Boikanyo ‘BK’ Peke is one of the few fitness and wellness female trainers in the country. Everyday she has to wake-up at 0430 to begin her business day at the Executive gym at 0515.
The first client, she says, comes at around 0530 so she has to be there with them. After working she stays at the gym until late evening, as she has to do some administration work. This means she goes to bed at around 11 pm. Being a Karateka and Sempai, she also has karate duties to do. All this is possible because of seeing her clients improve and be up to their challenges both physically and mentally. All this training and hard work doesn’t look like ending anytime soon. It is a lifestyle according to her. In this interview, our Voice Star for the week reveals many more about life as a fitness person.
Can you briefly give a background of your life both academically and socially?
I did my tertiary at University of Botswana where I successfully completed my accounts. After that I decided that I don’t want to work behind the computer and desk and took up a career in fitness initiatives. I have played a number of ball sports like softball, squash, netball and football.
When did you start gym work and being an instructor above all?
Back in 2004 I fell in love with going to the gym. I was later to learn karate as a self-defense model in 2005 where I was later to start Health and wellness. My work is all about training all kinds of people. When I started attending gym, there was no real guidance to the elderly there. I developed interest in helping them. I also used to volunteer at Body Trim doing consultancy, which was also basically any job I was given.
When did you engage in karate on a more serious note and why?
While at Body trim, Sensei Thuto Thuto handed me a training gear just from nowhere. I was told to do punches on air. It wasn’t anything formal. I was later to go into a full class under South African-Chinese seventh Dan Sensei Edward Shihan. I fell in love with self-defense, both weapon and empty hand tactics.
When was your first grading and did it come prematurely?
From martial arts in 2004, I went to Yunshinkai Kobujutsu in 2005 and graded as a purple belt. I skipped a number of belts possibly because of my commitment and fast learning. In 2008 I was graded in brown belt. I have also qualified to be a Spinning and Zumba instructor. I have been doing the Yunshinkai Kobujutsu under Sensei Thuto and I have always enjoyed all the styles even in self-defense.
You started this ‘Zumba’ thing, what is it really?
Oh yes Zumba is a Latin based fitness class. What happens is one has to dance and work themselves out without machines and picking weights. There are people who just don’t like the sight of all these machines and metals. The dances have worked for a number of people. We have Salsa, Merengue, cumbia, reggae tong, calypso and the local tunes. These are songs of dance and it works wonders.
You are going to attend a world convention on fitness. Please explain?
I will be leaving this coming Monday to Miami, Florida in the United States of America for a World Spinning and Sports convention. It is an annual event where Spinning, Zumba, Yoga-fit and other health aspects will be the order of the day. This is important because we have to be up to date. We will learn from international instructors so that we avoid hurting our clients and doing the wrong things.
So you have been doing serious hard special training in preparation for the USA?
Not really, I don’t do that. I work at the gym on daily basis. We are not going for an examination. I am just prepared as always which is a continuous thing.
What are your experiences in this field predominantly a male’s area?
I am lucky that I don’t have a lot of bad experiences. Most of the clients have been cooperative and willing to learn new things. They have been supportive but there were challenges along. Some people doubted my capabilities. There have been competitions and I have managed to shrug off some of these, you always have people trying to pull you down.
You also worked with football teams, which should have been funny?
First the boys will doubt you just because you are a woman. After a few training sessions full experimental they don’t even like to see me. It turned out to be more fun and enjoyable.
You also do personal training, is it that important?
This is a very crucial as a client has someone to guide and motivate. It is like having a personal manager who will help with not only the gym work but also diet, close monitoring. A lot of my clients are elderly people with backaches, arthritic/rheumatic pain, stiff necks, muscle camp, bad circulation, asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure. It is important not to hurt these people hence the reason one has to be up to date with training methods.
When will you ever stop this training?
It won’t stop anytime in the near future, probably not ever. It is not like coming in to lose weight then stop when you have lost enough. This is part of my life. There is no stopping.