I’m in the last few months of being a 40-year old. I’ve been coaching for 20 years. That’s half of my life being a coach. I never thought I could make a career out of coaching, but here we are.

At the beginning of this journey, I thought I was the smartest and best trainer in the world. I read academic textbooks and every issue of Muscle and Fitness magazine. I looked “jacked,” and was stronger than anyone in the gym. There was only one problem. I didn’t have any clients. I couldn’t keep any clients. My idea of a great workout is seeing how fast I could make a client vomit. I took pleasure in making people suffer. If they couldn’t hang, then they didn’t deserve to train with me. I had no tolerance for weakness. I was too stubborn to understand there was a communication and relationship aspect to this field and kept chasing clients away. It’s not that they couldn’t do the workouts, it’s there was no empathy and support from me.

That’s not how success is achieved. It takes relationships to thrive and anyone who understands what a family, team, company, or military unit knows this.

It took me a while to figure it out, but once I did, the world opened up for me. My success was created by helping others find success. I could no longer be the disconnected, “I’m superior to you” type of trainer. Once I shared myself, my fears, and personal struggles, it created opportunities that would bear fruit for me today and days yet to come. I was reminded of this today as I listened to a well-respected podcast.

Tim Kelly, was a D1 baseball player from York High that committed to play ball at Virginia Tech. I trained him when I first moved here from CA. He wasn’t just a baseball player, but a phenomenal athlete with physical size and speed as he was the fastest indoor and outdoor sprinteras his high school. Today, Tim is now an outstanding and wickedly smart sports performance coach at Virginia High Performance, a sports training facility in Virginia Beach. The industry is now recognizing Tim’s skill and he was a guest on the Jochum Strength Podcast. I was humbled as Tim gave me praise as helping to influence his career path into the strength & conditioning field.

There’s so many hours I spend with athletes, not knowing if I’m breaking through to them. I see many success stories and wonder if I’ve had a part in it. I know that whatever time I get with them, I will use it to let them know I believe in them.

It’s been 10 years since I worked with Tim.

No matter how long the journey, I’ll travel this path for moments like this.

Updated: Mar 12, 2020

The first month of the new year is quickly ending. 

Before we know it 2020 will be over in a blink of an eye. It amazes me how every year I get older, time seems to speed up. When I was younger, I remember it seemed time would to take forever. I was in a hurry to grow up. These days I wish I could go back...Just rewind time and slow it down.

Working with our youth every day I see the expectations that are placed on them. The academic workload seems excessive in comparison to what I went through back in the late 90s. There are AP classes for every imaginable subject. Levels of math  seem to speak a language from outer space. SOL and endless testing... the list goes on. In addition, the competitive sports landscape has grown at astronomical proportions. There’s a travel or club team for every sport and seasonal sports have now become year-round. No wonder why the years and time seem to fly by. We’re all so busy, time passes by in an instant.

Aiga Performance was created to be an athletic facility where we help people achieve their athletic and fitness goals. However, it’s become something more I ever imagined.  It’s a safe haven, a place where others get to express themselves through challenging programs and where they can be around goal-oriented people. It’s a place where I get to build lifetime relationships and help others navigate the roads of life. I feel blessed and privileged to be a sounding board,  listen to amazing life stories and be a part of so many lives. The workouts shed light on teachable moments, where I am both the teacher and the student. 

I constantly remind myself to hit pause. Take it all in. 

Each person. Each struggle. Each story. And I treasure this time.

- Coach Leland