Klieber shows fitness is a lifestyle for everyone

Erica Lawless, Staff Writer

Tracie Klieber wishes students would realize that every time they step into the fitness center or a gym, it’s an opportunity to change their health and their life.

Klieber is a 57-year-old fitness instructor at Illinois Valley Community College.

She has been working at the IVCC Fitness Center for more than 10 years.

Her colleague, Tony Ruda, enjoys working with Klieber because she has a passion for fitness.

“[Her] energy and service to the college make her a valued employee who provides a spark of positive energy to our workplace,” Ruda said.

Klieber was born in Spring Valley and is the second daughter in a family of five children. When she was two, her parents moved to the suburbs of Chicago. Her dad was an iron worker and that’s where he could find work.

Her father worked on what used to be the John Hancock Building and many other well-known buildings in Chicago. When she was 14, her family moved to Peru.

She went to LaSalle-Peru High School from 1975–1979. Klieber has spent the majority of her life living in the Illinois Valley.

Her memories of fitness begin at a young age. Her family did not sit around the house because “there were more exciting things to do outside.”

In the summer they would go hiking, bicycle riding and swimming. They would build forts, play tag, and hang out with neighborhood friends. In the winter, they would play in the snow, sled, or ice-skate and shovel driveways for neighbors who would sometimes reward them with a couple of dollars.

They also had a lot of housework and chores to do and, combined with their homework, it made for some busy days. In her teens, her transportation was her bicycle or her own two feet.

“We would walk and walk for miles,” she said.

Klieber began her career as an aerobics instructor at age 19. She had heard about an aerobic studio, which was new at the time. It was named The New You.

Klieber decided it would be a good way to keep in shape, so she took the time to attend some classes.

These classes were an hour long, and the instructor would play a record describing the workout moves. Some examples of the records are Jane Fonda, Joannie Griggins and Richard Simmons.

Since it was hard to figure out what exercise you were supposed to be doing, the instructor would learn the exercises and instruct to what the record described.

After Klieber had attended the class for a couple weeks, the owner felt she would be a good instructor. That was the start of her career, which has evolved greatly over the years.

After two years of instructing to records, she went to Chicago to become a Certified Fitness Instructor. It was a 3-day workshop. At 21 years old, she received her certificate through IDEA Health and Fitness Association.

Shortly after she applied at Leisure World, and that was where her real instruction began. She also instructed at Body Works, Causas, and ran her own business for two years, which was Heart Beat Aerobics.

Her life as a fitness instructor has proved to be more than she ever dreamed of.

“I started something on a whim or an impulse, for something to keep me in shape, and it became a lifelong career,” Klieber said.

She believes that one of the most challenging things about fitness is finding the time and making the time. She loves that while teaching the class, she is working out as much as anyone taking the class.

Klieber’s hobbies outside the Fitness Center include spending time with her three daughters and family and planting and harvesting a huge vegetable garden from spring to late fall. She does a lot of canning as well.

She has a German shepherd dog that needs lots of attention and love.

Klieber never forgets her religion and takes the time to give thanks for all her and her family’s blessings.