Sioux Falls native returns home to start career in fulfilling fitness role

Breaking into the fitness training industry isn’t always easy, but for Claire Van Overschelde, the path has been paved with plenty of support.

She’s a Sioux Falls native and O’Gorman High School graduate who earned her degree in exercise science at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Last spring brought lots of life changes: college graduation, marriage to high school sweetheart Jamie and a move back to Sioux Falls, where he also grew up.

“I knew I wanted to do exercise science and work in a health field, but I didn’t know for sure what I wanted to do,” Van Overschelde said.

“We were GreatLIFE members growing up – I remember going to the gym with my mom when I was in junior high – so when I was looking for jobs, I recognized GreatLIFE right away and knew they’d been growing and doing great, and I wanted to get to be part of it.”

She began at the GreatLIFE Career Crossing location in northwest Sioux Falls as a fitness professional and was literally off and running with her new career.

“At first, it was a little intimidating because it was my first job out of college, but my manager and everyone at GreatLIFE was really supportive, and whenever they heard of someone who needed help, they sent them my way,” she said.

By word of mouth and by seeing her around the gym, conversations with GreatLIFE members began, and her client training list grew.

“We would sit down and talk about their goals, and with help from others who have done training before and other members, it led to building up my client list,” she said.

“It’s been so encouraging. I have had some clients since I started come in now and tell me they’re feeling so much better, they can move better, their clothes are fitting better, so that gets me excited to keep coming back and keep training them and keep their progress going.”

She also knows her fellow GreatLIFE trainers are just an email or phone call away.

“I feel comfortable voicing any questions or concerns, and everyone is great about getting back to you,” she said. “It’s really nice to have a huge team of people behind me even though I’m the only trainer at this location.”

She has seen steady growth in members at Career Crossing, which is in a retail center at 4101 W. Benson Road.

“I keep seeing new apartment buildings coming up and new houses being built, and so many people come in between work shifts,” Van Overschelde said.

“When they first come in, we sit down for about 30 minutes and chat about their fitness goals and what they’re hoping to get out of it, so I’m able to tailor a program exactly to what they need. And then once we’ve gotten started, I’ll ask if there’s anything else they want to try or change up. I want them to come back and enjoy what they’re doing.”

In her spare time, she’s enjoying exploring the city’s evolving downtown. Once golf season arrives, she and Jamie plan to put their own GreatLIFE membership to work learning the sport. And while she’s just beginning her career, she already can see a path to grow at GreatLIFE.

“Absolutely,” she said. “They’re always reaching out with different opportunities. I did a corporate workout program for one of our corporate partners, so they’re always coming up with different ways to be challenged and try new things. I’ve definitely been able to grow even in the seven months I’ve been here.”

If you’re interested in training with Claire Van Overschelde, stop by GreatLIFE Career Crossing Monday through Friday, or get connected with her and the rest of the personal training team by sending an email to

GreatLIFE is hiring personal trainers as well as a group fitness instructor and member support team members. To learn more about current opportunities, click here.


Sioux Falls native returns home to start career in fulfilling fitness role

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