Leah Sohn - IFBB Physique Pro
Follow-up interview with Leah Sohn.
1. Leah, how are you? Thanks for joining me again, now as a Pro.
My pleasure! I’ve been busy getting back to work and in the flow of “normal” life again.
2. So… please share experiences from the NPC Teen, Collegiate & Masters National Championships.
Pittsburgh was such an amazing experience. I spent the first couple days helping my husband prepare for his Men’s Physique debut then his second day in Men’s BB (Heavyweight). I was so blessed to meet people that I’ve connected with on Social Media as well as different photographers and show staff. Talking to competitors is always the highlight of the trip for me. Every competitor is on point and I love getting the opportunity to interact with them on various levels.
3. How was your prep different this time from previous contest? What do you do to give yourself the edge over your competitors?
This prep was completely different than last year. This was my second National Show and I didn’t compete in any local shows in 2015. I hired a new coach and nutritionist that kept me focused on what I wanted…to peak in Pittsburgh. We spent 26 weeks preparing for the show and we wanted me ready a few weeks out so we could continue to tweak my physique and focus on conditioning.
4. What is the first thing you ate after the show?
I went and had calamari and a salad with crab cakes…so incredible! I actually wanted a salad with a ton of vegetables! I also had a crazy S’mores dessert!
5. What does being a Pro competitor mean to you?
To be honest, it’s a dream come true. I idolized Cory Everson when I was in Middle School and my goal is to show women that muscle and athleticism is beautiful, sexy and attainable. I want to bring interest to the sport and show others that you can accomplish your goals at any age!
6. How do you stay so motivated? What drives you?
My motivation comes from wanting to challenge myself each and every day. Without a goal or a dream it is easy to become complacent and bored in our daily routine. My husband is my training partner so I look to him for inspiration and to push me when I’m tired from work or the kids. The gym is our sanctuary and a way to connect.
7. What three training myths would you like to see busted?
Women come up to me afraid of getting too big from weight training. First and foremost…our genetics play a huge role in our ability to gain muscle. It took me 30 years to build my muscle…not just a year or a few weeks. Secondly, I’d like to see people acknowledge the fact that you can’t be successful overnight. It takes consistency and patience to build a body that you can be proud of. Every one of us has a different look that we want to achieve…and the only way to get there is with hard work. Finally, I want to be seen as a balanced athlete. It takes strength training, flexibility, cardiovascular training, discipline and proper nutrition to be successful. The goal should be to be an athlete year round that chooses to peak for a show. We shouldn’t look very different in or out of competition season.
Leah Sohn and Lenny Sohn
8. Physique competition has many benefits: It boosts self-confidence and while the highly restrictive diet is very demanding, the enviable aesthetic pay-off is high. However, other claim that "The experiences unique to women competitors within the bodybuilding industry, and particularly within bikini, demonstrate the degrading, immobilizing, and sexist reality for women when caught in the intersection of patriarchy, capitalism, and an industry that thrives off the exploitation of women’s bodies." (Kimberly Michelle Land, Female Bodybuilders: Caught in the Crossfire of Patriarchy and Capitalism). Is this criticism justified or is it just someone's erroneous opinion?
I don’t think anyone has the right to judge someone’s reason for competition. In our industry people compete for various reasons. People follow competitors for different reasons as well. I choose to see the positive side of our sport…regardless of what category of competition. As women, we choose to compete and put ourselves in front of others to be “judged”. For me, being judged is comparing my physique to the definition of the category in which I compete and against the women standing next to me. As long as I come prepared with my best package, then I’m proud of myself. Exploitation can be seen in every part of society if that is what someone is looking for…I don’t feel exploited nor would I ever put myself in a position to be.
9. For any ladies thinking of competing in Physique or working their way up the competition ladder, do you have tips or suggestions to share?
Take is slow. Find a good coach and nutritionist that can prepare you and give you an honest assessment of your body in terms of what category to compete in. A crash diet won’t prepare you for competition and it takes years to build quality muscle. I’ve been competing in athletics since I was a young girl and have spent my life sculpting my body. Be patient. There aren’t any shortcuts.
10. What is a day in the life of Leah Sohn like?
I usually wake up around 0600 and it’s a mad dash to get the kids ready for school before I head off to work. Some days I do fasted cardio before work. Other days I grab cardio over lunch. Often times I have to train very late in the evening. I absolutely make training a priority but I have to balance it with a full time job, family and other commitments. I usually prep food for myself and my husband after dinner. We only work about two days ahead on meal prep. I don’t usually slow down until around 10:30 at night…I try to get to bed by 11:00.
11. What are your interests outside of the bodybuilding world?
Right now I’m focused on helping my husband get his pro card and on creating healthy recipes for protein packed meals that fit our macros…So I guess cooking is an interest. We also love taking our children to the movies, bowling and just spending time in our home. Life is hectic so we enjoy relaxing with the people that matter the most!
12. Future plans?
Right now I’m waiting for my trainer to help me choose my pro debut in 2016. We would like to incorporate a few changes to my physique next year…I can’t wait!
Leah Sohn Ifbb Pro