Hello to my Fitness Enthusiasts Friends current and new!
One thing you’ll learn real quickly about me is that I’m an “all-inclusive” type of woman.
At least once per week you will hear me chime, “Here at Kelly O. Fitness, we celebrate ALL fitness levels!”
So before we really dive-into what I’m all about, who I am at my core, and why I’m so excited to have you onboard with #TeamKellyO, let’s nix this idea that categorizing fitness levels, nutrition trends, training styles, and self-labeling is necessary.
We’re going to dissect it all. We’re going to communicate so matter-of-factly about exercise-science, nutrition, health, fitness, training mindsets, and overall wellness.
Here, we build sustainabl lifestyles.
We welcome the avid-gym-goers, the Crossfit fanatics, the running-on-the-weekends warriors, the nimble yogis, and – EMPHATICALLY– the “how do I even get started” courageous souls.
So, let’s backtrack.
Hi, I’m Kelly. Nowadays I’m most known as “Kel”, “KellyO”, “Killa”, and “Coach Kelly”. You can call me any of the mix, or decide on a cute little nickname that you may find more suiting.
I grew-up on Long Island, New York among a family that provided me all the love and support of which a little girl could dream.
I never dabbled in athletics in my younger years, and when I was 10 years old I was diagnosed with a number of bone diseases that affected my knees and feet. My bones were so weak (they actually still had yet to turn to bone from cartilage) that I was put into wooden clog shoes after multiple fractures to each of my feet—an attempt to protect my body from the continuous breaks from mere day-to-day life. I was also put into knee braces and made to use crutches from 10 years old to about 16 years old. I became the female version of Forrest Gump. I wasn’t allowed to participate in recess, gym classes, and especially no sports. Needless to say, I was bullied in these younger years. When I was 17 I was offered the opportunity to be the sports statistician for our High School’s boys’ varsity lacrosse and football. I traveled with the team and finally had my eyes opened to the great commitment that these athletes hold while on and off the field. The training, the recovery, the nutrition. I watched (and recorded) their wins, and I focused even more on their losses – I observed their good sportsmanship, their grit, and their comradery.
College approached. A fresh start. A chance to redeem myself in a new environment without my classmates knowing my physical struggles growing up. While I did not have the confidence, or experience, to try-out or join any of the collegiate athletic teams, I rushed right into the Athletic Department and would not let any official turn me away until I received the Sports Statistician gig.
Job Offered and Accepted.
Softball, baseball, football, lacrosse, basketball. I was now a part of it all. Yes, from the sidelines, but I got to each game hours early, watched intently as they warmed up, studied their dynamic stretches, their sport-specific training styles, their intra- recovery with the team’s trainer/physical therapist—I stayed post-game, watched their static stretching and recovery methods (physical and mental); meanwhile, my dormitory was in the same building of the Athletic Weight Room; 5am Lifts by the football players would wake me up as I heard the weights dropping and clanking. I’d peer outside my window directly into the window of the Weight Room. “Are they crazy?! How are they functioning this early?!” I’d wonder.
Junior year of college: I’m going strong as Sports Statistician and admiring the athletes from the sidelines, but I’m hardly recognizing myself. Clothes are fitting tighter, it’s getting difficult to breathe as I walk up the stairs, I’m feeling tired and very sluggish.
“Freshman fifteen” turned into “Freshman, Sophomore, Junior thirty”.
Now, I was never a petite girl. When I was ten years old I was 125lbs. That weight stayed pretty consistent through adolescence, purely through having a growth-spurt where it seemed to “even-out” on the body.
Fast forward to Junior year of college and now I’m 155lbs. And frustrated.
I skipped class one afternoon and turned on Oprah on TV. She was interviewing Author Kathy Freston on a book she had written detailing her Vegan Lifestyle. This woman was tall, slender, bright blonde and shiny hair, smooth and glowing complexion. She explained that “Vegan” meant “Plant-based”—no animal products or animal by-products were consumed – along with the moral and ethical standpoint of protecting and being a voice for the animals.
My reaction and subsequent response was pure vanity: “I want to look glowing, slender, energized, and have a clear-complexion”.
And just like that, cold-turkey (pun-intended), I rid my diet of all meat, dairy, poultry, fish, eggs, and butter.
In retrospect—I simply had not incorporated vegetables into my previous every day diet. Becoming Vegan was my chance of opening my eyes to, not: I have to RID my diet of all of these “things”; but, rather: Look at all the VARIETY I wasn’t aware of consuming! Nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes. I hadn’t heard of farro, hemp seeds, edamame, tempeh, seitan, etc. before! Let alone all the yummy seasonings, spices, and herbs I began incorporating into my diet: coriander, cumin, paprika, sage, rosemary, thyme, etc. With these new foods, my energy levels skyrocketed. The greater benefit? I felt as if a fog had been lifted from my mind. I was thinking clearer, sleeping better, and felt on top of the world.
When I graduated college I moved back home and began working behind the front-desk at a local gym. It was then that I’d browse through the Muscle & Fitness magazines, read the ingredients of the stocked protein bars and protein powders, and watch the men and women walking in and out of the gym: some would go straight to the treadmill and run for miles; while others would go straight to the dumbbells and barbells (free-weights) and would efficiently lift for 40 minutes, then head right on out.
I studied these individuals. The physiques that I strongly admired, in-person and among those fitness magazines, were the same individuals who were lifting heavy and avoiding all aerobic machinery.
I was hooked. I started diving into nutrition and training literature, I studied and became certified as a Fitness Trainer with the International Sports Sciences Association. I was LIFTING. I was shifting my body composition through resistance training: decreasing body fat while increasing lean muscle mass. And all on a vegan diet.
A year later I was featured in my first publication: the hard-copy and online subscription of Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine.
By this time, I had opened up my private personal training studio on Long Island. We grew to Coaching and Training individuals worldwide.
Since then, I’ve been featured in countless publications, podcasts, and interviews. I’ve lived in New Zealand, became a hybrid athlete in adopting training styles from Crossfit, Hypertrophy Training, and Distance Running. I have worked with hundreds of men and women from New York to New Zealand (and everywhere in between) in growing these individuals into their strongest, most confident self.
While now back in New York, my private studio now boasts weekly Group Hypertrophy Training Classes, weekly Group Metabolic Conditioning Classes, One-on-One Personal Training, and our Kelly O. Fitness Running Club. As an online presence worldwide, we offer Custom Designed Day to Day Meal Plans, our Elite Shredding Meal Plan, Macronutrients Calculations, Individualized Training Programs, and Customized Race Training.
As a Fitness Nutrition Specialist (ISSA certified), one of my greatest passions is providing the resources, guidance, and programming for women who are seeking a sustainable lifestyle with their health and fitness: bringing awareness that FOOD IS FUEL and NOT the enemy. More often than not, I coach women who are frustrated with their current body composition. We wind up INCREASING their daily caloric consumption (the food they get to eat every day) and they IMMEDIATELY begin dropping body weight, dropping body fat, and are finally able to sculpt their body to the way that they desire.
So whether you’re a man or woman, local or far, interested in putting on weight or dropping weight, prefer one sport/training style over another—Kelly O. Fitness is the community for you.
I’ll end on this note: I recently held a Consultation with an individual who discussed her health and fitness goals with me, and then we went into her Complimentary Training Session. At the end of the session, after I had anecdotally mentioned different “Athletes” of mine, she said, “I love how you don’t call the people you work with ‘Clients’—you call them ‘Athletes’.” I responded, “Of course! I’ll explain why I do that… Years ago, as I was just getting into Personal Training, I had watched a segment on television in which they were interviewing a Principal at an elementary school that boasted the highest grades and academic achievements. When the Principal was being interviewed and was asked what the secret to this success was, she responded, “It’s because I don’t call these children ‘students’. I call them ‘Scholars’.”
Words are powerful. If you’ve trained with me, you’ll know this right off the bat.
I call the individuals I work with “Athletes”, because that’s what they are.
We are not “working out” together.
Athletes Train. Athletes Recover. Athletes Fuel.
When you begin being referred to as an “Athlete”—and more importantly, refer to YOURSELF as an “Athlete”—beautiful things begin to happen.
You look at food different. Food is fuel.
You look at sleep differently. Sleep is recovery.
You look at exercise differently. Exercise is discipline.
You look at your Personal Trainer/Coach differently. They are your #1 Support System.
Athletes train with 100% effort. They recover with 100% effort. They show up on days that don’t seem “ideal” because they’ve disciplined their mind and body to put in the work through the toughest of moments, knowing that times get tough, but we are tougher.
With that, I challenge you to ask yourself:
“Do I have what it takes to be an Athlete?”
And before any negativity creeps into your headspace, I’ll answer that for you.
Of course you do. 100%. You already are one.
PS: Are you just as hyped to be a part of #TeamKellyO with these blog posts? Leave us a comment below letting us know what topics you’d like Coach Kelly to discuss week – to – week!