Monday 20 November, 2017

Ken's true grit

Media personality Ken Simmons will be launching his fitness programme Grit Fit on Saturday

Media personality Ken Simmons will be launching his fitness programme Grit Fit on Saturday

When it comes to grit, Ken Simmons lives what he speaks.

The 38-year-old media personality has shown true resolve and determination to change his life, not just physically but mentally. Come Saturday, he will strive to embed those traits in his clients when he launches Grit Fit, a fitness system which will be a combination of strength and conditioning training techniques, coupled with proper nutrition and sufficient sleep.

Grit is an acronym for Growth, Resilience, Integrity and Tenacity.

“I am extremely passionate about this initiative because Grit Fit is focused and committed to promoting and influencing healthy habits among individuals and ultimately, families in communities, starting with my community, Arouca,” he said.

Simmons conceptualised the programme in 2015 when he heard people complaining that they had no time to get fit and healthy.

“Mostly in Trinidad and Tobago you would have the big gyms you have to go to or if you doing outdoor training go to a famous park. Why not come to a programme that is more affordable and accessible to people who can’t come to your gym and pay gym fees or hire a personal trainer? Out of that I got an idea and I said let me form a programme to make quality fitness programmes more accessible to people living in communities,” he said when he visited Loop to promote the programme.

Simmons said he intends to keep the numbers small and manageable so there would be no compromise between quality and quantity. Unlike other programmes, Grit Fit will not be a one size fits all. Simmons intends to group clients into categories; beginner, intermediate and advanced and tailor the workouts to suit each.

For Simmons, losing weight and getting fit comes down to self-control.

“No matter how busy you are you find time to brush your teeth and bathe, even if you can’t find an hour then do 15 minutes. You have to focus. I have a goal and I want to stick with it and my motivation is a desire to change me. My degree of self-discipline and control is high. It is about complete control of mind and body. I want to control my life,” he said.

A lot of his attitude towards fitness was influenced by bodybuilding.

A former chubby dude, Simmons got into fitness to lose weight to play mas in 2012. Training hard paid off and looking the best he ever did, Simmons took the advice of a trainer who said there was new category in men’s physique in the national bodybuilding competition.

“In a matter of months I came second in the men’s physique category and two and half months later I competed in the senior championships. I came second and I got the opportunity to represent Trinidad and Tobago at the CAC championships in 2013 in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. The feeling was overwhelming considering my harsh start.Working towards a goal, you can change.

“I am applying what I learn in bodybuilding to what I do. With discipline and the right attitude towards whatever I am doing it helps me to advance towards a particular goal but I must have a goal in mind for sure. You have to lock in, you have to sacrifice, you have to travel within your mind,” he advised.

Locking in is what Simmons did to change his life beyond the physical.

Looking sharp in his Ecliff Elie suit, Simmons looks nothing like the photos he shows me when he still had his dreadlocks and wore oversized clothes adorned with thick gold chains.

That was his old life, when he ran the streets, robbing people, brandishing guns and escaping death several times over.

“I think I was trying to find myself. I was insecure and influenced by the wrong company, I wanted to feel accepted and important. I didn’t have a firm foundation to direct me in a particular way so I was susceptible to negative influences starting in Prizgar Lands, Laventille and it got worse when I moved to Arouca,” he said, revealing that a community leader influenced and groomed him into the bad boy life.

“He carried me on my first robbery, taught me how to make 16 and 22 gauge homemade shotguns. He gave me the nickname Tizik. I had a ras at the time and a boy laughed at my hair.  I got a gun and chased him down. I pulled the trigger four times and the gun would not go off. The community leader grabbed the gun and ask me why I so tizik and when he squeezed the trigger the fifth time it went off. I remember it now and I said God had his hand on my life,” he recalled.

But the spark that really set his house on fire, he said, was a charge he got for malicious wounding with intent. Because he was the son of a popular DJ, Phil Simmons, the story grabbed headlines in the newspapers.

“My mother looked distressed. Her hands were shaking and she was crying. I don’t care how bad you are, seeing your mother in distress will affect you so I realised at that point I need to cool it down Out of that I say I need to settle down with one woman and my girlfriend at the time invited me to church and everything the minister said that day fell in my garden. I started going to church regularly, it was a gradual process,” he said.

Today, Simmons reads as many motivational books from authors such as Napoleon Hill and Myles Munroe to strengthen his mind and soul and shares his stories and positive messages all over the country at schools, organisations and communities.

An entrepreneur, he runs a media production company called 2K Media and Communication and a catering company called Chayil Cuisine. Together with Grit Fit, he sees his businesses ultimately intertwining to provide a national platform from which to spread his message.

Grit Fit will be launched on November 4,  at Grit Park Waterloo road Ext. Arouca from 10 am. There will be a full day of activities planned for all in attendance, which include Step Aerobics at 11 am, barbeque on sale, and lots of surprises and giveaways.

People are also asked to bring the non-perishable items for the people of Dominica.

For more information please call 722 -0214 or email kensimmonstt@gmail.com.