‘A heart-centered approach to fitness’
By Abigail Thorpe | Photo By Rachel Adair
Missi Balison first arrived in Sandpoint over 27 years ago, passionate about creating a lifestyle that would allow her to do what she loves, not work incredibly long hours each week just to survive, and she wanted to spend time with her first son. With a degree in exercise physiology, working as a trainer at a larger local gym seemed a natural fit. It was during her 15 years there that she realized the need for a smaller, more intimate setting for women to work out—a non-intimidating environment where women could feel free to learn how to achieve the results they wanted without judgment or feeling overwhelmed. And so, Missi Balison Fitness was formed to help busy, productive, fun-loving women get to where they want to be.
Q. Tell us about the vision behind Missi Balison Fitness and its story.
A. Our mission at Missi Balison Fitness is to empower our clients (and each other) to live up to their full potential through fitness; to become healthier; develop more confidence; and feel unstoppable through motivation, education, and our commitment to lead by example.
We believe that education inspires motivation. To do this we must continually be educating ourselves.
Our goal is to make our clients’ time here at Missi Balison Fitness the BEST part of their day! And to have them leave here feeling like they received 10-times what they paid for. That doesn’t always look like a good sweaty workout. Sometimes it looks like laughter, or a hug and sympathetic support for a hard day, or a knowledge bomb that made all the difference in their motivation and drive.
Q. How is the community of Sandpoint so integral to both your business and your vision?
A. I truly believe if we can make women feel better about themselves—stronger (mentally, emotionally and physically), more confident and radiant—we can also change the lives of the people they interact with each day and make the world, and our Sandpoint community, a better, happier place to be. We have just a few hours each week with our clients, and it is our mission to send them out into the world being more awesome than when they came in!
Q. What sets MBF apart and makes it truly unique?
A. I think it is the fact that we are very intentional about what we are trying to achieve with our clients and the culture of our community here. We try to not only give them what they want but also what they need. They want results in strength and fat loss, and we are very focused on that, but we also know they need balance, mobility, physical and mental endurance, confidence, a social support system and trust.
We also recognize that success for some is just simply getting here. For some it is having a social connection or a stress outlet. Each person may not have a huge physical or fat-loss goal, and we want to make sure we honor whatever it is they are coming here to receive.
Q. What are some future plans or visions for the business in the next year? Five years?
A. One of my visions is to create more incredible trainers. I want to share this incredibly fulfilling experience with other women who are also passionate about helping others succeed! We have an internship program our trainers go through here. I call this “a teaching gym.” I love to teach them all about this amazing career, but I also selfishly love watching their excitement grow when they watch others succeed.
Q. What do you love most about Sandpoint and being a business owner here?
A. It’s giving nature. I have been blessed to see how people in this community are so giving to and caring for one another. I love the fact that we are able to use the studio as an outlet to give back to the community. We’ve collected funds for Life Choices Pregnancy Center, the food bank, and we adopted a family for Christmas. This year I have plans to get our group of ladies out in the community helping with hands-on projects.
There is so much benefit to our health and mental well-being to both parties when we give to others. This fulfills an area of wellness to help us help our clients be the best they can be in as many areas of life as possible.
Q. Is there a specific person or moment that has helped inspire you and your journey with fitness.
A. I have been active my whole life so, to be honest, I don’t have a huge transformation story to share. But I would have to say that the support of my parents attending every single one of my cross-country and track meets all through high school and college made a huge impact. I always knew I had their support. Mom made pasta every night before a meet, and Dad left work early so as not to miss a meet. That support was key. My dad is in such great shape at 90 years old, and I have always been so inspired at what great care he takes of himself. I want to be that example for my kids.
My husband has always been my biggest cheerleader. He really believes I can do anything, so I might as well try!
Kasarah, my head trainer and administrative assistant, is everything. She is an excellent trainer and so incredibly organized, and sees the big picture of what we are trying to accomplish in the lives of women here. I know she can run the gym effectively, allowing me to step away at times when I have needed to. She is a complete gift.
Q. What is one thing you would share with someone to help inspire them in their own journey?
A. Be intentional about creating your “team”! And of course, I would recommend getting a coach. I could never have come this far without the support, care and knowledge of my coach. It has been well worth the investment in myself because I also see it as an investment for my clients. I always hope that our clients see us as an investment in their future. If they stay healthy, strong and mentally well, they will be so much more effective for their spouses, children, and potentially their elderly loved ones they may be taking care of some day. It is so valuable to me to be able to be a part of those things for them.