Sept. 15, 2015
By Brad Muller | More Features
Former South Carolina infielder Evan Childs always played hard during her days on the softball diamond. As one of six children, that intensity was ingrained at a young age through her family, and it continues today as a health and fitness professional. The certified personal trainer is not only motivating others to reach their fitness goals, but also devoted to helping her younger brother in his battle with leukemia.
“Stuff like that really hits home to how lucky you are,” Childs said. “I enjoy lifting and being a motivator for other people. A lot of people can’t get out of their bed or their house to be able to work out. I always try to be thankful that I can be active and enjoy it. That’s what motivates me. When you can count your blessings, it makes you mentally strong. I definitely enjoy giving back to the blessing of health.”
Childs’ father, Kevin, passed away in July of 2014 due to complications from cancer. In July of 2015, her 18-year-old brother, Ian, was diagnosed with leukemia, and now she is raising money for his medical costs with the help of her friends and clients from all over the world.
“I started a GoFundMe page where folks can click on and donate any amount,” Childs said. “I posted that all over my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts because I have a lot of followers on my social media platform. I have nearly 50,000 followers on Instagram alone. I’ve had a ton of clients give. They see my little brother, who they’ve never met before, and they’re supporting me. We raised over $20,000 in the first week through that site. I’m so grateful.”
Childs has built those relationships with the development of her own fitness brand. She earned her degree in sports management from South Carolina in 2012 after a solid career in which she was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll each year and led the Gamecocks with 11 home runs and 40 RBI as a senior. While trying to figure out how to start her career, she spent a lot of time in a place that had always been familiar to her – the weight room. Her love of the gym came from her father.
“I was such a beanpole when I was younger,” Childs said. “My twin brother and I were always begging my dad to take us to the gym with him. So he walked us through some stuff, and I was always in competition with my brother to see who could lift more or jump higher or jump rope longer.”
That spirit carried over into college, and her time at South Carolina helped develop her career.
“My favorite part about playing at Carolina was the relationship I had with all my sisters (teammates), but learning new things in the weight room was a close second,” Child said. "When I was in college I thought I lifted a lot. I’m probably about twenty pounds heavier now than I was in college, but it’s all lean muscle mass. When I was in school and taking classes toward my major and playing softball, I didn’t really have time to research how my body works. While I was at South Carolina, I went through three or four strength coaches who all taught me something different. I’m thankful for that. Our nutritionist helped me a lot. I was the one who was always asking a lot of questions. So I started doing some personal training with athletes after I graduated.”
Serving people through health and fitness is my purpose, and I'm blessed to be able to work for myself because of all the people who believe and trust in me.
Six months after graduation, she took a job as a head personal trainer at a gym in Tampa, Florida. While there, she received a lot of feedback on her social media accounts from people who were interested in individual workout plans and programs. As a certified personal trainer, she provided that service for free to friends and family, but as more requests came in, she realized this could be the start of a career and that led to the creation of Evan Childs Fitness, LLC.
“It really snowballed,” Childs said. “The knowledge I had acquired and the product I was selling was working for people. So I had to start charging for it. Serving people through health and fitness is my purpose, and I'm blessed to be able to work for myself because of all the people who believe and trust in me.”
A year later, she left the gym and worked from home as her online business had taken off.
“I don’t do any in-person training anymore,” Childs said. “All I do is meal plans and workouts online.”
Her five and six week plans provided clients detailed instruction and recommendations on workouts and diet. That would soon change when she developed the more intense “Alpha Female” program, which is a 12-week program for which individuals had to apply for online.
“The athlete in me just wanted something harder and more competitive,” Childs said. “I really wanted to challenge women who had the same mindset as me. I read the applications to make sure they are ready for it and can handle it.”
The first Alpha Female class had approximately 20 applicants. For the current seventh edition of the class, Childs received 633 applicants ranging in ages from 18 to 50 from all over the world.
“It has really taken off,” Childs said. “Every 12 weeks, I take a whole new class of Alpha Female girls, which is part of Evan Childs Fitness, LLC. This goes more in-depth and teaches them how to meal-plan so they can become their own coach. All of my ‘Alphas’ have different goals. Some want to lose weight, and there are some that want to gain some muscle. A lot of that is dependent on how you eat. They really get a full package of information, and they can come to me at any time with questions. I get a lot of feedback.”
Childs noted that her business is not simply about body building or weight loss.
“I don’t want any woman to feel inadequate to be in this program,” Childs said. “Being an ‘Alpha Female’ is more of a mindset. I have people in the program that are 250 pounds, and others that are really small. The physical part is huge, but I want to teach them to overcome mental barriers too. I send them something about every two weeks to help them with their mental strength, whether it’s self-confidence or leadership or anywhere they might struggle.”
Similar to her active workout routines, Childs isn’t one to sit still very long. After starting online workouts, and transitioning to the Alpha Female program, she is now looking to expand her brand with the creation of an apparel line and has moved her business into a 2200 square foot office/warehouse.
“I’m constantly looking to challenge myself,” Childs said. “This will be the office for myself and personal assistant, and will also be a private gym. It also gives me a place to help grow my business online via social media since that’s my biggest marketing tool right now.”
Her ability motivate, inspire and support others in reaching their goals has come full circle as evidenced by the support she is now receiving for Ian, and she and her family are optimistic about the future.
“We’re all pretty close, especially with all that has happened in the last couple of years,” Childs said. “My family and I are really big believers that God has a plan. We can control what we can control, and everything else is up to God. Ian has been really good throughout the whole thing.”
When Ian gets healthy, Childs is ready to get him on a personal diet and fitness program.
“Before he was diagnosed, he had gotten sick, had mono, and his spleen was hurting last year,” Childs said. “I was trying to tell him that a lot of it has to with your diet and what you’re eating every day. He’s an 18-year-old kid, so he was eating a lot of crap. I told him he’s going to have to start incorporating a lot of whole foods into his diet, and cut out all that junk food he’s been eating. His immune system is weak, in part, because of his diet. He’ll definitely be hearing it from me in the future.”
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