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This article was published 25/7/2015 (705 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Sandi KNOX started to take fitness seriously after being accosted in downtown Winnipeg while on lunch break.
That was many years ago, but she immediately took up martial arts to get the tools to defend herself if ever the situation were to arise again. Fortunately, it hasn't, but now Knox has a black belt in taekwondo, a successful fitness business and, if things go her way next month, a title of top fitness trainer in Canada.
It's been a meteoric rise for the 44-year-old. She's one of three on the shortlist for Canfitpro's Fitness Professional of the Year -- the winner will be determined next month at the World Fitness Expo in Toronto.
Based in Toronto, Canfitpro (Canadian Fitness Professionals Inc.) is the largest certifier of fitness trainers in Canada.
"It's pretty amazing," she said. "I'm the first trainer in Manitoba to ever make it this far."
The nomination is made even sweeter since votes came from her peers and clients. When she was shortlisted for the Top 10, Knox had to put a video together of herself in action -- working out, training clients and doing volunteer work.
"Hopefully, I can go and win this thing for Manitoba," she said.
Originally from Portage la Prairie, Knox moved to Winnipeg in 2001 to take a corporate job in human resources. In 2005, while at the gym, she had what she calls an epiphany -- she wanted to be a fitness trainer.
"You know how people say don't quit your day job? Yeah, I quit my day job," she says with an almost rebellious chuckle. "I basically closed my eyes and walked off a cliff."
From there she headed to the University of Manitoba and she was certified by 2006. She was given a shot by a local fitness studio and taught her first class with one client. She opened her gym -- Body Balance -- with her husband Sheldon Gephter in 2008, and, seven years on, she hasn't looked back
"I was on fire," she said. "I have like 10 certifications now in yoga, Pilates, etc. I had a dream. It's going great. Instead of wearing suits to work, I wear track suits to work."
Knox still remembers her roots in fitness and started a women's self-defence program called Defence Divas this past year.
"I wanted to give back," she said. "I open up my studio on Saturdays to battered and abused women, women who are being bullied, stalked... It's been one of the most amazing things I've done in the last 10 years.
"Martial arts is what got me into the business, so it's kind of coming full circle."
To find out more about what Knox and Body Balance offer, visit www.body-balance.ca.
Martial arts -- anything involving martial arts is great cardio. Anything with that.
Favourite workout song:
Something by Pitbull. Being an instructor, anything with a great beat.
Set goals for short and long term. A three-month goal and a six-month goal. The only sure way to fail is to not try at all.
What's in your fridge:
Fresh barbecued chicken breast, Greek yogurt, egg whites, fruits and veggies for my own homemade juicing, almond milk.
Theatre popcorn with butter -- best popcorn in the world, right? And Tim's coffee every Saturday morning.