Sarah-Jane Hill’s love for exercise emanated from Jane Fonda’s “Original Workout” video and ultimately led her to open Krank Nashville, a cycle and strength fitness studio. You can find her at the studio seven days a week, and as a new business owner, that’s okay with her. She is able to find balance in her life and is not at a loss for time to spend with her twin boys and her fiancé. Sarah-Jane feels lucky that things have come together and believes it never would have worked out if she wasn’t in Nashville. She acknowledges that this city benefits from her studio, but also accepts that it is successful because of her staff and clientele. We agree! We are fortunate to have Sarah-Jane as a Nashvillian, and we are excited to introduce her as today’s FACE of Nashville.
What brought you to Nashville?
I am from Portland, OR, but my dad was in the military, so I have lived all over the world. I went to school in Walla Walla, WA, at Whitman College, then I went to CalArts in California. I thought I wanted to be an actress, but discovered I really wanted to work on the other side of the camera as a casting director. I ended up in an agent’s office working as an agent for a long time. I moved to Minneapolis to do some casting there; then, I moved back to L.A. to coach, mostly children and teens. At one point, I looked around at my peers and thought, I am never going to get married. I am never going to have kids. I will have to be married to the business. But I wanted more. So I came to Nashville in 2004-2005.
When did Krank open its doors, and how has it evolved? What is your mission for the business?
I opened Krank in 2011; there were four partners at the time. We made the decision to have personal training and started teaching group exercise classes on the side. Our classes involved strength and interval training — moves that are functional, but also out of the ordinary. We encourage clients to work their whole body. Those classes took off. So making the move to cycle and Krank strength classes was the first big change.
At the beginning, Kelly Dunn and I looked like we were running through headwind or running up a sandhill. What Kelly always told me was, “Just go with your gut.” That was our motto, and that was key. Krank would not be alive without Kelly. She has cleaned every corner of that place before soccer, before church and before a date! She is my rock.
Our mission is efficiency. It is one hour, and you work every part of your body … and still have a good time. It is efficient, and we’ve built a community.
Have exercise and fitness always been a focus in your life?
Yeah, always. I wore out the Jane Fonda tape. For me, it has been really empowering. Group exercise classes are almost like mediation …
Are you as disciplined with your diet as your workouts?
Yes, I am. It is 80 percent food. Period. I have to hit the reset button all the time. If you don’t get right in the kitchen, nothing else matters. All of that hard work you do to build lean muscle goes nowhere without clean eating. Everything in moderation, right?
What songs are currently on your Krank playlist?
“Closer,” by Milk N Cooks
“How I Want Ya,” Darwin Remix by Hudson Thames
“King,” by Years & Years
“Inside Out (Stélouse & Louis The Child Remix)” by Chiefs x Nick Acquroff
“Wrong Turns,” by Old Dominion
What has been the hardest thing you have had to learn starting your own business?
Number one, pay yourself first. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but give to yourself. Blood sweat and tears — that is not for free. That was a really good learning lesson for me. Also, don’t think you have to settle with something that is not absolutely perfect. You don’t have to make that square peg fit that round hole just because everybody else does it that way or because you were told that is the way it should be. And exploit your differences. That is the strongest thing you can do. One can reinvent the wheel — it is still the wheel, just reinvented.
What is your favorite thing about Nashville?
Just this. Whatever this excitement is about Nashville. There is a kind of synergy here that is just insane. The other thing is the people. The people in Nashville make me the most genuine version of myself.
Is there one thing you would like to bring to Nashville that is missing?
Mass transit. That is one thing that’s missing. Everybody has got to embrace it. It is crazy that you have to plan your day around the traffic schedule. And a really good sushi restaurant. Other than that, I think you can find it in Nashville.
Where, locally, did you have your best last meal? What is your next restaurant destination?
What are some quick tips for getting back in shape?
Go every day. Every day, put on your workout shoes and go. That is the best thing you can do. You don’t give yourself a day off — it is going to happen on accident because life happens. The other tip, this is going to be a push for something else, Fit Girls Guide. If you want to start, you have to get right with your food first. Fit Girls Guide has that same mentality. Put your shoes on every day.
Do you have any good book recommendations?
What are three things you can’t live without, excluding faith, family and friends?
Waterproof mascara, red wine and a book
Thank you, Sarah-Jane, for sharing the story of Krank Nashville and inspiring us to get back in shape! For more on Krank, see kranknashville.com. And thank you to Ashley Hylbert for today’s gorgeous photos. Visit ashleyhylbert.com to see more of her great work.
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