"Cool and up-to-date..."
"Known on the Web as a butt-kicking tour de force..."
"Kelsey provides positive encouragement as well as helpful cues for proper form and alignment, so it truly feels like you have your own personal trainer."
-NEW YORK TIMES | FOAM MAGAZINE | THE EXAMINER
A LITTLE BACKSTORY
I was born in Seoul, South Korea, and adopted when I was three months old into a family I love deeply, growing up on the South-East side of Washington state in an area I still love to visit called the Tri-Cities. My favorite childhood memories consist of camping trips and summer vacations with family, playing outdoors with the neighborhood kids until the sun went down, showing horses (and riding them ALL over town) and performing in school productions. Overcoming silent battles of bullying and depression during my middle and high school years left me with some emotional scars, but also taught me true empathy for those who feel they are living without a voice, and for those who are hurting or forgotten. Through those experiences, I've also found confidence in creating boundaries and staying intentional on who and what my time and efforts will and will not go to.
Fall of 2005, I made a spontaneous and bittersweet decision to move out of my hometown to Seattle. The next three years were challenging, but rewarding, as I continued developing my experience as a fitness professional, while I hobbied around with on camera hosting and music. Instead of getting comfortable, I felt impressed to pursue my passions at a greater degree, and fall of 2008, made the transition to Los Angeles, California where I found my focus becoming on-camera work as a fitness professional. Although my love for writing and music was the catalyst for my move, I discovered I could add value to more lives doing an extension of what I had been doing in the coaching and fitness industry. I've overcome a serious lack of confidence by learning that who I am is unique and being 'that' is the only way I will maximize my effectiveness, and of course looking at the bigger picture and realizing that fear is like telling your victories you don't really want them.
I'm generally thought of as someone from the fitness space, but my days aren't entirely spent on sweating, coaching and helping people reach their goals. I get really excited when I can do things that encourage others to live out their fullest potential, because I know what its like to have so much inside you to offer the world but feel stuck or doubtful that it should ever amount to much more. Usually we just need a redirection of perspective, a solid game plan and people in our lives who play positive roles that push us in the right direction. If I can be one of those people to anyone, I know I'm doing something right.
I've experienced life as an active duty military wife through tough training schedules and long deployments, and now one in the law enforcement space; we've been married for over 10-years and are still growing up together. I'm extremely passionate about couples doing life together in as many ways as they can, despite separate careers or interests; we are so powerful in teams of two. Married life isn't a cake walk but its sweeter than anything else I've ever experienced. I always hope that even in its imperfections, our life together sets a positive and encouraging example to other couples or single folks we cross paths with.
Music has been a lifelong passion and gift that I still enjoy, even if just as a hobbiest. I've had some great experiences and opportunities, performing at the Future American Music Award Stars Showcase in Beverly Hills, singing on stage at Cowboy Stadium, as well as locations in Alaska such as Juneau and Ketchikan with Michael W. Smith, and opened for several National artists in Los Angeles at venues such as the Knitting Factory and Key Club. I've also had the pleasure of working on numerous hosting and TV projects as someone from the health and fitness space, and continue to work in the industry as opportunities are presented that make sense for who I am and what I do.
My small role in the industry has been a pretty wild journey and I have no doubt that I'll continue to grow personally and professionally through it. There are moments that hit me really hard, when I think how crazy it is that God picked me up out of Seoul, South Korea, planted me into a loving family in little Eastern Washington, and made a way for me to pursue things I love here, out of Southern California. That's similar to any one of our lives - we all have circumstances that are unique to us and what we're able to do in order to add value to the world around us. That is also huge accountability to keep doing what I can to love on and show hope and encouragement to others through my day to day life. You never know who you will prevent from falling, when you gather your strength and stand strong, regardless of your circumstances.
My experience ranges from the aesthetics spectrum of body transformations, to the dynamics of everyday functionality- always including proper (and practical) nutrition, cardiovascular, resistance and core training. Clients I've worked with have ranged from ages twelve to eighty, male and female, with a variety of physical and nutritional histories and goals. My journey in the health and fitness industry as a Personal Trainer, Boot Camp Instructor, and Certified Nutrition Coach began in 2005 after deciding to compete in my first NPC Figure Competition in Washington State the Fall of 2004 and falling in love with fitness. Having been a dancer, cheerleader and equestrian since a young age, I had already been subjected to an active lifestyle that helped contribute to a new-found focus in fitness.
My passion for helping others learn the dynamics of exercise and nutrition soon revealed itself as part of my life’s purpose when I began personal training in 2005 for Gold’s Gym in Seattle and Redmond, Washington. I eventually left Gold’s after having been invited to train at Evolution Fitness in Bellevue where I was able to glean from some of the very best men and women in the industry. After feeling called outside of the corporate gym atmosphere in 2008, my focus turned to teaching nutrition, private contracting as a trainer and launching indoor and outdoor boot camps. Although I'm no longer competing, I became pro-qualified after winning Overall (coming in 1st in both the Novice Short, Novice Overall, Open Short, and Open Overall) at the California Natural Championships in August of 2013.
Through online communications and social media, my reach has grown globally and I've had the privilege of being acknowledged from a variety of sources including NY Times, Foam Magazine, The Examiner, and a wide array of bloggers as being up-to-date, refreshing and reachable. No matter where other endeavors take me, I will always have my hand in the fitness space, and hope to be able to add value to you in some way in your own journey!
This is something I wrote as a printable for a youth group retreat, and the feedback was so strong that I wanted to be sure I shared it here for anyone else to read.
It is an all-too-common mistake that the outward image, the superficial appearance, is the primary consideration for a person’s value, or qualification- especially in regards to how we think of ourselves. At some point in time, we’ve all taken notice of a magazine or movie image and in some shape or form, compared ourselves to it, planting the seed that “maybe we just aren’t enough”- and if only we could more closely resemble that image, we would be.
If this rings a bell, or stirs something in your heart, know you are not alone, and this battle is something that millions of others throughout the world truly struggle with; some on such levels that they have contemplated taking their own life. Be encouraged that you are enough, because He who created you made no mistakes.
We are reminded in 1 Samuel 16:7, “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” A particular shape, size, height, color, weight, charisma or overall “look” does not determine the value or capability of any individual; what does determine their value and capability is who God intends for them to be, what He intends for them to do, and the condition of their heart. If our life revolves around our outward appearance, or judging the outward appearance of others, we so badly miss the boat that we will never feel fulfilled. Each of us have a certain grace on our life, and are called to live victoriously in it for His purpose; we were not created to compare ourselves to one another and run in circles of insecurity, fear, envy or pride- so why is it that the world promotes such a trend? Because, it is easy to buy into what the world refers to as ‘ideal’, and the revenue brought in by both men and women chasing after that ‘ideal’ drives the financial bottom line of companies throughout the world. People from all walks of life are being destroyed by the lack of knowledge of what is real and what is not, in terms of physical aesthetics, and the drapery of deception our world’s standards deploy through visual media and advertising. We must realize that we are imperfect people, and chasing after the world’s criteria/s of ‘perfection’ is an endless, unfulfilling, empty pursuit. If we desire genuine health (physically, emotionally and spiritually), the confidence that comes with it, and to live as the very best version of ourselves, first things must be put first- “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” –Matthew 6:33.
Living with genuine resolve to seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) in all things is truly foundational in being free of the lies that ‘self-image’ issues can entrap us in. It is one thing to be aware of deception, but to be armored from its enchantment requires something greater than ourselves; His name is Jesus Christ. When we begin to understand who we are in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), we live more intentionally, and take greater consideration into being good stewards of ourselves, and the choices we make in every area of our lives. Unhealthy, unproductive thinking and habits become a thing of the past, and healthy, productive thoughts, behaviors, and refreshed confidence flow through our everyday lifestyle. Being the best you that you can be entails responsible stewardship over what God has given you, and being responsible stewards of our bodies makes living undistracted by what the world tells us we should be less challenging.
The importance of having a healthy and able body goes far beyond feeling confident in our clothes or performing better physically. It allows us to live and operate more efficiently, and effectively, in whatever it is we are designed to do. 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 reminds us that responsible stewardship of our body is vitally important to the Lord, and for the sake of ourselves. 1 Corinthians 6:12 suggests the liberties we have that are not inherently wrong, may also not be advantageous, either: “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” We should consider that even thoughts and actions which may not be considered sin, or wrong, can become sin, and become wrong if we allow them to have power over us. An example being taking days of rest, and enjoying foods we love that may not be beneficial to eat consistently, becoming a routine habit, resulting in laziness and gluttony. Another example is someone who intends to incorporate healthy eating and exercise into their daily routine becoming obsessive and driven solely by those activities and the tangible results they produce, rather than being driven by living in a way that honors the Lord. We are once again encouraged to consider the condition of our heart; the intentions of why we do what we do reflect greatly on our relationship with God and our willingness to die to ourselves and live for Him.
If we truly live as Matthew 6:33 instructs, we will be able to become the best version of ourselves we can be, and the lie that we aren’t enough, or must meet a worldly criteria to become more, will no longer hold us back.