Tizi Talks with Bill Kasanda
"Health is the ability to adapt and self manage in the face of adversity." ~ Dr. Molly Maloof
Has the first week of September has been good to you? Welcome back to our interview series with Bill Kasanda. After coming across his picture on social media carrying a trophy he won at a motorbike competition as an amputee, we wanted to hear his story and hopefully inspire you.
Bill is a graphics designer working with Queens Studio as a creative director, an entrepreneur with a motorcycle business supplying accessories and runs a cargo business where he imports a range of goods into the country. He is also a philanthropist at heart and runs a mentorship programme for children. He explained that being an amputee is very expensive hence the need to work hard. Did we also mention that he is a fitness enthusiast? We got to chatting...
TIZI: How old are you?
BK: I am 28 years old
TIZI: What led to the amputation?
BK: In 2015 I was participating in a super-bike road racing here in Kenya; I got to a corner and lost control crushing into a pelican road sign. Sadly I lost my foot on the spot. My journey has been very challenging since I had to start again; never in my life did I imagine being an amputee. The sad thing is disability is not as bad as we imagine. What makes it a tough journey is the fact that most people living with disability never accept themselves and the rest of the world has a negative perspective towards it; that 'we are less of something, or we lack in some areas'.
TIZI: What did it take for you to recover physically, emotionally and mentally?
BK: I started by accepting myself the way I am and I surrounded myself with people who reminded me of my capabilities. I also had to go out to the world and allow people to judge and talk about me; the often comment I would get was "we told you to stop riding". Interacting and hanging out with a group of people who were there before me also significantly helped with my recovery. Physical fitness played a huge old both emotionally and mentally; I would always speak greatness to myself before anyone did and always believed I was the best before anyone told me.
TIZI: How long had you been working out before the injury?
BK: I started my fitness journey in 2014 and maintained the consistency until my accident which was a major hit because it kept me out for two months with the likelihood of not resuming. Due to my love for fitness, I managed to come back and indeed, its one of the things that play a big role in conquering disability.
TIZI: Most people would have given up after your experience; how do you stay motivated?
BK: I discovered my calling in this world. My goals, responsibilities and those who depend on me keep me going. When I come across people living below their capabilities, it makes me want to work harder to show them that our mind is a powerful tool and we are all capable of greatness. Fitness is one of the things that keeps me sane and helped me realize that challenges cannot be avoided, but can be overcome.
TIZI: Do you feel like fitness has made a difference in your life?
BK: Yes. Fitness has played a huge role in overcoming my disability. Over a span of two months while nursing my injury, I managed to gain more than 30kgs. At that point, I wanted to give up on life and forget about my fitness journey. When I attempted to hit the gym, I experienced too much muscle pain that was unfamiliar so I stopped for a few days and resumed a few days later. It has helped with both my self- esteem and confidence.
TIZI: Can you please take me through your fitness routine on the weekday and weekend?
BK: I do my training during the week and weekends are catch up days. On Monday I start with crushing my legs to humble me through the week. Tuesday is chest day one of my favourite, you can tell from the images. Wednesday is back day and one of the humbling days of the week since I struggle a lot with my lower back. Thursday I hit those shoulders to compliment the upper body. I am addicted to training two different muscles in a day, for example if I do chest, I would throw in some bicep workouts since all my routines are supersets. Legs would go with Neck or triceps. I prefer leaving my weekends free however if one of the muscles were undertrained during the week, I make up for it.
TIZI: Do you find it difficult to include your workout in your daily routine?
BK: No, its a matter of prioritising. I love training in the evenings after work. Initially, I used to suffer from insomnia but going to the gym after work would give me better sleep. Another thing that has helped with my consistency is creating friendships, getting to know different gym owners and I don't limit myself to one gym. I have also kitted my home with basic equipment.
TIZI: What would you advise someone who wants to start their fitness journey and has sustained an injury?
BK: Start now. All the questions and concerns you have will be answered only if you start; avoid comparing yourself to others and find what type of exercise works for you. For the people living with disabilities, technology gives you access to information that will get you started and find a friend who has been through the same journey. If you need any advice, please get in touch with me; I'll help. Remember, you have no excuses.
(He asked for this shot!)
The only disability in life is a bad attitude.- Scott Hamilton
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Yours in Wellness,
Photography: Brian Koome
Location: Fitness Revolution
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