Meet Leah Gitterman.
Leah’s achievements in Powerlifting show one side of how strong and badass she is....and fun too! I mean... check out her answer to the 'what else do you do' question!
Then a whole other side, that we admire so much, is the way she approaches her coaching. When we watch her she is 100% with her students. She knows when they need the space to focus, when they need to be pushed a little bit and when they need to just chill out and enjoy themselves.
Leah is strong, smart, and a co-founder and senior coach at Quantum Crossfit in the Toronto area. She is a world record holder in the 52kg weight class and pound-for-pound one of the top lifters in the country. Not bad for a former marathon runner (she's run 5 marathons) who didn't start lifting until her 30's!
Anyways, now it's time to meet Leah and see what she's all about!
Connect on Twitter @LeahGitterman
Q: What do you do?
A: Coach, mentor, powerlifter, gym owner, hospital patient safety/quality and organizational change work
Q: What else do you do?
A: A pretty amazing running man (think 1990’s dance moves)
Q: How do you define the word 'strength'?
A: I would define strength as confidence, trust and a strong sense of self. Developing physical strength helped me to develop a confidence that I can draw on in many aspects of my life (something that I lacked growing up)
Q: How did you discover your passion/work/niche?
A: Growing up I was always active but never a part of organized sports. I never had much confidence and stuck to individual activities like running. I happened to walk by a Crossfit gym one day and was amazed and intrigued by what I saw. Something about the community, the raw and unpretentious feel drew me in and a few years later I found myself working as coach and eventually owning a gym. Powerlifting seemed like a natural progression. As I got more comfortable using weights I became motivated to see how strong I could get. With a supportive community behind me and a fantastic coach I pursued that sport and continue to do so as both an athlete and coach.
Q: How do you incorporate movement into your daily lifestyle?
A: One of the simplest things I do is walk. Between owning a gym and working another job I don’t always have time for a gym workout but walking each and every day helps clear my mind, energize and organize my thoughts. On my training days I spend my time squatting, benching and deadlifting. I always add in an element of fun and variety by challenging myself with bodyweight movements and more recently playing around with strong(wo)man equipment (yoke carries are fun!!)
Q: Where would be a good starting point for someone who is looking to add more movements into their life like what you do?
A: A lot of my training involves using weights so I always recommend that people new to lifting find a coach to get started. Have someone review the movements with you to make sure you are moving safely and develop a level of comfort with the technique and weights. A good coach will assess your movement patterns, make adjustments and help determine how to best progress in the lifts. Grab a friend, find a gym and try it out! It's hard to describe how rewarding strength training can be.
Q: How do you define 'fitness'?
A: Fitness to me is challenging both body and mind. It is building a readiness and resilience to tackle and adapt to all that life has to offer with confidence, energy and enthusiasm
Q: Where do you see the future of the fitness?
A: There will always be a new fad in fitness but I hope that we see a continued movement towards simplicity, natural functional movement and fun. Focus on long term health and wellness: get outside, lift heavy things, walk, run, play.
Q: Does movement increase your self-confidence? If yes, how?
A: Movement has had a huge impact on my confidence. I have pushed through so many barriers (mental and physical) in the gym and that has direct impact on my day to day.
Q: What motivates the crap out of you? (quote, music, people, sport, etc)
A: Music is a huge motivator. If there is a 90’s hip hop mix in the gym, I’ll be dancing (poorly, but I’ll be dancing). Janis Joplin, Pearl Jam, Missy Elliott are always on the playlist
Q: What advice do you wish you could have given your former self?
A: In the words of Janis Joplin "you can destroy your now by worrying about tomorrow."