GVSU track & field alumna finds success

GVL / Courtesy - Kelsey Young

Kelsey Young

GVL / Courtesy – Kelsey Young

Beau Troutman

Kelsey Young may have finished her track and field career, but she’s just getting started with her personal training career.

The former Grand Valley State athlete opened Great Escape Fitness LLC in northwest Grand Rapids this past May. The fitness center’s primary goal is to help clients develop power, strength, endurance and flexibility through individual-focused workouts and a team-like atmosphere.

“My main goal is just to kind of me a coach and mentor to whoever walks in the door,” Young said. “That could be any age group, any gender, but it’s really for anyone looking for that mentorship and that leadership.”

Young says Great Escape caters to the individual’s fitness needs, goals and available time commitment, and doesn’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. She acknowledges that there are many gyms, fitness centers and other available options in the Grand Rapids area, but Young says her individual approach and appointment-only set up give make Great Escape unique.

“I like to make everyone feel important and their workout is specific to them and their fitness goals,” Young said.

In her time at GVSU—where she graduated from in 2014—Young was an accomplished long distance runner and a member of the 2012 national championship team. While competing with the cross country team, Young majored in exercise science and her peers encouraged her to do something fitness related beyond college.

While in college, Young studied abroad in Germany and it gave her confidence to be independent in the business world. In addition, she says that the lifestyle differences she noticed while in Germany made her feel that America was too complacent with sedentary lifestyles.

“My guest parents (in Germany), they biked to work every single day,” Young said. “Doesn’t matter the weather, they’re biking to work. And they live on a mountain, so it was like every day you’re doing things outside. I feel like people here, they’re like ‘Oh I have to walk half a mile, I’m not gonna do that.’”

The ball got rolling quickly with Great Escape, and Young says it “just happened.” She conceived the idea for the business in January, which is the same time the building she currently uses became available with exercise equipment included.

Young went all in on the business, and rapidly got what she needed to open in early May.

Though Young is an expert when it comes to fitness, she’s had a learning curve with running her own business by herself.

“It’s quite challenging trying to find clients and find your own brand in a field that’s so saturated with so much. It’s definitely hard trying to find your niche and how you’re going stand out over everybody else,” Young said.

Thus far, Young has relied primarily on word-of-mouth as well as print media advertisements to get the word out about Great Escape. Young is flexible to any schedule or anyone’s particular situation, and has a variety of membership options available. More information can be found at www.greatescapefitness.com.

“I really just want to promote health and wellness. The importance of fitness and being active and healthy, ways to be motivated,” Young said. “Not everyone can just motivate themselves, so I want to be that guidance for them. I want them to look to me for how they can better their health.”