Listen to this interviewThe Bulk Hackers robot can read Landree's interview aloud for you (playtime 12 minutes and 50 seconds) 🤖
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Oh hullo there! I’m Landree Fleming! I’m a Chicago-based actor, personal trainer, nutrition coach, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.
I also somehow landed the sweet gig of originating a role on a super fun and nerdy Dungeons and Dragons podcast, Encounter Party!, which is a blast to listen to if you need some entertainment while self-isolating! I live with my partner and swolemate, August, with our sweet rescue pup, Layla McButters.
I’ve been lifting for about five years now, but I’ve always been into fitness. Before I found the weight room, I was a long distance runner. I ran cross-country starting in 6th grade, qualified for States in high school, and kept running for pleasure through college and beyond.
But! at one point in my late 20s, I sprained my ankle just stepping off of a stair, and it took me quite a long time to recuperate. I realized then and there I needed to get STRONGER. So I did!
I have recovered from some pretty severe eating disorders I had in high school and college, and I attribute so much of that recovery to weightlifting. For most of my life, exercise was tied to trying to achieve a particular weight or physique. But once I started lifting, I fell in love with what my body could DO instead of just focusing on what it LOOKED like.
After lifting for awhile, I noticed (at the particular gyms I lifted at) that I was surrounded by mostly cis men, and after speaking with friends of mine who felt like the weight room was a space they weren’t welcome in, I decided to become a trainer.
It is a mission of mine to help womxn and LGBTQ+ humans feel comfortable and confident and learn to love their bodies for what they can accomplish.
I don’t have any sponsors, but hell, if there are any companies that wanna throw a quirky queer redhead fitness junkie some shoes or protein powder my way, please feel free!
One of my biggest accomplishments is coaching my dear friend and badass athlete Emma Rosenthal to a first place win in her very first powerlifting competition. We call ourselves Team Mighty Mouse, or Team Murder Mouse, depending on our mood for the day. Point is, we’re small but jacked humans who are real nice til you mess with us!
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
Well, the cool thing about CrossFit is that it is intentionally constantly varied! So my training looks different from day to day. But I also absolutely love bodybuilding as well, so my typical session starts with some fun meathead stuff, typically a heavy compound lift followed by accessory work, and then a MetCon (metabolic conditioning).
I train at the box I coach at, Hardware CrossFit. I love it there. The members are incredibly supportive and kind. I also love dropping in at other boxes when I travel!
My favorite exercises are: deadlifts and pull ups. FAVORITE. For cardio, I love box jumps, jump rope, and truly, I LOVE BURPEES. LOVE THEM.
I also make sure to do mobility work every day, and my go-to app for that is ROMWOD (Range of Motion Workout of the Day). In my duffel bag, I always have: my invo-8 lifters, my NOBULL trainers, my Yoga Tune Up ball, my jump rope, some lacrosse balls, my belt (to be used only when lifting VERY heavy – but I’m petite and gyms rarely carry belts for petite humans so I invested in my own), and a pad for hip thrusts.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
I love lifting and exercising, so it’s not really a challenge for me to get the reps in. The gym is my happy place. It’s where I decompress and recenter myself and feel at home in my body.
I make time for training by making it a #1 priority and asking for that time. My partner and I don’t have kids and don’t want any, so that’s not a hurdle, but also, I’m fortunate to be in love with someone who not only respects and supports my passion for fitness, but feels passionate about fitness themselves! So it’s a love that we share, which is a dream come true for me.
I have faced challenges though, to be sure. I have asthma that’s triggered pretty easily, and it can feel pretty defeating to want to go hard and push myself but not have the breath to do it.
With CrossFit, high intensity is the name of the game, so struggling to breathe definitely puts a hitch in my giddyup. That being said, I’m in the fitness game for life.
I want to live a long healthy life. So for me, I am kind to my lungs when they can’t go as hard as they’d like to, and on those days when breathing is a breeze, I GOOOOOOO.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I’m doing well today! Like almost all of us, my fitness routine is now confined to my home. I am fortunate to have dumbbells and a pull up bar, so every day I wake up and still follow my typical formula: strength plus a MetCon.
Sadly, I’m not throwing a barbell around at the moment, but this isolating time is a fantastic opportunity to challenge my accessory game and my mental game!
My goals for the next five years:
- Be able to do a strict muscle up, because if I’m ever falling off the side of a building, I want to pull myself back up!
- Be able to handstand walk, because it looks like a blast and also bragging rights. Come on. Who wouldn’t want to whip that out at a party?
- Do the CrossFit workout Murph Rx’ed, with a weight vest. Look it up. It’s gnarly in the best way.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
Ooh, buddy. Injuries tell us something, and I have had some myself. Any time an injury occurs, it SUCKS, but it’s a moment to take a step back, find your weakness, and strengthen that weakness, which ultimately is a huge gift.
And if you handle that injured time correctly, you come back stronger which is just like life. We go through hurdles, all of us, but if we allow those tough times to teach us something, we grow.
When it comes to rest, SLEEP IS VERY IMPORTANT. For our health and recovery. I like at least a solid eight to nine hours!
Also, I take two rest days a week typically. If I want my muscles to grow, I gotta chill for a second and let them! And you know I’m after bigger bicep peAks. Who isn’t?!
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
Because I have a history of eating disorders, for a long time I practiced intuitive eating and had great success and happiness with it. Now, because I’m more mindful of the body composition I want and I have the education to back it up and my brain health is solid too, I count my macros on the daily with a great program called Macrostax.
Because I’m a nutrition coach, I can come up with my own numbers, but what I love about the app is that it shows you exactly what you can eat during the day to nail your macros.
And if you don’t like the foods it suggests, you simply refresh and the app will suggest new ones until it populates your meal with foods you like!
When I go out or it’s a particular social occasion, I allow myself to enjoy myself. For ME, life is about living it.
While I don’t encourage going overboard, I also don’t encourage skipping a piece of cake every once in awhile if you really want that piece of cake! To me, I don’t think of it as a cheat, I think of it as a treat!
Rather than thinking about what foods not to eat, I do my best to include a lot of produce. One of my favorite people to follow on social media is EC Synkowski (@optimizenutrition) who created the 800 gram challenge. Everyday, eat 800 grams (by weight) of fruits and vegetables.
Before you add supplements, before you try the latest diet trend: up. your. produce. intake. Then go from there. But the 800 gram challenge is all about eating the amount of produce that is associated with better health. Eat that rainbow, baby!
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
One of my absolutely favorite inspirational books is Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron. Ben emphasizes that ‘character, not talent, is what makes a true champion’ and I believe it.
I also love following all of the CrossFit Dottirs on Instagram (Katrin Davidsdottir, Sara Sigmundsdottir, Annie Thorisdottir) because I love seeing badass women doing badass things.
Also, all my clients and all the members of the box where I coach inspire me and motivate me everyday. They’re all out there CRUSHING IT, so I want to make sure that I’m a great example of CRUSHING IT for them! When people rely on you to be on top of your fitness game, you can’t let them down!
Last but not least, my OG coach Adrian Aguilar (@heavytripaces) is a huge source of inspiration and motivation and introduced me to CrossFit, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
Take out a pen and paper and write a list of five fitness goals. Next, take some time thinking about each goal and writing out a detailed, time and action specific plan that you are going to take to meet that goal. And hang that baby up where you are going to see it every day.
I also love to encourage people to focus on the system, not the end result. Instead of focusing on that end goal, focus on the system and the journey that you need to take to achieve it. If you invest your energy in making that system a habit, you’ll reach your goal.
For example, if I want to bench my bodyweight, rather than constantly dwelling on a particular number, I’m going to focus and apply my energy towards what’s gonna GET me there. What do I need to do, day in and day out? That’ll get me there. In other words, see the trees instead of the forest.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I sure am taking on clients right now! Because of the current health crisis our country is dealing with, I am taking virtual clients only, but typically do both virtual AND in-person strength training clients. I am also taking on more nutrition coaching clients, which is also completely internet-based.
You should hire me, because I’m going to keep you healthy for the long haul, and we’re gonna have so much fun doing it. I will be your biggest cheerleader and advocate and make you laugh while we get results!
I’m great for people who want functional fitness, who want to get STRONG, those with physique goals, and those with body composition goals (i.e., bulk up, lean out or maintain).
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
You can follow me on Instagram @landreerfleming and listen to Encounter Party! wherever you get your podcasts!