Hayley Dawson

On the Move

Hayley DawsonHayley Dawson 3




A year ago Hayley Dawson was crunching numbers for a major insurance claims company, and it wasn’t much fun. She drove a boring, long commute five days a week, and while she drove, she dreamed. She shared her dream of owning a fitness studio over sushi with a friend, and her friend replied, “Why don’t you?”

Having her B.S. in Statistics from the University of Georgia helped a lot. She wrote a business plan, got support from her then soon-to-be husband Jeff and scouted out locations. Nothing seemed to be going anywhere until she received a phone call from a well-known Beaufort landlord, who alerted her to a spacious suite on the second floor of BB&T Bank on Port Republic Street—a prime downtown location. Hayley was thrilled with the floor to ceiling windows, offering both privacy and a glorious view.

She opened her business, “Balance Boutique Fitness” on January 4, 2016, just a few months after voicing her dream outloud. She teaches several varied fitness classes and currently employs five other women, as well, to give clients a smorgasbord of choices. The class names are intriguing: “Tabata” (20 seconds high intensity, 10 seconds rest, but 45 minutes!); “R.I.P.P.E.D.” (high energy with weights and resistance); “Short Circuit” (designed for lunch breakers, 45 minutes and no excess sweating); “Butts and Guts” (use your imagination!) Each class is capped at 15 participants so that everyone can get the instructor’s advice and attention throughout.

"Hayley's passion for fitness is infectious. As a close friend, I got behind her mission on day one. I'd never attended a group workout class before, and to say I was intimidated is an understatment. My size and lack of knowledge had the 'I can'ts' floating in the back of mind. Hayley's encouragement, along with a small class atmosphere got me through the first one, and I was hooked. But, it was HARD. I've never walked out from a workout and felt sore every single time until I began these unique workouts. After I became familiar with barre (my favorite),  she helped me to branch out even further taking on classes that were out of my comfort zone." said Lindsay Gifford, Hayley's friend and client.

Hayley writes an interesting blog on her Web site that starts off confessing that in the first six weeks of opening her studio and exercising every single day, she had not lost a single pound—brutal honesty for an exercise instructor/owner to share. But, she goes on to say, “Don’t focus on the numbers! Focus on how you feel! Exercising offers more benefits than just losing weight, so if the numbers aren’t shrinking, don’t worry! You will feel happier and be healthier and that’s the most important!” She feels that more energy, better sleep and being able to walk up her stairs without being winded are much better rewards than a number on the scale. She doesn’t even have a scale in her studio! How refreshing.

Balance is the first word in her business, and she emphasizes that as well. She understands the time constraints that busy working women have, and works to provide a fun, welcoming community of women who accept you as you are, and even provides a babysitter, if needed. The balance of work, home, self, family and physical fitness is a delicate one, and Hayley guides her clients to find what works for them.

She’s been through the risky first year of all new businesses, and understands that there are ebbs and flows, just like the Beaufort River outside her window. People get busy with their lives in June and December, she winks, but they’ll be back in January. Guiding her clients to be happier and healthier is her theme, and her passion.

Up Close:

Favorite workout move: “I love all ab exercises! My favorite right now is a slowed down version of a bicycle with a second pulse on each side!”

Least favorite workout move: “I hate doing burpees, but they are one of the best and most effective exercises you can do!” Note: For those of you, like me, who don’t know what a burpee is, she kindly sent a picture. Looks exhausting! (see right)Hayley Dawson 2

Healthiest meal you both like: “Grilled chicken and roasted sweet potatoes, onions and red bell peppers with a little olive oil and good balsamic vinegar. I toss in some fresh spinach with the hot veggies so it wilts a little. It is super easy and tastes so good! We will add a little goat cheese if we feel like being less healthy.”

Not so healthy meal you two enjoy: “Mexican! There is something so perfectly decadent about making burritos and smothering them in queso!"

Dream for one year from now (Jan. 2018) – “Have all of my classes at a minimum 50% capacity. It sounds small, but I think it is reasonable.”