Born in Australia, Keli Roberts first earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from Clayfield College in 1978 and began her career working in weight loss programs. During her early career, she was introduced to Lynne Brick when she came to Australia to put on a workshop at the club where Ms. Roberts was working. Greatly inspired by this experience, she moved to the United States in 1990 and promptly earned certification as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor through the American Council on Exercise, where she became a master trainer in 1991. In 1992, she founded Keli’s Real Fitness Inc., where she continues to excel as the owner and chief executive officer.
In addition to this work, Ms. Roberts has served as an elite master trainer with Schwinn Fitness since 2000, a group fitness instructor for Equinox since 2001, and became certified as an exercise physiologist by the American College of Sports Medicine in 2003. She has also been a BOSU elite developmental team member for the Hedstrom Corporation since 2001 and spent time as Kamagon program developer in 2012 as well. Since 2012, she has been an instructor with Breakthru Fitness and was a personal trainer for Fit Annex from 2012 to 2020. Concurrently, Ms. Roberts studied nutrition sciences with Precision Nutrition from 2011 to 2016.
As she progressed through her career, Ms. Roberts began moving away from weight loss and into working with people with various health problems, such as eating disorders, cancer, and age-related conditions, among others. She holds a certification as a cancer exercise specialist and a certificate from the Functional Aging Institute. Attaining certification as a health coach from the American Council on Exercise in 2019, Ms. Roberts has truly made a name for herself for her exceptional level of expertise and skill combined with the compassion and empathy that she shows her clients. She considers it important to be able develop good relationships with people so that they can trust her and feel safe with her.
Throughout her career, Ms. Roberts has been continually motivated not only by her love of what she does, but also by getting to see the impact she has had on people’s lives. She has done a lot of work with elderly clients who have spent time in cardiac rehab or physical therapy. One particular moment that stands out was a client who she had worked with following two heart attacks. When his defibrillator fired off while he was driving, he was rushed into surgery — a surgery that turned out to only be possible because of how healthy he had kept himself. He wrote to Ms. Roberts afterward calling her a great physical trainer and thanking her for saving his life.
Providing both in person and virtual classes, Ms. Roberts works in continuing education for fitness professionals alongside her personal training work. Since 1992, she has been a presenter with a variety of professional groups, including the IDEA Health & Fitness Association, SCW Fitness Education, the ECA World Fitness Alliance, FitPro and Empower Fitness. She also served as a consultant for KettleBell Concepts from 2005 to 2011. A contributor to Health magazine since 1996, Ms. Roberts has authored a variety of other works, ranging from articles to fitness videos, and is a featured instructor on the TV series “CRUNCH Fitness.” She is particularly proud to have worked as a trainer for Cher and to have had the opportunity to choreograph and appear in the 1991 video “Cher Fitness, A New Attitude.”
Presented with an IDEA Instructor of the Year Award in 2003, Ms. Roberts was notably inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame in 2007, two accolades she counts among the highlights of her career. For her work with Empower Fitness, she was named Best Female Presenter in 2012 and honored with the Inspiration Award in 2016. Other awards to her name include Lifetime Achievement Awards from both ECA and OBOW. Looking toward the future, Ms. Roberts hopes to develop a larger online audience. Since moving things online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she has found that she enjoys how her virtual work has allowed her services to be more accessible to people throughout the country.