Marissa West

Company: West Kept Secret
Position: Founder/Owner and Lead Personal Trainer
Age: 27

WHERE WERE YOU BORN?

Fairfax, Virginia

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN CHARLOTTE AREA?

Six years

TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOU?

I made the decision to become a Charlotte female business owner, and open my personal training studio, six years ago at the age of 21. Charlotte was a fast-growing city with an exuberant & entrepreneurial spirit in keeping with my lifestyle and aspirations. With so many outdoor activities, and sports teams, the vibe was distinctly about fitness, fun, health and conditioning, and I loved the Queen City’s bold, brassy, and “in your face” spirit.

While working a full-time corporate job in the technology industry, I formed West Kept Secret with a few initial clients. My business has now grown to full-client capacity, operating 6 days a week. Along the way, my reputation for being an innovative and results- driven instructor has grown dramatically. I’m passionate about providing programs tailored to each client’s particular needs.
I am a certified American Council on Exercise (ACE) personal trainer holding numerous specialty certifications. My unique one-on-one personal training programs focus on three major elements of fitness: strength training, cardio training, and Pilates.

DURING YOUR TIME VOLUNTEERING FOR A COMMUNITY ACTIVITY OR PROJECT, WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORIAL MOMENT?

Isabella Santos was a beautiful young girl who bravely battled neuroblastoma, a form of cancer, for four years. Her dream was to become an honorary TopCat for a day. The TopCats granted that wish. She was given a uniform, learned choreography, and stood on the sidelines and cheered for the Panthers. When we were learning the choreography to “Single Ladies,” I turned to the back and faced Isabella. Her smile and excitement will forever be imprinted in my heart and mind. She inspires me to continue sharing my love of dance with others.

IN YOUR OPINION, HOW DO YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNITY?

As a young, female, small business owner, I enjoy sharing my love for fitness with the Charlotte community. I am an animal lover and very involved in community programs supporting local shelters.

My rescue puppy, Reese, inspired me to participate in many fundraisers, such as Barktoberfest, benefiting animal cancer research. I also participate in the Rescue Me 5k every year, which benefits the American Pit Bull Foundation by raising funds for training rescued pit bulls to be service dogs, and pairing them with veterans suffering from PTSD and depression.

WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES OR INTEREST?

As a former NFL Cheerleader, one of my favorite hobbies is dance. I also enjoy running and biking.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE THAT YOU STAND BY?

“Don’t just be happy for the competition that you can beat. Be thrilled that someone is going to challenge you today, make you work harder, make you earn every tiny victory...or maybe defeat you and create the smoldering embers that will keep your fire burning — a fire that may one day erupt into some greater victory than you ever dreamed of in this small
battle today.

Be grateful for your competition, for used properly, they really are the key to your success.”
-Unknown

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS?

At West Kept Secret, we are currently working on plans to enlarge our custom studio in Plaza Midwood. I see my brand continuing to grow here in Charlotte and would love to share my fitness methodology with others around the world.

CAN YOUR SHARE ONE THING THAT IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?

My mom was adopted in Sicily, Italy. I would love to visit her homeland and spend time immersing myself in the Sicilian culture. I am also determined to complete a half and full marathon this year.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU USED YOUR PASSPORT?

I was fortunate enough to represent the Carolina Panthers organization on a USO tour of Japan. Connecting with soldiers abroad and representing our hometown football team was a powerful and rewarding experience for me.

WHAT IS A FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NO ONE KNOWS?

I ran a leg of the Olympic Torch Relay in Washington, DC for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games.

WHO IS YOUR HERO?

My dad is my hero. He would always say, “Those who lose dreaming are lost.” I never lost my dream to open my own business, despite many obstacles and challenges. I have always appreciated his unwavering support and belief in my ability to succeed.

WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?

The last book I read was Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know, by Alexandra Horowitz. I am fascinated by what dogs experience on a daily basis.

WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?

The last movie I saw was Dirty Dancing. It will always be one of my favorites. It has the perfect blend of love, passion, and dance.

WHAT WAS THE LAST CONCERT YOU SAW?

I haven’t attended many concerts. However, I recently saw Swan Lake, performed at Lincoln Center, by the New York City Ballet.