To Top

Meet Akilah Saunders of Body Werk Fitness in Compton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Akilah Saunders.

Akilah, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve been an active plus size girl my whole life. Dancer since a kid, cheerleader, to cheer coach, then eventually starting my own dance company. I wanted to explore adding a dance fitness class to our service but struggled to find a committed instructor to lead it. In the midst of that… I participated in a weight loss challenge at my job and I didn’t win but I lost 10 pounds in 30 days. This motivated me to keep going. Then I thought… I could just teach the classes myself. I knew first hand how hard it is being overweight trying to lose weight and the other challenges that come along with getting healthy.

I launched my first class in late 2017 with plans to start on a bigger scale in 2018. Had no idea how impactful this vision would be. I started a journey and rather then go alone. I decided to take others with me. Because people need inspiration and motivation to make healthy changes Body Werk has become bigger than my dance company and now stands alone. It not only helps with weight loss but it builds your self-worth and directs you to invest in your self-care.

Fitness Fun is what people call Body Werk. Our classes are like parties, you leave feeling good and wanting to live better. I myself has lost 80 pounds in this program. We have built a community of people who support and encourage each other to live BETTER, eat BETTER, be BETTER.

We went from one class every two weeks for seven people to four classes weekly in two locations. We service over 100 clients with workouts, nutritional meal planning, wellness coaching, mentorship, and life coaching.

Has it been a smooth road?
Definitely struggles. Mostly struggles (I say with a smile) I understand that struggles are part of the journey. Major struggles always start in the pocket. I try to keep classes and services affordable for my community, so there is no overhead. I’m basically pulling it all from my pocket. I don’t have my own studio space (not yet one day) so rent, storage, schedules are all planned around someone else’s plans.

My clients all need to be pushed. They don’t all come with that zeal to keep moving so I have to push them. But it’s time when I don’t have the hands to push.

Helping hands are always needed. The program has gotten bigger and I need a team, just don’t have the funds to pay anyone. So my family helps out but you already know how that goes.

Also, I started this right in the midst of a divorce. My life was starting over, I’m becoming this new person everyday and trying to start a business going thru that is like raising a child alone.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Body Werk Fitness story. Tell us more about the business.
Body Werk is an integrated fitness program. Our workouts include different types/styles of conditioning the body. Our classes can be done by anyone, no matter the level of your own. We make you feel good and important but you get challenge. Our most favorite class is the Trap Yoga… its yoga in the culture of Hip Hop with a twist of exercise.

I’m most proud of the physical and mental results our clients get from our program. Not only are people losing weight but their gaining confidence, dropping bad habits and eating healthier.

What’s Unique about Body Werk… our program is designed by someone who is your typical trainer. Our routines and tips come from a place where the clients can identify. Because I’ve been where you are, so I know first hand how you feel. Its practical, affordable, and community.

What were you like growing up?
I’ve always been dramatic and over the top. I also suffered from depression during my teenage years. I went from feeling like I could be famous to everyone hates me. But with no reason… I had a good childhood, wanted for nothing. I was in dance, acting, families personal entertainment. I made friends with everyone, wanted to be in everything. But mentally, I was lacking and couldn’t figure out who I was or what I was supposed to be. At 17, I tried to kill myself and was admitted to a Psychiatric hospital. It took God, my family, my church and therapy for me to find my way.


  • Monthly Membership $50
  • Per class $8
  • Virtual classes $7

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Carse Bailey

Suggest a story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in