alysh kempf red lattice gloves

An interview with Alysha Kempf – Big Red

Written by Alysha Kempf & Kevin Kapusi Starow

I first had contact with Alysha some years ago through my edutainment performances, promoting healthy cooking and eating for children. It was Alysha that contacted me, through social media, and asked if we had plans to come to Western Australia, that if we did, she would like to become involved in some way. She told me of her fanaticism about fitness, her scientific background and her love for helping people, amongst other things, so we kept in contact.

It was then sometime after that initial conversation when we had the opportunity to catch up in person. Alysha was on a trip to Melbourne, as she was competing in the Arnold Classic. She is such an amazingly nice person, who is driven in herself and in helping others achieve.

Hence what a better person to be featured in our interview series, in my opinion she is someone you should know about. Oh, I forgot to mention Alysha is also a professional body builder known within the industry as Big Red, a title that was bestowed upon her from within the body building community, and it sort of suits.

We began by asking Alysha what she is passionate about?

“I’m a fitness freak, a body builder and wrestler to be exact.  I am passionate about health and wellness.”  

So where did this passion and drive come from, have you always had it?

wonder woman big red

“I was always health conscious but not always fit.  Unfortunately, my mother died when I was quite young.  Then slowly over the years I lost most of my family.  It wasn’t until later I learnt my family have a genetic predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer.  So my life experience taught me from a young age the value of health and wellness.”

Can you tell us a little about where you are from, where were you born?

“I was born in Perth, Western Australia and lived here all my life.  Unfortunately, most of my family have passed now though.”

What about your childhood, what sort of child were you, and what did you want to be growing up?

“I had a fairly normal childhood in my younger years.  I recall telling my father when I was in early high school that I wanted to be a scientist.  I did follow science and obtained a Bachelor of Science at Curtin University.  After I graduated, I started working for local government in public health.  Twenty years later I am still working in local government using my knowledge to promote and protect public health through the enforcement of health legislation.”

Who has inspired you? What did your parents do for work, were you inspired by them in any way?

“Lots of people that have inspired me over the years but probably one of the biggest influences was my mother.  Before she became ill, she would give anything a try.  I recall waking up early one Saturday morning to a loud banging noise.  When I went to investigate, I found my mother smashing tiles off in the kitchen.  She had decided to commence a kitchen renovation.  She had no skills in this area but decided to give it a go.  With the help of a tiler a week later she completed a successful kitchen renovation.  Growing up with this example taught me in life it didn’t matter if I hadn’t tried something before just give it a try.”

Outside of your work what is your escape, what is the thing that brings you the most joy, and can you explain why?

“My happy place is definitely the gym.  Listening to some good music and pushing hard to challenge myself to be better than I was the day before.  I also enjoy early morning cardio embracing the dawn of a new day.  Watching the stars and moon fade as the sun comes up to greet you.  It gives me a great sense of gratefulness for all I have.”

Do you have a favourite food, we are not judging here just trying to get an insight?

“Many people ask me after months and months of dieting for a competition what is the first thing you will eat.  Yes like many women I look forward to eating some chocolate however, I also look forward to eating things like lovely fresh crunchy apples or perfectly ripe stone fruit.  I also enjoy what I consider to be a naughty salad, that is a salad with dressing and cheese.”

If you could pass on a single pearl of advice to parents, regarding life, children etc, what would it be?

“I don’t have any children but if I did I would want to make sure they are grateful for all the simple things in life but most importantly for their health.”

big red sitting on red fitness ball

I then asked, what are the 5 things in your life that you could not live without, other than body parts?

  • Good healthy fresh food
  • The Gym
  • Perfect sunny days with trips to the park and beaches
  • People I can help on their own journeys
  • Water – definitely couldn’t live without it I drink bucket loads especially when training.

Thinking about your life, what were some of the unexpected hurdles you faced along the way?

“When I was younger, I had a large family I never expected to lose them all along the way.  The setbacks that I have experienced in life I use as motivation to achieve more being mindful that our time on earth is limited.”

Do you have any tips or tricks for enjoying life?

“I like to take the opportunity to try new things.  I try not to wait for the right time or hold myself back.  I like to just give things a go constantly challenging myself.  Living life while I still have time.”

Looking back at where you were when you started this journey, where did you think it was going to lead you?

“I was not always fit.  In fact trying to run 300m made me feel like I was dying.  Initially I was just trying to improve my own health and fitness.  However, one goal lead to the next and years later I am an internationally recognized athlete with a substantial following on social media.  I would never have thought my life would have turned out this way.  I am very grateful for every opportunity it has presented me to influence and promote health and wellness.”

Tell me how to convince a person to do something they don’t want to do?

“I have often spoken to people who are struggling with their health.  When trying to convince them to make a lifestyle change, I try to understand the person and what motivates them.  When you know what is important to that individual you can frame the need to make the change to get an outcome they value.”

You have experienced a lot of success thus far in life, so what is next for you?

“Anything is possible.  Well at least after COVID 19 restrictions are reduced.  I am fortunate to be contacted regularly about all sorts of opportunities.  Definitely, lots more healthy food and training is guaranteed.”

Alysha is very humble, a beautiful woman with a big heart who is determined, from what I know about her to make a difference in the world. To help others reach their dreams and goals, and achieve success for themselves. Alysha is certainly someone I am proud to call my friend, oh and by the way yes we did eventually reach Western Australia, and yes Alysha was there to help out.

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