Alumni highlight - Elliott White
BS, Exercise Leadership, JMU Class of ‘08
MS, Exercise Science, USA Class of ‘09
I’m Elliott White, currently CEO of True Fitness and Nutrition, a personal training gym in McLean, VA. I get to do what I love, help people every day, fight the good fight for strength training, and still go home in the evening to spend time with my dogs. I owe it all to the JMU Kinesiology program for convincing me that if I love something so much, why shouldn’t I make it a career?
While at JMU, my family and friends would all advise me to do Business, or something else equally boring and practical so I could make a decent living upon graduation. I decided to go a different route and follow my passion, and that is the human body, how it works and why….you know, Kinesiology! I dove headfirst into the course work, loving every bit of it, and I’ve never looked back. I served as an undergrad Intern with the Strength and Conditioning department working with teams under the old football stadium. It opened my eyes to the entire world of strength training that I never knew existed. I thought I had it all figured out from my Muscle and Fitness magazine, but I learned quickly that I had a long way to go, and I was excited to get started.
The JMU Assistant Strength Coach, Callye Williams, gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to be a Graduate Assistant Strength Coach at the University of South Alabama, who was starting a football team at the time. I never would’ve been able to go to Grad school without a scholarship, and the fact that I got to Strength Coach on the side made it a perfect fit for me. I served with the university teams, and went to night classes to complete my Masters in just over a year. This experience at USA and at JMU has shaped my entire life, as I’ve realized that I can follow my passion and still have a successful career.
After my time at USA, I was hired as an Intern Strength and Conditioning Coach with the Toronto Blue Jays. I got to go down to spring training, and work with professional athletes which was a dream come true for me. I was assigned to the A-ball affiliate Lansing Lugnuts, and followed the team for the 2010 season designing and implementing the strength program for the players. Minor league baseball is a hard life however so I decided to return home to Northern Virginia and start my career in the private sector. I taught at the National Personal Training Institute for 4 years, a 600 hour certification for the next generation of trainers.
In 2013, I started True Fitness and Nutrition, a personal training gym aimed at making personal training what it should be. We teach people how to lift and eat properly, and shoot people straight about what they need to do to be successful. We’ve grown by leaps and bounds in just 3 years by doubling our space, and tripling our staff and revenue. TrueFN has grown more than I ever expected, and operates sometimes better without me due to my incredible staff, including 2 other JMU Kin grads!
To anyone considering a major in Kinesiology, I say do it! I’m glad every day I went down that path. I love learning about the body, and I’m inspired by all the information I have yet to learn. If you love something, do it every day to the best of your ability and the dollars always follow. Three cheers for JMU Kin!