Leigh is a personal trainer, pilates + yoga instructor, and a strength + movement coach in LA! We've trained with her and appreciate how well she knows the body and can workout with you in a way that helps you not just push yourself but also steer clear of injuries. We caught up with her to find out more about her daily routine, brain health and so much more! Check her out on Instagram @gersonperson and find out more about training with her here!
1. What's your daily routine?
For me routine is an absolute necessity as i have ADHD and sticking to a schedule that I have organized ahead of time makes managing daily tasks a lot easier. On Sundays I write out my list of weekly tasks on my chalkboard wall for easy recollection as seeing everything on a big wall means that I can't hide from the things I need to do. days might start at slightly different times and the activities that i need to accomplish change from day to day as is common when you work for yourself but there are a lot of constants. I make my bed first before washing up and then come to sit at my meditation altar for a few minutes to set the tone and energy for the day. and then it's breakfast (unless i have a very early class or client which would come first if pre-7am) but i NEVER SKIP BREAKFAST. I eat the same thing every day: ground lupin bean bowl, which is similar in texture to grits. Making it is also something of a ritual. I add a ton of different things like collagen, greens powder, moringa, seeds, spices, and toppings. And depending on how long i have been up, i will make it with coffee instead of water. I always read a book while i eat breakfast and then i'll attack emails for an hour before getting on my mat for 30-45 min for some yoga or pilates. From there the rest of the day follows a pattern of work for 90 min/outside activity 45-60 min. Even though i live in LA now, i am still in the NYC habit of daily grocery store outings rather than a big shop and so on the days that I run, I like to give myself a destination and will end to pick up something to make for dinner. I always end my day with shower and most days an epsom salt soak to relieve any stress that might be lingering.
2. What's your favorite healthy habit?
We tend to think of healthy habits in relation to physical health like eating or exercising and also in terms of mental health with attention to mindset but we don't really look at brain health in terms of playing a role that might actually be the thing that ultimately controls all of that. So my favorite healthy habit--and i realize it is not something that everyone can do--is writing with my "non-dominant" hand. I have been ambidextrous in most things my whole life but about a month ago I started writing with my left hand which I had never really practiced outside of writing my name. At first it was just to challenge myself and then I noticed that it led to a significant reduction in my anxiety and dealing with daily stressors and so I started to see it for what it was really doing: increasing brain plasticity and creating new neural pathways. So I have fully made the switch from writing righty to writing lefty and make time each day to sit and scribe whether it is a postcard to a friend or notes on a course I am taking.
3. What inspired you to start recess?
I really was inspired to start recess as a means to fill time that had previously been taken up by unhealthy practices and to quiet my mind. Once I began on this journey I realized that while I was accomplishing both of those things, It was also offering so much more: the ability to see myself and the world around me. Places I thought I knew, I got to experience in a totally new way and my perspective shifted.
4. Favorite workout that's not your own...
Sky Ting TV. Sure the physical practice of Yoga can technically be a workout, it really is so much more than that. Maybe I'm a bit partial cause it was my home studio for years and I did both my 200 hr teacher training and Mentorship at Ting but the library of classes is just phenomenal with so many choices for all levels and interests.
5. Biggest challenge you've faced in work or life?
Dealing with addiction during the pandemic and the subsequent struggle of trying to launch my own business perhaps a bit later in the game than a lot of the trainers I knew. I recently created Gersonperson Performance as a hub for community building, training, strength and mobility online coaching programs, as well as classes in recovery, pilates, mobility and the like. It is constantly evolving as it is still in its early stages, but I really strive to make it accessible to everyone and also have a youtube channel where i add instructional videos for things like foam rolling and mobility.
6. What inspires you?
I am inspired by learning. I am inspired by seeing the changes that having a movement and mindset practice have made in my own life and I want to give that experience to other people. I am inspired by science and the mechanics of how the body works. I am inspired by friends who are blazing new trails and creating their own success outside of the box and building from scratch things that are uniquely theirs after having to flip because of the pandemic. I am inspired by the sunsets in LA (yes I know that is corny AF, but it is true). Every day I think this is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and then somehow it gets topped the very next day without fail.
7. What's your favorite animal and why?
Baby Flamingos! No, not really, but they are close! Outside of dogs, for which an argument can be made that one might prefer them to people, I would have to say elephants and whale sharks. The former because they mate for life and they never forget. I have a tattoo of an elephant because I too, have a memory to rival that of those gentle, wrinkly giants. In August, I got to swim with the whale sharks off the coast of Mexico. I can't say the 5 hours rocking in a small speed boat were at all pleasant, but the few minutes in the water looking at them is something i will never forget. There is no picture on the internet that I think fully conveys just how huge these animals are. And not in a scary way, but a majestic one. I really just felt in awe in the deepest sense of its meaning. At that moment, I really understood the vastness of the universe and how small we are. I might also now have a tattoo of one, too. I just really love all animals though, if i try to write any more, i might come up with a new favorite for every minute of the day.
#MyRecess is walking + running