Murfreesboro Gym owner shares keys to success

As 2016 begins, more than half of the U.S. population starts to ponder what New Year’s resolutions they will try.

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62 percent of Americans usually or infrequently make a resolution with which to start the new year. Half of those resolutions are about self-improvement, and 38 percent are to lose weight, making it the top New Year’s resolution annually.

While hopes are high on the first day of January, by the last day in June more than half have failed to stick with it, the study from 2014 found.

Murfreesboro gym owner Kelman Edwards Jr. said resolvers can do a few simple things to make sure they make the lifestyle changes needed to get fit: think positively, identify reachable goals, get professional advice and get started.

12347614_782004988612377_6837406846275276168_nFor Edwards the key to success in anything is positive thinking.

“I find the positive in the negative,” said Edwards, who is holding a grand opening for his gym ChampionTone Fitness at 11 a.m. Dec. 10 at 1180 Park Ave. in Murfreesboro.

Edwards was at a loss after he graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2011 with a degree in biology and chemistry, he said.

Because his career plans were derailed by his grandmother’s death in Barbados, he said he found it hard to find a job and ended up working construction around Nashville.

Edwards said all the interviews he went on told him he needed more experience in the field, and MTSU’s career center told him to get a masters.

“I think it’s ironic that I had graduated from MTSU and a few months later I was demolishing the dorm I had lived in,” Edwards said about stepping back into Wood-Felder Hall to raze the dorm and make room for the new science building.

Shortly after, he knew he needed to make a change.

Identify your goals

Edwards said he started thinking about his career options, and by chance an old friend asked him to train for a competition. The pair started working out together at a student apartment complex near MTSU.

Then other people began asking him for advice, and he started to build a following, he said.

“Nothing happens by chance,” Edwards said.

Then he realized he could make a career out of being a personal trainer.

Edwards’ business began to grow slowly, he said. He eventually expanded his reach to other student apartment complex gyms while completing his certification through the International Sports Science Association, which he finished Dec. 10, 2012.

He said he grew ChampionTone Fitness by reachable goals, just like someone embarking on their own fitness program.

Edwards said he encourages clients to set five-pound or 10-pound checkpoints that lead to the total weight-loss goal.

“Making the goals reachable will help you stay motivated,” he said.

Seek professional help

Edwards said he stayed motivated by building his brand through social media and eventually he outgrew the “college scene.”

It was then that he met Kevin Lacy at Blueprint Fitness on West College Street in Murfreesboro.

“I had to take the next step in my career,” Edwards said.

Lacy, who has been a personal trainer for the past 10 years, helped Edwards by letting him train his clients out of Blueprint Fitness.

Edwards said his business and his skill set grew with the help of Lacy, who taught him about functional fitness. The training style focuses on building muscles by using real-life activities instead of machines, like doing squats instead of using a leg press.

Getting help from a trainer with more experience helped Edwards succeed.

Beginning exercisers should also talk with someone about how to get the most out of a workout, Edwards said.

Professional personal trainers can give advice, he said, adding that going to a personal trainer also adds structure and accountability.

“People are more likely to let themselves down than someone else,” Edwards said.

Get started

Edwards said he wouldn’t be where he is today if had hadn’t taken a chance and started in the first place.

He said his family told him “to get a real job” and “work at a real gym,” but he stuck with it and jumped in with both feet.

“I’ve always believed that if you jump, a net will appear,” he said.

And here he is three years later poised for the grand opening of his own gym, doing one-on-one and group training, and working with professional body builders.

“If it wasn’t for my grandmother passing away, I wouldn’t have been on that plane to Barbados and on the road to being a personal trainer,” Edwards said.


You can find out more about Kelman Edwards and ChampionTone Fitness at

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