Meet Leigh Peele, Researched Response to Health & Lifestyle [Interview]

Meet Leigh Peele, Researched Response to Health & Lifestyle [Interview]

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®) on July 16, 2019 — Updated on August 24, 2023

Get the Basics…

  • A journey of self-education and formal education
  • The importance of Accountability and Critical Thinking in healthy living
  • Promoting Creativity and Community for overall health and wellness
  • Desire to leave a lasting legacy

Balance your time and energy is challenging — especially if you own your business, but Leigh will give you some hacks to stay energized for what matters.

We cover healthy eating and how critical thinking can help your pursuits. Plus a lot more, so don’t miss out.

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Meet Leigh Peele, Researched Response to Health & Lifestyle

Schimri Yoyo: Okay. I am Schimri Yoyo, a writer with exercise.com, and we are continuing our series of interviews with fitness experts. And today we have Leigh Peele, who is a certified personal trainer, podcaster extraordinaire, life coach—she wears many hats. She has leighpeele.com as her website and part of her Researched Response to Health and Lifestyle. So, thank you, Leigh, for agreeing to interview with us today.

Leigh Peele: Thank you for having me. I’m very honored to be here with exercise.com.

Schimri Yoyo: Alright. Well, let’s jump right in. What are some of your favorite books growing up?

Leigh Peele: It’s such a brutal question to ask this because they’re like children [to me]. Picking out one from another—I don’t know exactly which one I’m going to pick, but I’m going to try.

I was a big, big lover—when I was really young—of Boxcar Children books. And any book that had to do with making a family out of your friends—to be perfectly honest with you—where there was just some sort of gang-like connection, that you all had your own attributes and contributions were pretty much—I would read them.

I also really loved Encyclopedia Brown and—

Schimri Yoyo: Oh, me too. Awesome.

Leigh Peele: He was great, right? The detective figuring out, “Oh, the car hood was still warm, so we know that they’re lying about what time they came home,” that kind of thing. I really love those kinds of detective books and-

Schimri Yoyo: Shout out to Donald J. Sobol, RIP.

Leigh Peele: Yeah. Right. So, that and the Choose Your Own Adventure books. Then, it progressed into a more critical government conspiracy [track].

I totally went through my whole fear-and-hype phase and my Orwell phase and progressed through there. And now, it’s hard-fetched to find me [reading a fiction book]. I usually am, pretty much, reading research and nonfiction, things like that. I’m actually trying to get more fiction in [my reading rotation] these days, and I’m going back to a lot of the classics which I read when I was a kid.

I was the kind of kid that read Steinbeck when I was like 11. I didn’t get Steinback at 11. I’m not entirely sure I get exactly what Steinback is saying now, but I certainly tried. But I loved it, and I used to do the reading contests, and you’d get little personal pan pizza awards, and I just thought it was the greatest thing in the world. So I loved reading as a kid, and I still love it today.

Schimri Yoyo: I think that’s why literacy is a little bit down in America because they stopped those pan pizza contests.

Leigh Peele: Thank you. Thank you. If the Scholastic [Book Clubs], school fairs, and pizza awards—if you put that together as a combination [back into the public school systems], it’s pretty much the greatest life ever. So, I don’t know why they ever took them out. I think that’s what’s ruining our education today.

Schimri Yoyo: So, I asked about your love of reading because I think it gives us a little insight to your eclectic taste in reading, and it shows that your curiosity extends to the many different interests professionally that you’ve taken with your untraditional, non-orthodox path to sports medicine and fitness. So speak to us a little about that.

Leigh Peele: Well, growing up, I went through the normal path, if you will, of education, elementary, middle, high school, you name it. I have an untraditional background—I’m not going to get into it too much and all of a sudden have my parents worry about what I’m saying on an interview—but I lived a very untraditional life. I wasn’t always at home, I didn’t always have a place to live. And because of that, traditional school was a little bit difficult.

So the paths that you usually have, where you finish school [and then] you go to college or what have you, that was not my path, and I had to do a lot of self-education. I always say that it was kind of a Goodwill Hunting version of education where I got a lot of library books and read a lot of free information and self-educated a little bit to fill in the gaps of what I didn’t get in a formal sense in my early years and throughout the years. And that’s one of the things I really love about—

Then, what drew me to fitness education was [that] you really could take certifications, and [earn] different certifications, and different courses and learn very specific topics [on your own, apart from formal education].

You didn’t necessarily have the red tape or the lines that [kept you away] from being able to access that information. And obviously, with the Internet age, it’s a completely different story. But at the time, you could get a lot of great certifications and information without necessarily having to apply to college or having to go through those methods.

[Ironically,] now I have gone to some of those [formal] methods, and I’ve certainly gone towards a more formal path. But in the early aspect of my career, it really was my only option to jump into something I loved, but without having to have a specific four-year degree in kinesiology or a specific four-year degree in exercise and fitness or becoming a registered dietician and jumping into that.

So, I know there’s a lot of argument and debate about that, and I completely understand that as well. I think ethical responsibility is a big part of it, but I will say for me, it was a huge lifesaver. It was a huge raft to enter into that. And I always joke that bro fitness and that bro education really gave me quite a door opening into research and formal scientific education. So, I think it’s funny how it worked out like that.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s right. You didn’t get in through the front door, almost like the side window. That’s okay.

Leigh Peele: Oh, I climbed into the side window or the balcony. I snuck in, to be perfectly honest with you. I’ve always been very honest and open about the fact that I lacked a certain level of formal credentials. I’ll never be one of those people that’s like, “Oh, I have these degrees and I do these things. Listen to what it is I have to say.”

I’ve never done that. I’ve always been very open and honest about it. But you have to work harder, you have to work longer, you have to be more critical, and you have to make up for the polish and these little, little doorways and those entryways that you might’ve missed because you didn’t go the route that everyone went.

I also think it can bring a specialness, but I do think that you have to work harder. And in hindsight, I would’ve been the kid that would have done anything to just get on the bus, and despite all things, would have just gone the more traditional path. I think it would have made things a lot easier.

People always are like, “Oh, I wouldn’t be the person I am.” And I’m like, “Sometimes that’s just a lie.”

Sometimes things could just be easier, and I think it would’ve been a lot easier. It’s fine. I do very much love self-knowledge, so I’ll never stop developing and diving into my own education. I love both. I love the world of both. They’re both beautiful worlds.

Schimri Yoyo: You talked a little bit about some of the adversity that you met in your childhood, and not to necessarily go into the specifics, but explain how confronting some of those challenges has helped you now in the line of work that you do. What are some lessons that you learned that you’re able to apply in your training?

Leigh Peele: That’s a great question. It’s also a very Barbara Walters interview question, and you’re not going to get me to cry. I’m not going to cry. I think one of the things that I’ve learned from a very young age is—and I don’t want it to sound too cynical or too dark, but—it’s that you really make your own path, that you are very much responsible for what you do, both good and bad.

Schimri Yoyo: Accountability.

Leigh Peele: Yes. Accountability and shucking the responsibilities of what it is that you do. I learned very quickly, that we all have a folder in life, and it’s going to continue to be marked up and dated with the things that you have done and the things that you have not done.

And I learned that very quickly, and I learned that very—maybe, even perhaps, harshly. But one of the things that I think that’s beautiful that comes out of that is that you learn that you absolutely are the driver of your destiny.

And regardless of what you believe in, of course, spiritual or religious beliefs and things like that, I am one that believes that you are part of the navigation of that, and that you steer that, and that you guide yourself in the directions of those things, whether or not you believe that you’re doing it with someone or whether or not you believe you’re doing it on your own. But I do believe that you’re a part of that navigation.

And because of that, I believe in knowledge, and I believe in taking that knowledge and doing something with it, [I don’t believe in saying], “I’m going to plug my ears. I’m going to blame everybody else. I’m not going to see myself for my own [faults].”

I don’t do that. I say, “This is what it is. This is the truth. This was the harsh truth. This is just the harsh reality of the situation. You are the one standing there.” And that is what I also try to help my clients do.

Of course, not in some sort of whip-cracking manner, but I say, “Do you want to be a person who’s just completely unaware of how life affects them and you’re just hoping you’re going to roll the dice and things are going to work out, or do you want to be the driver of your own fate and your own future?”

And I believe that that knowledge and that accountability and that truth allows you a choice. And that choice is fantastic. You can choose to do what you want to do, you can understand how it all works.

And me and my clients, we—sometimes it gets a little heavy, and it sometimes gets a little bit more than just squats because “Jesus, I don’t want an existential course on what my life’s going to be. I just want to [go to] lunch.”

But I think that it all combines into knowing what you are, because after the vanity and after all of the magic fades away from what we think that we need with exercise in our youth, we see that it’s about health, it’s about habits, it’s about taking care of yourself, it’s about consistency to being who you are. And the next thing you know, you’re in the middle of [understanding]:

“This is a part of my life, for training and nutrition and exercise. All these things are a part of my life because I’m living and they help me live.” And wow, that becomes an entirely different game.

So, I think it’s important to just put it all in there, and to be accountable, and to be honest and to be tactfully and beautifully brutal with yourself all the time—my life, at an early age, taught me that.

Schimri Yoyo:  Well, I think that is evident you have an authenticity and an honesty and you are passionate about these things you are describing. I think that passion is very magnetic and attractive to your clients.

Leigh Peele: Thank you.

Schimri Yoyo: I think that’s very relatable. So I think that’s part of—really, that’s half the battle in your role in coaching. Because as a personal trainer, you’re doing a lot of coaching and you have to get people—I was an educator for many years, and I know that whenever you’re trying to teach anyone or getting them to accept training, there’s a level of trust that has to be established before any real results can happen. And so, I think that what you’re saying fits right along with that.

Leigh Peele: Sure.

Connections: Approach to Healthy Living and Fitness Training

Schimri Yoyo: Moving on to your connections. You wear many different hats as a trainer and a health and lifestyle coach and a writer. What one word best describes your approach to healthy living and fitness training?

Leigh Peele: I’m going to cheat and use two words.

Schimri Yoyo: Okay. I’ll allow it this time. Haha. That’s fine.

Leigh Peele: Critical thinking. Critical thinking is absolutely—I find it’s an aggravating process to begin, sometimes, when it’s new to you and you have a person who really likes to be told what to do. And hey, if that works for you, by the way, I do not want to rock that boat, go for it.

But if you find yourself in the place where life is handing you questions, [and you’re thinking], “I don’t know exactly where to turn now, I don’t know exactly what to do, and now I need to reach out to people or for information.”

And you’re not just one of those people that just seems to be walking through and everything clears the way for you—which is most of us in life—then your best friend is knowing, in my opinion, how to decipher good from bad, how to decipher—not necessarily right from wrong—but educated versus manipulation.

I think that understanding how to look at things, question things, analyze things, and to critically assess things is just one of the best gifts that you can give yourself.

So with my clients, one of the things that [we emphasize] is the reason why we’re going through the process. “You understand why you’re doing what you need to do, and you’ve learned that aspect of things.”

One of the things that I will always throw in is, “Okay, now, do you understand exactly why we’re doing this? Do you know the path that [we’re going down]? I teach you to fish, and I teach you to understand how you’re doing things so that you’re not dependent upon me, so that you’re not dependent upon anybody else.”

And it really just becomes accountability, which we all need. I need coaches, I need teachers, I need accountability. And I think that sometimes the personal trainer industry is afraid of giving the knowledge as if [they’re giving away secrets]. “They won’t use me [if I give them too much knowledge].”

And it’s like, “No, you don’t understand.” It becomes a team, and it becomes this beautiful unity and you work off of each other. And one is accountability, and the other is you learn and they learn and it becomes a very symbiotic relationship. And I think that that’s beauty. And by the way, it creates a wonderful client retention, and it creates a wonderful working environment. And you really are surrounded by people that are just happy to work with you and be there. So, critical thinking, absolutely. All the way.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s awesome. Thank you for your investment in trying to rid the industry of that gatekeeper mentality.

Leigh Peele: Yeah, I’ve never been a fan of that. Just never been a fan of that.

Schimri Yoyo: So what is The Clutch Society and what are the core values or guiding principles of The Clutch Society?

Leigh Peele: I think about my legacy. I can’t help it. I think about my legacy, and I think about what’s going to happen long after I’m disintegrated into the ground-

Schimri Yoyo: T-shirt idea, Leigh’s Legacy. I got you. Bam. You can use that for free.

Leigh Peele: Haha. Copyright. I think about my legacy and I think about what it’s going to be. And if I’m completely honest with you, I think that The Clutch Society is going to be some sort of a version comparable to the kind of transcendental societies that Thoreau and Emerson or whatnot always tried to get off the ground but didn’t really work. But people really appreciate it now and study it in history. I’m not saying it’s going to be on that level, but it’s weird.

The Clutch Society’s weird. I’m not going to remotely lie. It’s a place where people try to be better versions of themselves. That’s the sound bite of it. I try to encourage and help drive people to be better versions of themselves, obviously, and initiates with an effort and body composition and with understanding your work in that. But, my God, we go so much deeper than that, and it has to do with tasks and challenges and understanding who you are and ultimately what you want to be.

And sometimes I think people, even the ones who love it, even the ones that are lifers, even they can just be like, “Girl, can you just—I just want to train. Maybe I just want to chat about exercise.”

And then it’s like, “Oh, we’ve got to work on your inner self.” It can get a little like that sometimes, but then they’re happy for [that level of intimacy]. And there’ll be these comments or these statements by my members, and they’ll just be like, “This is the safest place for me on the Internet,” or “This is the place where I’ve truly figured out who I was. I’m so grateful to have found this.”

And it’s very simplistic in nature. It’s $9.99 per month membership that people—actually, I think it’s $9.95. I don’t even know my own prices. But it’s roughly a $10 membership. You come and you try to alter your body composition with calculators and articles and audio podcasts and all [of that] to help you do that.

But beyond that, I think it’s a corner of the Internet where people who maybe don’t entirely feel completely understood or know that they want something more out of life can go. It’s unique, it’s weird. But for those who love it, they seem to love it. And for that, I’m happy.

Schimri Yoyo: Well, you seem passionate about creating that atmosphere of creativity and community on all your different platforms. Why is it so important for you to have those connections with your audience and your clients?

Leigh Peele: I think to some degree, I think that this is an entrepreneurial job. It’s lonely sometimes being an entrepreneur and to be trying to make—I am proactive all the time. I’m always talking about this, but I don’t react to anything. I’m just proactive all the time. I’m always creating, I’m always initiating the event. I’m not really responding to the events very much. And when you do that all the time, over a decade, day after day, it’s tiring. It’s beautiful and it’s amazing, but it’s tiring.


And I think that subconsciously, and maybe now starting to be slightly consciously, you just want to be around the people that you like, and you just want to work with people that are part of your tribe. And ultimately, I feel like—be it my clients, be it Clutch or even the people that I connect with or colleagues—all of the things that we have in common is that they’re kind, compassionate, beautiful people. And I just kind of really need to be surrounded by that. And I don’t think it works for me if I’m not. I just don’t think it works for me.

I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I don’t think that it works for me to be surrounded by a certain type of person. And I think that, be it consciously or subconsciously, I’ve weeded them out. I think that’s why it’s important for—it clicked that way—my life and relationships just work better. It just does.

Schimri Yoyo: That makes a lot of sense. You can’t be all things to all people.

Leigh Peele: Yeah. I am an acquired taste, in some senses, and I understand that now. I didn’t always know that. It’s hard when the reality of that hits you and when you have to see, “Yeah, I’m not for everybody.” And now I’m at a place in my life where I’m like, “That’s okay.”

And I wasn’t always there. I think it’s hard for us to get there, but I’m there now and I know who likes me or who likes my work and who likes what I do. I know who doesn’t, and I’m absolutely okay with that. And it doesn’t stop my quality control or my effort or my work. It just gives me some peace at night when I lay my head down.

Schimri Yoyo: So how do you promote healthy weight loss with your clients, and how do you help them to not to lose too much weight too fast?

Leigh Peele: That’s an interesting way of phrasing it. To me, I truly believe that healthy weight loss, which is pretty much at the core of what I do with my clients is fat loss or body composition manipulation, but usually in weight loss or fat loss, I think the best fat loss plan is a fat loss plan that takes into account the ontonomy of the client and them understanding exactly what is taking place in their path.

Sometimes that path, and I’m just putting it out there and being honest, is within the boundaries of health, of course, which is a wide scope. But sometimes that path is faster than others because it’s where they need to be and where they need to get.

So, I make it very clear to all clients, I make it very clear that life is a cycle for someone losing fat anyway. But it can be for a lot of us. That life is a cycle of deficit periods and maintenance periods. And that’s it. That’s ultimately what life is in that sense. And if you can look at it like that, and you can look at it as this is a period of time in which you’re going to be in a deficit and this is a period of time in which you’re going to be in maintenance.

And I like to schedule maintenance, I like for maintenance breaks to take place. I like for people to be very cut and dry, and when they’re in one or the other and that they understand that, they understand their energy expenditure and how it relates to all that.

There are no static numbers in my world. There is no “just 10 times body weight of this.” There’s none of that. That doesn’t exist in my world. It’s about results, it’s about the individualized customization of the program.

And it’s just teaching them, this is a day that you lose fat in health, this is a day that you’d gained weight in health, this is how you try to best come at maintenance. And it’s about strategy, and it’s really about looking at the whole picture.

It’s never about tricking them. “Oh, well, let’s take out these macronutrients” or, “Oh, we’re going to do this really crazy, amazing detox tea that’s just going to open up your fat metabolism burning cells, and you’re just going to love it.”

It’s never stuff like that. I’m not saying that things like that can’t work, but they can be a part of the game. Hey, if you can find a way to work it in being honest to your clients, that’s fine. But I never trick them, ever. I never trick them. They always know exactly what’s going on, and why it’s happening, and why it’s taking place, and why are they feel horrible if they feel horrible, and why they feel great if they feel great. And that’s usually combined with having food and not having food. It’s a very honest and very ontonomy-driven process because just I just wouldn’t have it any other way.

Schimri Yoyo: Maintenance and deficit. That’s an interesting way to put it. I’ve never heard that before, but that makes sense the way you described it.

Leigh Peele: Every day, we have an alternating caloric need. It’s never the same one twice, and it’s always going to be dependent upon a movement. And every day we’re going to hit maintenance in our caloric needs if we’re eating to it. But if we want to lose fat, usually it’s a surplus, at least, it can be.

But we’re going to—in order to get into our energy source, we’re going to have to go into a deficit of need. We just have to. It’s energy storage. That’s how it works. And if you’re a lover chemistry and if you’re a lover of how the energy system works, you have to get into that deficit storage.

How you get there, how you decided to get there [from a] strategy sense, or a nutritional sense, or for your health, that is a much more complicated topic and I don’t deny that.

But the deficit has to take place. And so I would just explain it to clients. We just have to cycle it. We just have to cycle it. And that cycle can be weeks, months in a deficit. If that’s what you need for your momentum—because there’s a psychological aspect of it too, and adherence and momentum, and it can break at any moment—you just have to be really honest with that with your clients.

But there’s also maintenance, and they need to understand the world that they live in with that maintenance because most people are like, “Oh, I’m going to have this diet, and then I’m going to have my cheat days, and I’m going to my free days, and I’m going to have this.”

And the concept of those things can be great. It’s not that they’re bad trying to be like, “Oh, you need to relax.” I totally understand. But it’s the devil is in the detail kind of thing. And in those details, it can get missed. And people don’t really understand what they’re doing.

So it goes back to them really understanding what they’re doing and them really getting the concept of, “Oh, okay, so when I move this much and I do this thing, I get to eat this much. Yeah. Oh. And especially if it’s this type of a macro system. And this is [my] muscle mass and this is [my] age, and when I do this, I don’t get as much. Yeah. I’m sorry about that too.”

And it’s just being very honest about all of that and working it in, which is easier said than done. But it’s a good place to start.

Schimri Yoyo: Now, how do you help your clients work through some body image issues? I know that’s important to you. How do you help them improve if they have a low body image or low self-esteem in regards to their body image? How do you help restore a healthy body image mentality?

Leigh Peele: Coming from a background of—a lot of the work that I did, especially early on in my career, I worked with a lot of people who had eating disorder recovery issues. And while I am not a registered dietitian or a therapist—and I always like to make that very clear in any of my interviews—I’ve worked alongside therapists or even with them concurrently when things like that are happening.

And then there’s the flip side of the coin of people that have been overweight or just unhappy with their body their entire lives. It can be five pounds for it can be 300. It really just depends on the individual, because everyone has their own demons and everyone has their own way of gauging that.

And what I try to do is one: I try to give them control because a lot of the times where we have so much of the frustration and issues is when we feel like we don’t know what to do about it. And a lot of eating disorder research and a lot of things we see from the psychological aspects of it is that a lot of individuals [succumb to eating disorders] in situations of not knowing what to do.

In the absence of not knowing what to do, they internalize, they go to disordered behaviors, they go to compulsive or addictive behaviors. Sometimes frustration has manifested itself in a lot of dramatic and intense personality building ways.

So, control and education, I believe, have always been the best for combating factors of fear: control and knowing what to do.

And then there’s the flip side of things where there is a beautiful side to acceptance. It’s a complicated side, and I understand that, but really getting into the heart and understanding, “Why do I want to lose body fat or gain it? Why do I want to lose muscle or gain it? Or why do I want to do these things? Who am I really trying to please?”

Really checking through the avenue of why I’ve become the person that I’ve become and why I’ve been an avatar of the ultimate person that is in front of me.

And oftentimes when you really get into the nitty-gritty of that, they have pictures up in front of them of the people that they want to be and they don’t even know why. They don’t even understand where it came from or who they’re trying to do appease. It could be a kid that they knew in the second grade, it could be their father, it could be their mother. There are so many things in there, and it just really gets back to knowing, “Wait, who do I want to be?”

And it’s like, okay, when you know who you want to be, and when you know exactly what that image is and you can shut out all the noise to the best that you can—it’s not bypassing sociality, because I do think that socialization and the psychology of that is a factor—but it’s working within the societal way that works for you is so important.


So, I try to get them to see that. We have talks about those things if it’s an issue for them. Ultimately, I try to get to a point [that I address]: “How much do you like who you are? How much do you know who you are? What do you want?”

And usually, when that’s figured out, the rest of the process comes together and it’s like, “Yeah, I was trying to be this because I thought this was a version of feminism that I believed in, but you know what, it’s really not. It’s somebody else’s version of feminism. This is my version of feminism” or, “I was trying to get to this level of strength because this is the strength that I want to have, but this isn’t my strength. This is their version of strength.”

So it’s really trying to take away other people’s versions and [differntiating it from] what’s yours, but also working within it in a way that doesn’t make you feel isolated, like, “No one out there is like me. No one has ever had these feelings. I’m the only one that’s ever had these feelings.”And being able to say, “Oh sweetie, everyone’s had these feelings and then some, and it’s okay.” I just try to make them feel like they’re heard and they have a place, which is usually—it’s a big solver to a lot of problems.

Schimri Yoyo: So, can you say that focusing on the reason why they have a certain body image will then help them to choose the right route to get the result that they want?

Leigh Peele: Yeah, you said it much better than I did.

Schimri Yoyo: I’m just trying to make sure that I understand everything that you were saying and I appreciate all the details. That’s what people love to hear. They’re going to want to make connections and see the actual humanity and how it affects real people.

One last thing as far as your practice and how you operate, I see that you’re a big fan of music. How do you use that music as part of your coaching and training?

Leigh Peele: I forced it on them. Hahaha. Music is my life. I love my job, don’t get me wrong. My job as a passion. It is a passion, but music is—I breathe it. It’s every day. I was talking about earlier that you gravitate towards the people that you somewhat want to be around, it’s not a coincidence that my clients seem to end up loving music too. And all these people around me seem to really love music too.

So I think that I—even when I meet people and they’re like, “Yeah, I don’t really listen to music. Music is not really my thing.” I’m just like, “I don’t know who you are. Get away from me.”

But I make mixes for clients. We talk about music and the psychology of motivation and in the aspect of pushing through workouts and helping in that regards. Basically, if I can work it in, if they let me, I’ll work it in.

But it mostly just becomes [a way of bonding]. It just develops the core bond, and I think to put it as simply as I can, I just think there’s never anything wrong with feeling like there’s someone else in the world that gets their vibes off of something you’re getting a vibe off of.

And I think one more person in the world that does that, whether there’s a financial payment between you or not, I know that can be complicated, but it’s just never a bad thing to know. So if it works, if it’s in the dialogue of our relationship, I will absolutely use it and milk it to be able to talk about it. Yeah.

Commerce: How to Budget Time and Energy

Schimri Yoyo: Now moving on, we’re going to transition a little bit to the actual business part of your profession. How do you budget your time and energy between the many different roles that you have professionally?

Leigh Peele: Lots of organization. In fact, it’s funny. I have my bullet journal right here. Every day, I get up and—most days I get up and I try to map out my plan for the day: what it is that I have to do, who it is I have to consult with. I map out my research, my writing, all of the things that I need to get done.

I used to be more, “It’s cool. I’ll get to things. The day will happen as it happens.” But as life has gone on or as I’ve gotten older—I don’t know which one it is, or maybe as I’ve worn more hats, I’m not entirely sure—that whole laid back, Californian style response to business is no longer working for me.

So I’ve found that I have to be a lot more rigid and organized and methodical. I will say, it’s made for a far higher quality of work as well and a better response in the content and the way that I articulate and the way that I produce information for my clients and for my members and things like that. It’s a lot of organization, like a lot. But I’m happy with it. I’m happy.

Schimri Yoyo: Speaking of organization and all that time management, what ways do you utilize technology or social media to help you with your organization and to promote your services?

Leigh Peele: I’ve probably gone through the—one of my pet interest researches is also in procrastination and productivity. So I have run the gamut of [every] single reminder app or organizational thing or what have you, and I found that I’m pretty old school and that I need stuff to keep my hands on. And regarding social media and interaction and things like that, I mostly use social media, at this point in time, for interacting with my clients and colleagues or work stuff, primarily work stuff alone. And of course, I can utilize it in any aspect of promotion and information sharing and things like that.

But I will say that the core of my time, no kidding, is really spent off of social media. It’s really spent getting my head out of the bubble of, “Oh my God, did you see that post? Did you see what so and so just said?” Because I’m human man, and I can get caught up in things and go down the rabbit hole, fast, be it an internet interaction between individuals or trying to figure out if so and so starred in such and such [movie] with somebody else, and that is them, right? “Oh my God, they’re from Canada. I never knew they were from Canada.” And next thing you know it’s like, what?

So I have to really watch that. And social media can be bad for me, and I’ve decided that I’m best when I limit my time on social media. So for me, social media is, at this point in time, a need-to-only basis. I do have future plans of being more engaged in it in different ways. And I found that for me, I think that audio podcasts and sharing things like that, and Instagram and my blog and bringing people back to my platform, which, I think, is missing—

Actually, exercise.com does great at that. They bring people to their platform. They work it within social media, but it’s about coming back to their platform. I think bringing people into my platform is very important.

It’s a small role right now. It’s a balanced role and kind of a hand-slapping role that I have with social media right now. It’ll probably be like that for at least the next six months or so. I do have plans for the future, but if that’s to note something, even when I start posting on social media a lot more or doing certain things, it’s all written down and it’s written down as to [the reasons] why, and it all has a purpose, and it’s just a very purposeful way of living, a very purposeful way of using social media.

Schimri Yoyo: It shows a great level of self-awareness on your part. You’ve also written or have been part of writing a couple of books. Can you give a brief summary of each project and just explain to us what you’re writing process is?

Leigh Peele: Yeah. Well, I am in the middle, just to kind of pivot wink, wink, nudge, nudge, drop. But I’m in the middle of releasing the first release of my book, which was the Fat Loss Troubleshoot. And I’m releasing it to the mass market, which is incredibly scary and beautiful and wonderful. It’ll be the full works, hardback, paperback, audible, all of it, and it’s a very scary thing. And I’ve never, in my entire life, worked so hard on a few sentences. And there’s a lot of sentences, and there’s a lot of pages—I’ve written about over 400,000 words this past year in it alone, which I know will end up probably being half that if not even less.

So, Fat Loss Troubleshoot started off as a tip, as a forum for advice, a sticky on—exercise.com had forums, so I was on them back in the day—to show you far back that dates me. And it started off as an advice sticky, and it materialized into, “Okay, here are more tips in a PDF form,” and “Oh, okay, here are more tips into a book form.” And I’ve had various editions, and I believe this will be the technical sixth edition update and revision.

But this is just entirely—all of the revised update editions have been pretty much what the book was in its first form, but this one is just—none of the old words are going to be there. It’s just all completely brand new written, and it’s just—It’s similar, obviously, advice and topics are going to be touched on, but it’s just a completely different book.

So, I’m doing that, and it’s about fat loss and it’s about troubleshooting fat loss. And if you can’t lose fat, how to do that. The psychology of it, the exercise aspects, the research of it. All of it. That’s what it looks at. I also wrote a book soon after that. And the timelines can get a little fuzzy for me because I’ve been doing this for so long.

I wrote a book called Body By Eats that was about the history of eating and food and the research of that, which I loved, but it didn’t really take off very well. And so I just kind of turned it into cookbooks, and then they became free downloads and that just disappeared. But I will say that the first 40 pages of that book were some of my favorite things I’ve ever written prior to the stuff that I’m writing now.

And then I wrote Starve Mode, which is a book about metabolism or recovery refeeds, things that I’ve seen in the metabolic adaptation world. Starve Mode is in quotes because it’s supposed to be somewhat sarcastic. It’s about whether or not we actually are in starvation mode and how to recover from that.

And it gives a plan on how to recover from refeeds or how to explain what’s happening with weight gain or your hormones or what your metabolism actually is and how it works instead of it being this theory. So that is out. And those are all out in PDF form, Fat Loss and Starve Mode are out in PDF form. They will all be pooled soon. That’s not like act now. They’ll come back and new editions and in various updates.

I’ve done that, and I have future [project ideas]. There’s a lot of books in there. There’s a lot of—I’m not one that doesn’t have ideas—

Schimri Yoyo: That is very evident.

Leigh Peele: It’s just finding the time in the day. Yeah. So yeah, but that’s how the path is going. And writing is a humbling, humbling experience. It’s been one for me. But it went from being one of those things—which is funny because I started with The Fat Loss Troubleshoot because I had a hard time losing fat. I’m one of those people that if I’m bad at something, then I learn it.

And with writing, I was bad at writing. I was. And when I get bad at something, I learn it, and now I love it. I just love writing, and I think it’s great. So the whole process is very humbling, and I do it hours a day, and I do the research hours a day, and it’s hard, hard work.

Schimri Yoyo: Well, again, thank you again for your time, Leigh. Final question, because you’ve been a great guest with us here at exercise.com.

I just want to know what’s your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur and what’s your greatest reward, and then what’s next? So it’s really a three part question. Your biggest challenge, your greatest reward, and then what’s next for you as an entrepreneur?

Leigh Peele: I think my biggest challenge is my brain. I think trying to get it to do all the things that I want to do and not—squirrel—and not [distracted], not get taken away by other things and all of the stuff that doesn’t work that well in there, that is the challenge.

The plus side is that it does its own amazing stuff too. And the reward is absolutely hands down, of this job and this world, is the people. We can all get caught up a lot, especially in the social media world and how honestly brutal it can be sometimes.

But the fact that we can connect with all these people throughout, all over the world, the fact that I have someone in Nigeria that’s bought my book and she feels empowered because of something that I said blows my mind. I never, ever take that for granted. I never get tired of that. It’s just always—the people are so beautiful to me. It’s the people.

I love people. I really do. So that is the most rewarding experience for me as an entrepreneur and will always be, hands down. That’s what makes me keep doing it because, I assure you, there was a lot of times I did not want to and I have not wanted to, and it’s the people that have always brought me back. What’s the third thing you said? Where am I heading? Is that what you said?

Schimri Yoyo: Yeah. What’s next?

Leigh Peele: World domination, obviously.

Schimri Yoyo: That’s right. You and Pinky and the Brain.

Leigh Peele: Haha, yes. Signs of my head being held up in crowds, Leigh for president.

It’s scary saying this, I think, but I really want The Fat Loss Troubleshoot when it gets released and when it hits the major market—and it’s not just for grandioso, “Oh, I want of mansion and I want money.” It’s really not for that—I really want it to be something [impactful] because it’s good.

Like, it’s really good. It’s really good, and it’s really information that I think people genuinely need to know. And I think it will actually help people. It’s not agenda-filled. Yes, I have to make a living, but it’s good. It’s good. And I want it to be something. I want it to be big. I do.

I want it to be big, and I’m not going to lie, I’d be upset if it wasn’t. But if not that, then I hope post-mortem, I lived in a time that I wasn’t loved or something really poetic and just painful like.

That is my next best thing: that people appreciate me from afar, centuries later and they’re like, “That Leigh Peele, she really did say something good.” But yeah, I hope that my book is—I hope it does something. I hope my work does something. I hope I placed some sort of impact or at least inspire someone who plays an impactful role. I’m okay with that too. I’m alright with being behind the scenes of it. That’s okay.

Schimri Yoyo: Well, if it’s any consolation to you, you’re very much appreciated by us here at exercise.com, so you don’t have to worry about appreciation post-mortem. You have that appreciation now while you’re still living. So thank you again.

Leigh Peele: Thank you.

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Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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