One of the best things about MP is its ever-increasing network of amazing people. Our latest addition to the MP Advisory Board is a classic example.

Dr. Kelly Kennedy PhD. CSCS. CISSN is one of the nation’s leading experts in fitness training for police. While working for the largest Police Department in the Southeast United States, she has physically trained and tested over 1,700 police recruits and officers in the past 12 years.

Kelly's qualifications are impressive and her accomplishments are remarkable. However, what makes Kelly truly inspirational is that she's carved out her amazing career in one of the toughest work environments imaginable. As soon as I met Kelly, I just knew MP members would love to know more about her. 

Kelly, what drew you to the fitness industry?

When I was in High School I did quite well in the Track and Field events but I never really liked it. I think I took for granted the effect exercise had on my mind and body. When I stopped, I started gaining weight and felt sluggish. At College, I joined a gym and started taking electives that included Fitness 101, and Karate. I loved the way exercising made me feel and I became addicted in my first year of College.

I eventually became certified to be an Aerobics Instructor with the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. When I got certified I loved the information so much I wanted to know more. At the time, I was majoring in Communications at Florida State University and wanted to switch my major to Exercise Science, but there were so many pre-requisites I felt I didn’t have the time to take another year of classes.

I ended up completing a minor in Nutrition and Fitness; I loved those classes so much I decided to continue my studies after graduating with my Bachelors Degree in Communications. So when I moved back home to Miami, I applied to get my Masters degree in Exercise Science at Florida International University (FIU). After graduating, I started teaching a three credit class at FIU called Foundations of Fitness. I ended up teaching there for four years.

I know it is hard in this field to make money as a professional. I knew the decision to have a career in the fitness industry was risky, I just couldn’t imagine not doing what I loved. But now I have had an amazing career and I know my opportunities are just getting better with every year.

Kel, your certifications and qualifications are extensive, what is you main focus now?

I think increasing your knowledge-base is so important in field. Honestly, I have an addiction to learning about a subject that constantly fascinates me.

My focus now is to make sure I can get fitness programming and instruction guidelines to law enforcement trainers. There is such a need for instruction on a functional level and an academic level. Fortunately for me, I have the academic background and from working with, leading and supervising Law Enforcement fitness training for the past 12 years I know exactly what the population needs. The law enforcement community as a whole needs guidance in standards in training for fitness and I hope to fill that need.

Kelly, you’ve worked in one of the largest Police Departments in the United States and physically trained/tested over 1,700 police recruits and officers in the past 12 years. That’s a remarkable occupation and achievement, can you share with MP members some highlights and insights?

It is such an amazing job to have. It all started with teaching aerobics there as a contracted employee. Eventually, I would apply for a full time position and ultimately become director of fitness.

Working with this population has some immense challenges as well. In this atmosphere, it is important to “lead from the front,” that means you have to walk the walk. Being female, young and having a background as an aerobics instructor and personal trainer, I was not the typical para-military police fitness trainer.

The optimal situation for fitness instruction in this environment would be to have a sworn officer, that is formally knowledgeable in the science of fitness, can perform 100% of the exercises requested better than 100% of the recruits that are in the academy, they would be young enough to train hard, and old enough to be interested in teaching but honestly, that is not realistic.

When you start working there at 25 and you are female, blonde and non-sworn it is harder to be taken seriously. My experience teaching classes to athletes at FIU helped me with my confidence, my education helped me with my credibility, and my wit helped me hold my own when challenged in front of classes.

There are going to be challenges in every occupation. it is part of the process of making the best of what you have been given. I work hard to keep my knowledge-base varied and current. I want to know what is going on in the field and keep interacting with other Law Enforcement Trainers.

The hard part is keeping your cool when things don’t go your way sometimes for reasons that are unfair. The only way to deal with these situations is to be the best at what you do. That includes sending yourself to training when your employer does not see the need, and getting certifications on your own dime. This is my career. My employer benefits from my knowledge and I benefit from my own ability to make myself more marketable than any other police fitness trainer I know.

I’m sure there’s a lot of trainers male and female, that are very inspired by your journey. What exactly do you do know, and what are you offering to Personal Trainers and the public?

I am still working in Miami, Florida, as a Police Fitness Trainer, and I have a consulting company called Fit-to-Enforce.Com with my business partner Troy who is currently a Sergeant working as a team leader on the SWAT team in Miami. We continue to offer fitness and sports nutrition training, firearms safety instruction, and ground fighting courses to other police departments in the US and abroad. I still lecture a couple times a year at various conferences and I am working on establishing a standard for instruction in the United States for Law Enforcement Fitness Trainers.

Hey Kel, I believe you put a big celebrity Aussie Chef in his place when he came over for Dinner?

Curtis Stone paid our team a visit to cook up some delicious summer dishes; the American network, nbc came along to take a look. However, as you’ll see Curtis got a lot more than he barging for!

Agreed! What an awesome clip. Well done Kelly!

Check out Kel's great video with Curtis!

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