August Member of the Month:
Congrats to our August Member of the Month, Heidi Deleon! Heidi, another regular at the 5:00am, has put in a massive amount of work throughout 2016 and has the results to prove it. Heidi has lost almost 30lbs this year, has improved her Olympic Lifting technique by a significant amount and has quietly become one of our most committed members.
Heidi and her husband, John Deleon moved to the area in the Spring of 2015. We were fortune enough to call the Deleon’s members in April of 2015 as they wasted no time finding a gym they could call home. It did not take long for Heidi to establish herself as a veteran member as she committed to making almost every group class each week that she was in the area. Along with this, Heidi made the effort to attend several of our Olympic Lifting clinics and skills sessions to broaden her knowledge and her skill base. She has done this all the while being a mom and in the midst of building a budding plastic surgery practice in the seacoast.
More recently, Heidi committed to making some serious changes to her diet and lifestyle habits and enlisted the help of Nutrition Coach extraordinaire, Jamie Gosselin. While working with Jamie, Heidi made fantastic progress, worthy of recognition in itself! With most significant diet changes, it was Heidi’s discipline and consistency that produced such awesome results. In addition to this, Heidi made the effort to join our semi-private offering to sharpen her Olympic Lifting technique further. As many of you know, the Olympic lifts can be frustrating to develop to say the least. Heidi has displayed the patience and drive to work on the minutia of the lifts and has seen excellent progress.
As if the last few paragraphs weren’t enough of a reason to give Heidi the nod as our newest M.O.M, Heidi exhibits all of the intangibles that we are looking for in a model GBCF member. she is as positive as they come, always quick to cheer on her fellow classmates, and is extremely receptive to coaching. What more could you ask for not only as a member, but someone to highlight for others to look up to? Thank you Heidi, for being so exceptional. We look forward to many years of watching you achieve all the fitness goals you set and becoming even more badass!
Q: First off, Congrats, Heidi! It’s now your turn to answer our traditional first question; how did it feel to be named Member of the Month in August?
Wow, I was beyond surprised and flattered! GBCF is filled with so many amazing athletes and inspirational people, so to be singled out is such an honor.
Q: Could you tell us a little bit more about your athletic background? What did you do before finding GBCF?
Well, what haven’t I done?! I love athletics and competition. I started competing as an equestrian when I was 4 years old. Horse showing was my life for 18+ years. It was an amazing experience and took me all over the country. It taught me everything I know about hard work, goal setting, sacrifice, winning and losing. I am where I am in life today because of those skills. During high school, I played field hockey, basketball and softball when I wasn’t in the show ring. Unfortunately, I got injured playing basketball in my senior year and had to undergo reconstructive knee surgery which was devastating. But I bounced back and found the amazing sport of Rugby in college which was my passion for the next 7 years, through college and into medical school. Rugby taught me how to overcome my fear and how to push my body past its limits… Oh and how to run fast from very large women. There is no sport like it! Unfortunately, I got injured playing for Philadelphia Women’s while in medical school and had to have surgery on my thumb. As an inspiring surgeon at that time, I decided I should do the responsible thing and hang up my cleats because I couldn’t risk getting seriously hurt. Not long after that I moved to California for my plastic surgery training which was the most physically and psychologically challenging 6 years of my life. Trying to deal with the extreme stress, I stumbled into the amazing would of combat sports. I fell in love with Muay Thai kickboxing. I spent every free minute I had training Muay Thai and starting fighting amateur bouts. I trained Muay Thai for 9 years, along with boxing and submission grappling. As a woman, I found fighting to be a life changing experience. There is nothing more empowering than learning that you can get knocked down and get back up and keep fighting. Muay Thai continued to be a big part of my life until moving to Portsmouth last year. However, over the last several years, I have been struggling with worsening of the arthritic changes in my knee which has been exacerbated by the kickboxing. So when we moved to Portsmouth, I thought maybe it was a good time for a change, though my gloves are never too far away. In the transition, I managed to let myself get pretty out of shape. I had always wanted to try Crossfit and knew it was the right time to put down my gloves and pick up some weights. I also wanted to find something that my husband, John, and I could do together and hoped it might be a great place to meet like minded people in a new place. After a bit of research, Great Bay Crossfit seemed like the perfect fit. So here I am.
Q: As mentioned in your M.O.M write up, you have made some fantastic progress this year. Could you tell us a little bit about what has worked for you?
I have really struggled with maintaining my body composition since having my daughter and as I have gotten older. I have been able to get back to the body I wanted intermittently but it would take a lot of cardio, which was rough on my knee, and unrealistic restrictive diets, which were difficult to maintain. During my first 7 or 8 months at GBCF, I was making steady gains in my performance which was great but was really not seeing impressive changes in my body composition. So in January of this year I decided to make some big changes. Most importantly, I committed to 6 months of nutritional coaching with Jamie. I also decided to move away from cardio and lsd and start working on strength training and learning Olympic lifts during open gyms whenever possible with the ultimate goal of being able to perform barbell movements as prescribed in WODs during class. And I think both have been instrumental in changing my body composition. I also started seeing Scott regularly to work on my posture, shoulder position and mobility which has really been a great supplement for my lifts and body weight skills. The last piece and possible the most important to my progress has been having an amazing support system at GBCF and at home. In addition to Jamie’s wonderful coaching, I have the privilege of training with an amazing group of women who are very committed to healthy living and self improvement. It never felt like I was trying to achieve my goals alone. They inspire me and push me daily and are always there with encouragement when things get hard in the gym or in the kitchen. And having John on board with the healthy eating at home has been critical. I am very lucky to have a husband who is an amazing chef and can make healthy food interesting.
Q: You have put in a lot of work in the Olympic Lifts in the last year and it shows! What drives you to keep perfecting the lifts? Is there a particular lift that you enjoy more than others?
I have Rx dreams! Originally I just wanted to be able to do all the barbell movements at the prescribed weights in the workouts so I can get the most out of every workout. And then I actually started enjoying working on them. I’m a detail oriented person so I love the process of learning the techniques and seeing the progress with every new PR. It’s really rewarding but really hard. And when you are working out next to superwomen like Alison and Steph, what choice do you have? They set the bar high… And heavy! I feel like I’ve made the most progress with my squat cleans so that would have to be my favorite… Today anyway.
Q: Does your work as a plastic surgeon influence how you train or approach health and wellness?
Well my goal is not to need my own services! Actually that’s not true… Growing old gracefully is not in my plan. I plan to be the hottest ticket at the bingo hall for a very long time! But in all seriousness, as a plastic surgeon, I am fascinated by the human body and find great passion in restoring form and function. Of course, I achieve this surgically for my patients because they have more challenging issues. But I love the idea of body transformation. Dramatic things can be achieved with training and nutrition, and not just appearance, but also performance. The human body is a remarkable thing! And I definitely feel it’s important to be a well rounded example of health and wellness for my patients, especially my cosmetic patients. They are coming to me to become the best versions of themselves. And while I can easily do a surgery and make a dramatic change today, if they have not embraced a healthy lifestyle, their results will not be ideal and they will eventually return unhappy. So I am constantly promoting health and wellness as part of the overall plan. And when I am personally in a very healthy place, it’s a lot easier for me to do that with conviction.
Q: Like other road warriors in the gym, you do a fair amount of traveling throughout the year. Are there any tricks or solutions that you have found to help keep up your progress?
Yeah John loves to travel so we are away a lot and the traveling used to really derail my progress but I’ve had a lot more success recently. I try to be as good about my eating and drinking as possible and stick to my template for all the meals that don’t really matter and save the cheating for amazing food, big dinners out or important events. And I never want to waste my Kcals on airport food so I usually pack simple food for the travel days. I will often grab some healthy food from a local grocery store to keep in the hotel room too for healthy snacking. And I also make a great effort to incorporate exercising into the trip but in a fun way. Maybe take a run through the city we are visiting or to a landmark I want to see or find a local hike. And now that I feel more confident with my skills, I try to find a local Crossfit to check out and add to my tank top collection. And honestly now that my body composition is in a better place and my metabolism is revved up, I get away with having cheat meals and partying when we are away especially if I am getting workouts in and keeping most of the meals on target.
Q: You are as consistent as anyone at the 5:00am class. What drives you to wake up before the sun is up to work out!?
Well 5am is the most consistently available and guilt free time in my schedule. My husband, my daughter and my patients are all still sleeping. My work days can be very unpredictable so getting my workout out of the way early definitely prevents sabotage. And most importantly, I love my 5am family! I am inspired every single day by an amazing group of female athletes. They motivate me to bring out the best in myself. There is nothing more motivating than watching other women do things I can’t on a daily basis. It makes me want to be better which is a great thing! Even on my days off, I will get up and come to 5am!
Q: You always seem to pull out a pretty epic get-up for costume workouts at GBCF. Any insight on what you might be sporting this Halloween!?
I would never spoil the surprise. But you better believe I have been in the lab coming up with something good. Halloween is my favorite time of year!
Q: Lastly, if you could any piece of advice to those out there who are struggling to keep a consistent routine with exercise or nutrition, what would it be?
For me the key to consistency is having a goal. I have to be working toward something. And I also have to have confidence in the plan I have to reach that goal. It is so much easier to tolerate sacrifice and hard work when you know it is going to lead to the results you want. So for me the best way to do that was to commit to personalized nutrition and performance coaching for a period of time. So I would definitely recommend that to someone who is really serious about investing in themselves and making a change.