Whether spending time at the gym or helping her clients find the perfect vacation, Sandra McLeod takes life by the horns.
A Way of Life
I started working out in the late ’70s, starting with aerobics and then progressing to some light weights. I got into running a number of years ago in my forties and ran a half marathon in Toronto, which was a big accomplishment for me. I only started seriously weight training in my fifties, but fitness has been part of my life for almost 40 years.
An Evolving Plan
My first trainer was Laura Binetti, a former professional bodybuilding champion. Laura taught me how to do exercises properly and also about the importance of eating. I actually had to put on weight before she would allow me to compete; I had gone through some health issues and had lost a lot of weight, leaving me at 90 pounds when I started with Laura. I was 102 pounds two years later when I did my first competition at the age of 52. Many people believe it is harder to lose weight than to put it on, but I absolutely can say it is not – if you want to do either properly.
Exploring Every Avenue
My career followed two distinct paths: I am a fellow certified public accountant and a travel professional (a certified travel counselor, among other designations). After practicing public accounting in tax and estate planning for over 30 years it was time for a change, so I took a leap of faith and tried something new. I looked for something that could utilize my passion for learning and customer service, and throughout my research travel kept coming up as an intriguing industry. Now, when my clients travel a little piece of me goes with them – they don’t know it, but I live vicariously through their experiences.
Building From the Ashes
2014 was hard year for me. We sold a business, moved to a new city, built a house and both my parents died. I had two competitions that year – one after my Mom died and the second (and last) after my Dad died. I found that training kept me sane and helped with the stress, but the diet was the biggest challenge for me. I kept thinking about my competitions, which kept me focused. Visualizing my stage performance helped me keep on track.
Indulging When Necessary
When on vacation, I will give myself a break – diet-wise – but I get right back on it when I come home. We still
eat relatively healthy but I’ll allow myself an occasional dessert, and I do love red wine. While traveling, I keep as much of my workout schedule as possible. If I can’t get to a gym I’ll still do something active – golf, hiking or
riding a bike.
Building a Web
I have a very strong support system, almost numbering too many to name: my husband, Ian; my sister, Diane Stevens; my aunts and cousins; great friends including Agnes and David, Peter and Ann, Lisa and Greg, and so many more; Sean Everingham, Erica Louise Sibbett, Louise Dudley and the rest of my UFE crew; my golf buddies and the gang at Golf Pro; and last but not least my trainer, Kevin Fletcher from Bodytech Wellness.
PHOTOS BY CHRIS V. LINTON (@CHRISVLINTON)