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Shefit wants you to be your happiest and healthiest self. We think that by surrounding yourself with people who are positively empowered helps make the journey easier. This blog marks the first in a series that highlights empowered women making things happen where they live. Do you have someone you want us to highlight? Send a note, let us know who, why and send along an email address where we can get in touch with them.

In January, fitness guru Shelby Reno pushed her 20-year title of a trainer to the next level and launched the first CKO Kickboxing franchise in the Midwest. For Reno, fitness is not something that can be relegated to the backburner as she has devoted her life to staying active on top of raising two young girls. Even outside of the gym, she can be found competing in mountain bike gravel road racing and trying to find time to shower. Hey, the struggle is real.

She grew up an athlete in rural Idaho where in high school she had varsity letters in tennis and volleyball and was captain of the cheerleading squad. She ran distance in college until receiving her group fitness certification in 1997. Reno combined her passion for fitness and experience with strategic marketing to open CKO in Grand Rapids in 2016.


Besides fitness improvement, what do you hope those that attend fitness classes get out of their experience?
First and foremost, if your workout isn’t fun, it will be difficult to sustain it long-term. Building kickboxing combinations is fun and a major stress reliever. You can take your stresses and anxieties out on the bag to high energy music and time flies. This is in part to striking a bag but also in part to the elevated release of serotonin (feel-good chemicals). These are the two main components of one of my favorite taglines: “Get addicted.”


Do you feel exercise can help women in becoming strong and confident people?
Confidence for certain! You feel good when you feel strong and fit. Fit bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Muscle tone is more meaningful and appreciated today than ever before. It’s incredibly sexy and empowering. A person who’s been consistently working out might see their quads and shoulders gain visible muscle while their waistline becomes more defined. That’s encouraging and helps impress upon them that consistency matters. Small moves equal big changes over time.


A lot of people claim that they “don't have time to work out.” What is your advice to them?
It’s about priorities and creating good habits. If you do not prioritize exercise like you do watching your favorite TV show or paying bills, it becomes easy to put off until you “have time.” You never will. Starting a habit is difficult and studies show if you do something 21 days in a row, it becomes a habit. Our long winters can also make people feel sluggish. Inactivity breeds more inactivity.


How does it feel to be able to say that you're a business owner?
I’m grateful. I saved money for many years to be able to get my dream off the ground. I have a lot invested in the brand, my team and the people who rely on us to give them the best workout to exceed their expectations, which brings them back again and again. If you want to start a business, get guidance from experienced entrepreneurs. Seek out the best employees. Don’t let any part of the business idle on autopilot, and don’t expect new results if you’re not changing the inputs.


To learn more about Shelby Reno, visit