We know that there are so many people out there following their dreams + providing us with Inspiration, so we put the call out for our audience to nominate those who Inspire them most! We are pleased to say that Kerri Flanigan of Charlotte, North Carolina was nominated, and it was so lovely to get a behind the scenes look at where she gets her mojo for her life's endeavors. So, let's dive right into our Q+A!
Q: Who have been your greatest inspirations over your lifetime?
A: My grandmother is the strongest woman I've known. She put family first and gave me a lot of opportunities I would not have had without her. Although she didn't talk about it much, I know she didn't have an easy life, but I am so thankful for the time I was able to spend with her and everything she has done for me. I dedicated my business to her, so when I get down or feel unmotivated, I think of her and I feel her strength keep pushing me forward.
Q: Where are you from and how has that influenced your lifestyle?
A: I'm from Edmonton, AB Canada, where it's winter 9 months out of the year. I played basketball pretty competitively through high school, and loved snowboarding during the season, taking trips up to the mountains just a few hours away. I played field lacrosse during the Summer months, and as luck would have it, that got me a scholarship to play down here at Belmont Abbey College. My family was very athletic, lots of camping and outdoor activities (even in the dead of Winter), and we all played sports (my dad played college football, and my mom was a yoga teacher, my brother and sister basketball, soccer and lacrosse) and I am so thankful for that. I continue to love being outside, and my group fitness has replaced my team sports for now. But you learn a lot of life lessons through team sports and I’m grateful I had those opportunities, and can’t wait for my son to start playing.
Q: Have you always been into fitness, if not when did you begin?
A: Sports, yes. Fitness, only enough to get me on the teams! It really wasn't until after college I started working out on my own, and fell in love with group training because it gave me that same "team workout" adrenaline rush. Plus all the health benefits of course.
Q: What are some of your favorite methods of movement?
A: AIR is obviously at the top of my list - it combines multiple methods like barre, pilates, yoga and strength training. It's a full body workout every time, very efficient and effective and as a trainer there is so much to build on and work with it never really gets boring planning classes. I love strength training, although I haven't gotten back to my classes yet since the baby and COVID (but shout out to @sydneycummings on Youtube as her workouts keep me motivated). I also love a good yoga flow and meditation.
Q: Do you like to dance, if so to what type of music?
A: I don't think my friends and family would put me in the "likes to dance" category. Growing up I was enrolled in "creative dance" and quit ballet at a young age. But that's not to say I don't enjoy a glass of wine and a good dance party around the fire. My husband and I love going to concerts, you'll probably find us at more reggae/rock shows but I love all kinds of music.
Q: What is your favorite aroma, and what memories does it bring to mind?
A: Well I'm sitting in my kitchen, so any kind of baking and most cooking just brings me back to my grandmother's kitchen (we call her Oma). We were big on family meals, sitting down together, eating. Food, it brings us together. But I'm also wearing my sisters natural perfume oil, so it reminds me of her, and her travels and our travels - she got this oil in India! Lavender oil is a go to, it reminds me of my childhood and my mom used to put drops of it on my pillow at night (which I still do).
Q: Are you into holistic wellness, if so in what ways?
A: Yes! I've been learning a lot about Ayurveda in the last couple of years, and started acupuncture about a year ago. I don't take medication and truly believe a strong healthy immune system is our best defense. Finding alternative, more natural remedies has become more important to me now that I'm a mom.
Q: What are some of your favorite foods, and why do you like them?
A: A favorite dish I'm making tonight, BBQ shrimp marinated in lemon, oil, garlic and red chili flakes on a bowl of quinoa topped with mango + avocado salsa. Perfect refreshing Summer meal! Growing up in a german household, we ate lots of sausages, potatoes, all things butter, so that takes me back home more as comfort foods. I'm a sucker for a good piece of chocolate (or just throw it in a cookie!).
Q: What inspired you to launch AIR Aerial Fitness?
A: AIR is a franchise that I bought into with my first location 5 years ago - the workout was something different, and I loved not just taking classes but the creativity of planning and teaching my classes. We opened our second (and now only) Charlotte location 3 years ago because my love for the workout and the community just kept growing. It's different, something you can't get anywhere else, but the perfect combination of all the best styles of workouts out there.
Q: What have some of your challenges been during this journey, and how did you overcome them?
A: Adding a second location was definitely a challenge, in a way I felt like I had bit off more than I could chew. I always try to do things on my own, but what it took was just simply asking for help, and although we are back to just 1 location, it was the best decision for me, my family and my staff. Weathering the storm through this pandemic, I only hope to come back stronger.
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
A: Oh love this question. It's so hard. I don't think I've travelled enough places yet to choose! But I always picture myself and my family on a beach, palm trees, sand and ocean. I know it sounds cliche, but it's been a dream of mine to open a retreat center / upscale hostel at the beach, and my mind always goes back to Nicaragua where we host our annual wellness + aerial retreats. The people are amazing, there is so much affordable, untouched territory, and I dream of it often.
Q: Once we are all free to travel again, where will your first destination be?
A: Nicaragua! We have a tentative retreat planned, so fingers crossed we can get there! After that, probably Canada to see my family and bring Kellan (my 5 month old) to visit the homeland.
Q: Who do you currently admire most, and why?
A: I admire so many people, for different reasons. My sister, for her work ethic and desire to learn and be the best version of herself. My mom, for not settling and following her dreams and going out and getting what she wants, no matter her age! My son, for taking the world in and learning at the speed of light. Babies truly are amazing. And all the small business owners out there who have been struggling throughout this pandemic, I admire your strength and courage to keep fighting.
Q: What are your main goals over the next five years?
A: In business, my main goal is to get back on track, back to where we left off pre pandemic. I plan to invest in my team and my clients to make the next five years in business the best yet. At home, my goal is to grow and take care of my family (I had always wanted to be a business owner and part stay at home mom while they are little). We have a few home projects to get done. We've got a camper we'd like to fix up so we can take trips and see more of the world. Already planning for our next retreat!
Q: What is one thing you would change about this world, and why?
A: Kindness can go a long way. I wish people would spend more time developing themselves so that they don't take out their feelings of anger, hurt or frustration on others. I wish I could simply remove unnecessary negativity and replace it with a little more love. In the end, it's in our nature.
Thank you so much Kerri for Being The Change + Living The Dream!
We appreciate you taking us along with you for the ride!
(Images by @sweatnetcharlotte)