Together in Fitness and in Health

February is the month of love, so what better time to focus on some Fort Bend couples who just happen to be fit, fabulous and in love!  We talked with five couples and asked them to share their secrets for success both in their relationships and in fitness.  Here’s what they had to say:


Steve Stewart and Patty Martin-Stewart

Married for a little over two years, newlyweds Steve Stewart and Patty Martin-Stewart call Sugar Land home. In fact, the entire Stewart family lives in Sugar Land and has most of Steve’s life.  Patty has three children, and together, the couple have a very special feline named Margot.

Q. What is your favorite thing about your spouse? 

Steve:  Her genuine heart and her infectious, light-up-any-room smile.  She also has a hot bod.

Patty:  Steve is a fun and loving person, and I love his enthusiastic outlook.  I like that he is very disciplined when it comes to working out.  He routinely runs every morning, and he also runs during his lunch hour at work on weekdays.

Q. What is the key to a great marriage?

Steve & Patty:  Continuously working on communication skills and respect, as well as regular date nights where you focus only on each other. We have at least two dates per week. We love going to dinner, concerts, plays, cruises, taking road trips to Austin or Louisiana or just watching football or baseball. It keeps the relationship fresh and fun. If we don’t go out for dinner, we have dinner at home together – sometimes with a good glass of wine.

Q. How do you stay fit and fabulous?

Steve: That’s easy. I just eat what my incredibly talented registered dietitian wife prepares or suggests, but I allow myself some queso and margs in moderation. Everything in moderation. We also like to run, bike and swim.  Plus, the treadmill and our pool get a lot of use in our home. Patty loves yoga and Pilates, but I’m about as flexible as a redwood tree. We both enjoy the benefits of meditation and prayer.

Patty: Steve runs on an average of five to six miles per day and being so self-disciplined, he also does resistance and strength training at home.  I love exercising, period.  I love doing group fitness classes, such as barbell class, yoga, strike kicking class and Pilates Reformer.  If I don’t make it to class, I like walking, doing the weight machines and the elliptical machine. Nutrition wise, I am all about it, since I am a registered dietitian nutritionist.

Q. What are your favorite activities to do together?

Steve & Patty: We enjoy having dinner with our friends, attending fundraisers that benefit all of the important causes in our community and listening to local musician friends or performers at Smart Financial Centre.

Q. Any New Year’s Resolutions?

Steve: Financial goals are important as we approach those all-important retirement planning years.  First, remain in shape, and do the right things nutritionally.  I’d like to do a triathlon in 2018, as it’s been several years since I’ve competed in one.  Focusing more on family and friends is always important.

Patty: To keep happy, healthy, productive and connected to all of the special people in my life.


Jessica Chernikova and Alexei Chernikov

Alexei and Jessica have been married for nearly five years spending most of their time as husband and wife living in Fort Bend.  The two have a spunky 2.5-year-old little girl named Ada and a little boy named Ames due in May 2018.

Q. What is your favorite thing about your spouse? 

Alexei: Jess’ insatiable appetite and passion to help and love is infectious. Her ability to pour love onto others, at times at her own expense, is very humbling.

Jessica: His character and charisma make him so special, and he is hands down the best father I have ever met. He loves our family and Jesus so deeply, and he always puts our needs before his own.

Q. What is the key to a great marriage? 

Alexei:  Christ first. The moment you stop looking at each other to fully satisfy and embrace God’s complete fulfilling grace is one that allows your relationship to truly flourish. Maintaining a healthy balance of family, work and personal time is very important.  Love on your kids and continue dating your wife.  We have a date night once a week that is just our time to talk, smile and enjoy each other.

Jessica: Putting God first, your marriage second, your spouse, then kiddos, and then yourself last. If each partner does that wholeheartedly, you have a marriage of serving, helping and loving others. Being organized, balancing work, social life and the family while finding time to work out and spending quality time together.

Q. How do you stay fit and fabulous? 

Alexei, Ada and Jessica Chernikov.

Alexei: I try and eat healthy, but within reason. I believe that food and drink should be enjoyed. With that said, limiting take out, preservative full foods, sugary treats and candy are also important for healthy living. From an exercise standpoint, I am a big fan of leading a generally active lifestyle –  trying to be on your feet as much as possible, taking the dog for a walk, playing with the kids around the house or in the playground.

Jessica: I love to cook! It all starts in the kitchen. We do Hello Fresh three times a week, and I always make an extra side of veggies and a salad.  At home we eat lots of vegetables and fruits, lean meat and a little bit of grains and dairy. Of course, we love to treat ourselves every now and again, especially since I am expecting.

I also teach and train at the Fort Bend YMCA. I teach high intensity interval training twice a week and do the class alongside my amazing students. My husband and I also love to take TRX/Bootcamp together every Saturday.

Q.  What are your favorite  activities to do together?

Alexei: We love to take classes together, as well as creating and working through a quick circuit/Tabata, where we switch off between exercises.

Jessica: We love going to the gym together and taking walks with our daughter and dog, Alfie. We love to try new restaurants and go to happy hour when the weather is amazing.  We tend to walk around Town Square and Oyster Creek almost weekly because there is always something fun going on!

Q.  Any New Year’s Resolutions?

Alexei & Jessica: We pick a word before the beginning of every year and implement it throughout the year, like giving, trust, etc. We are working on what our word will be for 2018.


Mark and Veronica Malhiot

Married 15 years with three children, Mark and Veronica know a thing or two about health and fitness.  Owners of Koko FitClub in Sugar Land, they are not only married – the Katy couple run the business together.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about your spouse? 

Veronica:  Mark is the smartest, most talented person I’ve ever met. He has a great sense of humor and makes me laugh every day.

Mark: At the risk of sounding “schmoopie,” V is thoughtful, witty, funny, easy going, loving, an awesome cook, beautiful, sexy and has a great business sense. I couldn’t ask for a better wife.

Q.  What is the key to a great marriage?

Veronica and Mark Malhiot.

Veronica: No great words of wisdom for  others – what we have works. We enjoy each other, get along great, and we both try to make each other happy.  If I had to choose one word, I’d say selflessness.

Mark: Nothing makes me happier than to see her smile and hear her laugh. I do whatever I can to keep a smile on V’s face every day.

Q.  How do you stay fit and fabulous? 

Mark & Veronica: We both follow the Koko FitClub program. We try to eat healthy most meals and fill our nutrition gaps with dotFIT nutritional supplements. Mark also adds Jujitsu several times a week and has recently earned his brown belt.

Q.  What are your favorite activities to do together?

Mark & Veronica: Dining and going out with friends and family.  And of course, working together.

Q.  Any New Year’s Resolutions?

Mark:  I don’t compare myself to others. I just want to be a better version of me.

Veronica:  I want to stay focused on health and fitness. At 45 years-old, it’s becoming a struggle. I’m just going to keep moving forward and working hard.


Terrie Gorney and Michael Brophy

Michael and Terrie have been married for eight years, and they have four adult children between them.  Fort Bend residents for over twenty years, the couple are truly Fort Bend Fit – both as members and as a lifestyle philosophy.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about your spouse?

Michael: Her constant commitment to making the world a better place through her community service.

Terrie:  His humor.  He always has a “one liner” ready and keeps me entertained.

Q.  What is the key to a great marriage? 

Michael: I think the key to a great marriage may be the ability to recognize when you don’t know the key to a great marriage.  Recognize your own weaknesses, and try to be a better spouse.

Terrie: Open communication is the key.  You have to be able to discuss every aspect of your relationship.

Q.  How do you stay fit and fabulous?

Terrie Gorney and Michael Brophy.

Michael: It’s been tough lately, as I had a total knee replacement recently. I love to play basketball and hope to be able to do that again soon. I also run with Fort Bend Fit when I’m healthy and have ridden in the MS 150 three times.  I definitely make sure to hit the gym at least three times every week, and I try to eat healthy so I won’t have to take statins!

Terrie: I started running marathons in 2000 and joined Fort Bend Fit in 2001. I train four to five days a week either running or at boot camp.  Saturday is my favorite day of the week because I get to run with my friends.  I’m also the Race Director for the USA Fit Marathon, Fort Bend Kia Half Marathon and Simon Spine 5K held in Sugar Land.

Q.  What are your favorite activities to do together?

Terrie: We have a regular dinner night with our close friends, and we love to eat out.  We go to lots of movies.

Michael: When I’m healthy, we do lots of Fort Bend Fit activities together.

Q.  Any New Year’s Resolutions?

Michael: Get this new knee back to 100%, spend less money on the house and medicals, and spend more time and money on travel and fun!

Terrie: Eat healthier.  Because of all the calories I burn running long distance, I have been able to get away with eating a lot of junk in the past. I would like to “pick up my pace” in 2018 and that will require shedding a few pounds.


John and Rose Sullivan 

Married for 28 years, John and Rose have raised three grown men and have lived in Fort Bend for 40 years.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about your spouse? 

John: There is absolutely nothing I would change.

Rose:  My favorite thing about John is how special he makes me feel. He interrupts what he’s doing to make sure I’m okay. He tells me I’m right even when we both know I’m wrong. He’s my safety net when I’m nervous or scared. He’s my soft side, which makes up for my lack thereof. He overlooks my imperfections and accepts my flaws.

Q.  What is the key to a great marriage?

John: We do a great job collaborating, we do not stay mad and we learn from our mistakes. The fire still burns as if we just met – that keeps it fresh.

Rose: The key to a great marriage is to infuse it with laughter – after all, laughter is the best medicine. It helps to lighten and liven things up because life is too short to take seriously all of the time. To keep our relationship fresh, we go on dates to different places – sometimes planned, sometimes spontaneous.

Q.  How do you stay fit and fabulous?

Rose and John Sullivan.

John: I do a lot of walking. She goes to the gym – a lot.

Rose: I confess to being a gym-a-holic. I love group fitness for the camaraderie and healthy competition. It helps motivate me. I vary up my fitness regimen by incorporating weightlifting two to three times a week and supplementing cardio with kickboxing or dance classes. I’ve recently started getting into yoga to help increase my flexibility.  I’m notorious for taking two or three fitness classes on my days off to make up for workout days missed. I eat small meals throughout the day, drink plenty of water and take my vitamins.

Q.  What are your favorite activities to do together?

John: Going to the park.

Rose: Check out movies together, dine at local restaurants or check out First Colony Mall and the Town Center.

Q.  Any New Year’s Resolutions?

John: Live each day to the fullest.

Rose: One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2018 is to advance my professional development. I had to give up being a group fitness instructor since it was starting to occupy a lot of my free time learning choreography instead of hitting the books.