Friday, July 13, 2012

2012 Team Universe - Overall Champion

A big thank you to Amber Leon - 2012 Team Universe, Overall Fitness Champion and NEW IFBB Pro for taking the time to appear on! A h-u-g-e congratulations to you Amber and everyone in your camp! Thanks Again!!!

Name: Amber Leon
Age: 28 yrs old
Ht: 5'4 3/4 (give or take a little lol)
Contest wt 120lbs/Regular wt ~130lbs
Hometown: Originally from Madera CA but live in Seattle WA now

"I started becoming increasingly interested in weight lifting in college. The gym became a place I could go to for 'me time'. I have always been drawn to the athletic look and aspired to have the physique of some of the ladies I'd see in the gym. When I first began I would head to the gym blind with no plan or solid idea of what to train but as time went on and I learned a thing or two about programs I began to see results. Lifting became an integral part of who I am. This passion led me to change my career plan after college to pursue my passion for nutrition and fitness. If I had to pick a favorite training day(s) I guess I would go with back and shoulders. My most dreaded training body part would have to be chest and abs; bench press is my nemesis! Leg days are in between just depends on my mood and what time of the day I am hitting them.

I had toyed with the idea competing a few times but felt completely overwhelmed at the prospect training to do so. I remember thinking there is no way I can look like the women in magazines or flipping around onstage. I almost had this idea that whatever it was that these ladies were doing it was out of my grasp. It wasn't until my husband and I moved to Seattle that everything seemed to fall into place. One of the first items of business was joining a gym and about a month after joining I was approached by a trainer who had competed in Fitness with Tanji Johnson's Save Fitness Team. After hearing about the team and the training/dieting she did I figured why not give it a shot so she passed along my information to Tanji. From there, there was pretty much no turning back. After I had a phone interview with Tanji I was elated to start down this path. My first show was an eye opener and although I did well I let the stress and anxiety of backstage overwhelm me. The second show was more enjoyable but I was still letting the pressure to do well get the best of me. After my first two shows I took a year off for numerous reasons. March marked the start of my season where I took first in fitness tall and the overall in fitness at the Vancouver USA Natural and Tanji Johnson Fitness Classic. Two weeks later I was back onstage at the Emerald Cup where I placed first in fitness tall.

After the two wins I decided the next step was heading to Team Universe for my first national show. Being that it was my first national show I made peace with the idea of being content with a top five placing. It was this thinking that kept me relaxed over the weekend and I found that I wasn't putting so much pressure on myself; I just had fun with it! It feels absolutely incredible to say that I not only one my fitness class but I also won the fitness overall title. When they called my number I was in shock and stunned wondering if they called the right number. It was more than I had expected and was/is still such a surreal experience. I feel very honored and humbled by my win as I competed against incredibly talented ladies. Watching videos and following the pro's keeps me hungry. The level of talent is unreal at this level and the women have stunning physiques. I look at pictures from my shows and compare those to the top pro's which brings me back to reality and the work I need to put in. The adrenaline rush from stepping is a constant reminder of my love for performing. Although I don't always enjoy the prep I love to see the changes my physique goes through and the challenge of bringing a better total package to each show.

First and foremost I owe the most gratitude to my husband. He has been my pillar of strength since I began this journey a year and a half ago. Without his constant support and encouragement I would not have held it together, especially after the first two shows. Also, Tanji Johnson and the rest of my Save Fitness coaches and sisters who have mentored and supported me. I am so blessed to be part of such an amazing and uplifting group of women (and now men). Without my nutritionist Michael Keck, whom I absolutely adore, I would not have been ready step on stage. He provided constant support throughout this process with an unwavering positivity that got me through the toughest times during my diet prep. Of course my family and friends have also been incredible supporters throughout my journey. It was through their love and encouragement that I found strength. Thank you to all those who have been along for the ride in making this dream come true!!!"


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