Certified instructor brings a challenge

  • Published
  • By Airman Taylor Phifer
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Sweat dripped down their red faces into puddles on the floor as the members tried to catch their breath. The fitness instructor encouraged them to power through the hour-long class. By 6 a.m. the members would have completed an intense workout using just a band.

“This class will challenge you,” said Katrina Shanks, the Total Body Resistance Exercise (TRX) instructor at the fitness center at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. “But, it will also empower you to keep pushing and coming back for more.”

Shanks has always had a passion for fitness, but she actually stumbled upon TRX by accident. She was at home searching for more information about competing in figure competitions when she learned about TRX. Wanting an alternative to lifting weights, she decided to give this type of workout a chance.

She discovered that TRX helped not only build strength, but also flexibility and balance without requiring the use of bulky equipment. First developed by the Navy SEALs, this workout only requires a TRX Suspension Trainer, which is an exercise band that uses a person’s body weight and gravity. Hundreds of movements can be done with this band alone.

In order to become certified, Shanks first had to find training near her, which was no easy task. Shanks travelled the nation to attend training, and doing so, her eyes were opened to some very beautiful places.
After nine months, Shanks earned her TRX certification in May 2017, and became the first female in Missouri to become a certified TRX instructor, not just a licensed instructor. As a certified instructor, Shanks was required to pass a test on knowledge of the brand, proper form and instructor etiquette. She also had to demonstrate that she was able to show students modifications and progressions with each exercise.

Becoming a fitness instructor was a decision Shanks will never regret. Along with TRX, Shanks is also certified in group fitness and Silver Sneakers. She is licensed to teach Turbo Kickboxing, PiYo Live, Zumba and Zumba Step programs.

“My TRX certification was by far the hardest one I’ve earned,” said Shanks. “I’m very proud of my accomplishment. I love when people underestimate the workout. They think it will be an easy class just swinging around on some bands, but more often than not, I have people say, ‘Wow, I didn’t think I was going to sweat that much!’”

Shanks went on to explain that the key to this workout is setting the standards and changing the conditions. Once people know what muscles they want to work, they can find a variety of exercises to utilize the TRX band. Then by applying progression in the exercise they can challenge those muscles.

“With TRX having a military background, it seemed natural to start my classes at Whiteman,” said Shanks. “The base already had the TRX bands and they were eager to get things started.”

Shanks brought this class to Whiteman in June 2017.

“I’ve been coming to this class since it started in June,” said Nicki Yanak, a Whiteman team member, smiling as she wiped the sweat from her forehead. “I won’t lie, TRX is a difficult workout, but I feel great after I complete it and Katrina is a very motivating instructor."

With a wide range of different exercise movements, upbeat music and an energetic instructor, this class is suitable for everyone no matter their age, gender, weight or experience with TRX.

“I remember my own struggle with weight after having my first child,” said Shanks. “Now I strive to help others feel better about themselves inside and out.”

As a fitness instructor, Shanks is able to set goals for her programs, clients and herself.

“My biggest goal with this program is to make it grow,” said Shanks. “Spreading the benefits of TRX is a work in progress. Most people are intimidated by the bands, but upon trying the class they are drawn into the challenge that can get them the results they want.”

With a goal to make the program grow as much as possible at Whiteman, Shanks also wants people to get involved and love TRX as much as she does.

“It makes me very happy when people tell me they rearranged their day to make it to my class,” said Shanks. “Not even for me, but to see that they are investing the time and effort to improve themselves.”

Along with her programs and clients, Shanks is pushing to become the best version of herself that she can be as she reaches her fitness goals.

“Currently, my goal is to compete in a fitness competition,” said Shanks. “I think about it often, but my love for fitness is almost as big as my love for all things culinary, so we’ll see.”

While she is aiming for certain fitness and health goals, Shanks is continuously progressing her professional career as well. She is in the process of getting her certification in personal training and as a Spinning instructor.

“There are so many different types of workouts and programs for people to get involved in on base,” said Shanks. “I love fitness because there’s always a new workout or exercise to try, you just have to find something you like.”

The TRX class is held from 5 to 6 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday at the base fitness center. For more information, please contact the fitness center at (660) 687-5496.