For those of you who haven’t met Dani Knight, or taken her class on BurnAlong, you’re missing out! Dani is the owner of Dani K. Gym & Wellness in Westminster, MD and she’s nothing short of inspiring. We sat down with Dani to learn more about what motivated her to get into fitness, how she helps her clients achieve the results they want, and the top exercises she recommends everyone should do.
Check out her instructor profile below to get to know Dani and be sure to check out the wide-variety of Dani K. Gym & Wellness classes on BurnAlong!
- What do you teach?
A variety of classes, including one-on-one personal training, nutrition, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes, proper form and tabata classes.
- How did you get into fitness?
My background stems from having Anorexia and Bulimia. I sought out a nutritionist some 26 yrs ago to get myself in control of these issues. This nutritionist showed and proved to me that I was going to eat more and exercise less and I was going to get my results. Back then I was only eating maybe 900 calories a day and when I did eat I exercised for hours on end to burn it off). I saw how proper nutrition and proper workouts changed my body—Increased muscle and lost body fat. I went from 25% body fat, 105 lbs to 6% body fat, 99 lbs in 10 weeks. I was “too lean” so put a few more pounds on. Seeing this transformation, there was no way I could keep this to myself. During this time I became a trainer and nutritionist and never looked back. I have been one of if not the most successful full-time trainer in my area. After working in a couple gyms over the years, I now own my own 24/7 gym.
- How do you motivate yourself?
My results of how I look and feel motivate me as well as my clients and gym members. I stay on my game all the time however, they help me stay on my game. I am very OCD about things and I can’t not work out and eat right. That is also part of the eating disorder mindset as well, the control factor. However, at least now, my control and OCD is now a healthy thing.
- How do you motivate others?
I motivate others through my “practice what I preach” attitude. I tell them that even just 10 minutes is doing something. Just get moving in any way that they can, it all helps to reach that end result. Also, showing them that I am human. I tell them my story/background, as sometimes people look at me and think I never had an eating issue/disorder. That everything is just easy for me and it’s genetics or because I own my own gym working out is just what I do. I show them I am human and sometimes don’t want to work out but do cuz it’s on my calendar. I tell them to do the same thing. Put the work out on their schedule as a meeting. You don’t miss a meeting or a doctor appointment so you can miss a workout. I have many tricks up my sleeves as the excuses come to me.
- In your classes, how do you accommodate different skill and fitness levels?
I ask about limitations or injuries before we start. That helps me prepare modifications for some of the exercises so that everyone can get a great workout.
- What are the top 3 exercises you recommend for every client?
I have so many exercises that I love. I mean, I definitely recommend lifting weights, as a whole. Whether it’s routines of full body, upper/lower split, 3, 4, 5 day split routines. Weight lifting is important to increase lean tissue/muscle to help fight the fat. Also, increases bone density. Second I recommend weights and cardio are done in an high-intensity interval training (HIIT) form. Where you’re doing weights and cardio at the same time, tapping into the fat burning so much faster than doing weights and then doing a 45-60 mins cardio. Third, one of my favorite ways to do cardio is is Tabatas, after a weight training/HIIT training session. That is a very fast pace cardio for 20 seconds/rest for 10 seconds, repeating that for 8 minutes. This is another exercise that taps into the fat burning process faster than a longer cardio. I am all about trying to get people, as long as they are physically able to, work out as fast and efficiently as they can. This cuts down time in the gym and gives them faster results. And, ultimately, that’s what everyone wants.
- How can people best prepare for your classes?
The best way is to be in a positive mindset that they can do it. I dislike the word “can’t.” And for them to know that I will meet any limitation with an equivalent modification. Either way, I have them and they CAN DO IT.
- Who are your heroes and role models?
My mom, first and foremost. Second, is Jillian Michaels. Other role models outside of fitness are Janet Jackson, JLo, Cher and Michael Jackson.
- What exercise challenge would you encourage people to do?
The first challenge I would put out to people is to just get moving. Track the minutes or steps and then try to improve on that. As they are improving on the minutes working out, even it’s only 10 minutes at a time, the minutes will increase and then the results will happen. Of course, followed by a close second of proper nutrition. That keeps the results happening. I would also, challenge people to get friends involved in working out with them. Keeps them accountable.
Check out Dani’s classes on BurnAlong! There’s a wide variety of cardio and interval training classes, as well as educational videos on proper alignment for lunges and weight training and health and wellness advice.