PHOTO BY ARIEL PEREZ
Winston-Salem native Bridgette Kelley has found her purpose in life by combining her passion for helping others with her knack for all things fitness. In August 2020, Bridgette transitioned from working as a certified nursing assistant to earning her current role as an NCSF certified personal trainer at Phenom Fitness in Clemmons. As a member of Phenom Fitness myself, I immediately noticed Bridgette’s natural ability to simultaneously make her clients feel at ease while making sure they break a sweat. Her clients always leave the gym with a smile and are eager to return for their next training session.
Having a love for sports, Bridgette played soccer for 13 years and was accustomed to staying active. After working as a CNA and caring for geriatric patients, Bridgette began to realize that the emotional stress of her profession was beginning to take a physical toll on her body and weight. When she mustered up the energy to start refocusing on her fitness, she taught herself how to lift weights properly through her own research and whipped herself back into shape. Others around her also noticed her progress and began asking her for help in reaching their fitness goals, allowing her to dip her toes into the personal training water for the first time.
In 2017, Bridgette was performing a shoulder press exercise when someone bumped into her, tearing her rotator cuff and sending her on a road to recovery. She received adjustments, stem cell, and laser cell therapies at a chiropractic clinic, but decided to take matters into her own hands before seeking physical therapy. By conducting her own research on rehabilitation and using a trial and error method to figure out what worked for her body, she intensely focused on resistance and strength training in order to gradually heal from her injury. Soon enough, she was able to lift heavier than she could lift before her injury, leading her to consider pursuing a career in personal training specializing in rehabilitation.
Although Bridgette initially planned on attending nursing school, she became more passionate about personal training as she gained more knowledge about the body and experience in healing her injury. After living and working in Raleigh for two years, she took a leap of faith, quit her job as a CNA, and set out to become a full-time personal trainer. The knowledge she gained by researching fitness on her own set an excellent foundation for her to receive her NCSF certification. When one of her friends encouraged her to reach out to local gym owners in Clemmons to jump start her career, Bridgette took the initiative and expressed her interest. They were so impressed with Bridgette’s drive and knowledge that they hired her on the spot after her first interview. In less than one month of training, she had accumulated up to 15 clients and found that her new role was a perfect fit.
What Bridgette finds most rewarding about her role as a personal trainer is hearing her clients say that they not only look better, but feel better as well. Knowing that her clients are able to walk up stairs without pain or feeling sore, in addition to improving their overall quality of life, inspires her to keep learning and keep training. In the future, Bridgette aspires to one day open a gym of her own. Her dream is to create an environment where clients feel confident and comfortable in their own skin while working hard to reach their goals.
A woman after my own heart, Bridgette loves travel and fell in love with the Italians’ healthy lifestyles during her many trips to Rome, Italy, to visit family. Between all the pasta and red wine, one of her favorite Italian meals was prepared by her great aunt and consisted of fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, drizzled with olive oil and a touch of salt. Inspired by her great uncle, she hopes to fulfill her childhood dream of exploring Egypt on her next international adventure.
When she’s not training at Phenom Fitness or wandering the canals of Venice, Bridgette enjoys visiting her friends, post-workout massages and spa visits. To learn more about Bridgette’s personal training and follow along with her fitness journey, check her out on Instagram at @bkelleyfit.