Leslie Lewis can speak first hand on a number of things including being a mom, a professional fitness competitor and fitness instructor. Learn more about this Floridan fit diva and see how she continues to challenge her mind and body.
How did you get your start in fitness?
I was an aerobics instructor when I was in college at Harvard, but I stopped after leaving school, and didn't get really serious about fitness again until after becoming a mom. I was living in Vancouver, Canada when I found my coach, Fatima Leite Kusch. Her FitnessPrint.com program lit a fire in me, and I picked up the sport of physique competition. In 2012, I was the number two in Canada in my division.
How do you hope to inspire other women especially those of color?
Transforming the body requires transforming the mind, as you know, and I find it fascinating. I have had so many emotional breakthroughs as a result, and I would love for everyone to know the clarity that I have found. It's awesome! We deserve to have our bodies the way we want them, and the focus required to do that is a spiritual process, in my experience. Women of color have many athlete role models, and I would be proud to be considered one of them.
If I said--Hey, I have a magic pill for you. It makes you healthier, makes you lose weight, improves your appearance, helps you sleep better, tones your body, develops your balance and puts you in a good mood! Wouldn't you take that pill? This 'drug' is called 'daily intense exercise.' You need half an hour to an hour a day to take this magic pill, and it requires that you sweat, but it is so worth it.
What methods do you use to stay motivated mentally and physically?
I like having goals. I am headed to The Arnold to compete in the Bikini division and to do two photo shoots. Preparing for this has helped me to get focused. I have transformed my body in the last four months, and seeing the results is very satisfying.
My next goal, however, is to maintain the fitness model physique year-round, and that is more challenging. I've been able to achieve the hottie body several times since becoming a competitor, but then have let it go, and that process has been depressing. Luckily, I have teammates who show me that another way is possible.
So the big challenge for me, and I love a challenge, is to become what my coach calls 365. Being 365 means living the fitness lifestyle 365 days of the year, not just in pursuit of a goal. I have put a lot of thought into this, and this time, I think I've got it handled. I have been working with Deborah Beck Busis, a cognitive behavioral coach from BeckDietSolution.com, and that process has made a huge difference for me. Emotional eating was a problem for me in the past, but I have now quit that bad habit, in the same way that I quit smoking in my 20's! (And if you were wondering, I'm 41 now.) I'm thrilled about my new pattern of healthy coping skills.
Fitness is an opportunity to push our limits every day. It's a way to feel more fully alive, and who doesn't want that? The body loves to move.
Training minds, changing bodies!
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