Fit to Protect and Serve
Danielle knew that in order to become a successful police officer, sheÔÇÖd need to get fighting fit.
Personal trainer: Julie Kemple, personal trainer, Fusion Fitness Center
Location: Newark, Delaware
Finding her place. Several years ago Danielle’s dreams of becoming a police officer began to fade. She feared she’d never make the cut because she was overweight and out of shape.
Like so many people trying to lose weight, she had “tried everything” from diets to workouts—but nothing seemed to work. After a negative experience with a personal trainer, Danielle was all but convinced that her dreams would go unrealized. It was then that her best friend encouraged her to try a team-training session at Fusion Fitness Center in Newark, Delaware.
“I remember almost puking my first session, but I loved the way I felt when I left—even if it made me feel horribly out of shape,” recalls Danielle, a former soccer player. “I immediately signed up for a membership.”
Fight to get fit. Danielle experienced success within the team-training program. However, she felt that she needed something more and decided to approach Julie Kemple, the facility’s resident kickboxing instructor.
“I knew she was a former law enforcement officer and would know how to get me prepared for possible enrollment at the police academy,” says Danielle. Also, 5-foot-tall Danielle thought that learning to kickbox would boost her confidence and earn respect from her future peers.
“Initially, I meet with all my clients or potential clients for an introductory session on the heavy bag,” explains Kemple. “We go over hand wraps or gloves, placement of the different punches and kicks, punching speed and power, and safety—keeping the wrists straight, not tucking your thumb into your hand, etc. At this point I am able to see any innate skill, assess body awareness and determine what needs to be addressed first.”
The former athlete was a natural, recalls Kemple, so the two immediately went to work.
Mental fortitude. Once Danielle got comfortable with heavy bag work—and that didn’t take long—she took off,” Kemple says. “She dropped weight and was eager to challenge herself to do just a little bit more than last time.”
Despite her client’s success, Kemple knew from experience that there was more to becoming a police officer than being physically fit. “Because of my background in law enforcement, I knew I would need to prepare Danielle emotionally and mentally for the academy,” says Kemple. “There is so much self-doubt that can happen when you are pushed to your limits every day. As I wrote her programs, I constantly thought about different tactics I could use to ensure her progress.”
The C-word. “Because of training and counseling with me, Danielle walked into her first day at the academy ready for anything they could throw at her,” notes the proud trainer. “She was physically, mentally and emotionally fit. I told her, ‘Don’t let ’em see ya cry.’ She texted me every week during the academy, and I was delighted each time to hear how well she was doing.”
However, Danielle’s struggles would not end there.
“Once my goal was met, and I had graduated from the police academy and was halfway through my field training, one more hurdle was shoved into my life,” says Danielle. “I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I was crushed. There I was, in the best shape and the healthiest I had ever been, and I got the C-word thrown in my direction.”
She immediately sought Kemple’s support. “Julie and I cried together one session, but after a week or so of being down I knew I had to just pick myself up and fight through it. I made it this far, so I can do anything.”
Back on her feet. Danielle eventually had cancer surgery. As soon as she was ready and able, she returned to Fusion Fitness Center to resume training.
“I had surgery at the beginning of January, and worked with Julie to get back into shape,” says Danielle. “She helped to design programs where my core wasn’t affected too much. Now I am back on my feet completely and continue to love, cherish and appreciate Julie, my trainers and my Fusion family.”