MF: How did fitness help you after the accident?
AK: After months of physical therapy and rehabilitation, I started to do light to moderate fitness training. I focused on the key muscle groups; back, chest, legs, and core. Everything was like a giant jigsaw puzzle. It all went hand in hand into developing a stronger back and core. I would test my limits with my back, making sure I wouldn’t go too heavy to hurt myself. I went from doing regular bodyweight squats to squatting 405lbs within a 3-year period.
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MF: What about mentally—how has maintaining a fitness routine helped you to stay positive?
AK: The combination of Fitness Kickboxing and my workouts has really helped me to find both a physical and spiritual balance. I could’ve easily used my car accident as a crutch and have it become my excuse, but instead I used it as fuel. Knowing that I am doing something to strengthen myself every day and always striving to be better and feel better, is empowering. Even more powerful is sharing my story. It motivates [others] to achieve their fitness goals, not only by helping them to surpass their limits, but by letting them know that there is nothing wrong with a small beginning. It’s all about that first step.
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MF: What was your fitness routine like before the accident?
AK: Before the accident there was no fitness routine. As a kid, I was always active in sports like wrestling and baseball. I really didn’t get serious about fitness until after the accident. I never liked it when people told me that I couldn’t do something. So, when the doctor told me that I “couldn’t,” because my body physically would not be able to handle it, I was set to prove him wrong.
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MF: What is it like now?
AK: My fitness routine consists of three kickboxing classes a week, which helps to maintain lean muscle and low body fat. This is where I get most of my cardio in. I then do weight training three to four times a week concentrating on isolating muscles. I make sure to concentrate on the contraction of the muscle and the release. This helps me to get the maximum workout without having to lift heavy weight which could cause injury. On my off days, I stay active. Whether it be running, kayaking, biking, or going to the park, I make sure that I get that movement in. A body in motion stays in motion!
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MF: What is your advice for guys who are struggling with any sort of obstacle?
AK: My advice would be that wherever you’re at now, is not where you’re going to end up. If you have been in an accident, or if you are going through a tough time in your life, it’s important to look beyond whatever the circumstances are and try to see the bigger picture. Sometimes we can listen to the “no’s”, the “I can’t’s” and the rejections and take them as being law over our lives, but they’re not ….only if you allow them to be.
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MF: Your mantra?
AK: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
-Martin Luther King
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