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Building strength: From CCCC to entrepreneurship, Taylor Kelly's fitness journey

Click to enlarge,  Meet Taylor Kelly, a 29-year-old fitness enthusiast and personal trainer from Carolina Beach, N.C. With a degree in Health and Fitness Science from Central Carolina Community College in Sanford, N.C., Taylor turned her pandemic challenges into opportunities, establishing a thriving personal training business.

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Meet Taylor Kelly, a 29-year-old fitness enthusiast and personal trainer from Carolina Beach, N.C. ... (more)

02.20.2024College General College & Community

CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. - Nestled along the shores of this picturesque coastal town, Taylor Kelly, a born-and-raised beach kid, has made waves in the fitness industry. At 29 years old, with a passion for strength training, beach walks, and spending quality time with family, Taylor is not your average personal trainer - she's the force behind an inspiring fitness journey that began at Central Carolina Community College (CCCC).

Taylor, a proud alumna of CCCC, graduated in 2020 with a Health & Fitness Science - Associate in Applied Science Degree. Despite her beach roots, she spent four years in Chapel Hill, commuting to Sanford for her studies. Reflecting on her time at CCCC, Taylor praises the curriculum for its practical application to real-world scenarios.

"The HFS curriculum was so much fun," Taylor shares. "It was challenging, but I enjoyed it because it directly applied to what I wanted to do for my career. The teachers were knowledgeable, and there were plenty of resources to help me succeed."

Taylor's educational journey extended beyond the classroom. As part of CCCC's immersive approach, she became a student trainer, working with real clients and gaining valuable experience that would later shape her entrepreneurial path.

After graduation, Taylor faced the challenge of launching her career during the pandemic. With gyms closed for an extended period, she decided to get creative and started her personal training business from her home in Carolina Beach. Transforming her garage into a functional gym, Taylor offered outdoor sessions, attracting a growing list of clients.

"I love the flexibility I have to make my own schedule, having a say in who my clients are, and being able to help people reach their goals and feel like their best selves!" Taylor exclaims, highlighting the perks of being an independent personal trainer.

One of Taylor's proudest accomplishments is teaching a Low Impact Training class (LIT) at a local yoga studio, Salty Dog Yoga. Her journey from virtual sessions to outdoor training and now hosting clients in her home gym demonstrates resilience and adaptability in the face of uncertainty.

However, running a small business comes with its challenges. Taylor admits that it's tough, and there's never a moment of complete "time off." Yet, she acknowledges that the love for what she does makes the journey worthwhile.

For aspiring fitness professionals, Taylor offers advice born from her own experiences. "NETWORK. This is the best way to grow your business. Stay active on socials, get involved with the community, hand out business cards... whatever it takes. You are the face of your business, so always be kind and make a good impression."

Taylor's story is a testament to the effectiveness of CCCC's education in preparing students for real-world experiences. The student trainer program and work-study opportunities provided her with the skills and confidence needed to operate her own business successfully.

Looking back at her educational journey, Taylor encourages others to consider CCCC for their path. "I'd highly recommend it. The classes are smaller, so you can actually talk to your teachers if you need help. The people in your program become your buddies, and it feels good to do something meaningful."

Dr. Carl Bryan, CCCC Health and Fitness Science Department Chair, says, "Taylor was focused from day one recognizing that this was what she wanted to do for a career. Her enthusiasm in the classroom along with how demanding she was of herself, her classmates and her volunteer clients here made her stand out ... then and now! She truly has the client's best interest at heart and has a desire to steer them to total wellness. Our HFS program faculty are really proud of Taylor."

To learn more about Central Carolina Community College and its variety of programs, visit