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Meet SANDI KNOX Owner, Body Balance Winnipeg, AB

Q: How did you first get involved in the fitness industry?

A: I was always active and fit throughout my childhood. I was first introduced to a gym in my 20s where I began weight train- ing with friends who were body builders. I quickly became a “gym rat” and worked out 3-5 days a week and in the process had some one-on-one boxing lessons. I later moved to Winnipeg where I was attacked one day outside of my workplace! That inspired me to get involved in martial arts. After doing my research, I decided to learn Tae Kwon Do; within three years I earned my 1st Dan Black Belt. This fueled me to want to learn more and I later trained in Muai Tai kickboxing at the University of Manitoba. For years, I had a corporate office day job and trained in martial arts and attended a nearby gym. At work and at the gym I was

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always approached by others asking me for fitness advice. One day I was on the treadmill at the gym and had an epiphany. As I watched a group fitness instructor teach classes I realized I wanted to be an instructor! In 2005 I enrolled in the first of many certification programs and after receiving my first certificate began teaching evenings and weekends while holding down a full-time day job. As my passion for teaching grew I made the big decision to go part-time at my day job so that I could teach more classes. My first class that I taught was called Cardio- Kick and I remember thinking how am I go- ing to teach martial arts to music. I created my own basic choreography to great music and it quickly became a very popular class! To this day, my very first class participants are still attending my classes. After a year of teaching at various facilities around Win- nipeg I took the plunge and in 2008 opened my own fitness studio called Body Balance. I now hold certifications in group fitness, resistance training, Pre-and Post Natal Spe- cialist, yoga, personal training, and Fitness Instructor Specialist. I went from wearing dress suits to work to wearing track suits and I haven’t looked back!

Q: Describe what you currently do.

A: I teach fitness classes and have personal training clients at my studio. Cardio-Box, Boot Camp, Fusion and Yoga are the main classes I offer. I also organize and teach corporate classes where my team and I go to school divisions and provide fitness for staff as part of their wellness programs. Mentoring has also become an impor-

tant part of what I do. Having mentored many new instructors fresh out of training and hiring them on at the studio has offered them a safe, secure, social atmosphere to mould themselves into the instructor they were born to be. I encourage my team of instructors to volunteer with me at vari- ous organizations leading marathon race warm-ups, cool-downs, and other com- munity events.

Q: Describe your favourite fitness routine and why you love it.

A: My favourite classes to teach are boot camps and cardio-box/sculpt. I get excited to see participants in boot camps excel at

exercises they thought they could never do. Boot camps are designed to be intense with plyometrics (jump training), calisthenics (body weight exercises) and so much more. It’s great to see participants work together in a team environment as they go through circuit stations cheering each other on! Cardio-box/sculpt is one of my favourites as it incorporates my passion for martial arts (tae kwon do and kickboxing) with high repetition resistance training for an overall great cardio and toning class. The feedback I’ve received from participants has been that they feel energized, powerful, strong, and in control after a class. Even if they come to class beaten from a bad day at work they are guaranteed to leave in a different state of mind.

Q: How has your focus on fitness changed your life or that of others?

A: Being in the fitness industry has en- riched my life in so many positive ways: I am stronger and in better shape at 41 than I was in my 20’s. Fine tuning my fitness regime and healthy eating has built a great foundation and knowledge to pass on to my clients. I’ve learned that you can always be challenged physically and mentally at any age and to never stop wanting to learn. Finding my niche in fitness has been so rewarding. I’ve always been someone that wanted to help others. Opening Body Bal- ance and growing it from four participants to over 300 and starting out with just me teaching and then hiring up to 12 instruc- tors to run up to 20 classes a week has been a fantastic journey. I’ve introduced family and friends to fitness that would have oth- erwise never experienced it. Watching them grow and change their lifestyle for the better over the years has been amazing. Clients often say to me “you haven’t just changed my body—you’ve changed my life”. They inspire me to always continue researching new routines and to attend workshops and conferences to learn more to pass on to them. They urged me to create my own line of fitness DVDs and thanks to them I have created four DVDs; my clients are in them too! I have grown alongside my regular participants over the past six years and they are like family to me now.

Q: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned through your fitness or life experience?

A: I have learned that if you provide people with the necessary tools to help them change their lifestyle and improve their health and wellbeing the possibilities are endless. I always teach from the heart and lead with a “can do” attitude. A HEALTHY BODY = A HEALTHY MIND.

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