Just Do It: Erica Leonard
Owner/head trainer, Core 954, Pompano Beach
Was there something in your past that inspired you to become more passionate about fitness?
I grew up modeling and acting at a young age, so keeping fit was kind of my thing. However, I really started taking it more seriously after a car accident when I was in my 20s, which left me with bad injuries to my wrists, neck and knees. I studied Pilates for my rehab to bring my body back. The pain I experienced during the [recovery] was debilitating at times. But with a bit of patience, knowledge, practice and peace of mind, I began to heal. I truly believe it was the dedication to myself and my daily fitness routine. Today I am stronger and more fit than ever.
What distinguishes your workout routine?
Over the last 10-plus years I’ve been honored to train [world-class] athletes, including Olympic hopefuls and professional boxers. Given my Pilates background, I liked to stay true to strict core conditioning and powerhouse strengthening. This was my main focus with my athletes. I saw how it would give them speed and power like nothing else.
Core954 is a Lagree Fitness studio. This incredible 45-minute workout is a perfect combo of strength training, yoga and Pilates—all integrated into one machine. The first time I took a Lagree class, I felt like I had never worked out a day in my life. … We target muscles in a safe and effective way by hitting the slow-twitch muscle fibers at precisely the perfect four- to five-second count moves. At Core954, you will never hit your plateau. The workout is never the same, and we’re constantly tricking the muscles. As a result, there is less injury over time. I like to consider this the workout for longevity.
In addition to exercise, how else do you try and lead a healthy lifestyle?
1. Stress is a silent killer. It will eat you alive and spit you out. I try to eliminate this from my life, whether through meditation, taking a swim, watching the sunrise, writing poetry or journaling. There are so many ways to create peace in your life, it all starts with ridding yourself of anyone or anything that doesn’t complement you or make you smile.
2. I’ve had my share of sleepless nights, especially with two little girls. I know for a fact that rest, even if its just micronapping, can help recharge the body.
3. Fresh-pressed juices, lots of water—and, occasionally, wine.
4. I believe it’s so important to surround yourself with like-minded people, friends and family who make you shine like the brightest star.
Words of wisdom: “Find a workout you love, so it doesn’t seem like it’s a chore. Switch things up so you don’t get bored. Don’t be afraid to try new things that aren’t in the gym. Just keep your body moving. … Smile often, love lots—and repeat daily. All else will fall into place.”
Photography by James Woodley
Creative Direction by Melanie Smit
Art Direction by Evelyn Suarez
Shot on location at Margaritaville Beach Resort, Hollywood Beach