Losing weight and being healthy was more than just a personal goal for Sandi Porter. "After I lost weight 12 years ago, I knew I wanted to help others," she says. So Porter decided to parlay her love of everything fitness and health-related into a career as a trainer, though soon it wasn't enough. "I realized I didn't want to just be a trainer. I wanted to change lives, so I began my own company, Start With The Inside." Beyond her expertise as a trainer, Porter rounded out her education by going back to school and studying sports nutrition and physical therapy. "These certifications gave me the tools to work with my clients and their needs." In addition to Start With The Inside, Porter also started Gwinnett's Losing It! program, a 12-week weight loss program in a team format. "I don't want someone to lose pounds and then gain it back," she explains. "I want to get to the nitty gritty of what the real issue is and how that affects your ability to lose weight and live healthy."
What was the inspiration behind starting Start With The Inside?
My inspiration started with my coach from 12 years ago, David Greenwalt of Leanness Lifestyle. He taught me so much about healthy living and how to make these changes a part of my lifestyle, not just for 12 weeks. I added the emotional aspect of this program because of the emotional struggles that I see my clients go through in trying to lose weight and live healthy.
How did you start Gwinnett's Losing It! program?
The first season of Gwinnett's Losing It! began in January 2011. I had been teaching corporate workshops and working with clients on an individual basis and wanted to find a way to reach more people and also provide accountability for those people. Participants meet with me once every four weeks for a progress report, meet as a team every four weeks and participate in a weekly conference call and weigh-in. During the 12 weeks, the team has lessons on nutrition, weight training and cardio, emotional obstacles, and dealing with trigger foods, family and work situations.
What has been the best part about starting these two weight loss programs?
The best part is seeing peoples' lives change, the amazing changes in their health, getting off medications, losing inches and becoming more confident. Our worst setback was the economy, when people could not afford the program but needed to do it. Our fee is $249 for 12 weeks, and that was an investment for people. When I wanted to give up, I didn't because people would ask me to continue.
Who inspired you professionally?
I love older fitness pros who did so much for this industry – Charles Atlas and Jack LaLanne. I met Robert Kennedy and Tosca Reno, and they were a huge inspiration to me.
What was your first job in the fitness arena?
Believe it or not, I taught aerobics in the 80s. [I wore] a headband, spandex and all. I taught part time at local YMCA while I went to college. I loved those classes!
Best advice for weight loss?
Go to a professional. Start with small changes. Educate yourself and learn how to make permanent changes, not temporary fixes. Learn to listen to your inside voice.
Best way to balance home life and work?
Planning is key. I take my rest days seriously. I plan workouts and meals so that eliminates stress. My family is key. I make time for them, and my schedule revolves around them. I invest in monthly massages and weekly Epsom salt baths to take care of my body.
Who are the people who help you be your best self?
My husband of 22 years, my kids who inspire me every day, my clients who motivate me to never give up and my wonderful massage therapist!