Women often pour their hearts and souls into the lives of the people around them. This is, of course, an honorable and powerful character trait, and part of what makes us love the women in our lives as much as we do, but sometimes it can lead to unfulfilled dreams and “coulda-woulda-shouldas,” according to Kelly Farris, owner of Snellville’s Ladies’ Workout.
Farris is over 50 and “far from dead.” She is extremely active and does more now than at any other point in her life, which includes making lasting memories for her grandchildren. Just because you’re heading into phase three of your life doesn’t mean you have to stop living, according to Farris.
Farris has been in the fitness business for 23 years.
“I walked into a gym when I was 21 and I’ve never walked out,” she said.
Her career began as an aerobics instructor and personal trainer.
“I had been working out regularly,” she explained, “but the aerobics instructor kept walking in and asking if I would take her class.”
When she finally decided to take the class, she loved it. Within six weeks she was teaching classes herself.
“I was so hooked,” she said. “It was very natural for me.”
When, in 1995, an opportunity came up in Snellville to open her own gym, she jumped on it. Ladies Workout is the oldest gym in Snellville. In early April of this year, they relocated to a new, larger facility in the Snellville Oaks shopping center.
“Our customer service really sets us apart,” she said. “We’re personable. We make people feel included and like they’re part of a group. Women are looking for that, to feel like they belong.”
The gym feels like a sisterhood, according to Farris, and offers classes that cater specifically to women, including Flirty Girl, tribal belly dancing, hula hoop, Zumba and others. It also offers personal training tailored to each individual woman.
When the economy took a downturn, her business was affected like everyone else’s in town.
“You had to either retire or grow,” she said. “I needed to grow.”
Not only is Farris passionate about fitness, but one of her top priorities is empowering women.
“So many women are sitting around waiting for someone to make them happy,” she said. “You have to make your own happiness.”
If you want to learn to kayak, go learn to kayak. Don’t wait for someone to go with you. If you want to learn to dance or want to get fit, Farris believes the time is now.
Another of Farris’ passions is her belief that exercise is the medicine of the future.
“Exercise can cure just about everything,” she said. “It just heals you.”
Her belief echoes that of Thomas Edison, who said at the end of the 19th century, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
Farris, who specializes in clients with special needs, has seen women go from barely able to walk to doing Zumba and spin class. Another client of five years has a muscular degenerative disease, but through their combined effort, the disease has not progressed at all.
“It doesn’t get any better than that!” she said.
She wants to encourage women to just go do something you want to do, because “the clock is ticking.” She believes that it’s never too late to live the life you want.
Farris speaks frequently at gatherings and teaches seminars at the gym on nutrition and how to maintain balance. In 2004, she was voted the most outstanding business in Snellville, and was one of the top 25 health clubs in Atlanta for over 9 years in a row.