Olympian goes full-time into fitness

Former track athlete for The Bahamas, and current fitness guru, Ivanique Kemp gives new meaning to the phrase “working out from home”.

She ventured into fitness after her athletic career was cut short a couple years ago, and it has taken off for her. Kemp is one of those forgotten unsung heroes on the track for The Bahamas but continues to work tirelessly to keep herself in shape and experiences joy in training others.

Kemp, 28, holds the distinction of being the first Bahamian female to represent The Bahamas in any hurdles event at the Olympics, competing in the 100 meter (m) hurdles at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. She is also a former junior and senior national record holder in the 100m hurdles, setting the pace for others such as Krystal Bodie, Devynne Charlton and Pedrya Seymour to follow.

In fitness, Kemp is making a name for herself again – regarded as one of the most fit female athletes in The Bahamas, and is training others as a fitness instructor. Given the government of The Bahamas’ order to stay at home in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, she is finding new and creative ways to stay active and train others.

“Track was always my first love but after I suffered that toe injury in 2015 it became difficult to train for the Olympics. It was a challenge to get back that athleticism because I was struggling to hit the marks that I wanted to hit but I always had a passion for fitness. You have to be fit for sports and that worked out well for me,” said Kemp. “I branched off into personal training, giving people pointers and then eventually took it more seriously. Right now, it’s kind of relaxed because of what’s going on with the coronavirus. I’m just keeping in contact with a lot of clients, and not so much trying to make money right now. There are different levels of fitness and fitness is accessible to everyone.”

Kemp posts fitness videos on a daily basis, showing her workouts at home during this pandemic and generating up to about 1,500 views per day. As of October 2018, she is a certified personal fitness trainer, specializing in group training, personal training, general training, weight loss, body toning, general fitness, strength and conditioning and TRX (total resistance exercise) suspension training.

As far as the TRX suspension training is concerned, Kemp said it is a revolutionary workout method that uses your body weight and gravity as resistance to build strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, core and joint stability.

“Whether you want to build strength, lose fat, improve endurance or flexibility, the TRX suspension trainer can be used to achieve any fitness goal,” she said. “By simply leveraging your body weight to perform hundreds of exercises, you get a full body workout, while simultaneously working your core, and because you’re working with one training tool, you can adjust your weight on the fly and you can minimize your training time by switching from one exercise to the next in just seconds. It’s an effective way build strength and get your heart beating, using just your own body weight.”

Kemp’s home gym is Fanta C Fitness Gym in the Ken Perigord Shopping Center on Prince Charles Drive, and she operates from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., Monday to Friday; from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Friday; and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays under the name “Focused Fitness”. The gym is owned and managed by Cynthia Rolle.

“It’s really catching on and there is a huge influx on WhatsApp and Facebook. Interested persons are e-mailing and asking me questions on a daily basis,” said Kemp. “It’s pretty awesome. I enjoy it. There is a lot that goes into it and I’m prepared to put in the work. I just tend to keep people separate in terms of goals and skill level. Also, I have someone to help with diet, handling the meals part of the program. Fitness is fun and relaxing for me and I can be as creative as I want to be. It’s not as stringent as track and field and I find that it’s more interactive.”

Kemp graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Master of Science degree in Operations Management. She competed collegiately for the Arkansas Razorbacks from 2010 to 2014, competing as a college junior at the Olympics in 2012. She also does yoga in her spare time, and can be reached on her Facebook page under her name and on Instagram @Ivanique Kemp. Presently, Kemp is training 15 clients.

“I just want to thank everyone who has been following me and messaging me. I’m humbled,” she said. “It’s a challenge but I expect more and I expect better both from myself and my clients. Right now, it’s kind of sad because of what we are going through with the coronavirus and the curfew and lockdown but I’ll continue to push out high-quality videos and just do what I have to do to stay engaged.”

Prior to the stoppage of sports, Kemp was preparing to compete in the Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation’s (BBFF) Novice Championships. However, that event has been canceled. The BBFF National Championships is still on the schedule for August 8, but with COVID-19 wreaking havoc around the globe, there is no telling what will transpire in sports in the immediate future. Kemp said she will be looking to compete in the nationals if that event occurs.

For now, she’s just taking it one step at a time, continuing to work out at home and waiting out the pandemic. It’s all about maintaining fitness for the Bahamian Olympian.

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