APEX, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Ms. Health and Fitness competition is happening right now virtually and one of the competitors is from right here in the Triangle.
Angi Van de Sande from Apex is hoping to be the lucky winner of $20,000 and earn a spot on the cover of Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine.
Van de Sande started teaching group fitness classes more than 20 years ago.
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"I really had a passion to inspire people and then help people and watch their progress and just motivate them," she said.
Last March when the pandemic shut down gyms, she was forced to move outside of her comfort zone.
"I taught my last class at the gym on a Monday night, that's when they were shutting everything down," Van de Sande said. "We packed up and came to the beach and I was telling my husband there's got to be a way I can connect with people virtually. He did some research for me and by Friday I was up and running."
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Angi learned how to motivate her clients through a screen and started an online interactive fitness group called FITVDS, helping hundreds of people at no cost to stay safe and fit at home.
"I learned the power of zoom is so powerful teaching," she said. "More than I ever expected. I think the world is changing when it's coming to fitness. It's not just like you're pushing in a DVD and you're not getting any input out of it."
Her commitment to fitness landed her a spot in the 2021 Ms. Health and Fitness competition. For Angi, taking home the award would help to promote her brand but it would also really help out her family, including her 10-year-old daughter, who struggles with a mental illness.
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"Just to help her get a better resource," said Van de Sande. "North Carolina doesn't have a lot of resources for youth and mental illness. I adopted her when she was 4 and she started having problems around 6. She's been in and out of the hospital probably 5 or 6 times."
Angi is hoping to be one of 500 to advance the quarterfinals Thursday night at 10. She's hoping to get community support to help her win the competition on August 5. You can vote for free once a day here.
Apex woman, who started own fitness business during pandemic, hopes to win Ms. Health & Fitness 2021