A fit and healthy fitness trainer and mother-of-one suddenly died last month while taking a nap, reports StarTribune. Katie Novak, 31, was found dead on January 18th and is now being honored by Burn Boot Camps around the country with workout events in her memory.

Fit and healthy Katie Novak, 31, unexpectedly died from heart-related issues.

Katie, who was a Lead Trainer at the Burn Boot Camp franchise in Maple Grove, Minnesota, took a nap on January 18th and never woke up. Her 7-year-old son, Nolan, and co-parent, Chris Kuker, had both recently tested positive for COVID-19. However, Katie had tested negative and was fully vaccinated.

Her father, Barry Novak, said about her sudden passing:

It was an absolute shock.

Since Katie’s death, her parents have heard from dozens of people — both from the gym and from the broader community — who were affected by her positive energy.

“We didn’t fully understand her impact until her death, but we’ve been given this bittersweet gift of understanding an aspect of our daughter that we only had a glimpse of.”

One woman at the gym remembered how Katie came up to her after a workout class and welcomed her back to the gym after a period of time when she was too down to attend. The woman, who was depressed and struggling, confided in Katie, who met her gaze and said:

“I’ve been there too, and we’ll get through it together.”

That woman told Katie’s parents that their daughter saved her life.

Katie was an expert at encouraging people to push themselves and stay motivated.

Katie’s mother, Beth Novak, said even as a child her daughter was quick to reach out to others — so much so that she would frequently invite neighbors and passersby inside the house for snacks.

She truly believed everybody had potential.

Tina Hegna, the owner of the gym where Katie Novak worked, said that conviction and positive energy came through even in Katie’s first phone interview and never wavered, even when the pandemic changed protocols at the gym shortly after she was hired. Hegna said she had planned to have the 31-year-old soon start working as lead trainer at three gyms across the metro area.

“She was such a great leader. We really thought we were going to work together for 20 years.

Katie is survived by her 7-year-old son Nolan, parents Beth and Barry Novak and her brother Joseph Novak.

The GoFundMe for Katie – which has raised over $53,000 for her son Nolan – can be found here.

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