Do you think of yourself as an "athlete"?
Well, if you're reading this or listening to Sparta Chicks Radio, you are and you should!
This concept of what it means to be an "athlete" and to recognise that you are an athlete is at the heart of my discussion with this week's guest, Leah Gilbert.
For so long, we've tied the concept of what it means to be an "athlete" to how someone looks and/or how far or fast they can run, ride, swim, climb or jump.
But as Leah points out, adopting such a limited definition means you aren’t giving yourself enough credit for everything you do that enables you to run, ride, swim, climb or jump; all the early nights, the preparation and planning, the learning, research and reading, the foam rolling, the proper fuelling, the time you spent focused on your recovery between sessions; all the peripheral things in your life that you do -- because you're an athlete.
Leah was a child who loved sport.
However, because she was bigger than the other kids, she felt very self-conscious of her body and, as a result, always limited the amount of effort she put into her sport (and therefore her potential).
These days, Leah is a fitness and sports counsellor who helps her clients work through the ways they mentally hold themselves back so they can achieve their physical potential.
And that’s something Leah can relate to; as she reveals in this conversation, she held back mentally for many years (and even decades). And it was only with the birth of her daughter in 2012 that Leah's relationship with food, exercise and her body began to shift.
Leah was recently a guest expert inside the Sparta Chicks Arena and her input helped a number of our Arena members realise that (like Leah) they had been holding themselves back, or giving themselves permission to cut sessions short or go easy because they weren't "an athlete" and (to paraphrase) they were going to be at the back of the pack anyway so what was the point?
Leah quickly developed a reputation as a thought leader and expert in, and advocate for, body positivity thanks to her outspoken nature and no-BS ways.
However, that persona came at the cost of for her own sports performance and so Leah stepped away from much of her public advocacy work, and social media. So she is someone who ‘walks her talk’, making her the perfect woman for the podcast.
We discuss all this, and more, in this conversation.
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