A Winnipeg fitness trainer is being honoured for her work in the community, which began when she decided not to let a mugging deter her.

Sandi Knox, co-owner of Body Balance Fitness and Massage on Henderson Highway, has been nominated for CanFitPro's fitness professional of the year. She's one of three finalists and is the first Winnipegger to make it this far.

Body Balance has been a labour of love for Knox, who first came to the city from Portage la Prairie, Man., in 2001.

After she moved to Winnipeg, she was attacked in an attempted robbery downtown.

"I could've just given up, moved back home, could've just curled into a ball. But I chose to do something different. I chose to stand up and fight," she told CBC News on Monday.

Knox decided to take up martial arts. She currently has a black belt in taekwondo and she practises Muay Thai boxing and karate.

'I chose to stand up and fight.' - Sandi Knox

She eventually quit her day job at a corporate office. Body Balance was founded in 2008 and offers boot camp, pilates, cardio-boxing and Zumba classes, among others.

Knox also teaches a Defence Divas class, which is offered free of charge to women who have experienced abuse.

"I'm giving back to the community everything I've got," she said.

"I want to empower men, women, teens of all ages to … live your dreams because you know what? If you can see it, you can do it."

CanFitPro will announce the winner at a ceremony Sunday in Toronto.

"She has already won in my mind. This would be a huge feat for Manitoba," said Jana Baron, a client at Body Balance.

"We have a lot of trainers, we have a lot of personal trainers. Sandi brings a certain positive reinforcement. She's got all shapes and sizes — she's non-judgmental. She just pushes everybody but she gets to know each and every client."

Meanwhile, Knox is eyeing more goals.

"I would love to do a TV show," she said.

"I've been writing a book for the last few years, so I'm hoping to bring the book out so … nothing's going to stop me now. I'm like a race horse, you know, when it comes out of the gates."