While my expertise is in classical music and styling the performers, I’ve always been a huge fan of the “Lifestyle” section of any newspaper. What’s trending in food, fashion, and any aspect of relating to others? Well, right now, COVID19 is trending, and will continue to do so, for a while yet. In this series, I’m speaking to people who are figuring out ways to prevail during the pandemic.
If you follow me on social, you’ll know I reference #TheDom on a regular basis, which is how I refer to my personal trainer, Kenyla. To say she’s been a huge influence in my life is an understatement. She forces me to confront fears and discomfort every week in our sessions, currently done online. Born in France to Cambodian parents who fled the genocide, Kenyla earned her Masters in law, but found her purpose as a personal trainer which she studied when she came to Canada. I’m so grateful she did, because she changed my life in so many ways, teaching me proper technique for exercising, and listening when I’m nervous about the next torturous move. What I love most about her is her sense of purpose – she just wants her clients to be strong and live healthy lives. Apart from her dominatrix tendencies, she is VERY kind-hearted and thoughtful.
Tell us in three sentences or less what you do. As a personal trainer, I help my clients to reach their fitness goals to get stronger in their daily life, whether it’s to learn how to squat, stand up from a chair, properly deadlift to carry their kids without injuring their lower back, or doing pull ups to compete in a Spartan Race. I used to train my clients in the weight room at their gym or my gym, Cardio Go in downtown Toronto.
Ontario officially shut down on March 17, 2020. How was your business or career going before then? I decided to start my own personal training business September 2019 and has been able to grow my clientele since then, especially at the beginning of 2020 as people decided to take care of their health and fitness.
How has your business or career changed since March 17, 2020? Since the lockdown, everything changed: gyms had to close down and social distancing was implemented. Unfortunately, many of my clients lost their jobs which led them to review their priorities and as a consequence couldn’t train anymore. So my business decreased significantly but I was fortunate enough to have the support of a handful of loyal and amazing clients that were still able to keep working on their health. To get them stronger, I used to program many barbell, kettlebell, and dumbbell movements. To coach, I was used to using verbal, visual, but most importantly, tactile cues (physically moving my clients into the proper position, touching the muscles that I wanted them to focus on, to make a muscle-mind connection.) Now, I have to be creative and find way to keep working on their strength with limited equipment or none at all in their own house. I coach exclusively with verbal and visual cues – so I’m improving my English, all the time, ha! And you’d be surprised what household items can be used as equipment.
Such as …? Liquid laundry detergent makes a good weight, and it even has a handle. The edge of your sofa. A wheelie dolly – that’s 22 pounds. A broomstick, pots filled with books, socks on the slippery floor, and finally, your own body – make it fight gravity! For more ideas, you’ll have to watch me on Instagram.
What changes have your made to adapt to the “current normal”? This exceptional situation called for a lot of adaptations and flexibility. I found ways to train virtually 1 on 1 on Zoom, Hangout, FaceTime, and WhatsApp.
Let’s talk about how you’re doing. We’re all looking for coping mechanisms – what are yours? Despite being into fitness and eating clean, at the end of the day, I am French, and I can’t give up my pastries. I indulge in places like Nugateau on Queen Street, and Hadren Verrier on Dundas. Both make gorgeous pastries. It is a way for me to maintain my roots in France right here in Toronto!
It’s hard to watch the news. Let’s focus on the positive … what positive thing(s) are you discovering about yourself during this time? This pandemic allowed me to re-evaluate my priorities and core values. I used to put my career first and always run everywhere to develop my business but as the lockdown was implemented, it forced me to take a step back, put a pause on everything. I realised how fortunate I was to be healthy and alive. It made me more appreciative of my closed ones; I used to “pass by” my partner as we were so locked in working long hours, but now we cherish our moments on a daily basis. Every day I take the time to FaceTime my grandparents who live in south of France, call my parents in Paris, I Google Hangout with my best friends from law school every weekend who are in Valencia, Martinique, Paris … It is teaching me to overcome some of my fears such as speaking live in English on different social media, or my fear of dogs (very irrational but I’m getting a puppy!)… I’m learning to cook, create videos … a lot of growth is coming out of this 😀
Have you found a way to “help with the cause”, no matter how insignificant it may seem to you? The only thing in my means is to help people to stay healthy and remain active. In order to keep motivating the world to move, I post weekly workouts that people can do: body weight, free weights, or household items and organize group workout Zoom meetings. What I enjoy the most is to check on my loved ones on a daily basis by a simple text or video call to make sure they are doing well.
Follow Kenyla on Facebook @Keny LA and on Instagram @ke.ny.la where she regularly posts “Technique Tuesdays” and “Fitness Fridays”.
#PrevailingFiles #TheDom #Covid19