Shannon Leach wears many feathers in her cap, she is a mom of Five, wife, nurse practitioner, and an online Health and Fitness Coach.
After qualifying for the Boston Marathon twice, once in 2008 during the Seattle Marathon and in 2012 at the Portland Marathon. She finished the Boston Marathon with a personal best on April 15, 2013. Today she is an inspiring mom of five along with a fitness coach.
In her Interview with Namita Nayyar, President Women Fitness , she answers common doubts, questions, fear women undergo by sharing her infertility journey to living a healthy lifestyle besides being a proud mother of five, Today. She shares input from her diet, fitness routine to prove fitness is achievable for all women.
You have been into an active lifestyle, fitness, and sports since childhood. Share your journey from being a soccer player to finish the Boston Marathon with a personal best.
My family has always been active — growing up, my siblings were all involved in year-round sports. We would go on family hikes, bikes, and even runs. Throughout junior high & high school, I ran track and played softball, basketball, and soccer. Soccer became my primary sport and passion, and I was fortunate enough to play college soccer at a Division 1 school from 2003-2007. After college, I no longer had a built-in fitness routine, so, to stay active, I took workout classes at our local YMCA and trained for half marathons, marathons, and triathlons.
I fell in love with running, and quickly set the Boston Marathon as a bucket list item. I qualified for the Boston Marathon twice, once in 2008 during the Seattle Marathon and then in 2012 at the Portland Marathon. It was on April 15, 2013, that I finished the Boston Marathon with a personal best. That was the most memorable and amazing athletic event I have ever been a part of… until the bombs went off. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about and say a prayer for those who were injured or died as a result of the Boston Marathon bombing.
However, we then decided we wanted to start to grow our family, and it was then that I learned I wouldn’t be able to have children on my own. A huge part of my life and my story is that I struggle with infertility. I’ll be sharing more later on this, but we have been incredibly blessed that our fertility treatments were successful — our first child, a daughter, was born in December of 2014.
Sports, fitness, and exercise had played such a strong role in my life that, as I neared the end of my first pregnancy, I started panicking about the available time I would have to work out. I knew it would be harder to get to a workout class at the gym or train for a marathon or triathlon. I feared I would never again feel fit and strong… that is, until I saw a friend sharing an at-home fitness program she started and invited me to a virtual health and accountability bootcamp.
Before starting my first program, however, I was a bit skeptical about working out from home and whether I would be motivated enough to do it in my living room, and whether I’d be challenged enough. These programs completely changed my mind about home workouts — they were HARD (but modifiable and so much variety it is possible for anyone at any fitness level to do). I quickly fell in love with the support system from the virtual bootcamps, so it was easy to stay motivated.
I quickly realized that, with a newborn baby, I didn’t want to and couldn’t devote extra time to get to the gym. By the time I would unload the car seat, take her to childcare, race to my class, race to grab her, feed her, and get home, it was a 2+ hour process for a 30-45-minute class. I realized that I had been looking for a cost-effective, time-efficient way to get back into a healthy lifestyle and I had found it. Best of all, I could do it at home and stay active despite being a busy, working mom.
It has been six years, nearly, since I started my first program. And while I primarily do at-home workouts, I weave in my running. I have yet to run another marathon since the Boston Marathon (it’s a little harder these days with 5 young kids to find the time to train for a marathon), but I have done a few half marathons and triathlons, and I love running a few short runs a few times a week. I’d love to run another marathon; the NY and Chicago Marathons have always been bucketing list items. And I’d absolutely love to run the Boston Marathon again one day. But I know there is a time and season for all things. Marathon training is not in the cards for me right now and I’m totally okay with that.
I absolutely love to swim, and pre-COVID shutdowns, I was swimming once a week. I also love a good cycle class or session at home (we have a used spin bike I bought a few years back during one of my pregnancies IVF cycles) because I wanted a low-impact cardio exercise. I also belong to a Triathlon Club (unfortunately haven’t been able to meet because of COVID), but it’s a local club through our YMCA where most Sundays throughout the year, we meet to swim 40 minutes, bike 40 minutes, and run a 5K (3.1miles). It’s a wonderful community and a kick-butt workout. I look forward to doing that again in the future.
But 90% of my workouts are programs that I stream from home, usually 30 minutes or less per day. And it’s in my basement. It’s not fancy. It’s not well-lit. But it’s allowed me to stay healthy and active, and sneak in a quick workout before my kids even wake.
Full Interview is Continued on Next Page
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