Posted by on May 14, 2012

Member Spotlight

This week’s nomination is a mommy, athlete, and martial artist—Laevena! If you’d like to nominate someone for the Weekly Member Spotlight, contact userslexyloowho or xJenYxvx. Of course, you can always send an email to! 

Username: Laevena (Lay-vay-nuh)
Level: 19

How did you get started in fitness and training? Do you have any pics to share ?
Highest weight 2008

Lowest weight July 2011

Current weight


I don’t remember a moment growing up that I wasn’t moving. Until about 9th grade I grew up very poor in backwoods NY, so the only thing to do was run around in the woods and ride our bikes. I would ride ten miles round trip through the mountains and woods to just go to the local deli for 59 cent candies. I used to race mountain bikes when I was 13-16. I was the youngest and only female to be invited to the local amateur racing group. During this time I also did cross country track and soccer. I started seriously weight training when I was accepted onto the volleyball team at my community college when I was 17-18. After that I joined the army, went through basic and AIT, then deployed. I suffered a back injury that put me out on medical, and then stopped working out entirely in 2005. In 2008, after I had my second son, I was horrified by what I looked like and started dieting.

I didn’t really start trying to work out again until Dec 2009/Jan 2010, and progress was slow. I would run a quarter mile, and feel like I was dying, so I’d set distances for myself. Day 1 I set a mile. So I’d run a quarter mile, then walk the rest of the way. The next day I’d run a quarter mile, walk a half mile, run an eighth mile, and so on. By March 2010 I’d worked up to 6-11 mile circuits. Then, life happened. I’ve had a rough few years. I had to quit a job I loved as an emergency dispatcher, I’ve lost six family members in five years to disease, cancer, suicide, and pain medication addiction, and struggled with my own demons. My weight has been a struggle, battling between 140 and 154, which doesn’t seem like much at first, but I’ll go a month at 140, by the end of the next month it’ll be 154 again, and so on. Right now I’ve been maintaining 148, and it’s been a very happy medium between the two. And I can have cupcakes.

How did you find Fitocracy? How has it changed your work outs?
I found the site through nycfitbunny. It definitely makes me wonder how many points my workouts are worth, haha. Other than the points it’s kind of forced me to recognize what I really like and don’t like fitness-wise. I used to say that I enjoyed all exercise. Now I enjoy all exercise except squats and burpees.

Do you have any long term goals or direction you plan to take your training?
I have a few things on my bucket list, the best part is they work kind of together:

  • Excel at Krav Maga. I love the sport, and I do well at it, so I’d like to pursue it further.
  • Get back in the woods. I live near the amazing Sequoia National Forest, which holds Mt. Whitney, the tallest peak in the continental United States. I want to climb that peak, and ride the trails through the forest, and take stupid photos on Moro Rock, and hike/trail run until my legs fall off, or it starts snowing. It seems wasteful to live in this valley and not take advantage of the beauty and trials those mountains have to offer.
  • As cliche as it sounds, I want to run a marathon. This has always seemed like some far off elusive goal for the super elite, but it’s a goal worth attaining.
  • 100 pushups. Cause why not.

What are things you’ve learned through trial and error?

  • Don’t eat Taco Bell before a long run, unless you would like to taste it twice.
  • The sharp pain in your foot IS worth going to a doctor for… go.
  • Just because you’ve failed one run/workout/ride does not define you as a failure, it means you had a bad run/workout/ride.
  • Use the resources available to you, whether it be other athletes you know, trustworthy blogs online, Fitocracy buddies 

What areas do you hope to learn more about?
Lifting. I haven’t been in a gym in 7 years. I’d be lost. What are these heavy circle things? What does this bar do? I lift with my back, right? I’d be lost.

Currently, where would you say your weakness lies? Where do you excel?
I feel weak everywhere, I’m not sure how to answer this. I feel like I can drastically improve everything.

I definitely excel in sheer determination. I’m good at the whole “You are NOT tired, this is NOT hard, you are NOT that sore/sick/down, now STFU and run two more miles.”

What motivates you?
I pull my motivation from a lot of different areas, most are people. One is my kids. When I was sixteen, my mom took me scuba diving off the coast of Key West and I had to struggle to keep up with her. I want my kids to see me as that badass when I’m older. Also, they’re learning how to play soccer, to run, to ride bikes, do yoga, karate, now krav, I want to be there and do it with them.

My godfather is 50 this year, and can whoop my ass at biking. He rides 60-70 miles a day through hilly terrain, then goes to work, where he runs a bike shop and teaches people how to ride. I would like to be this badass when I’m older also.

I’m mostly motivated by just everyday people, and what they can accomplish when they push themselves. The body is amazing in what it can overcome and I really think strength of the mind trumps any kind of genetic disposition. I’ve got an arsenal of motivational quotes and thought processes that I store in my mind so when I’m feeling down I can pick myself up. My favorite is Steve Prefontaine- “The best pace is a suicide pace and today is a good day to die.” I use that one when everything hurts, everything burns and I feel like I’m dying.

Are you using any supplements or special dietary changes to achieve your goals?
I put gold standard whey protein in my recovery protein shake after long workouts, and I like Gu chomps for when I need a boost of energy, usually about an hour and a half into the workout.

If you could give advice to someone starting off, what would you tell them?
Think about how much starting sucks, and use it as your motivation to never give up.

What’s your ‘secret weapon’, the thing that pushes you or you feel gives you an edge?
Bodybuilder genetics. Poppa was a bodybuilder, and I definitely have that mesomorph build which gives me pretty ridiculous power for my size. My krav instructors fear me and keep putting me with big dudes for sparring. Also, like I mentioned earlier, sheer determination. I’m too stubborn to give up.

What has the overall impact of Fitocracy been in your life?
I like the companionship. I hate posting workouts to Facebook and getting “oh well you can’t complain about your 12 minute mile pace when I can’t even run a mile, I’m watching desperate housewives and eating a bucket of cheesy puffs now.”

One thing I want people to take away from my story is… 
It’s better to have gone too far and have to drag yourself back to your door step, then not have gone far enough and live with the massive disappointment that you could have pushed harder.

How do you manage keeping fit and being a mom?

I definitely take advantage of the time the kids are at school or extracurriculars to get my workouts in.  As my kids get older I’ve been incorporating them more and more into athletic activities, for instance my 7 year old just started krav maga so it’s been a blast getting him excited about exercise.  We also have started hiking more, something that will grow with them and help shape our “fit” family.

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