Saturday, 31 July 2021

F Faith and Fitness

Fitness: A Foundation for Personal Change

by Jesse Holder – Fitness Convert and Enthusiast

Not so long ago I stood on a corner in my small home town staring up at the clock tower. I soon found myself mesmerized at how time had seemingly stopped. For once in my life I honestly felt like the clock was standing perfectly still.

I had just spent the last year cleaning up the remains of my parent’s shattered lives. No longer able to care for themselves, my brother and I had only recently made some really tough decisions on their behalf. Due to all of the time away spent taking care of my parents, my business had suffered greatly… and a phone call from my accountant earlier that day had confirmed my worst fears. In addition, the stress from these events over time had deeply impacted my wife and children.

At the age of 50, my life had seemingly come to an abrupt stop and time stood still.

Like many people who face major obstacles or turning points in their lives, I soon began to focus on how to get my life back on track. Maybe I should re-double my efforts… work extra hours, spend make-up time with my wife, and spend more quality time with my kids? All of this sounded great, except that I was thoroughly drained and exhausted from recent events. I simply did not have the energy or drive to follow through.

Time for a change

Tired, depressed, utterly out of shape, and with my confidence at an all-time low, I knew that it was time to try something different. So, how about walking? Sounded good enough - and like something that I could probably handle. Maybe not too much at first – and maybe only a mile or two a couple nights a week – but enough to get my body moving. Soon after I started walking, my family joined me… with my two youngest sons sometimes making a game of leading the way. Before I knew it, we were walking several nights a week.

I was starting to feel a little better thanks to the new walking routine. But as my body got acclimated to more movement, it also began to yearn for something more challenging. Funny how that works! What started with only few small steps was beginning to add up to something bigger.

Doing more and being more

Later in the fall, while on an America Ninja Warrior-style trounce around town with my sons, I stumbled into Kellye Personal Fitness – a gym located only a few blocks from my home. I had seen folks coming in and out on many occasions. And depending on their direction, they seemed primed and ready for a challenge - or exhausted, sweaty but yet somehow fully satisfied. The gym’s slogan “DO MORE BE MORE” sounded like just what I needed.

I hesitantly entered the gym and introduced myself to the owner, Kellye Williams. After a careful review of my physical condition, Kellye invited me to an upcoming class. Much like the small steps of my early walks that had soon led to miles at a brisk pace, so too were my initial workouts at this gym. They were slow, purposeful, with a keen eye on improving my health and overall conditioning. Over the coming months Kellye’s unique blend of personal training, her love for helping people to transform their lives through fitness and health, and her inspirational “servant-leader” style soon had me on the road to much needed improvements … improvements that I could feel internally and results that I could actually see in the mirror. And a real added bonus of going to the gym was being able to work out with like-minded people who continually challenged each other to keep pushing farther.

Results that I could believe in

Because of the fitness routine and a gradual shift to a more natural and healthy diet, for the first time in many years I experienced results that I could honestly believe in. My friends and family were starting to notice the changes in me, too. My confidence was building – I felt stronger inside and even my posture was better. My shoulders felt straight and my chin was up. No more dragging from day to day - I finally felt like I was building a foundation from which to move my life forward. And I now had more energy and better stamina to start tackling some of the challenges.

Setting my first fitness goal

Once a year our community police department sponsors a 5k run to raise money to support local law enforcement. I had participated in this event a few times before… and the results were pretty consistent – i.e. you could always count on me to make sure that the baby stroller crowd (usually the last to cross the finish line) was in good company! But this year was different. I had committed myself to fitness and had been following a steady workout routine for several months. So I set my goal to finish this race in 30 minutes – not the fastest pace on earth by any stretch, but for me it represented a huge leap from my normal 40+ minute finish times. I ran the 5k and crossed the finish line with a final time of 30 minutes 43 seconds!

Was this by sheer will and determination, you ask? Nope, it was the voices of my trainers at Kellye Personal Fitness in my head saying, “Almost there. Only a few more steps. Don’t stop now! FINISH!” A great trainer, a gym with like-minded and supportive people, and a healthy diet… and the foundation from which to begin changing my life finally seemed firmly in place.

My commitment to fitness had become my commitment to real personal change… and the results were there right in front of me. 30 minutes and 43 seconds!

Moving forward

I’ll be to first to tell you that my personal journey through fitness is far from complete. I have new goals ahead of me and there is still much work to do. We all know by now that fitness and health is a lifetime pursuit (or at least it should be!). However, I can tell you that since I began my fitness routine and to focus on my health and overall wellbeing, my life has improved dramatically.

My parents have settled into their new surroundings and are beginning to get used to their new lifestyles. And, I’ve since began to refocus my career and I am exploring new avenues and opportunities with real excitement. To be sure, I still have a long way to go to make up for lost time with my wife and children, but they have taken notice of my efforts and resolve for personal change. My hope is that they will soon join me at the gym so that they can begin enjoying the health benefits and fun of working out. But most of all, my hope is that they will learn, too, that fitness can be used as a great tool for personal change – no matter where in life they happen to be.

If you are facing struggles in your life and are looking for a way to move forward, I encourage you to begin investing in yourself through fitness. Don’t wait any longer! Start small if you need to, but make a commitment to get out and find a supportive gym with a trainer who is willing to help you build your foundation to real personal change.

Columnist: Kellye Davis Williams


Kellye Davis Stellman is a personal trainer, gym owner, and certified Life Coach who focuses on the health and well being of her clients as well as coaching them to make positive changes that will impact the rest of their lives.  She helps them achieve their health and fitness goals as well as encourages them to strive for and achieve their “life goals” with her message of hope. 

Kellye resides in East Atlanta with her husband Keith.  She has 4 daughters and 3 grandchildren.  She is an active member of The Tabernacle Church.  In her spare time she loves traveling, spending time with her husband and daughters, shopping, and simply enjoying coffee with friends. 



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