My ‘Why We Move’ series* took a short sabbatical but we’re back with episode 13 and its Leonie, AKA @pinktrainerspt.
Leonie is a firecracker. Through lockdown 1.0, I watched her Instagram following grow exponentially as people warmed to her boundless energy and passion for movement but equally empathised with her struggles and occasional blips in self-confidence. As a trainer, she is passionate about celebrating her clients’ progressions and very much wears her heart on her sleeve. I am just delighted that she agreed to take part and cannot wait to see what she does next…
Here’s our chat…..
Q.1 What do you define as ‘joyful movement’?
Anything you do with your body that makes you feel alive and gets your heart pumping. That feeling of fizzing from doing something active. I can’t help but connect the term ‘joyful movement’ with ‘wahhoooooo’ because when I’m doing something like dancing, running, cycling it literally makes me want to shout it loud at the top of my voice…and I do…because I like to share the joy.
Q.2 What is your earliest memory of moving for fun and pure joy?
Practising cartwheels and handstands at junior school in break times. I used to love trying to see how long I could balance and how many cartwheels I could do before I got dizzy. I was a dancer and basically danced any chance I could get.
Q.3 Do you feel you listen to your body as far as movement is concerned or do you follow a specific programme or schedule?
I do have a strength training programme that I do 3 times a week with a Personal Trainer. Even coaches need to be coached. Around that I love to cycle, run, swim and dance and training totally depends on how I am feeling and what is in the diary in terms of challenges or events. Right now, I am just doing all of it for fun, no pressure. If I am tired, I rest. If I have got bundles of energy a turbo disco is on the cards. I have learned to push beyond the max but also listen to my body and know when it needs some TLC. It takes time to learn that balance.
Q.4 If exercise had ZERO impact on how your body looks, would your exercise choices be different?
Oh, hell no! When I first started out with exercise 2 years ago it was important to me to lose weight and get fitter. I was very unhappy and very unhealthy. But it was always more about looking after my mental health than anything else.
I am the same bodyweight now that I was before I started training. Same BMI. Totally different body composition. Bodyweight is just one number. I train because I love it. Finding fitness in my 40s has been liberating. Learning to see what my body is capable of is so exciting. That is what drives me not what I look like. I lift weights because it makes me feel invincible. I cycle because I feel free. And I cartwheel when I run because I will always be that little girl with pig tails who cartwheeled in the playground at break times.
Q.5 Why do you move? (What motivates you and how does movement make you feel?)
Joy. Freedom. Energy. Feeling alive. I move because it helps me focus. It helps me make sense of the jumbled noise in my head when I am stressed. It is my time to concentrate on my body and mind. Some days I just need a slow plod to clear my head…others I need to race along the coast at top speed on my bike yelling wahoo as I go. I move differently depending on what my body is crying out for on that day. Most of all I move because I love it. I only found how just how much 2 years ago when I put on a pair of pink trainers and tried to go for a jog because I was in a bad place. It totally changed my life and now I will not be without it. Music and movement make my soul soar.
*Find Leonie on Insta: @pinktrainerpt; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pinktrainerspt
**This is part 13 of my ‘Why We Move’ series! This is a series of interviews with a range of female trainers who believe in a non appearance based and weight neutral approach to fitness.