HL: You worked in the Music industry for 18 years, how did you find the transition into Health & Fitness?
LS: Even though I’ve been a DJ for the past 18 years, I’ve also been a Pilates teacher for the past 10 so the “transition” has been gradual. I spent 5 years in London running a record label (2001-2006) and I returned to Australia somewhat broken haha!!! (The London lifestyle is “work hard, play harder”) I was definitely looking for a bit of a career change.
Having always been active and into fitness I decided to become a Pilates teacher. I guess 10 years (and one child) later my focus has shifted from the music industry to the fitness industry. It’s where I see my future. I feel I want to help other women that want to get back into fitness after having kids but who may be a little daunted!! And I just love feeling clear, fit and energised!!!
HL: What is your long-term vision for Body by Leah Simmons? How is your program different?
LS: My vision for Body By Leah Simmons (BBLS) is constantly evolving. It started off as just an Instagram account, then it evolved into a website and blog and now I have developed some Pilates-based programs (launching mid year) called BBLS PilatesMAX.
The programs themselves are different because they are audio rather than visual (HL: Genius!). I have seen too many people in gyms try to follow online programs where they have to watch a screen - so their body has to move but their eyes need to stay focused in one spot. It just doesn’t make sense for an effective workout.
My programs comprise of an e-book and audio program that requires nothing more than a smartphone or MP3 player - all you have to do is plug your headphones in, press play and listen as I guide you through your chosen workout - set to custom music mixed by me (of course) - as if you were in a class. There’s no fumbling or losing your place in a video, no stopping and starting, no losing your flow.
HL: What are the most common myths you hear from women when it comes to protein powder?
LS: I actually don’t think people in general know ENOUGH about protein powder.
There are so many different kinds - from Whey to Pea to Hemp!!! People should do their research and make sure they choose the right one for them. I actually wrote an article about the different types of protein powder to try and give people a summary of just what is available!! You can check it out here.
HL: What are the most common mistakes you see women making with their workouts and their diets?
LS: I definitely don’t think women include enough strength training into their workout regimes. And by this I mean lifting weights. There is a common misconception that if women lift heavy weights they will bulk up. This is so untrue. I mean look at me!!!! I lift weights EVERY DAY. Heavy ones!!! I certainly don’t think I am bulky.
Lifting weights is vital for red blood cell production, which in turn helps to keep bones strong. It’s also essential for creating lean muscle tissue and strengthening core muscles. Effective training should include a combination of different components - strength, cardio and mobility.
I also see too many people cutting entire food groups out of their diets - you need a good mix of proteins, carbohydrates and fats to nourish and feed your body. I would advise anyone wanting to cut anything out to seek professional advice first.
HL: How do you nourish your body after a workout?
LS: Straight after a workout is when your body is craving protein to nourish and build muscle tissue - so I head straight for a protein shake!! Usually comprising of whey protein, half a banana, coconut water, a couple of dates, some cinnamon and also a pro-biotic for good gut health.
HL: What’s in your shopping trolley?
LS: My shopping trolley is very boring!!! It doesn’t really alter that much.. You’ll find different varieties of protein (chicken, fish or lean beef), lots of green veggies (broccoli, spinach, beans, celery), sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, lemons, fresh and frozen berries, assorted herbs, brown rice, organic eggs, coconut oil (the only oil I cook with), organic rice loaf, full fat cows milk (I love a splash in my coffee) - I could live on those ingredients forever and be happy!!!
HL: Do you indulge in cheat meals and if so what’s your go-to?
LS: Totally!! Although I don’t regard them as “cheat” meals because the word “cheat” implies something negative. I am a firm believer in the 80:20 rule. 80% of the time I am disciplined in what I eat which means I can enjoy what I want the other 20% of the time. My favourite indulgent meal is a dozen oysters followed by the rib eye, fries and air-dried ricotta and pea salad at Icebergs Dining Room & Bar, Bondi Beach. That, or the Parpadelle with Ragu at Fratelli Paradiso.
HL: What songs are at the top of your playlist at the moment?
LS: Anything by Grimes, RUFUS, Gang Of Youths or The National
The Best You Ever Had…
Workout… I would have to say the BBLS PilatesMAX workouts!!! Always killer hahaha
Outfit… The black leather Alex Perry dress I wore for a Harpers Bazaar shoot in September 2014 - so so amazing!!!
DJ Set… When my DJ partner, Alice Q and I launched ‘The Dollhouse’ on Australia Day at Icebergs in 2014… the place was completely rammed and going nuts - there was sweat dripping off the ceiling!! That was pretty amazing.
Album… Madonna “The Immaculate Collection”
Meal… Last September in Mykonos - a tiny taverna on the beach where my (now) fiance and I decided on the place we are getting married this September.. we were eating freshly caught calamari that was grilled in front of us with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon and some homemade white taramasalata… It was HEAVEN.
Smoothie… My Tropicolada!!!
Holiday… There have been so many amazing adventures…. I’m reserving this space for my upcoming honeymoon (destination TBC!!!)
Follow Leah on Instagram: @bodybyleahsimmons