Jacek and Gabi Kozdroj, a Woodbury husband and wife duo, have made it their mission to help anyone, at any age, learn how to exercise properly to improve their health, fitness and overall quality of life. They are especially focused on seniors (ages 50 and up), and making sure that group is encouraged to join in and find ways to stay active.
The Kozdrojs both grew up in Europe and met in the U.S., where they eventually became the owners of one of Woodbury’s Anytime Fitness locations, and are raising their sons, Tomas, 15, and Alex, 11.
“We came to the U.S. with just a few hundred dollars in our pocket to start our lives anew,” Jacek Kozdroj says.
Kozdroj was a professional ballroom dance instructor and studio manager. In 2005, he became a certified personal trainer and fitness director, and then a corrective exercise specialist in 2013. He frequently worked with clients who were 50-plus.
“Many of my personal training clients were retired seniors. That gave me 14 years of experience as to how to help their body, especially working around their past and current injuries,” Kozdroj says. Gabi Kozdroj is also a trainer at Anytime Fitness.
One of Jacek Kozdroj’s many clients is Ewa Peczalska, who wanted to begin her own fitness regime so she could live a full life in her retirement. She was hesitant at first, based on some past back and leg injuries. She found that Kozdroj fully embraced and encouraged her.
“I decided to commit to regular training with him and almost a year later, I am fully enjoying the benefits of it. The frequency of back pain episodes went significantly down and my injured leg is much stronger,” Peczalska says.
Continuing the training with Kozdroj has allowed her to return to an active lifestyle. She is now hiking and biking, and she even enrolled herself in ballet lessons at the St. Paul Ballet school, which has always been a lifelong dream of hers. “As a health professional, I was impressed by Jacek’s approach to personal coaching. His interdisciplinary training lets him be very eclectic about choices of intervention. At some point, we even used ballroom dancing as a means of rehabilitating my ankle. It sure motivated me to keep going,” Peczalska says.
Even though the training was challenging, Peczalska says it’s all been worth it.
“I wanted to let other senior residents know that we have resources in Woodbury that can help to restore and maintain our fitness. My life work does not end with retirement; I remain committed to not only improving my own health, but also to helping others to achieve their health and fitness goals,” Peczalska says.
The most important part for Kozdroj is that he is helping others live the best lives they possibly can as they age. “I have satisfaction that people can do things they did not deem possible, in spite of old injuries,” Kozdroj says.