August Athlete of the Month
Leah has been with Fit Crew for four and a half years now, and she is certainly a familiar face in the gym. She always works hard and brings a great energy to the group classes as well as to her personal training sessions with Andrew. Recently, Leah competed for the first time in over three years at Fit Nation Thunderdome; she not only hit a PR on a clean complex there, but also finished third in the intermediate division, earning her a spot on the podium. Congrats Leah, we're so lucky to have you as a part of Fit Crew!
Tell us about yourself.
Goodness…with my propensity to be a bit wordy…I’ll try to keep this brief…I am from Little Rock, Arkansas, having moved there from Hot Springs, Arkansas, at the age of four…and my parents still live in the very same house! Wondering where my southern accent is? Well, my southern drawl does not come out unless I am either extremely tired or extremely aggravated…then one-syllable words become two or three! It will likely be no surprise to folks that know me that I am the baby of the family. I have a sister, Sally, who is 13 months older, and a brother, Mac, who is three years older. My husband, Don, and I have been married for 14 years and have two children of the golden retriever variety…Marley (9) and Scooter (5). Currently, I am the chief credit officer for Greystone Servicing Corporation, Inc., a company I was fortunate enough to have been invited to join in 2003. Greystone is a multifamily Lender for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA, and I sit on the credit committee that ultimately makes the decision as to whether or not we will make a loan on a property. Growing up, I would say I was the least “sporty” of the three children, not hitting a growth spurt until my freshman year in high school (shot up from 5’4” to 5’8”). What little athleticism I did have came from my father (sorry mom)…he played football for Air Force Academy and is simply one of those people who can pick up any sport and excel. But, I did get involved with gymnastics in early elementary days…surprising given my complete lack of mobility, sticking with that until I decided to play volleyball in junior high, following in my sister’s footsteps. My primary position was as setter. We played together throughout high school, at Mount St. Mary Academy, and in college, at Rhodes College, the latter being where I met Don during two-a-days for football and volleyball. I definitely came home after meeting him for the first time telling my roommate that I had met the man I was going to marry. And the rest, as they say, is history. I married the love of my life about two years after I graduated college, and God has blessed us with many opportunities sprinkled with trials and tribulations that have led to such an adventurous life that I would not want to experience with anyone else (Long Beach, MS, to Memphis, TN, to Ellenton, FL, back to Memphis, TN, and finally to Anna Maria Island (with a period of “commuting” for two years to Newport Beach, CA)…Don is amazing at packing us up for a move!
How did you get started at Fit Crew?
My husband, Don, and I had been living on Anna Maria Island for a little over two years and had just started getting involved with the Anna Maria Island Community Center adult sports (honest to goodness, we were trying to find folks closer to our age as living on Anna Maria Island, we were having a bit harder of a time doing that). While we were waiting to start a basketball game one night, we were talking with a few of our friends who mentioned that they had heard of this new gym (well, new to them) in downtown Bradenton that was providing CrossFit-like training, and they were planning to go to the 9 am class the next day. I had been looking for something different than just the regular gym / working out on my own (which means not working out a lot), so I just decided I would go with them. That was in April of 2012, and, other than a few extended work absences, my husband and I have been regulars at Fit Crew ever since.
What has been your proudest athletic moment?
A couple, not because I just have so many, but because they have come at completely different stages in my life. First, winning the state volleyball tournament when I was a junior in high school. The second has to be finishing on the podium at FN Thunderdome 2016, a CrossFit competition in Ft. Myers, Florida. I plan to have more as I continue my journey in CrossFit…I'm hoping that my next proud athletic moment will be qualifying for the CrossFit Games in the Masters division, then placing!
What is your favorite and least favorite movement/lift?
My two favorites are dead lift and split jerks. I have to say that my least favorites are, well, I have two…Snatch and Overhead Squat. Depending on the day, there may be more on the least favorite list, but those two seem to consistently make the list at the top spots.
What do you think makes Fit Crew different from other gyms that you’ve tried in the past?
First and foremost…the people. I know that everybody at every gym likely says the same thing, but I truly mean it. Not just the knowledgeable and approachable coaching staff but the community as a whole. Beyond getting in physically better condition, Don and I have forged some long-lasting and close friendships that would have otherwise never been found had we not joined Fit Crew. Beyond the community, I have yet to find a place with such variety in the workouts and a place where I am 100 percent comfortable setting goals that I believe are beyond what I think my physical and mental limits are, failing them, fixing, them, achieving them, and then setting higher goals. And loving every minute of it (except those days when maybe I cry a little during the workout. Thank the Lord I can mask that with sweat most of the time; Andrew doesn’t even respond to that anymore…or throw a barbell or kick the wall…but if you don’t have days like that, you aren’t trying hard enough in my opinion!).
Currently, I am in training ultimately to qualify for CrossFit Games in the Masters division (thankfully I have about three years to go to be eligible). If a person has ever competed for anything throughout the course of his or her life, I would venture to say that he or she still has that inner desire to compete. I know that I still do, and that, coupled with needing an outlet from the stresses of work, led me to start talking to Andrew about competing in local CrossFit competitions at the beginning of 2016. He did not skip a beat nor cast any doubt nor reference any sort of issue getting me on his calendar for training four days a week, whereas so many other gyms we have joined barely remember your name, much less want to help you specifically. He jumped right in with both feet, developing short-term and long-term training and nutrition programs specifically for me, working through injuries (Niels is a God-send for my aging self), deficiencies, and travel schedules. My first competition on this journey was FN Thunderdome 2016 where surprisingly (at least to me), I managed to get on the podium, placing third in the Intermediate division. We are circling our next competition for sometime this fall, kicking it up a notch, to compete in the Rx division. And while I do tend to lose sleep in the weeks leading up to the competitions, once one is concluded, I cannot wait to get back in the gym to start working on the next one.
What do you like to do when you’re not training at Fit Crew?
“Yachting”. Don and I own a small Boston Whaler that is just big enough for us and our two pups to run around Anna Maria Island, find sand bars for playing and just puttering about.
Love to read anything and absolutely love college football (GEAUX TIGERS!!!).
Tell us a fun fact that we might not already know about you.
I can do the Kid ‘N Play.
I’ll take chips / anything salty any day over sweets…especially Cheetos Cheese Puffs!