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Melissa Campbell


July 13, 2023

Notes from a Leaf Gym Newbie

I reluctantly started working out with Kyle and LEAF gym in mid-January of this year. I’m 50 years old, have birthed three children (raised several more), and have been a paralegal for 20+ years. My day consists mainly of sitting and typing. One day, my employer, Scott, came into the office and asked us if we would consider working out “with him” if he got us all a corporate membership at LEAF. I use the air quotes on purpose. Scott is ridiculously fit and runs ultra marathons for fun. After months of stalling and countless reassurances that “this gym was different” we all agreed and started our fitness journey.

I’ve worked out at a handful of gyms over the years. I took martial arts in high school and after college, danced in college, and even fancied myself a runner for a while. I was in great shape. But now, now my body is not what it used to be: it doesn’t do what it used to, it’s heavier, it’s shaped differently, I’ve not treated it the best over the years and the wear and tear is measurable. The thought of working out in a new gym made me feel like I needed to be fitter first, before working out with everyone. Bottom line: I was embarrassed at where I was fitness-wise, and I was scared.

Despite my anxiety, I still showed up. We all did. My ridiculously fit employer and his three, regularly shaped, staff members. Kyle greeted us in person and talked to us before starting anything. Getting to know you is one way he helps you. He has a wealth of information and experience, incredible form, innumerable ways to modify any exercise, and seemingly endless patience. Kyle took us on, and we’ve been with him for six months now. The growth and positive changes I’ve seen in myself are also reflected in my friends.

I still get anxious before every class. Literally. Every. Class. I don’t know why, but what I do know is this:

  1. I look forward to working out, and always leave tired and inspired.
  2. The coaches are all incredible. Every class is like a mini-personal training session. It’s ok if you don’t understand everything in the workout (I still have questions). They take time with you to teach you anything/everything in the workout, and make sure you don’t get hurt. They can scale up, or down, anything to make sure you have a great workout. Elite athlete or 50-year-old-with-a-desk-job… we all leave feeling the same way.
  3. The community is fabulous. I have never been part of such a supportive and uplifting community. Kyle once told me “We’re all here for your fitness,” and he was right. At LEAF gym you are part of a team, and everyone understands everyone is at different spots in our fitness journeys, and everyone supports everyone.

If I can offer any reassurance or encouragement for those considering coming for an intro or workout, but are embarrassed or scared like I was, it’s this: Your body is normal. Your body has been there for you as long as you’ve had it. Despite what you’ve done to, ate, drank, or whatever, your body has fought to recover and continues to serve you. It’s protected you, and done its best to get you through all the BS and challenges life has thrown at it. Now it’s time for you to be there for your body.

For anyone who’s already fit and looking for a challenge: LEAF gym offers it and can elevate your mindset and fitness.

I asked Kyle about the name – LEAF gym. He told me about his inspiration, philosophy, and desire to help others grow, and become healthier, freer people, and also a little about what the symbolism of LEAF meant to him. To me, after getting to know him and the community, the symbolism is spot on. The leaf is a symbol of change. It signifies life and growth in the spring, and as the seasons change it comes to symbolize renewal, recovery, and preparation for a new season. LEAF gym takes people, one at a time, as they are. It truly serves the whole spectrum of athletes. Sometimes we’re green and new and strong, and other times we’re injured or need a season of recovery so we can come back stronger.

I didn’t believe this gym would be any different from any of the others, but it 100% is. I invite you to join me and come experience it for yourself. You don’t have to be perfect, or in shape, or a certain caliber of athlete to benefit from working out here. LEAF gym is here to help you change, you just have to show up and try.

Melissa Campbell is a paralegal by day, but a storyteller at heart. If she’s not at the office or creating new worlds, she’s probably spending time with her husband of 21 years or her children who still think she’s cool enough to hang out with. Otherwise, you can find her paddleboarding or in her gardens recharging in nature.

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