These everyday athletes fish, swim, and plié their way to impressive new (and extraordinary) fitness goals.

By Lauren Mazzo
Kathrin Ziegler/Getty Images

Sure, fitness success comes in the form of meeting a weight loss goal, snagging a race PR, or lifting your heaviest yet, but there's some pretty epic value in the act of pursuing a new active feat in itself. These women share their stories of how they overcame obstacles, tried something new, reignited an old flame, and are happier and more fit because of it.

Jump-Rope Queen

Lucie B. Lindner didn't pick up a jump rope until she was 32 years old—but quickly become obsessed. Now, she crushes jump rope competitions at age 51.

Read her story: I Fell In Love with Competitive Jump Roping In My 30's

Try-athlete

Melissa Mazzo, 26, was a lifelong runner pursuing a spot on the University of Colorado at Boulder track team when a glute injury forced her to hang up her running sneaks. She hopped in the pool, learned to swim laps, and, when she could finally run again, started crushing triathlons.

Read her story: How a Running Injury Helped Me Become a Better Athlete

Cheerleader to Powerlifter

Alyssa Frey was a competitive cheerleader through college, and when she graduated, missed having an athletic goal. She swapped lifting humans for lifting barbells and found love in a new sport: powerlifting.

Read her story: This Woman Swapped Cheerleading for Powerlifting and Found Her Strongest Self Ever

Doing It Better At Home

Ana Chapman (now, Thomas) felt stuck in her cardio-heavy fitness routine and weight loss efforts. So she quit the gym, bought her own set of dumbbells, a yoga mat, and a kettlebell, and finally saw the mental and physical results she wanted thanks to at-home workouts.

Read her story: I Cancelled My Gym Membership and Got In the Best Shape of My Life

Forever Ballerina

Sheena Jeffers, 32, has been a ballerina her whole life, but didn't really fall in love until she was 10 years into the practice—once she dropped the expectations of perfection, and just let herself ~move~.

Read her story: I’ll Never Fully Master Ballet, But That's Exactly Why I Do It

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