Leah Jantzen is an elite triathlete, life coach, motivational speaker, and mom of four who calls herself “The Queen of No.” A hardworking athlete who works full-time while running a coaching business and raising kids, the only way she can get it all done is by being super clear on her priorities and setting boundaries like a total boss.
Since she got started as an endurance athlete at the age of 42, she’s competed in the Boston Marathon multiple times and right now she’s gearing up to race at the IM World Championships in Kona this October.
I LOVE the name of Leah’s coaching business, the Scrappy Athlete. When it comes to maximizing performance, her philosophy is, “You have to get scrappy.” And a big part of that is using your mental game to optimize your performance. Physical fitness is important, but it’s the self-limiting beliefs that can really hold you back if you’re not aware of them. Leah was, in fact, able to smash her own belief — that she wouldn’t get faster in her 40s. As a coach, Leah uses her expert mental conditioning skills to perform at the highest level and teaches others to maximize their mindset.
Leah is a real expert on the mental aspect of training. She’s been a featured guest on TV segments for outlets and shows including NBC, CBS, Live from the Couch, Good Day Philadelphia, Insiders Health TV and Huffington Post Live. She’s also been a guest on over 50 radio shows and has hosted her own live weekly radio show.
Connect with Leah
In this episode, we talk about…
- The joy of finding endurance sports later in life
- Growing up in a competitive household and doing things a bit differently with her own kids, taking each of her four kids’ personalities into account
- Realizing it was time to do something for herself at 40
- Being strategic with her competitive energy
- Setting boundaries — saying no is Leah’s superpower
- Leading by example to show her kids the importance of grit and consistency
- Reframing a nightmare of a half Ironman
- How to expand your comfort zone and why you should
- The value of getting uncomfortable
- What it means to be a scrappy athlete
- How she fits in her training
- How to develop mental toughness
- The power of small, consistent action
- The value of a progression run
- How to identify your self-limiting beliefs
I never swam a lap in a pool until I was in my 40s.
Everything in my house was a competition.
I turned 40 and I said, “I’ve got to do something.”
I am the queen of no and I have absolutely no guilt about it.
The reason I’m able to do what I can do, and we’re kind of going to get into another realm of time management, is because I can say no. And I’m confident in myself enough to not play into the, you know, “I didn’t go to the PTA meeting and bake brownies, sorry guys, I can’t make it.” I don’t need to be mom of the year.
Racing is putting yourself out there. It’s putting yourself on the line. It’s showing up. I get butterflies for days. I’m a nervous wreck. And I’m standing there in line. And I saw a friend of mine and I’m like, “I’m basically crying. Why am I doing this? This is so stressful. I’m so nervous.” But I think that energy, it makes you feel alive.
The truth behind Leah is the house is a mess.
Practice the way you want to perform.
How do you teach people to overcome those moments of, “I’m done. This is good enough”? You’ve got to practice that — you’ve got to really be clear because that voice in your head, your brain trying to get you out of any uncomfortable situation, is very powerful.
As mothers, we’re not perfect. No way, no, not even close. But I have to be confident I’m doing the best I can. I’m making the best decision in this moment.
It’s hard work being awesome.
Say yes when you can. I do the work when I can so that when I can’t, I’m okay with it.
You don’t have to win every workout.
Being consistent is the best thing you can do.
Tomorrow’s another day. If it’s not a good day, I’ll try again tomorrow.
Less is more but be scrappy in your training. Be scrappy in your racing ‘cause you have to dig deep. A scrappy athlete’s someone who’s not trained perfectly and has all the equipment — the scrappy athlete is somebody who’s working with what they have and they’re making the best of the situation and they’re training hard.
Why not you? Why not me? Why not now?
Forget your ego and just try and see what’s possible for you.
No one knows what you’re capable of.
Here’s the news flash: No one cares. Did everybody hear me? No one cares. No one cares what your time was … Just do it for you.
I’ve had those moments where I’m like, “Maybe I’m not as good as I think I am, but I’ve got to try.” I don’t want to have that regret that I didn’t really see what I could do. Good or bad.
Live life open and loudly. I pride myself on living life 100 percent every day. I’m trying things that I’m scared of trying.
A lot of people look at me and think I’m absolutely insane. They say to me at work, as I walk out the door, “Leah, don’t you want to just go home and drink wine and watch Netflix like the rest of us?” No, I don’t think I do.
Be bright, be bold and be brave.
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