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Club Fit Owner Enjoys Promoting Health

When Ellen Koelsch graduated from college with a degree in economics, she thought she’d go into banking or finance, but her mother ended up recruiting her first to work in the family-owned business: Club Fit.

Koelsch is now one of four owners of the large fitness club with locations in Briarcliff Manor and Jefferson Valley. The other owners are David Swope, Koelsch’s mother Beth Beck and Koelsch’s brother, Bill Beck.

“It’s a way of life. It’s what we do,” Koelsch, 45, said of her family-owned fitness club. “My kids grew up in the nursery here.”

Before Club Fit became a fitness club, it was a tennis center that rented out courts by the hour. Beth Beck worked at the two tennis centers owned by Swope, and in the early 1980s, they began converting tennis courts into fitness areas, such as group exercise studios, racquetball courts and swimming pools.

Today, the fitness club has adult and kid’s swimming pools, a jacuzzi, wet and dry saunas, many group exercise classes, team sports programs, cardio and weight machines, a spin room for stationary cycling, a café and a daycare center for kids three months to 12 years old.

“It’s a place that the community can come to be healthy,” Koelsch said.

Koelsch is glad she took on a job at her family’s business instead of another job. Her first task in 1987 after she graduated from college was to be the club’s nursery manager and the writer for the club newsletter.

Over the years, her responsibilities shifted to include a bit of everything. These days she’s mostly in charge of making sure that Club Fit lives up to its brand name, which means offering a welcoming and hospitable environment for people to be healthy in.

“I like talking to people about being healthy. I like my home and work life to be about being healthy,” Koelsch said. “And I like that there are members who have been here as long as I have.”

With its membership program, Club Fit especially encourages children to be part of the club, Koelsch said. Family membership plans are designed to be cost effective, and there are many kid programs, including fitness camps, classes, and the “Energy” nursery center where they can be dropped off while parents work out.

Koelsch lives on the border of Ossining and Yorktown, close to Club Fit. Her own routine generally includes yoga, cardio machine exercises and skiing in the winter. Her workout preferences change with time and seasons, but there’s always something good for keeping healthy, she said.

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