As we set out to put together this photo spread, the goal was to find some of the toughest, strongest, most inspiring individuals in the Charlotte fitness field. With the New Year looming, we wanted role models, trail-blazers, and goal-setters. What emerged from our hunt was a powerful list of, as you will see, all women. Inspired by the work, dedication, and self-actualization of these six change-makers – yogis, trainers, instructors, business owners – we couldn’t help but want to highlight the role each of these women is playing in making Charlotte an even better place. These mothers, daughters, and sisters are challenging the status quo and bringing new meaning to the word “strength”; demonstrating for all of us that it requires not only extraordinary physical ability, but mental and emotional toughness and a true strength of spirit, as well.
What’s so inspiring to us about each of these individuals is what they share – and no, it’s not the most obvious shared physical characteristic of gender – but rather that each is totally dominating her respective field while successfully working to integrate a real passion for health, fitness, and wellness within the community.
Liz and Clary Hilliard
Liz and Clary are the mother-daughter duo behind the Hilliard Studio Method, a business and lifestyle program launched from the ground up by the two women nearly a decade ago. By testing and educating rigorously, the two developed what is now the signature core-centric, high-intensity, Pilates-based workout known as the Hilliard Studio Method. They’ve already gained a loyal following, national attention, and launched a product line, and the business is only continuing to expand.
Morgan met her now-husband and business partner when they were 12 years old. Both harbored a passion for fitness, so when they moved to Charlotte, they held their first ever training camp in a parking lot. The idea sparked quickly – today, the Klines are the hugely successful owners of Burn Boot Camp, a lifestyle fitness facility Morgan describes as being intended to inspire, empower, and transform the lives of busy women and their families.
Katie took a huge risk in 2009, leaving behind her steady career and renting out her home in order to pull together the resources to fulfill her childhood dream. She opened her dance and studio fitness center, Kadi Fit, with husband Mike Dixon. Katie created a place that’s entirely her own: a unique fitness regiment infused with yoga, spirituality, hip-hop and rock music.
Beth’s first love was weight training. As she spent more time in the gym and her understanding of how lifting and cardio worked grew, she realized she wanted to share her results with others. Today, Beth is one of the most dynamic, well-educated fitness professionals in the game. She is a personal trainer and boot camp instructor at Burn Cornelius, and owns a Burn location in Cary.
Emily “Breeze” Ross Watson
Emily Breeze is a legend in Charlotte. She is a former Division I athlete, and a certified and licensed Bodywork and Massage Therapist. With her signature determination and drive, she has combined her love of running, yoga, boot camp and CrossFit into a booming career. She owns Moga and trains at Stax CrossFit, and runs a boot camp two nights a week that’s open and free to the public.