was actively playing sports after work, but if he wanted to date me, I insisted he needed to meet me at the “sweat shop.” Now, 27 years later, we’re still working out together at Koko FitClub.

I married Ken at age 36 and a few years later, our son Ian was born.  Having a baby at 39, working full-time, and managing everything in life (like all woman do today, God bless them!) was exhausting. There was nothing left of me by the end of the day.  Life was good, even though my exercise life was on hold.

When Ian graduated from high school 18 years later, I started to have thoughts about the old days of working out.  At age 58, I got brave and joined a local extreme club here in Des Moines.  They promised weight loss and strength building with their “9-week challenge”.  It just about killed me, but I conquered it. Yep, I was a badass, kick-boxer “old lady” and darn proud of it.  The focus of that club, like many others, was to either walk away dripping, or you just die on the floor. I kept the pace until my body failed me — lower discs x 3 = bulging — not good! That club didn’t focus on proper nutrition, or interval training or recovery like Koko.

After some time off and mending, enter Koko FitClub — GAME CHANGER!!   At 63 I’ve had my ups and downs, but Koko keeps me steady and I appreciate that now.

I remember the day I walked into Koko Fit Club asking ‘What can your program do for me?’ Tina and Chuck Howell had just opened their Waukee Koko location and it was perfect timing for me to make a change in workout venues. After my 2 years my previous gym, I was in constant pain from injuries.  After a program overview, I signed up at Koko and have never looked back! When I received my first strength test results, I shared them with my husband, Ken, who was still attending classes at the old sweatshop. It wasn’t long before he gave Koko a try to has since become a member.

Tina and Chuck are my biggest cheerleaders and I’m so grateful we’ve become friends over the years. All the [coaches] do an amazing job motivating members and insuring everyone has good form. They demonstrate the highest professional and ethical standards for their club, and they’re passionate about helping people be successful with their goals…at any age!   These folks are a winning combination. The magic pill:  Nutrition, exercise, sleep, and having good friends like Tina and Chuck Howell make life almost perfect here in Iowa .

Koko Chief Fitness Officer Michael Wood’s mantra “This is YOUR time!” sticks with me now. Over the years, like most women who work and are raising families, I wasn’t taking care of myself.   We all have one body one life, it’s important to make time for you.

Fit Mom Diana ShafferReaching [Koko Point] Millionaire status didn’t mean much to me 4 years ago. Today it means everything because of my results.  I’m in good health and stronger than ever, and I’ve got a positive attitude toward aging and higher self-esteem. My Koko workouts give me the energy I need to focus on my work (retirement is my next major milestone in life!) and keep up with my grandchildren.

What drives me to staying the course was watching my Father die at the age of 71.  He retired at 64, had a major heart attack at 66, recovered, then died of cancer.  He missed so much of life.  His spirit lives in me.  I’m determined to outlive my dad by staying healthy and strong with good nutrition and exercise, having a desk job for 33 years makes it difficult.   I live to get OUT of the office and onto life.  I look forward to growing old(er) at Koko.  The 70-somethings who kick butt here are my inspiration…I want to be like them someday.

Favorite sayings I’ve got posted around the house:  “Do more of what makes you happy!”  ‘If not now, than when?”  “Life is for living, don’t let it get away from you”

If my results over 4 years with Koko inspires anyone, that’s moving.   Never, never get in or give up!

Staying Strong at Koko FitClub,
Diana Shaffer

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