By: Dekel "Bowflex Barbie" Quant
"Experiencing pain ultimately connected me to my passion which unveiled my true purpose"
At fourteen years old, when a girl needs her mom most, I lost mine unexpectedly to cancer. My mom was a 10 year survivor and was in her fourth year of remission when the cancer came back. Both her breasts had been removed and she was doing chemo along with radiation to manage the cancer but it spread to other parts of her body. She didn’t tell us just how bad the disease had attacked her lungs, we were faced with this harsh reality when she was rushed to the hospital one afternoon in 2008. ”There’s nothing more we can do”, her doctors told us. This was the worst news that my father, brother and I could have ever received.
We honored her wishes to spend her last days at home and we made her as comfortable as we could. I remember how deeply it pierced my heart to hear her make her own funeral arrangements. She held my hand and told me that she was worried mostly about me...tears flowed and at fourteen it was a lot for me to process. I wasn't exactly sure how to feel or what I was supposed to do. I just remember feeling completely lost.
I was very close to my mom. I spent most of my time with her as she was a teacher at my school and I was with her around the clock at home and at school. Mom passed away on April 6th 2008. Eleven years has gone by but the pain is still very real and very present. Losing her was and still is the most painful moment of my life.
A few months after we lost her, my brother came home for a visit from college. He invited my dad to join him at the gym for a workout and dad insisted that I tag along. I was open to this because I played sports at school. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the gym very much; it became my happy and safe place. Since that day in 2008 I’ve been hooked ever since. I loved getting stronger and pushing my body to its limit. And as my physical strength increased, my mental and emotional strength followed. The gym also created a bonding experience for my family during such a tragic time. By nature, we are all introverts so having this common interest created a routine that we could share together which led to us developing stronger relationships. I always had a closer relationship with my mom but fitness and the gym helped me to foster a stronger, deeper bond with my dad. I also strongly believe that the gym played an important role in his healing as well.
Starting the gym at fourteen and sticking to it throughout high school and college made my passion for fitness very clear. In college, many people asked for my assistance with reaching their fitness goals after seeing how dedicated I was to my own fitness journey. During summer break in 2012, my dad suggested that I have a fitness boot-camp. I thought that this was a great idea and went ahead with planning the camp. For branding, I used my twitter handle
"Bowflex Barbie” and came up with the name “Bowflex Barbie’s Boot-Camp”. About thirty people signed up and I ran the program throughout the summer. I loved working with my clients. Despite being an introvert, I found that I was super comfortable with sharing my love and knowledge for fitness and surprisingly this did not feel like a task.
The following year I decided to host another camp and ninety people signed up this time. This absolutely blew my mind! Preparing for this camp was not easy, there were very early mornings and many late nights but I loved every minute of it. This summer was the game-changer for me. This is when it became very clear that fitness was not just something that I was passionate about but it was deeply rooted in my 'why'....it was my purpose. Through my journey and love for fitness, I realized that I was helping others to be their best selves while I got to be my best self.
At the end of the program I held an awards ceremony and finale event with all the participants. I shared with them how rewarding the experience was for me and how much they changed my life. They also shared their own stories of how the program helped them to feel more confident, look their best, eliminate medications and live a healthier life overall. So many amazing stories came out of this fitness experience and I got to be apart of it all. That day I received my confirmation, this was it and I was truly walking in my purpose.
When I returned to college, a fire was lit under me. I began hosting fitness classes with females at my university and the ”Bowflex Barbie” fitness brand continued to grow. I added online training, a fitness app and so much more. I was again apart of more amazing transformation stories and this process of helping others became so rewarding for me.
I look back at what was the most painful period of my life and then look at my life today. I feel more connected to my mom now than ever before. My dad reconfirmed this connection when he told me a few years back that my mom's dream was to own her own fitness studio. She was a former D1 athlete and worked as a Physical Ed. teacher most of her days in education. She loved fitness just like me. I know that it is no coincidence that I’m in this field and that my love and passion for fitness is not by chance. I feel her and know that she’s living her dream with and through me.
My pain, passion and purpose are all connected and they have created the beautiful reality that is my life. Pain put me in direct alignment with my purpose. The sting of losing my mom will never go away. I miss her terribly and wish that she was still here to celebrate all the new ventures and opportunities with me. I wish that I could still ask her for advice and have her comfy shoulder to lean and cry on. I am however, very grateful for the time that I got to spend with her, for the life lessons that she taught me and for everything that she has instilled in me. I am thankful that she continues to walk with me and live through me daily as I fulfill my purpose through our shared passion of fitness. My mom has never left my side, she's still watching and cheering for me and I will continue to make her proud.
About The Author
Dekel is passionate about healthy body transformations through her daily work as a fitness instructor. Her main focus is to help her clients look and feel their absolute best. She is also a competitive body builder who has won national and international titles. Through her brand “Bowflex Barbie” she has partnered with local and international fitness coaches to host boot camps and other wellness programs.
When Dekel is not training you can find her playing volley ball, singing, writing or traveling. Her favorite thing to do however, is spending quality time with her husband Ethan. She is also the pet mommy of two-year old Bow who she loves dearly.
For more information about Bowflex Barbie, visit her website www.blowflexbarbie.com and download her fitness app via Trainerize. You can also follow her on Instagram and Facebook for health & fitness tips along with quick work out routines.