This month’s Featured Fit Dad, Kijuan, is truly an inspiration. He started with fitness when he was just 145 pounds, and over the last 15 years, Kijuan has transformed himself into a high-performing physique competitor.
But more than just his physical change over the years, Kijaun, who is a father to three boys – including 8-month-old twins – is involved in helping the youth of his community overcome tough life circumstances through fitness and sports. He’s serving as an inspiration not only to his family and presenting them with a role model that they can look up to, but he’s doing the same for his greater community, and that is pretty awesome.
Here is Kijuan’s story:
When did you first get into fitness?
I got into fitness around the age of 21 and weighing 145 pounds. I became a group exercise and personal trainer around the age of 23.
What activities do you do to keep fit and active?
I help run an after-school boxing program for inner-city youth that may be having trouble in school. While teaching basic boxing exercises and instruction, we talk about anti-bullying and the pressures of middle school and growing up. We also utilize our time to find out what their weaknesses are and help come up with solutions. I am active with the local youth football team and assist with their conditioning for the football season. When I’m not doing any of that fun stuff, I compete as a physique competitor.
I have competed in top-tier fitness organizations such as WBFF, OCD, Muscle Mania, and NPC. I have placed top four in each organization as either a bodybuilder or physique competitor. I currently compete as a physique and classic physique model in my spare time. This keeps me actively training and goal-oriented in my training.
What is your favorite fitness memory or achievement?
My biggest fitness memory would be at a Muscle Mania event that was televised on ESPN and NESN where I was interviewed. I dedicated that prep and show to a friend who died of cancer that year. That meant the world to me to be able to express in an interview why I was there and why the show meant so much.
What is your favorite workout?
My favorite workout would be legs since I hate it so much! I start with front squats at a light weight for five sets of 35 reps. Once the blood is flowing I go into low rep leg extensions at a heavy weight. Then finally I finished off the quads with hack squats at a moderate weight for 15 reps. Squats would be on deck next, 10 sets of 10 reps at moderately weight with a minute rest time. I finish the quads with single-leg lying leg extensions for a hold/pause reps of failure. If my carbs are up, I will go for five sets. I finished the workout with the stairmaster for about 15 minutes at a low setting.
In what ways do you hope to influence your children through fitness?
I was inspired by sports and the athletes that had great work ethic. My goal as a father is to surround them with sports and sportsmanship. Sports can bring out a great student and a great learner. Sports also teaches patience that can help control anger and aggression. Sports for a kid is instant friends and peers to uplift and inspire hard work and competitiveness.
It’s working with my oldest Mason (11) who plays football and basketball. He is one of those type of players that is expected to help lead. He takes pride in that and it shows in his school work and effort on the ball court, also the football field. Now that he is going into the sixth grade he is learning that grades matter to athletes and you need to balance out sports in school but school is the most important in the long run.
We are a sports family and will continue to improve how we parent with the twins (Kyrie & Kobe) as they grow up into sports.
What words of encouragement would you have for other dads out there who want to be healthy and fit?
Balancing out a healthy lifestyle and using the things that you learn to inspire kids, it helps a long way. Life is about memories, by leading a healthy lifestyle you’ll be around for them.