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NCSU footballer-turned-fitness pro Kennie Apilli puts the fun in fitness fundamentals.
They say exercise has the ability to change your life… and that sentiment no doubt played out for Kennie Apilli, an immigrant from Kenya who found his solace in sports, became an NCAA athlete and is now giving back via his gig as the GM of Holly Spring’s recently bowed D1.
The athletic training facility—with a new Raleigh location in the works (stay tuned)—offers a results-driven workout to aspiring athletes of all ages and skill levels (including 100+ NFL draft picks and over 3,000 college athletes to date). It is modeled after the collegiate-level grind—think picking up and putting down heavy items, performance/strength training, treadmills and rowing machines, and killer core workouts.
The fitness phenom first came to America at the tender age of 10 after his dad lost his Parliament seat, and, here, found sports to be a positive outlet for him. That passion parlayed into athletic scholarships at both NC State and Southern Utah. Post-grad, the Division I athlete dabbled in corporate wellness before scoping out one of the franchise’s facilities on the rec of legendary NC State QB Philip Rivers (!), who then co-owned the former D1 facility in Raleigh (which shuttered in 2018).
And the rest, as they say, is history. Apilli has been giving back to up-and-coming athletes ever since, bringing his passion, muscle (natch) and brains for sports to the biz. Now at the helm of Holly Spring’s outpost, he’s living out a career that pays homage to his journey—from his childhood playing sports with his dad in Kenya to “coaching” his local community now.
“When I think back, that’s really when my passion for health and wellness began,” he reflects. Apilli’s dad, who never left Kenya and has since passed, “used to medicate his stress with alcohol, but I noticed after we played in the backyard, he was always in a better mood.” Now, Apilli is able “to live in this country and do something that feels like complete play,” he says, while living out his “biggest passion to prioritize long-term health.”
“Sports can get a community corralled and excited,” he adds, noting the intangible aspects it provides—and its ability to transform lives.
“Our aim is to provide a setting that is very motivating, encouraging and educational—in that order,” says Apilli. “It helps people in different aspects of their lives that have nothing to do with working out. The workouts are difficult at times, but you find people still grinning from ear to ear—and that’s because [we] care to do more than just make someone quicker, stronger and faster.” We’ll chalk that up as a score. dltraining.com
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