Hey y'all and welcome to the everyday athlete podcast recorded live from Omaha, Nebraska and I'm your host, Katie danger U S army veteran and founder of Red H Nutrition providing everyday athletes just like you, clean, effective nutritional solutions, custom formulated to help you reach your absolute potential every single day.
Welcome, welcome athletes to episode number 28 of the everyday athlete podcast. This is Katie danger. Again, thanks so much For tuning in this week. I have a very, very special guest today, so we haven't done a lot of interview episodes yet and now what I'm doing is I'm putting the feelers out there. I'm putting the vibe out there so we've got topics we'd like to cover and ultimately I want you guys to be the best you can possibly be. I'm always talking about mindset. I'm always talking about nutrition, little hacks, you know, like we'll tweak some things you can do with your life and I have a very special guest who's going to help you be inspired, get inspired and stay inspired. My guest is Leah Baez and she's here from Omaha. I actually met her quite a while ago in the CrossFit fitness scene. But since then she's always been incredible. But her story, she shared more of her story and it's such an incredible story of being in a very, very dark place, feeling like a failure.
(01:14): But having a moment where she realizes that she is greater, she is more, and she has more and she can be better. So she is an inspirational speaker. She's a mentor, she's a writer, she's a media consultant. She's also a single mom whose bravery and determination. She has changed her life. She's touched millions of people. In fact, when we get done with this episode and I get a Leah off here, you're gonna be able to check out all of our information on our website, [inaudible] dot com but you gotta watch her video for three minute video from her commencement speech at Bellevue university has gone viral and you can check it on her website. But if you just did a YouTube search of goal cast and Leah Baez, you could find it easily. So I guess without further ado, you guys, I want to introduce Leah. Leah, thank you so much for being on episode number 28 with us today. This is my new life,
(02:00): The number I like is episode 28. This is going to be fun. Thanks Katie. I'm so excited to be here.
(02:05): Yes. And like the brief introduction I gave our athletes listening today, I want you to give them a rundown of who you are, where you come from, and the inspiration you can provide us today.
(02:16): Yeah. So my name is Leah Baez. Like you said, I'm 37 years old, grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. Been here ever since. I did move away briefly, but it's like Omaha. You kind of like everyone says you kind of get stuck. You don't ever leave you to come back. But I'm here happily here and I have a large family that lives here as well, so it's hard for me to leave family. But I love Omaha and I have a background in journalism. So I was a reporter for the Omaha world Herald newspaper which is the largest newspaper in Nebraska. And I worked there for about 14 years as a reporter and an editor and I absolutely loved it. I loved helping people share their stories. I love telling other people's stories and yeah, so I then decided to kind of make a change in my career when I kind of was going through some personal things with my marriage and I actually went to Bellevue university to get my master's degree in public administration.
(03:13): And then it just kind of fell in my lap that I got a government communications job for Douglas County, Nebraska, which is the largest County here in Nebraska and here in Omaha. So yeah, I absolutely love what I do. Communications, like you said, media consulting. I actually do some media work for the CrossFit games, so I've been working for CrossFit for the past. I started working for CrossFit in 2014 actually as a writer for the CrossFit games website. But then it ended up turning into more positions and I, I'm in the media manager, if you will for back when they were regionals, the regional events. I did the North, central regional, but then I also would do the CrossFit games. And I've been doing that ever since, unfortunately, probably not this year because of everything going on with the Coronavirus. But definitely we'll be back next year.
(04:01): And absolutely love working in communications, you know, helping people share their stories and that sort of thing. So going back a little bit, you said to touch on the inspiration. So I am a firm believer in the power of not only telling your story, but the power of your own mindset and being able to control your beliefs and that no matter what you believe, and no matter what, you know, the messaging that you have in your head, that's what's going to happen in your life. So if you're constantly positive, you're going to, you're going to receive positivity back to you. And if, you know, if you're feeling down in the dumps and you, you switch your mindset to negativity and you stick there and you stay there, unfortunately that's what's gonna you're gonna attract. So the power of mindset helped me really get through the toughest times of my own life.
(04:46): And I would not be where I am today without shifting my own belief that I could still be successful, that I could achieve my goals even after I went through some of the most difficult experiences. It's something I would never wish on anyone but just a broken marriage, a custody battle in court fighting to prove that I'm worthy to be a mother. I mean it was really devastating, but I, you know, I prevailed and I, and I give credit to my faith. I give credit to my family, but I also give credit to the power of having a positive mindset.
(05:20): Thanks for sharing that Leah. One of the three ethos that I operate on and then I talked about on the podcast before is the educating, the inspiring and empowering. And I feel like they all happen together. You know, you have the education, somebody gets inspired and then they're want to take on and they want to essentially be in control of their own life. And we've probably all heard it before. You know you, you are what you think Henry Ford, what was his saying? What if you think you can or you can't, you're right. Manifest destiny. All of those things are touching on the same thing. But when it comes down to, there's all these buzz words, but if you had a hell, like how does somebody change mindset and believe somebody listening right now, if they're in a dark spot, no matter what it is, fitness life, a custody battle maybe, what do you tell them how?
(06:05): Yeah, so that's a great question Katie. So what I will say is, and you'll hear inspirational stories all over the world, right? You can Google inspirational stories and what you'll see is, you know, I was here in this dark place and then I'm now I'm so much better, but we don't talk about that journey in between, right? We don't talk about how we got from that darkest place of our life to feeling like now I'm successful again. Now I'm living my best life. Now I'm really doing things the way I know I should. But we don't talk about that middle part. And that's the hardest part is that journey. It's a journey of self growth. You know, it's a journey of self awareness. So when I was actually going through that, I was going through a divorce, a custody battle, like I mentioned, I was literally, I moved back into my parents' house because I wanted to get back on my feet financially.
(06:55): And that was just like the best idea time for me. And so, but I remember I was laying in my, I was, I went back to my childhood bedroom and I was laying on my bed and you know those glow in the dark star is that you have on your ceiling as a kid. I stuck mine up there and like the sixth grade, right? Well I go back to there. Yeah. I go back there and mine are still up there. And at first I broke down like I was, I was a mess, you know, emotionally I was like, how can this happen to me? Like is this a demotion? Here I am, you know, in my thirties you know, looking up at those glow in the dark stars, you know, what is this? What is this? You know, why am I going through this? And you know, I could question and not understand at that moment and, and just I was a mess, you know, but now I'm like, okay.
(07:40): And all of that makes sense now. All of that, that hard time, that realization, I needed that. I needed that because I needed that moment to figure out who I want to be, but also the, I'm strong enough to achieve that. Right. And so I knew that I couldn't, it wasn't going to just be an overnight thing. You're not just going to have a really bad traumatic experience in your life and then come out find the next day. I mean, it just doesn't happen that way. It takes, you know, resilience and it's an every day mantra of I am strong. I am enough. You know? I mean, I started doing daily prayers and daily meditation. I started doing things that I never had done because I didn't have, you know, when I was in this, in this broken marriage, my self esteem was shot. You know, I wasn't taking care of my inner self.
(08:29): And so I started to do things that really made me feel good again. And so once I started to see that and build that self-esteem back up, and then also just start to say like, Hey, I am strong and Hey, I am enough and I am brave and I can do this. I just have like the shift, you know? And it didn't happen overnight, but it did, you know, it took a lot of time. It took a lot of believing in myself every day. I also had to in that terrible go do something that made me feel good about myself. So people thought I was crazy. Right? So here I am fighting for custody of my child in the middle of this nasty divorce that was in an Emmy, cost me tens of thousands of dollars in the court system money I didn't even have, you know, so I decided, you know what?
(09:14): I'm going to do something that was going to make me feel good and I'm going to go get my master's degree. Because I knew that if I changed the trajectory of my mindset and put all of that negative energy and all that, those things that were consuming me and re put them to something positive and inmates made myself focus on something that I knew that I was bettering myself. I was putting myself in a position that not only would benefit me financially as a single mother at some point, but having a master's degree could open more doors for my career. And so it just allowed me to not focus so much on the bad stuff that was happening. But now instead I'm bettering myself and I'm empowering myself. And that felt so good. And so even though I was, and people were like, I can't believe you're going to go to grad school right now.
(10:02): You know? And I'm just like, I had to, I had to because otherwise I would have just, I mean, I would, my emotions would have ate me alive, you know, my heartbreak, you know, feeling like I had failed as a mom, failing out like I had filled as a wife. I mean all these terrible feelings that you go through, you know, unless I had done something to make me feel good, I don't know where I would be. And so that was big for me. So if somebody is feeling that way, if somebody is feeling down in the dumps or you know, not feeling good about where they are in their life right now, you know, one of the biggest things I like to say is go do something nice for someone else. Because immediately, immediately when you can do something nice for someone else, you automatically raise your own vibration.
(10:45): You're already feeling better, you know? And so that to me is like a key thing. So if I wake up and I'm not having the best day, I try to immediately change my thought process. So I say my daily affirmations, I meditate, I pray, and then I try to find somebody who needs something that I can, I can bring value to them. You know, an example is, you know, recently one of my friends who was laid off from her job, she, because of the Coronavirus, I knew she was not feeling the bus and she was just having a hard time. So I just, because she's my friend and I wanted to do something nice for her, I wrote a cover letter and a resume for her and sent it off to her and said, here, here's a star. This is not the end.
(11:27): This is a, you know, one closed door leads to an open one. And like she called me in tears and literally said, I cannot believe you just did that. She was like, do you know what? I've been sitting in front of my computer for three hours not knowing where to start because I'm so emotional right now. She was like, I'm applying for 10 jobs today and you just totally made my day that made my day. You know what I mean? Because I knew that I was helping her, but you know, and that's what this is about. Like all, we're all in this together. We have to help each other out. We've got to lift each other up. The hard times are inevitable for all of us. You know, we're all going to go through something, we're all going to deal with some sort of trauma and it's like we've got to be there for each other to pick each other up. And I, and I truly believe, like if somebody is having a bad day, find the energy to just do something nice for someone else and I promise you you'll feel better.
(12:15): You know who Ziglar is? Don't. Yeah. One thing he says, and it resonates with me all the time, is if you want to get what you want, give somebody else something they want, the easiest way to get what you want us to get somebody else what they want. And it is true. It is true. And it's also what you just described. It's like, okay, I'm feeling bad. Most people aren't going to think about helping somebody else out when they feel bad, if, I wouldn't say it's counterintuitive, but it kind of goes against human condition, ego-driven, you know, those sorts of things. So I love that suggestion. And I want to ask you another thing. So we talked about the mindset, the meditation's like self exploration, finding purpose. What about fitness? Did fitness play any part into your healing and your growth?
(12:56): 100%. I, yeah, I mean I doing cross the during that difficult time in my life and my you know, my CrossFit gym was my, you know, my safe Haven. I was there all the time. I'm my friends who were at, you know, fit farm with me. You know, I mean, I think the coaches would yell at us because we were like talking through the wad half the time. Like, I needed that therapy, you know, I like that was my therapy. Like, let's do some snatches and then let's chat for a bit. I mean, it was constantly, it was my getaway. It helped me clear my mind and a hundred percent like, I mean just today, you know, it's been a really stressful time for me at my job because like I said, I work in government communications and we're dealing a lot with the Kobe 19 response.
(13:41): And I had a few minutes before, you know, meeting with you for this podcast and I said, I'm just need to go clear my head. I'm going to go for a run. And it just, the weather was perfect. It just felt great. My mom come with me so we're jogging together and it was just exactly what I needed to still build. And we ended up going, normally we only do like two and a half miles cause my mom's like in her mid sixties you know, but she said, let's keep going. So I was like, let's keep going. So we went a little bit over three miles and it completely changed how I felt, you know, those natural endorphins. And so that was really key for me, having that, those sweat therapy sessions, if you will, during those dark times. But just every day for me, I mean I don't work out every day like I'd like to, but I know that if I want to feel better instantly all I have to do is work out. You know, all I have to do is get a little sweat and so
(14:33): Do you know that that's going to be the probably the title for this podcast. How better instantly workout. There you go. That's a game. Ever heard the same? Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. A major component to your competitive success will be your nutrition prep and I create a competition guide to help you utilize pre-internet and post-competition nutrition protocols, boost your confidence heading into a competition, recover quicker post comps. You get right back to training and increase your power output and max capacity so you can own that podium. I created this guide just for the everyday athlete and you can get your free copy at competition, nutrition guide.com I'll say again, competition, nutrition guide.com so share with us what is your fitness goal right now? What are you, are you training for anything? What? What's going on?
(15:23): I actually was having a difficult time adjusting to the gym being closed, you know? And so that really, I didn't know what to do with myself. Like, I mean, I know that I can go to any like Instagram online anywhere and find a million home workouts and I've got a countable, I've got some equipment here, I can do stuff, but I'm such a group fitness person. Like I need people, I like to compete with people. I like to say hi to my friends. And so that difficult for me finding the energy to just work out by myself. And so right now my goal is to commit to at least four days a week home workouts, you know, whether it's a run outside and you know, a quick CrossFit wat. I've got an Airdyne in the garage so you know, I can do some burpees and some Airdyne.
(16:12): That's a killer workout, you know. And again, some kettlebell swings, I have to try to get that in. And so I've been doing like the competitions, you know, on like an Apple watch with friends to stay competitive, to have that like ability that I'm normally used to in a group setting. I really just miss my friends at the gym, so that's hard. But I'm getting used to it. So right now it's just getting my workouts in at home, trying to push through this quarantine. And we can talk about this if you'd like, but I, I started a little challenge. I needed accountability and so I created a Facebook group for the challenge to help me stay accountable. And so it was just a friends and family and I brought experts in to bring share advice. And Katie, who, you know, you shared your advice as well with us and I just, I loved it because it was the push I needed, you know, I felt like I was gonna if I didn't get motivated, I was going to gain weight during this quarantine and be so upset with myself that I couldn't figure out how to get in a home workout.
(17:12): So yeah. So my goals really are just staying accountable and just kind of figuring out how to make it work at home. I really think that's all you can ask of yourself right now is where we're at. But are you looking forward to getting back to group fitness? Absolutely, yes.
(17:30): I know that you know the, you have like a lot of the gyms still have to limit to class sizes and it's going to be a little bit different. But yeah, I just can't wait to get around people and just have, you know, loud music. You know, I'm always worried my neighbors are going to be mad. My music's too loud when I'm working out, but I love the music it, you know, during a workout I love the loud noise of the barbells drop in I L I miss that, you know, so I'm looking forward to getting back into the gym, seeing my friends and even if it is different, I am definitely ready to give back.
(18:04): I'm pretty sure everybody listening to this right now is on the same page as you. Let's get back to some sense of normalcy, please that this is kind of a generic question, but I always like to know how do you manage your time and fitness? How do you fit it in? You have a lot more responsibilities than I have just because you do have a daughter to care for. So how would you suggest somebody fits fitness into their life if perhaps maybe that's an excuse they're using right now?
(18:28): Yeah. So I just really love how great I feel after I work out. And so I just know that I have to get it in if I want to feel better. And like I said, we said earlier, there's no quicker way to feel better than to get a quick sweat session in. And so for me, it's kind of funny because I've actually had my daughter doing homework outs with me and she kind of like does her own thing and she'll be funny and then she'll like start dancing and doing tick talks, but it's still movement. Right? And I just want her to see that we can still have fun and still move healthy. And that's kind of like, you know, the, that's what I want to teach her. That's what I want her to know that yeah, you can still dance and that still counts as you know, fitness.
(19:10): But I think if somebody doesn't have time, I think there's always a way to get something. And even if it's just a walk outside or doing laundry and doing some squats, you know, I've been challenging myself to do a hundred pushups a day because I have said I'm doing a challenge with some other friends and I'm like, okay, a hundred pushups a day and we're, we're just kind of keeping each other accountable, friendly competition. That's kinda what keeps me going. So if somebody, the time, maybe they just need to have a little push from someone else or maybe they just need to have a friend or, you know, even get involved in a challenge, you know, just so that something to push you. Cause it is hard. It is very hard when we're living in an uncertain time, when things are changing all the time.
(19:53): It's just a weird time right now and I think you know it's okay. Also though, I think people should know it's okay to not be okay. You know, people forget that this isn't something that we've never experienced before in our lifetime. And so it's okay to feel unmotivated. It's okay to feel you don't have the energy to do that, but find a way to still move, find a way to do something, some sort of activity, mowing the grass, getting outside, getting fresh air, doing something so that you can balance that mental state and feel good and get those endorphins flowing.
(20:26): I love it. I love it. It's simple advice, but it's very practical. It's very applicable to anybody. So you mentioned this a little very, very briefly and I want you to expand on it if you can. What's your daily morning routine like? I love mornings. I think they set everything up for success. Do you have any morning routine that sets you up for success?
(20:43): Yeah, so I do. Every morning I get, and I say that my daily affirmations, they differ by the day. You can actually get an app that sends you daily affirmations. There's a few different ones, but I use, it's called I am. And it'll send you notifications throughout the day, but then you can also set it to basically go with your alarm in the morning. So as soon as I wake up, I have an affirmation already. So I get up, sit in affirmation, you know, sit a couple things, say a prayer and then I, you know, I get up and then I do a daily probiotic is probably TMI, but I do my daily probiotic and some greens. And then I usually lately, because I've been working from home, I have been just rolling out of bed doing that and then getting on my work, Zim calls and you know, kind of moving through my day.
(21:34): But mostly I would say that it's just kind of getting your mindset ready for the day, you know, being grateful for one that you're awake and that you have a new opportunity to seizure, you know, seize the day, achieve your goals and get after it. And I love that every day is a new day to refocus. Everyday is a new day to reset what you want to do with yourself and what you want to be. And you know, it's like a clean slate every morning and so like we really get to appreciate that. And so I didn't realize all that until I went through some of those hard times. Like every morning I get up. I'm just super grateful for another opportunity to be my best. I love it. We're getting towards the end of the podcast here. So I want to get into like quick hits.
(22:19): Who are your three biggest inspirations right now and why? My three biggest inspiration. So I would say number one, my daughter, I mean my daughter, she's eight, her name is Stella. She's the best. She is my blue best friend. If you could ever have a little best friend, she's the best. But you know what inspires me about her is that she is so inquisitive, she's so smart and she makes me want to be better. You know, she makes me want to set the example for her. One of the things that I didn't mention is that I've actually decided to live alcohol-free and that's completely changed the trajectory of my fitness goals because for forever I thought I could outrun the booze and my fitness never got to that point. And I just have so much more energy for my daughter. I feel better, I look better.
(23:08): I've lost 30 pounds since November, you know? So it's just all these positive things. And you know, she's my inspiration. She's a reason because you know, there's nothing worse than having a hangover and then having to be a mom, you know? And I'll tell you what, it's not fun. And so I'm just like, why am I doing this? And you know. So she was really my inspiration for that and she's been my inspiration for a lot of things. But she keeps me going and I just want to show her that anything is possible and I want her to know that no matter what their circumstances you're dealing with, you know, and she knows what I've been through and I'm a successful single mom and I want her to see that she can do anything too. She doesn't need anyone else, you know, she can be who she wants all by herself.
(23:52): And that's why I love the motivation and the inspiration I get from her. The other two, this is such an easy one, but my parents, okay, so this is funny. They're not the most like fit parents, but you know what? They are trying so hard. Like my mom, she's in her mid sixties she used to be a runner a long time ago and she's like, you know, during this quarantine, and you probably see it too and wherever you live. But a lot of people are out and about just hitting the trails, getting outside, they're trying to do other things to stay active. And that's what my parents have been doing and it makes me so happy because I love that they want to get back into fitness. You know, they're doing what they can to stay energized. And me, like I said, my mom and I have been running together and she's loving it and she's getting faster again every day.
(24:39): And we joke, I don't know if you remember the runner from, I don't know the late eighties early nineties but they called her Flo Jo. But I always joke because my mom was always, she would always say let's go hit the trail flow Joe. And so this is when I was a young kid cause I would go run with my mom when she was, when she was a runner and now I'm saying it to her, I'm like, look, flip Joe's back. So my mom is finally hitting the trails canceled. That makes me really inspire that. You know what, they may have given up fitness for a while, but they're back in it now. You know? So this is also an opportunity for people to pick up new healthy habits or just pick up something that an old hobby that they stored away for awhile. So yeah. So they continue to inspire me because I hope to be in my mid sixties and active as well. So
(25:28): I know, right? Like I think about that I, I'm 35 and I want to live to be 100 and that is my goal is to be a hundred but I want to be on my feet and active and able up until that point. So that gives me hope. I love it. I love to hear stuff like that. Leah, thank you so much for sharing your story. Sharing. Some of you, if people want to get in touch with you, what is the best way for them to do that?
(25:51): You can actually email me firstname.lastname@example.org or they can also follow my Facebook page and that's Facebook. And then backslash Leah Baez speaks. And I also do inspirational series. They're called real talk, real inspiration where I'm interviewing people who have interesting stories. You know, if they have an inspirational story to share and they'd like to share it, I would also love to hear from them. They're, you know, I'm always looking for new stories and new and new folks to interview as well. So absolutely. I'd love to hear from your listeners.
(26:27): All right, Leah, we're going to have all of this information in the show notes. So if you guys are listening to and you want to get in touch with Leah info at Levi's dot com otherwise check out our Facebook in the show notes, it'll be there. Please get in touch with her. She's an inspiration. She is a perfect compliment, a perfect example of the culture that I'm trying to build. She's obviously an embodiment for who she believes she can be and who she believes others can be. So please check her out at the very least, check out her video on her website. It's only three minutes. You can do it anytime, anywhere. Leah, is there anything else that you want the listeners to know about you?
(27:03): No. But I do want to say that you know, everyone has a story and the power of storytelling is so incredible. So take this time, you know, if you haven't already, we're in this historic pandemic, get a journal, write some things down how you're feeling and it's going to credible to come back and look back at how what you were going through during this historic time period. Even to share with your kids or maybe your grandkids someday or you know, because the power of journaling is, is really incredible. And I just wanted to share that because I know it's opened up opportunities for a lot of people who may have not thought that they had a story. So I just want to end on that because I do believe everyone does have a story.
(27:42): I think that we all do. You know, and to piggyback off that, this episode is not about me. But once I got comfortable with my story and telling it, it's really changed my life. I don't feel it with such like a heartbreaker a sadness anymore. I tell it like, dude, I was there and now I'm here. Anybody can do this,
(28:00): So it's great. It's great to hear from somebody who's been in the dark, come to the light, created a new belief set, and really just powered themselves to do anything they want to do. So Leah, thanks again for being on the show. We're going to sign off here, athletes, if you want to get in touch with Leah, check out the show notes. I can't stress it enough. She's an incredible human being and you want, you want to get to know her. In the meantime, we are going to be back next week with episode number 29 I'm going to keep it a surprise. Until then. This is Katie D with the everyday athlete podcast over and out.
(28:38): This is ThePodcastFactory.com.