A new year often signals a new beginning — the start of a fresh routine or, for many, the time to set personal health and wellness goals. With an outpouring of mixed messaging within the health industry, GFA alumna Joli D’Elia took matters into her own hands, combining her passions for connection and fitness to open her studio, Charged!.
Since graduating from GFA in 1995, D’Elia’s Charged! remains the gold standard for private Functional Strength Training, achieving incredible success over the last 15+ years since opening their doors. Their integrated approach and strategy to stay focused on what works for each individual versus the “fitness flavor of the week” has resulted in hundreds of stronger, happier and healthier clients.
D’Elia, along with her husband and business partner Brett, uses her expertise and experience to help her clients become educated and ultimately make the right choices as their integrative health and strength coach.
D’Elia’s passion for fitness started young. “I used to go to the Southport Racquet club before school, just because I liked starting my day with the exercise. Exercising with my older sister, Senta, when I was 12 or 13 helped shape my appreciation for fitness outside of organized sports.”
However, her years at GFA inspired in her a love of the game of volleyball, and both the fitness and connection that resulted from it.
“Paul Groves introduced me to volleyball in Middle School, and it was the only sport that really interested me. It’s hard for me to think of GFA and not think of him,” she explained. “Not only did I play volleyball with him for four years, but I managed the men’s varsity basketball team as well.” D’Elia joked, “Volleyball was the only sport I really enjoyed doing, so we got creative the other seasons!”
Groves remembers D'Elia and her teammates as a family saying, "When we talk about a team becoming a family, that was the team. And Joli was a big part of that connection. She was our go-to person, our offensive leader, we could always count on her for finishing points."
It was her entrenchment in the GFA community that sparked D’Elia’s awareness about every-day connections. “That community helped me see the potential that exists when we feel supported by those around us,” said D’Elia. “It is not about the quantity of relationships, rather the quality. I left GFA wanting to help others and how that unfolded over the years seems pretty seamless.”
Post-commencement, she ventured west to Miami University in Oxford, OH, where she pursued a B.A. in psychology. Soon after college, D’Elia returned close to home, moving to New York City with her dear friend and GFA classmate Cate Ellison ’95.
While living in the city, toying with the idea of going back to school for a master’s in psychology, a trainer at her local gym asked if she would like to join their team as a fitness trainer. “It was the one-on-one connection to people that attracted me to psychology in the first place. I realized that working at the gym, I could actually combine two of my passions: fitness and connecting with others,” she said.
“And speaking of connecting,” D’Elia laughed, “in the year 2000, I reconnected with another high school friend, Brett D’Elia, who also had a strong appreciation of fitness. In 2003, we got married, moved back to Southport, and opened up our own one-on-one fitness facility, Charged!”
She and her husband shared a common goal of offering people a place to go where the experience would be catered to an individual and their abilities. Every day, the D’Elias come to work excited to help their clients achieve “complete wellness,” which she explained encompasses fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle behaviors.
“The individual attention is what sets Charged! apart. When a client comes to Charged!, they are either working with Brett or me in a private studio. Each session is highly personalized and can be altered in any number of ways to match the client's needs and/or limitations,” she said.
At a time of year where resolutions are running wild, she stresses that at Charged!, they do not teach fads diets or fad exercise regimens. D’Elia explained, “I encourage people to start the year off right! But to also be realistic. Any drastic change is less likely to stick. I suggest asking what you can ‘add’ to your routine, rather than take away.”
She went on to say, “It is about healthy longevity and helping people find what works best for them. This model has allowed us to develop wonderful relationships with our clients — many of whom have been with us for over 10 years.”
These one-on-one, real relationships have fostered success for both the D’Elias and Charged! “It is not only about fitness and health,” she said. “It’s also being there for one another for all that life can throw at you.”
D’Elia currently lives in Westport with her husband Brett and their two daughters, Elsa and Ashlyn, and stays in touch with several of her GFA classmates, which she calls, “my friends from then, that are my friends for life.”