Elena Kelsh: Athlete, Entrepreneur & Student Extraordinaire

Meet Elena Kelsh. Elena is a senior at Carthage, majoring in economics with a minor in business administration. Along with being a top-tier student, Elena competes for the Lady Reds cross country and track & field teams at the varsity level. Her list of accomplishments also features certifications in personal training, fitness nutrition and CPR.

Elena started off her college career as a Division I volleyball player at Marquette University, but soon turned her attention to running, which led her Carthage. Right off the bat, she had immediate success in her first cross country meet placing in the top seven, which is considered varsity. Elena enjoys running and working out and is passionate about spreading her knowledge to others.

Photo courtesy of Elena Kelsh

Elena first had the drive to start her own personal training business when she was just 19 years old. Talk about ambitious! Elena says: “Honestly, I was so fed up with the way ‘personal training’ was offered and advertised through chain gyms and how they pretty much exploit clients. Going into this line of work, I knew traditional training at your Planet Fitness, Lifetime Fitness, Charter Fitness, etc. really doesn’t give clients the results they sign up and pay for.”

She was smart, however, and knew she couldn’t just start off a new business without clients or experience. After getting her personal training certification, Elena began working as a trainer at LA Fitness.

There, she was able to get her name out and show that she was a force to be reckoned within the personal training field. While she enjoyed getting to work with people to meet their health goals, Elena felt restricted with only 30-minute workout sessions and not being able to share meal plans with the people she worked with. She also wanted to focus her attention on helping her clients get what they came in for—results.

At her position at LA Fitness, she felt as though the management only wanted her to focus her attention on the sales side of the business. After gaining enough experience and networking with enough people, Elena felt that she was ready to branch off on her own.

Elena started by identifying the needs of her clients. She focused on four main issues:

1. Lack of knowledge

2. Inconvenience of traveling

3. Time constraints

4. Intimidation

With these in mind, she started her own personal training business in which she travels directly to her clients for their training session and helps them with everything: workouts to meal plans to starting a new lifestyle in order to reach their fitness goals. Her holistic approach is what she has found has made her successful.

Elena finds that her business allows for a more flexible schedule. She can schedule her appointments around practices and class, and this helps her stay on top of things. Having her own business has helped her with time management and organization.

One of the biggest things Elena is grateful for is her business allowing her to become a more empathetic person. As a personal trainer, she gets to know her clients well and what they’re going through. Elena says that “clients come to you when real-life problems happen because I guess there’s some sort of stability aspect tied to trainers, so there’s actually a lot of life coaching that is associated with the job. I’ve learned to take these individual aspects of people’s lives and use it to motivate them when they need it, or pull back a little bit, conversely. You would never guess some of their struggles or their victories just by looking at them, but my clients truly are some of the greatest people and have achieved a whole lot. I feel like it’s forced me to be more in tune to people’s emotions and behaviors.”

Interested in starting your own business? You don’t have to wait until after you graduate! Be a go-getter like Elena, and if you have a dream, reach for it!

Rep image courtesy of Elena Kelsh