Anderson University College of Health Professions
Brett Campbell: Being the best version of yourself
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to physical fitness.
With that in mind, Brett Campbell works with his coaches at the Anderson Area YMCA to help everyone from youth to senior citizens attain healthier lifestyles. Anderson University set examples for him about building relationships that he carries into his work.
How did you find AU?
I’m from Easley, which is not far away. My brother went to Anderson. When I was a freshman he was a senior there. I also played baseball there as a pitcher. I played for four years, from 2007-2011. It was a wonderful experience just to play college baseball. We had some decent seasons.
They offered for me to come play baseball here. I had a few chances to play at other places, but with family going there, it was an easy decision to come to Anderson. It was close to home, the class sizes were the right size for me.
Tell me about how you became interested in studying kinesiology and getting into the kind of work you do.
When I was at AU I was actually a PE major; that was my first choice. About my junior year I decided to switch over to kinesiology. I just felt it was more in my area of expertise and what I enjoyed doing. So of course I was a fifth-year senior switching over a little late, but it was just what I had always grown up doing—weightlifting and just being able to help others—it was just what I wanted to be doing in life.
How long have you been at the YMCA?
In 2011 I started an internship here through a kinesiology class. Right after my internship ended, I started part-time working here, and in 2015 I became full-time as the wellness coordinator/athletics assistant director. In 2020 I changed solely to wellness coordinator.
What does a wellness coordinator do?
I am in charge of all the wellness coaches we have here at the Anderson Area YMCA. I’m also in charge of the youth wellness area, which is our 3-10 kids area. I train 40-plus people on a weekly basis and I teach five classes a week—TRX classes, Cardio and Abs classes.
What age groups do you work with?
It varies. We have some who are eight- to 10-year olds that are just wanting to learn and do some exercises. My oldest client is actually 75. So it is a very wide range.
What are some popular programs for older persons?
It really just depends on the person. I have a guy in his late 60s and he still water skis. All of his workouts are based off of what he enjoys doing. He loves water skiing, so we base off of that. Then I have another lady and she’s got different goals, isn’t quite as advanced so we have to slow her stuff down and really focus on specific areas of her needs.
Does your wellness program also deal with diet?
When you talk about diet, one of my youngest clients is about 30-years old. They each have specific diet plans that they work on that they try to hit. They try to attain a fats, proteins, and carbs-type goal that I try to get them to hit every single day. They all have specific diet needs or diet plans that I want them to try to hit.
At the end of the day, what gives you the biggest feeling of accomplishment?
I had a gentleman come to me who had an ACL tear. He was in his 40s when he was injured and had put on some weight. To this day, he’s lost more than 75 pounds to get back to where he was pre-ACL tear. Those are the situations I think about. When you’re training people, you’re also building a personal relationship with them. It’s good to know each individual differently. I just enjoy doing what I do.
When did you know you wanted to help people out in this way?
My junior year of college, when I switched to kinesiology and I started working at the Y—of course I wasn’t personal training right away when I was working here. I got my first client probably when I was 21 or 22, and it just took off from there. It was an older gentleman, so he was my single client and I just built a phenomenal relationship with him. I still work with him to this day. It just took off from there.
What are some ways your Anderson University education has helped you in your profession?
I’ve pondered this question for a long time. I think the main thing Anderson helped me with is to build the relationships and the network of people around the University. I get all of my employees from Anderson University. Almost every single employee that I have on the wellness floor is a kinesiology student from Anderson University. Building the relationships with the professors that I have over there who are still there, it just gave me that network of people that I could be successful by hiring great employees underneath me, and I know that they’re well-groomed for this job from what they learned at Anderson in the Kinesiology Department.
You get that sense of one-on-one attention when you need it and you also get to know your classmates and professors very well.
What was your favorite part of being at Anderson University?
I met my wife at Anderson University. That’s probably one of the best memories. Her name is Heather Campbell. She's a fourth grade teacher at Walhalla Elementary.
What do you enjoy most about working at the Y?
Everything. The people I work with, from the boss on down. It’s a family atmosphere at the Y. It kind of reminds me of Anderson University in the way that you’re close to everybody. You get to build those personal relationships with people you work with and also the people that come in this building. It’s the best place to work.
What advice would you give someone who wants to do this type of work?
Find an internship somewhere. Make sure it’s what you want to do, and if you decide it is, give it 110 percent effort in your internship, because that’s the reason I’m here today is because I went above and beyond during my internship. That speaks volumes.