Kendall Ebanks thought he was already super-fit considering he is a world-ranked boxer, but the 23-year-old Caymanian was always aware that his overall endurance needed to rise a notch to compete with the elite.
So, three months ago, Ebanks became a strength and conditioning coach at Anytime Fitness in Camana Bay to complement his boxing training.
He got involved with Anytime Fitness initially because, as an elite fighter, increasing his strength and conditioning was essential. He quickly realized that other top athletes could benefit from this sort of improvement too, so decided to pursue an international accreditation with the American Council of Fitness. Earning a sports conditioning specialty certification increased his marketability to elite athletes, fitness enthusiasts training for an event and youngsters wanting to improve their balance, strength, agility and speed.
Improvement on his cardio has been immense, as well as punch ratio and general performance levels. Even Tafari Ebanks, the boxing captain set for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next month, takes personal training sessions with Kendall twice a week, focusing primarily on strength and conditioning.
“We have the Russians, Americans and Cubans all doing their strength and conditioning,” Kendall said. “We can’t have anyone else having that sort of advantage over us. We have to do our work too.”
He first experienced elite strength and conditioning training in Cuban boxing camps – reputably the best in the world – and from a coach in Miami, boxing pro Sammy Payne. It inspired him to learn more at home.
Although Ebanks opted out of the Commonwealth Games due to work commitments, he still has plenty of ambition in the amateur code before turning pro. He is eyeing entering the Ringside American Championships in August as a light-welterweight or welter. Turning pro after competing in the Rio 2016 Olympics is his intention and becoming a world champion is the plan to provide a good life for his five-year-old son Kaydin.
Ebanks is part of the Flashy Nation group, Caymanian youngsters who train together and give support in various sports, mainly road runs and triathlon. He calls his Anytime Fitness classes Flashy Nation Training. The program is designed to help clients improve their athletic performance, no matter what sport or recreation they are involved in.
Many of his clients will be in the second annual Flashy Nation New Day 5k run/walk on July 6. Proceeds will be donated to The Department of Children and Family Services.
All Flashy Nation members will be dressed as their favorite children’s character such as Spiderman, Barbie, Easter Bunny and Superman. There will be a best dressed prize for participants.
Boxing training at Anytime Fitness is also getting increasingly popular through Ebanks, just ask one of his pupils, Kevin Weber, who has attended the classes since the start of the year and seen his strength and fitness levels increase significantly.
Weber’s main sport is baseball, believing he can reach pro level as a short stop and catcher.
“Through Kendall’s classes my hitting has improved, my throwing, strength, speed and awareness – everything,” Weber, 16, said. “I enjoy boxing a lot and if I wasn’t so focused on baseball I would probably drop it to do boxing, I enjoy it that much.
“It gives you self-confidence, strength and a little cockiness in case you ever get in a position to fight, you’ll have some techniques to use.”
Ebanks is one of few USA Boxing certified coaches in Cayman, which he received in Florida this year. The coaching gives him immense satisfaction.
“I have a lot of clients who are improving their game and body with great gains especially in their sport,” he said. “It’s another level once they start Flashy Nation Training.
“Like I’ve told them, all I care about is results. That’s what I’m here for. I aim to be the best strength and conditioning coach this island has seen. The athletes are improving with every event and for those who take classes for weight loss – they are more than happy with their results.”
Rachel Farrington is one of his pupils. “I have lost body fat and toned my body, also my endurance is much better than it was before I started,” she said. “The classes are so much fun, everyone pushes each other to do better. This is the best class I’ve been to on island.”
Kenzy Wright is another satisfied regular. She said, “Thanks to Flashy Nation for training and pushing me to achieve my personal best in the 1500 meters on track, which led me to win the Under-18 private inter-school race. I also broke my schools record in this event.”
Dahlia Grimes added that the workouts and results not only improved her physique, but also her confidence. “Flashy Nation has prepared me for the Fitness Extravaganza bikini competition this weekend where I plan to show off my well earned, toned body.”