We had the good fortune of connecting with Sandy Iro and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sandy, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
I’ve always been an athlete at heart and enjoyed the realm of fitness since I was young. It was back in 2018, I was still at my corporate job at the time and I had a co-worker approach me about holding her accountable so that she can lose weight. She had noticed that after work I would change into my workout clothes and utilized the outdoor space as my gym. This action is what encouraged her to want to join me. After several months of intense training, and holding her accountable, it was then I realized my calling. Through her fitness journey, she was pushed physically, emotionally and spiritually to charge through any workout I dished out. As we were in the midst of a difficult session, she found herself wanting to give up, wanting to stop, wanting to quit. However, I did not want her to allow that for herself – not this time as she has quit on herself before in the past. At the end, it was my words of encouragement and her willingness to push past her comfort zone that allowed her to complete our session. By the end, she had coined me as her Shero. It was then I realized there is something really special I can offer to the world. In essence, if they dig deep from within themselves there is an inner strength that we embody that makes us as humans extremely powerful and great – it’s a matter of exploring that side of you that is the most profound aspect of life.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I believe what sets me apart from others is my willingness to be an integral part of one’s fitness journey, and knowing that it is more than just the physical aspect of it.

Back in 2019, my husband and I quit our high-paying corporate jobs so that we can tour parts of Asia for seven months – a dream we manifested on our first date. During that trip, I had really connected with myself spiritually and recognized the importance of meditation – whether that experience was among the monks at various Buddhist temples or simply in the high altitudes of the Philippines, it always brought me ease, comfort and peace. The practice of mediation is something that my Clients and I do before or after our sessions – others have told me it helps them evolve, provides clarity and focus for the day or week ahead. I am most proud of the inner strength that I provide to others because of that.

The words we say hold a lot of power, that influence can be encouraging to another human being to push past their comfort zone and anything that involves that makes me extremely excited! Those same words I give to them is what I believe is a key reason why my business is at the success it is today, I speak positivity in everything I do and follow that up with action.

However, I have learned lessons along the way as an entrepreneur especially as a Black woman. I had finally entered a world where I can set my own standards, my own rules, my own schedule yet I had been programmed to think I was not worthy of charging for the service that are competitive to my counter-parts. It wasn’t until my friend DeVonn hired me as her trainer and lovingly told me that the amount I quoted her is too low and that what I offer is much more valuable. So, I set forth a standard going forward that I was worthy of that because I earned it and worked hard, too. Never sell yourself short – that’s a business mantra I a proud to stick by.

“Empowering the Shero from within.” is what embodies my business because it fosters the belief that you can do anything needed to be at your optimal health and fitness level as long as you’re willing to put in the work. I oftentimes tell people that train with me that motivation is not going to get you to your goals. Focus, discipline and commitment will and those attributes in itself requires immense will – even when you are not “feeling it.”

The story of this Shero is one of immense gratitude, humility and now happiness. I had battled with depression and anxiety since I was in my early teens, but the place that always allowed for me to not go there was staying active in sports. It was important that as an athlete that I submerge myself in it all – volleyball to track and field. Sports was my first real exposure to leadership as I was the captain of my track team in high school. After suffering I really bad muscle pull, I retired my spikes and focused on my academia. Even through college I remained active through recreational sports to hitting the gym with friends. Fitness has always been my happy place. However, 2009 I had gone through one of the darkest year of my life including the attempt of taking my life. My body refused to let me go in the physical world. God had a bigger plan, a purpose and a calling I had to face. It was then that I realized I am worthy of being here and what I love to do is help others. My aspirations to do that and keep health and fitness in the forefront is why I made a career as a personal trainer.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I absolutely love my city of Dallas and very proud of everything it has to offer! Since I do love cooking and entertaining others, I would certainly make it a point to make them feel at home. Ask any of my friends I spoil them with yummy and savory dishes and great drinks to pair them with too. When it comes to stepping out, it all comes down to one thing: a vibe. We would find ourselves in Deep Ellum to check out all the funky graffiti and murals along the buildings, explore the Dallas Museum of Art for their wine and jazz night or maybe hit up Katy Trail for a nice stroll or go hard on the stairs. Since I am a bit of an adrenaline junky, Six Flags Over Texas hits all the thrills of fast roller coasters and the chance to scream your guts out. Since I come from a big family, visiting them is a must! My mom makes the best jollaf rice, a dish from Nigeria – it’s important that my friend see that side of me and embraces my family and culture. Anyone that knows me understands my true affinity towards Asian cuisine and I believe Carrollton is the city to do just that since a lot of their restaurants are mom and pop joints – ranging from Thai, Indian and Laotian.

Sometimes you just want to let your hair down and that for me means going to Cedar Springs strip with my girl and watching the drag shows. They are seriously some of the best around! The strip has the best drinks for a great price, so what’s not to love.

There is a 2-hour segway Dallas tour that is super fun and dives into the history of Dallas and some of the beautiful and tragic events that have taken place.

Who doesn’t love shopping?! We are certainly hitting up with Galleria Mall, North Park and the small local boutiques such as Accessory Junkie, Hemline and Adeline. We would also hit up antique and vintage spots such as Lulu B’s and check out the Design District for unique finds.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Fitness Shero would not be where it’s at without the love, support and guidance of my husband and friends. Neal Ewing and I have been married for over 5 years, and he is truly one of my biggest supporters. When I told him that I was considering leaving corporate America and pursuing my aspiration of becoming a personal trainer, he was elated and told me to go for it! He not only helped me prepare for my examination to become a certified personal trainer, but understood doing this meant that our lives would change. We were on this journey of entrepreneurship together for the first time in the middle of a pandemic. We had all sorts of hurdles and road blocks to overcome, and getting through them was certainly a team effort. I truly could not have asked for a better person to be by my side during such a challenging time and I’m extremely grateful for him.

I cannot go without mention of my soul sisters, Elle Hall-Coleman and DeVonn Coleman, and their immense presence in my life. I’ve know both ladies for over a decade and they have seen me go through it all! Elle is my best friend and money guru thanks to her business program of Girlfriend’s Budget. It really fortified what I was missing to run a proper business: establishing an LLC, setting up payment transactions for my customers and the overwhelming support and love that one would need as a first year entrepreneur. Even today, she is ensures that I find balance within my craft and understanding when to recharge so i do not burn myself out. DeVonn is the wife of Elle and is certainly one you’ll never forget once you meet her. Beyond her striking looks, she is the burst of positivity everyone should have in their life. As a Life Coach for Dee’Toxin’ with a boisterous Facebook tribe, I knew we would have an incredible bond from the start. She always would tell me, “Sandy, find the positive in everything you do and to remember to love yourself.” Those words still hold true in my heart because as I have discovered with working from myself, you really have to embrace that mantra to the fullest in order to succeed.

Website: www.fitnessshero.com

Instagram: fitness.shero

Facebook: Fitness Shero LLC

Image Credits
Jazzella McKeel

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