Empowered women, empower women! And this woman is in a league of her own!
Empowered women, empower women! And this woman is in a league of her own!
Mother, Athlete and well, super woman!
Tweak has a chat with Leilani Watt.
Leilani, thank you for taking this time out of your busy life to chat with us.
And congratulations are in order… You have just won your ANB Pro card, tell us about the journey you went on to achieve this?
Training was something I originally started for my mental health. Five years ago I was practically living in hospital with my son Callen feeling alone, worried for him, and if I could potentially be to blame for his health problems. All of this had me in a dark place. I spent my days sitting by his bed eating, and most often nothing healthy.
My weight increased to 103kgs and I was heavily medicated for reactive depression in response to what I was dealing with. But after seeing him fight and fight hard to pull through everything he endured, I knew I needed to be better not only for him but for me too.
When Callen was put on the 4:1 ketogenic Diet for his epilepsy, I read that it could potentially help with my depression and as Callen was having tastes of foods orally at that stage, I figured I could just puree what I ate and it would be suitable for him too. I started feeling great and I lost a lot of weight… I went from 103 to 60kgs purely from this. But it was not sustainable. I rebound and started to regain the weight and with it my mood decreased again.
But I found that I felt good whenever I exercised, so decided to join the gym. That was the end of October in 2018. After just a month at the gym, I was a different person. Not only was I getting stronger and fitter but my mental health improved so much so that I approached my doctor with goal of coming off my antidepressant medications.
I knew I needed to think long term goals in order for stay off them, and after following several Figure athletes on social media I decided I wanted to compete. I have always been a competitive person and very goal and structure orientated, so thought it was definitely something I could see myself doing… And plus those women looked AMAZING!.
I started with Coach Scott Hill from Power Elite at the end of January in 2019, and have been medication free since the same time. Scott was able to get me onto a program more suited to my goals and get my nutrition on track. I found I was undereating by a lot and actually started with a reverse diet. It was strange, I started to watch the body fat fall off leading into my first prep.
I found and still find the process of prepping relatively easy as I thrive on the structure.
My first season I was blown away with what I was able to achieve with no real growth phase, just purely what was underneath the body fat. I went on to win both my divisions and the overall title at the Central Coast Titles, and again both divisions and the Overall Title at the 2019 ANB Nationals. I was even lucky enough to receive a wildcard to the pro show in which I placed 5th in a killer line up of professional athletes.
2020 saw COVID mess with things but I was still able to have a killer off-season and step on stage even better than 2019. With comps cancelled and with things all over the place I competed in the ICN NSW titles and ANB Nationals. At ICN I received a 1st and 2nd in my divisions and a 4th overall. At ANB Nationals I placed 1st in my age class and then 2nd in opens, coming 2nd to a Pro athlete from a different federation to which I was super happy with.
But I still wanted to do and be a better version of myself, so I started the process of building more size and chasing that Pro card in 2021. This year I was able to add 2 kgs to my stage weight, and by staying lean during the off season, and was able to bring my already good condition to the next level.
Nothing was stopping me this year. Not COVID, not becoming a solo parent…. Nothing. I was and have always done this sport for me. I love the confidence you get form stepping on stage, and being up there with some incredible athletes whose journeys are all different.
Winning both my divisions this year and stepping up for the overall with my fellow teammate was an incredible experience. I loved every moment of it. I had those closest to me there to support me and I value and appreciate every one of them.
What did it feel like when you smashed this goal?
The moment head judge Fiona Wallace called out my number for the overall title at this year NSW Title was AMAZING!! I was incredibly happy with what I was able to bring to the stage despite all bar a few weeks of prep being lockdown and working out from home.
And then to hear a “hey mum” coming from Callen’s carer Lexie behind me and seeing my little superstar on stage to share the moment with me had me holding back tears.
It made everything worth it…
I was not able to go out and celebrate on the night due to getting my little guy home as he wasn’t feeling well. I won’t lie, it did get me down. But my amazing team and support network has been amazing. I love this sport; I love the process that is involved. I love training, eating and structure and bodybuilding and competing in such incorporates all of them.
What obstacles did you turn into motivation to keep going and be the best version of you?
My son is a massive motivator for me. Whilst he is not an obstacle, the challenges he and we face on a daily basis push me to want to be the best version of myself and the best mum I can for not only him but for me too. My son Callen has significant health and physical issues. I have watched him fight for his life many times, and each time he surprised myself and his doctors and always came through them with a smile on his face. He is happy just to be alive and to be included. Things like looking, sitting and standing are all things that we do without thinking, yet Callen struggles with daily. It has made me not take anything and especially life for granted.
During this last prep along with the lockdowns, I also became a solo parent. Whilst it was a hard and confusing time and having my coach Scott Hill giving me the option of pulling out of prep, I chose not to. I chose to use it and the emotions I was feeling as fuel to me fire to do well, push through and show that no matter what was going on I could achieve what I set out to and that no one was going to stop me!
Any advice for others who are working towards a big dream?
Know your “why” and understand that if your “why” is strong and bulletproof, so will your commitment to your goal. Stay consistent too as it sets you up for success.
BUT, also understand there will be ups and downs. It will require hard work and sacrifices that you need to be prepared to face, which is why having a strong “why” and being consistent are so important…
Don’t wait until you think you’re ready or confident to do something. If we always waited for the “I’m ready” moment then 9/10 times, nothing would never happen. Confidence comes from doing. The more we do something the better we become at it.
Don’t Give Up! Trust the Process!
How have your Tweaks helped and what do you love about them?
Oh. MY. Gosh! Tweaks are Amazing!
I was always paranoid when at the gym, or even in public that my underwear was visible and it made me self-conscious. But Tweak undies are completely invisible; there is no Visible Panty Line regardless of whether your wearing skin tight leggings in the gym or your fave outfit outside the gym. They are super comfortable, sit where I like them to sit and don’t budge. I personally like to wear them higher on my hips as I wear mostly high waisted leggings and pants and they sit perfectly.
Cardio, squats, deads, it doesn’t matter they literally feel like you’re not wearing anything at all! And moisture wicking material means you feel dry no matter how hot and sweaty you get in the gym.
Follow Leilani on Instagram to keep up with her incredible story! @leilani_anbfigurepro