By Nadvia Davis
Changing lives one rep at a time is the motto for a new fitness company that is covering ground in North Minneapolis.
Noir Elite Fitness is a healthy lifestyle program committed to providing lifestyle coaching, health and wellness retreats and group fitness classes. The program has become most notably known for the 90-minute Zumba, cardio kickboxing, strength and conditioning outdoor workout classes called Jammin’ in the Parks.
Noir Elite Fitness was founded by native Minnesotan and local fitness instructor Chaz (pronounced Shay) Sandifer and Hatian-born Zumba instructor Val Fleurantin Turner. The two fitness leaders met one year ago through a life coaching initiative at Medtronic. After discovering their mutual passion for exercise, the ladies decided in February to become business partners and start the planning phase for the fitness company.
Prior to founding Noir Elite Fitness, both Sandifer and Turner had previously owned businesses. This previous entrepreneurial knowledge, offered a much smoother launch for the business. That previous experience helped in understanding there is always much to learn when birthing a successful business.
“I literally would drive around for days and talk to people and ask people questions; cold call,” said Sandifer.
With perseverance, the duo has established relationships with both Webber Park and Victory Memorial Park in North Minneapolis as host locations for the classes. The fitness classes are continuing to expand to multiple locations throughout the summer including at Loring Elementary School, Minneapolis Urban League and Lakeview Elementary.
“We are very well received. Everyone is willing to help us. Even if it’s not their area they give us references,” said Fleurantin Turner.
The fitness team is striving to build a business that allows participants to get the full cycle of what it takes to lead a healthy lifestyle. Sandifer recently became the project coordinator for Camden Farmers Market to incorporate the nutrition component.
“I figured if I learn that (nutrition) back piece we can put that into the business, on top of the life coaching and that’s what’s going to form the business over time,” said Sandifer.
Fleurantin Turner uses her lifestyle coaching skills paired with her own personal weight loss experience to help offer a firsthand account with nutrition to the business.
“I had to learn how to eat and someone had to teach me how to do it,” said Fleurantin Turner.
Together the two women are running a business committed to helping African-Americans across the Twin Cities tackle and ideally prevent being at risk for long term illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Like most new businesses challenges arise, be they financial, emotional or organizational. For Noir Elite Fitness, the ladies found a way to offset finances for their business.
“Just like any business, you need funding to start. We combined households to decrease our personal expenses for the sake of the business,” said Fleurantin Turner.
After starting the company with a mere $18.37, Noir Elite Fitness is continuing to grow with each new element that is added onto the business. More recently the company unveiled new active apparel. Noir Elite Fitness has become a reputable pop up fitness company in North Minneapolis. Many participants are spreading the word and recognizing the positive impact that Noir Elite Fitness is making on the health of the community at large.
For more information, visit Noir Elite Fitness at www.noirelitefitness.com.