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Greater El Paso Tennis Assoc.

1 Tennis West Lane

El Paso, Tx.  79932

(915) 532-5524



AF Member Profile: Kenya Conaway

April 22, 2013 02:46 PM
Kenya Conaway - Member Profile
Kenya1El Paso's Kenya Conaway is this month's Active Forever Member Profile. Kenya has long been a USTA League and tournament player, but a recent decision has helped catapult her towards a more healthy life and a better tennis game. After battling knee and back injuries that were affecting her game as well as more pressing issues like chronic high blood pressure and diabetes from being overweight for years, Kenya embarked on a decision about a year ago to alter her eating habits and be more committed to her health.
At first it meant a small break from tennis to get used to the changes, but quickly Kenya came to see the benefits of improved health. In the last year, she has dropped just over a 100 pounds and is feeling better and better and more energetic on the court.  Her team was slated to be a participant at our upcoming USTA Southwest 40+ Adult League Championships in early May in her hometown, but the team had to pull out unfortunately. 
We at the USTA are really proud of Kenya's efforts and want to encourge her and everyone to help use tennis to adjust and improve their lifestyle and fitness.  It's absolutely one of the best sports for a stronger mind and body. Kenya was a warrior on the court before it all, and we know she's going to to be even more of one now.
We caught up with Kenya recently to get the lowdown on her new lower weight, and to let her tell her inspirational story.  
USTSSW: We see that you're originally from Detroit. How did you end up in El Paso?
KC: The truth:  Better Weather!!  Plus my sister was stationed here (Ft. Bliss), and she convinced me to come visit in Nov 2005.  I transferred my job and moved here by Feb 2006.  What can I say? It's sunny everyday in El Paso!

USTASW: Were you exposed to the game early? How and when exactly did you get started playing tennis?
KC: I watched tennis on tv as a kid...always had an interest in the game, but didn't actually start playing until I took a beginning tennis class in college. After I "Aced" that class, I thought I was a pro, so I took Tennis II. LOL...yeah, I was the only female in that class, and it was graded on skill! That's when I really learned how to play!

USTASW: We see you've been a USTA Member for almost seven years now. What would you say has been your best USTA experience so far?
KC:  So many great experiences, but the best was getting to go to 6.0 Mixed Nationals in Sacramento, CA a few years ago.  It was so much fun..will never forget it!  

GEPTA6USTASW:  Of course we have heard about your weight loss (over 100 pounds) and are really excited at your results. What promoted the change, and how much of a part of the plan to lose weight was tennis-related or a part of your tennis lifestyle?
KC: I had been overweight my entire adult life, even though I have always loved physical activity and being outside. Once I started playing league tennis, my knees and back started really taking a beating, but I enjoyed the game so much...I wasn't going to let my weight stop me from excelling at a sport I had always dreamed to play.


But I started having health problems in Dec 2010, and by the spring of 2012, my health had declined tremendously, and I had gained even more weight. It had gotten to the point where I could not even move without pain or swelling, let alone play tennis.  

Things went downhill quickly where I had to choose between eating whatever I wanted/no longer play tennis/deal with chronic high blood pressure/diabetes and other issues OR change my eating habits for good/lose excess weight/improve my overall fitness so that I could return to tennis stronger than ever. 


So I took the summer and fall seasons off from tennis and concentrated on overhauling my eating habits, addressed the real reasons why I was overweight in the first place, and committed to really going after improving my overall health and fitness - from getting help with stress management, to increasing the amount of water and sleep I was getting, to incorporating weight training and the occasional yoga session for flexibility. 


My goal has been to only take on things that I enjoy, and that I can do crash diets or activities that I would only do "to lose weight".  My intention was to change my life, so I only put things into practice that I know I can sustain long term. Consistently practicing the lifestyle that I have put in place for myself is what has gotten me down 100+ lbs, and now I can do the things that I have always enjoyed, but now without pain and medications! 

USTASW: What would be your advice to others who maybe were in the same position?
KC: Understand that just because you are physically active does not mean that you can continually feed your body unhealthy food, and expect it to continue to perform for you. The body will eventually start to break down, and you will be forced to make hard choices.


Take the time to learn what good nutrition can do for you, and start putting new habits in place.  It does not require that you be perfect...just consistent, and you will see results from even the smallest changes. Lastly, don't bother with crash diets! If you have to eat a certain way for 'X'  amount of time, know that as soon as you stop and go back to what you were doing before, you will regain what you lost, plus more! Instead, incorporate only those changes that you can continue to practice for the rest of your life, and your body will love you for it!

USTASW: What are your fitness and tennis goals for the rest of this year?
KC:  I want to continue to improve my muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance. I want to be able to do pushups on my toes and run for 30 minutes straight. I don't think that's too much to ask! As for tennis, I am currently working on my singles game...just because I can! Its awesome to be able to play, and not have to swallow a bottle of ibuprofen afterwards!


USTASW: You've been a league captain for awhile now and a frequent player (31 league teams since 2007). What do you enjoy about being a USTA League captain?
KC: I love tennis so much, and being a captain allows me to do my part to help others enjoy the game as well.

USTASW: Do you use the sport as a social tool to meet people? Would you say some of your best friends are from your tennis teams?
KC:  Absolutely!! Tennis has allowed me to meet people that I never would have crossed paths with otherwise.  Even through my health issues, these people have stuck by me, and supported me in so many ways. Being involved with the USTA Adult Leagues has brought some wonderful people into my life, and I will always be grateful for it.

USTASW: What do you normally do with your tennis friends outside of playing? Go out, hang out??
KC: Outside of playing?! We are ALWAYS on the tennis courts in this town! If we aren't on the courts, its because we are at a Tournament Player Party, or we are shopping for tennis clothes, or we are hanging out somewhere...talking about tennis!




- Has been a USTA member for last 10 years and played since college

- Has played on 31 league teams since 2007, captaining many. 
-  Has dropped more than 100 pounds since attempting a lifestyle/diet change in spring of 2012




Active Forever is the official "Medical & Sports Therapy Equipment Provider" and a sponsor of the USTA Southwest Member Profile. The company promotes and supports a healthy lifestyle we want and hope for all of our USTA members.

USTA members receive discounts at Active Forever’s store location in Scottsdale and online at  


Official Medical & Sports Therapy Equipment Provider of USTA Southwest

Active Forever - 

(use code USTASW when purchasing and we receive 5% kickback to support tennis programs here in the Southwest!)

The Scottsdale-based company provides medical equipment and supplies for independent living through mobility, low vision aids, power scooters, wheelchairs, rollators, fitness and physical therapy products, orthopedics, exercise equipment, diabetes supplies, as well as many other medical devices.