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Business student opens up fitness center

On September 5, 2013

  • Adams Stelly, international business major. The Maroon

International business junior Adam Stelly combined his passion for business and self-proclaimed obsession with fitness by opening up his own gym this summer.
Stelly's Appear Fit fitness center opened its doors on July 29. It was a huge moment for Stelly, whose journey toward fitness began as a child when he struggled with emotional eating.
"I turned to food for comfort. It was my only coping mechanism for my emotions," Stelly said.
Stelly said he became determined to focus his energy on something he could control - working out. It wasn't easy, and Stelly said he had to learn how to fall in love with the process and not the end result.
"I had to say, 'OK Adam, if you're not the hardest-working in the gym then you're not going hard enough,'" Stelly said.
Stelly began to incorporate that philosophy into his daily life. He became a certified personal trainer at 17 years old and started off with freelance training, but hated working on other peoples' "turf." He decided to buy equipment and train clients in his parents' garage.
But business-minded Stelly ultimately wanted to run his own fitness center, and just last year he opened up the first Appear Fit in Uptown New Orleans.
His motivation wasn't enough, and Stelly said he "failed miserably" at his initial attempt to open his fitness studio.
"Not a single person showed up for the entire three weeks that my classes were offered," Stelly said. "I realized that I was marketing to the wrong crowd. Now, Appear Fit is on the West Bank near Oakwood Mall. I'm so glad we made the move."
His perseverance isn't surprising to Michelle Johnston, associate professor of management. She describes Stelly as being a "dream" to teach in her business communications class that he took his freshman year.
"He sat in the first two rows and never missed class," Johnston said. "He was much more mature and business savvy than the average freshman student."
Thea Celestine, sociology senior, exercises with Stelly at Appear Fit. She said that his passion for fitness is contagious.
"He's really supportive, he works out with you by your side, and he's constantly encouraging you to do better," Celestine said. "He changes up the workouts all the time, which makes it more interesting and makes you want to go back."
Stelly even kicks military soldiers into shape. The military saw something special in Stelly, and this past July they awarded him a contract to get Army platoons in top shape before their basic training begins. He started off by working with the soldiers once a week, and now he trains them twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
"I make them throw up," Stelly said. "During the work out they hate my guts, but they really do like me."
Johnston thinks it's "unbelievable" that Stelly opened his own fitness center when he hasn't graduated yet.
"I am thrilled for him," Johnston said. "He walks the talk. He's a great role model for business students, and he's the perfect example of what you hope for as professor."

Diana Mirfiq can be reached at 

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