Bahamas' 'Bowflex Barbie' Promotes Long-Term Fitness Solutions

By Alesha Cadet

Tribune Features Reporter


Dekel Nesbit describes herself as that girl in the gym you see lifting all the heavy weights while sporting super cute long nails.

Fitness has been a major part of her life since 2008. It is truly a lifestyle for the 26-year-old, who is a ISSA certified fitness trainer, sports injury specialist, and physique and figure training specialist. A fit and well-muscled appearance has led to her being nicknamed “Bowflex Barbie”, which also became the name of her business.

She officially stated training others in 2012 and started her company, Bowflex Barbie Fitness, officially in 2014 after graduating college. She also a competitive bodybuilder and has had the opportunity to compete both locally and internationally over the last five years.

“Being a fitness instructor is extremely rewarding for me. I love seeing my clients progress and I love that I’m playing an intricate role in improving their health,” said Dekel, who is currently studying to become a certified pre- and post natal corrective exercise specialist.

Bowflex Barbie, she said, is actually a nickname given to her by a Bahamian friend she met while attending Mississippi State University. At the time she thought it was perfect for her as she saw herself as fit and muscular, but also still very much a girly-girl.

Over the years, the nickname evolved into the brand that today is Bowflex Barbie Fitness. She said her success is due to her amazing team of instructors – Cameron Bowe, Christina Adderley-Henry and Whitney Fowler.

“When I initially started out solo, I focused mainly on women’s fitness and I still do, as this is my passion. Now the company has expanded and evolved to fulfil the training and fitness needs of both men and women, under the shared mission of simply helping our clients reach their fitness goals and acquire a better quality of life,” said Dekel.

“My clients often say that I look sweet but my workouts are mean. My sessions are indeed challenging, but my clients have come to understand that in order to change, the process will be uncomfortable. My job as their trainer is to push them past the barriers they create in their mind, to challenge them and cultivate results. Moving to Nassau only two years ago, and being able to build such a strong client base that continues to grow, is largely in part to the few clients I started with recommending me to others and being walking testimonials for the work we put in, so I’d say the feedback has been positive,” said Dekel.

She believes the desire for health and wellness in the Bahamas is definitely growing, and people on the whole are taking their health more seriously, taking preventative actions to help combat the alarmingly high rates of obesity and resulting non-communicable diseases in the country.

“I do feel that more Bahamians need to adapt healthy living as a true lifestyle and not simply bounce from diet to diet, gym to gym, or programme to programme. I think as a nation we need more persons making the lifelong commitment to be active and fuel their bodies properly to avoid the yo-yo effect and starting and stopping that we often times see. We must be proactive if we plan to seriously change the statistics and not wait until doctors order us to move more and eat better,” she said.

“I think Bahamian women, specifically, need to be mindful of the extreme diets and how they affect hormone levels, which in turn are connected to weight management. I have experienced this first-hand and it’s honestly not worth the potential damage done to the body. I’ve recently learned a lot about the history of birth and birthing in the modern world doing my pre- and post natal specialisation, and some of the statistics linked to infertility, infant and mother mortality rates as well, diseases in infants and children, and the need for surgeries and medication, are all alarmingly increasing, and a huge reason for all of these increases is the lifestyle that women lead today.”

As the year continues, Dekel will focus on preparing for an upcoming fitness competition in July, as well as maintaining her physique for her wedding this October. She said while looking good is undeniably important to her, but feeling good is even more so.

“Even when I don’t have big events coming up I try to always set goals for myself, whether it being able to hit a personal best in a lift or something aesthetic; it helps to keep me stay focused and working towards something specific,” she said.

Her Summer tips for readers are:

• Drink lots of water, as you sweat more in the heat and lose more fluids

• Take your workouts outdoors: hit the sidewalks, beaches and parks and work up a great sweat.

She said it is also important to set seasonal goals; a realistic and specific goal at the beginning of the season that starts with a timeline. Track your progress over the Summer months, and once Summer ends, set a new goal and keep the momentum going.


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