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Purpose, Passion, and Fitness: An Interview with CMO of Crossfit Burg and Counselor, Olivia Pelts

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Olivia Pelts Crossfit Burg

Olivia Pelts is a Licensed Professional Counselor and CMO/Director of Member Experience at Crossfit Burg in St. Petersburg, FL. One of the program she helped develop marries fitness and mental health and has been featured Crossfit HQ's main site, When she's not helping people meat the physical and emotional health goals, you can find her hanging out with her husband and friends, supporting local businesses, or playing with her two pup babies, Hutch and Hadley. 


What is your Current Gig/Passion Hustle?


Well, it really depends on the day. I am a Mental Health Therapist and owner of Sunshine City Counseling in St. Petersburg, FL. I’m also the Chief Marketing Officer and Director of Member Experience at Burg CrossFit, one of the largest CrossFit gym’s in the Tampa Bay Area. Oh, and I also co-host a Podcast. 


Olivia Pelts Crossfit Burg


What is one quote you live by?


“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” —Henri Nouwen


What small thing will you do today to make your world/community a better place?


Listen to stories. Personally this is one of the greatest gifts that my friends give to me and one I hope to give to others by being intentional in listening to their stories. Oh, and, cold brew.


Olivia Pelts Crossfit Burg


What’s a day in the life of Olivia Pelts like?


With all of the crazy things that I do, every day is different. On a typical day (do I even have one of those?), I wake up around 4:50am, brush my teeth, throw on my athletic clothes and grab a quick breakfast as I head to Burg CrossFit to coach the morning sessions 6/7/8/9:30am.


Once I finish there, I will often head to Bandit Coffee (obviously the best coffee spot in St. Pete) and work for a few hours. While I’m there, I will catch up on emails and follow up with individuals who want to come in for a free class or those interested in booking a free counseling session at Sunshine City Counseling.


Around noon or so, I’ll head home and hang out with my dogs and grab lunch, shower and get ready for a few afternoon counseling sessions. In the evening, I’ll hit a workout before heading home for dinner and hang time with my husband, Jonathan. Whew!


Olivia Pelts Family Photo


What has been your journey to get to where you are now in your career/life? 


That, my friend, is a loaded question. It has been a wild ride, for sure! When you look at my life now and all of the successes I have had, you don’t see the failures…the seasons of depression…the many, MANY moments of “holy crap, I have no idea what I’m doing.”


If you’re around me long enough, you’ll hear me talk about how we are, in many ways, the culmination of the 5 people we hang out with the most.


Community is integral to who I am and truly, the tribe I have around me has been one of the biggest joys to me in continuing to encourage, love and give me those slap on the butt’s “you got this, lady.” Beyond that, I’ve just not taken “no” for an answer. If I don’t know how to do something, I always figure it out.


I almost always say “yes” to taking on a project or doing something even if I have no idea what I’m doing because I believe it’s going to be a piece in the bigger puzzle of what I want to do and where I want to go.


Tribe and tenacity have been huge factors in my journey, absolutely. 


Olivia Pelts Interviewed


What was the biggest struggle you had to overcome? 


Myself. I have always struggled (and continue) to believe that “I am enough.”  I am not the summation of my work output, I don’t have to perform enough for people to love/like me…I am enough in who I am. 


Any recommendations for someone wanting to start their own business? 


I have always believed in having mentors in all areas of life so I would definitely say, find someone who you love, respect, value and be intentional with them. Regardless if they are in your industry or not, get to understand why they make certain decisions, how they create systems and implement them, how they lead their company, etc.


Of course, finding someone who is killing it in your industry and getting to know them and their processes is awesome but sometimes this can feel daunting and scary. Don’t let THIS get in the way of you not chasing after your passion(s). 


Olivia Pelts


What was the driver for you to create and launch Sunshine City Counseling, and all the other amazing projects you’re working on? 


I knew back in graduate school that I wanted to own my own business and everyone thought I was nuts. The idea of owning my own business and developing others was exactly what I wanted to do. So, right out of school, I joined a group private practice with zero understanding of marketing. It was terrible, I was terrible.


I went through a pretty dark season of depression that truly was the impetus for me to dig in and understand myself and how I wanted and needed to run my own business. I taught myself how to do marketing in a private practice setting and pursued some other jobs that would allow me some freedom to “trial and error things” as my husband was in graduate school at the time.


Eventually, I moved to St. Pete and it was there that I linked arms with Burg CrossFit as a Coach and told Jen and Tony, the owners, “Hey, this could be something big. can I help?”


I just began taking on projects because I needed to continue to learn how to do marketing, how to sell. We had about 60 members at that time and within a year and a half, grew the gym to almost 200 members and expanded into a 9,000 square foot facility. 


Everything I have done has been intentional whether I knew it at the time or not.


I have always had a passion for wanting to blend physical fitness with mental health and that dream has evolved over time. 


Crossfit Burg

How do you balance being a counselor and an entrepreneur? 


Imperfectly, for sure.


I have chosen not to grow my caseload, as a counselor, beyond 2 days a week because I want to continue to be heavily involved at Burg CrossFit in addition to co-hosting a podcast and not working on Fridays.


I have not managed my schedule well, a lot of the time, with accountability from some of my best friends and my husband. Him asking, “is that a good thing for you to be doing right now?” has helped me to find a much better balance.


When I am rooted in intentional time of prayer, reading my Bible and appropriately maximizing my time…that is the sweet spot.


Did I mention I don’t work on Fridays? :)


Olivia Pelts Burg


You’re making big waves in the crossfit and fitness world, can you tell us more about that? 


In many ways, all of the roles and “hats" that I wear, really, are so inter-connected. At the end of the day, I get to listen to peoples stories and sit with them. Walking alongside of them as they seek to understand themselves more fully and create a new narrative for their life.


It’s amazing to do the work that I do in counseling but it’s also amazing to do this work with people in the gym in helping them discover their full potential and do things they never thought possible.


My role at Burg, has evolved, for sure, over time but the constant theme is that we get to tell people about a solution that can radically change their lives. This has taken us to launch our 2nd facility 20mins north of St. Petersburg in Pinellas Park, FL and a third all the way up in Sunbury, OH.


It’s not just about coming in, sweating for 60 mins and going about your day. At Burg, we want to be the best 60 mins of your day. We do this by instilling in all of our staff the importance of relationship and education around who we are as individuals and as coaches. Developing leadership qualities in our staff is, perhaps, one of my favorites in the roles I fulfill. 


What prepared you the most for what you’re doing now? 


Taking risks, being adventurous and saying “yes” even when it felt scary and didn’t make sense. 


What is something you hope our readers will do after they read this interview? 


That you, in all that you have been created to be and do, know you are good enough. You don’t need more training or certifications, go out and start doing the thing.


You’ll fail…perhaps, epic-ly. That’s okay, it’s better than never doing anything and “wishing” you had years down the road. That would be the worst. 


Olivia Pelts and her Pup


What does it mean to be an everyday hero to you? 


Being authentic in who you are and being intentional and purposeful with your time and actions.


That doesn’t happen very often and when it does, it breeds courage, bravery and vulnerability. It’s beautiful. 


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