Leah caught my eye the first day of her workout at CFPR. Everyone fills out a waiver before they start, and to the question “What are your goals?” Leah answered “Muscles”! She has clearly met that goal and over the past year Leah has quietly become an outstanding CrossFitter. She trains consistently, always does her best, and frequently puts in extra time to improve at the things that don’t come easily for her. Through persistence and attention to detail, she has turned some of her biggest obstacles into her greatest strength. Her goal on the barbell however, has always been to improve her technique first and foremost, with small and gradual increases in loads being the fruits of her effort. Leah sets an inspiring example that many of us would do well to follow. Her success is a testament to the persistence, perseverance, intelligence, and mental toughness that she brings into the gym with her every day.
What did you do before CrossFit?
Before CrossFit I was mostly a runner. I have completed 3 organized half marathons, and one on my own, as well as multiple 5K’s and 10K’s. I belong to a regular gym so I also took spin classes and did weights sometimes, but never got into any kind of weight lifting program.
When did you join CrossFit Paso Robles?
I joined CrossFit Paso Robles in November 2012. I wanted to come because a friend of mine was a member and I loved seeing all her posts and pictures and it looked like a lot of fun as well as a challenging workout program.
How did you feel after your first workout?
As soon as I finished my first workout I thought, “This is awesome. Sign me up.”
What do you enjoy the most about CrossFit?
I love starting off each day with a strength/skill. I enjoy seeing my progression and that I can lift a little more weight each time. I like the variety and how it’s different every time.
What were your goals when you first started?
My main goal when I first started to was to gain muscle. I wasn’t seeing any kind of results with the weight training I had been doing every so often at the gym. I realized I probably wasn’t doing it correctly so that’s why I had to join CrossFit. My goal is the same. To keep gaining muscle and to continue to get stronger.
What is your favorite CrossFit movement?
My favorite movement is the deadlift. Love love love it.
What is your least favorite movement?
My least favorite movement is anything overhead. Overhead squats and the snatch. With the bar overhead it makes me feel weak and off balance and it frustrates the heck out of me. I’m getting better at it, slowly but surely. I practice a little extra when I can so I can bet more comfortable with them.
What is one tip you would give someone considering CrossFit or a new CrossFitter? I want to tell everyone not to believe the negativity you hear about CF. You certainly won’t puke, and you are not guaranteed an injury. I can’t stand when people who have never tried it talk so negatively about it. Just don’t push yourself farther than you’re capable of. If your coach is smart, like Sonjia and the other coaches we have, they won’t let you do more than you can handle. In one year and 2 months of CrossFit, I have pulled one muscle. Never had an injury that set me back.
Would you share your results from doing CrossFit? (What changes in your health, physique and overall performance have you seen since starting CrossFit? )
I see a change in my eating habits from being a CrossFitter. I make a conscious effort to eat more protein. I eat way more vegetables than I used to. I am not a fan, but I make myself eat them. I can see a little bit more definition in my muscles, and that keeps me pushing to do more.
How has CrossFit and being part of this family changed your life?
My favorite part of my day is coming to class in the mornings. I hate it when I miss a class, which is rare. I love my CF family. I can never to back to a regular gym full time again. I think I will be a CrossFitter for many many years to come.
Favorite place to eat a paleo-ish meal? What is your favorite cheat meal?
To be honest, I don’t try to eat Paleo. I love cheese, yogurt, bread, and I have a major weakness for junk food! When I go out to eat, which isn’t often, I get a greasy, juicy, cheeseburger and French fries It’s my favorite food.
Something that people would be surprised to know about you?
I am a very open person, so there aren’t many things you don’t know about me. I guess a stranger would be surprised that I was in the Air Force for 9 years. I fixed parts on the F-15 fighter jet for 3 years. Then I crossed trained into the medical field. I spent 4 ½ months in Iraq from 2004-2005 working at the AF hospital, taking care of American and Iraqi soldiers, as well as Iraqi civilians, police, and inmates.
What/who inspires you the most?
All the CFPR members inspire me. Everyone is great at something and I love to see individual results. I love to see each one of them lift a heavier weight than they had before. Everyone keeps getting better and I love that and it pushes me to get better as well.
Overhead squat: 3 x 5
The focus is on form and technique… Pick a weight that can allow you to do the full movement and and weight only if form is perfect