Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hip + Urban Girl of the Week: Sammie Kennedy

Our new bi-weekly column will feature a local hip + urban girl of the week, who encompasses a fabulous attitude, job and lifestyle. We will feature a mix of entrepreneurs and urban professionals who are inspiring to follow. This week we interview Sammie Kennedy, creator and CEO of Booty Camp Fitness.
So tell us about your business!  Booty Camp Fitness is Canada’s largest women’s-only boot camp. It’s progressively challenging and also designed for women by women to specifically target a lady’s trouble zones. Women of all ages and fitness levels join us twice a week for a one-hour long full body workout. We’re all about fun friendly fitness, definitely not a military-style in-your-face type workout. It’s been a great journey over the last three years helping over 20,000 women across the country shed pounds and inches while getting healthy and fit.
How did the idea come about?  What made you want to start your own company?
Booty Camp Fitness is actually a spin-off of my old personal training company. I specialized in training women but with a full client schedule it was getting challenging. One day in April 2007, I was with a client in the gym and it was absolutely gorgeous outside and I thought, why not gather a group or women to exercise outdoors? With that thought, I designed and promoted a boot camp style workout that sold out within 24 hours. After adding a second session that sold out in 48 hours, I knew that this was a fun new approach to exercise that ladies were craving and that was the beginning of Booty Camp!
I wanted to start my own company because I felt as though I could only offer my clients everything that I had and the best service by creating my own fitness business. The majority of gyms do not pay instructors and trainers very well so I was struggling to make ends meet and having to work two jobs which took a great deal of energy away from my clients and they weren’t receiving all that I was capable of giving.
What motivates you to work out everyday?  Any tips on getting active?
Believe it or not I am not genetically skinny. I have to constantly set new goals to keep myself moving forward. If I stop training and focusing on my fitness I actually put on weight rather quickly. Aside from that fact I know how much more energy and stamina I have when I train regularly and I love the way my body feels AFTER a workout. If you just focus on how accomplished and fantastic it will feel when you complete your workout it often helps to get you out the door. Once you are at your boot camp, gym or outdoors being active the rest is easy.
So what does a Booty Camp Girl like you eat everyday?
I believe in the “cheat day” principle which means I only eat “dirty” food on one day a week and eat clean the rest of the time. I tend to stay away from sugars and processed foods. 
Typically my day starts with a Vanilla Chai Vega Shake and my vitamins, I have a snack mid morning of either oatmeal or an apple with nut butter, grains and chicken or tuna at lunch with some veggies, another mid afternoon snack which varies and may be homemade soy pudding, a shake or fruit and nuts, and for dinner a salad with lean protein (chicken, turkey, fish or legumes). If I get snack-y later in the night I always try to have just protein such as boiled eggs or edamame.
What did you study in University/College?  Would you have done anything differently?
I actually went to school for Medical Radiation Technology (x-ray technologist) in Sudbury at Cambrian College. It was an exciting career for a short period of time with a large focus on the body. I enjoyed working as a technologist for three years at Sick Kids Hospital but in the end the stress of the job and the awakening of my passion for fitness led me along the path I am now on. 
Looking back I would not have done anything differently. I think that both my education and work experience have helped to mould me into who I am today and I certainly like what it has brought me to now.
Where are your favourite places to hang out in Toronto? 
Well I love to eat good food, and I love discovering new places. My anytime of day favourite restaurant has to be Fresh, the food is healthy and delicious! If I am looking for higher end food or a romantic date I can’t beat the experience at George Restaurant. And a little in between the two for price point but the best sushi anywhere is definitely Blowfish!
Best place to shop in the city?  I’m a shoe junkie so I love to hit up Davids and Holt Renfrew almost monthly! (My wallet just cried a little.) My go to place for date wear, dresses and formal wear is 100% Shkank on Yonge Street. It’s designed and made here in Canada and their clothing is stunning!
Tell us about your neighbourhood and what you like best about it.
I live down on the Harbourfront and I LOVE being by the water! The vibe on the waterfront is very lively with constant festivals and lots of people bustling about. I also have an amazing view that can’t be beat of the islands and the city! I also love that I am so close to everything downtown but really only surrounded by city on the one side, it offers some degree of calmness to my environment.
What do you wish someone told you when you were younger and just starting out?
To be honest if I had prevented any of my life experiences I don’t think I would be the woman and entrepreneur that I am today, so I have no regrets looking back and no wishes for any alternately advised paths.
What life advice do you have for hip + urban girls out there trying to figure out what they want to do?
I would definitely advise that you follow your passion, and listen to your gut. It often doesn’t lie ;)

So who do you nominate or suggest we interview as an inspiring hip + urban girl of the week and why? We are always looking for suggestions! They can be urban professionals with awesome jobs or entrepreneurs. Please comment below.

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