Wednesday, September 28, 2016

#GirlBoss, Fitness Edition: From Drummer to Dancer

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If you've been around, you might have picked up on the idea that I like to do things in series - like the #GirlBoss series, or the Friday Five, or the brand new Fit Gal's Guide, for example. I'm working on some more #GirlBoss interview installments, but this time, I'm getting to know the ladies who own or work at the amazing fitness studios and gyms that I'll be frequenting over the next few months. I've already met some really cool gals, and I want you to meet them too - so let's get going and start off with Sandi, who owns TURN Cardio Jam Studio in Scott's Addition.

Like what you see? Click HERE for my full review of TURN!

photo by Karolina Bassi

Describe your fitness journey - where did you start, how did you get here?
I was always active as a kid. I danced, played soccer, twirled, and even roller skated. My big thing was marching band. I was a drummer. A lot of people don’t consider that a sport, but they’re mistaken -- It took a lot of strength, stamina and endurance - and in South Texas, the heat is torture. 
I got my degree in Communications, Radio/TV Broadcast and got a job in Corpus Christi. I joined the YMCA, and I started lifting weights and taking group classes to stay in shape for rec soccer. When I moved to Norfolk, I tore my ACL. That sent me back to the gym to rehab my knee, and I fell in love with Step Aerobics. It was setting me up for what would be my next love.
When I moved to Birmingham, the HR woman at work suggested I join her gym. She said, “There’s a dance fitness class there and I think it’s right up your alley.” She was right. It was Dance Trance and I was stalking the instructors and students from the lobby for a few days, watching from the windows before I jumped in. But once I did it, I was hooked. It’s the only fitness program I have consistently maintained. When I moved to Florida I licensed Dance Trance Sarasota - the first expansion of the fitness program. When I moved to Richmond I licensed my second location at Gold’s Gym and then Rigby’s Jig. 
It was never my intention to open a fitness studio, I just wanted to find a place where I could teach Dance Trance that had a great floor and sound system and it happened to be that the best situation was to just go it on my own. I decided on Scott’s Addition not just because it was a cool area that was up and coming, but because it was close to where I worked. I was blessed with great friends, clients and a supportive husband who put in a lot of hard work to help me get the doors open. I’m still in awe every time I walk in that we accomplished something so great in a short amount of time, with next to no money.

What has been your biggest health or fitness challenge, and how did you overcome it?
The most difficult fitness challenge was my ACL injury. I was 23 and naive - I thought I’d have surgery and be good as new again. I had no idea what your anterior cruciate ligament was and how essential it is to your everyday life. I’m constantly working on my muscles in the quad and hamstring to keep my knee stable. And I’ve now developed new issues with it and I’m sure at some point I’ll be back in to the operating room for some repairs. I have the best results with adding yoga and strength training into my workouts to keep it functioning as best as it can.

What does the name of your studio, “Turn”, mean to you?
When it came time to name the studio, people suggested I find a name that could represent other fitness programs along with Dance Trance. I knew I wanted a dance term in there, and when I started listing off terminology I landed on Turn. It’s a literal “turn" like in dance, but it’s also "turn it up" for music, or "turn up" for get crazy, or "turn your life around" or "take your turn". Now, I really feel like I’m at a turning point of my own, with leaving TV news. So it just means so many things to me.

What would you say about the old saying, “don’t quit your day job” in regards to your career path?
I’m nearly a month into my TV news retirement, running Turn full time, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m finally living in the moment and taking in the experience instead of rushing around. I love seeing my clients every day and seeing the happy faces of new visitors. Some have shared personal fitness stories and others are just really happy to be at Turn and part of the community. I love when people are genuinely excited about what they just experienced, and I love working hard for something that I’m so passionate about - but more importantly, I love that I get to see my children every morning and every day after school. I finally feel like I have the best of both worlds and I’m not burning the candle at both ends. 

 If you could give your 23-year old self a pep talk, what would you tell her now?
First, I’d tell that young woman to take care of her knees! LOL I’d also let her know that it’s okay to slow down and enjoy life more because her hard work will pay off. I’d also let her know that she was going to find a great guy, have great kids and touch the lives of many wonderful people and that they would do the same for her too. 

PS: Sandi said I was her hero last week because I tried so many classes at TURN (insert blushing emoji here) 
PPS: In all honesty, I didn't take any classes from Sandi - most of the classes I took were with Seo, who is equally awesome and upbeat and motivational!!


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  2. Hey there! I took the photo in your blog post, do you mind adding a photographer credit to it?

  3. Hey there! I took the photo in your post, do you mind crediting the photographer?

    1. I'm so sorry I didn't get to this sooner! I listed your name, email me a link to your website/portfolio and I'll hyperlink it :)