October 2017 Athlete Story- Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne

Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne (AKA Dodger) is a fierce & fit female that trains out of Taranis Athletics in Victoria, BC.  She is a talented, smart, kind and encouraging woman; always striving to better herself and help others to succeed as well.  I am SO excited to have worked with Vanessa from Taranis Athletics to present Leigh Anne as both the Taranis and Fit Balm athlete of the month for October!  -Morgan Rozon 


What motivates you to stay healthy?

Hmmm….  A combination of a few things – past experiences, healthy people, and making progress. 


For past experiences- About ten years ago, or so I went through a period of a few years where I didn’t prioritize my health very well.  Paired with poorly managed work stress and some chronic sports injuries, I was starting to feel pretty terrible. I was fairly overweight for my frame, had bad knee and hip pain that was becoming pretty prohibitive and starting to be uncomfortable in just regular day to day activities.  I knew it was going to be an uphill battle. But I also knew I was going to have to just suck it up and start somewhere. It took a lot of patience and commitment to get where I am in my journey right now (because it’s still on-going!). So part of my motivation comes from wanting to stay on the road I’m on now and not wanting to find myself back on that other one with the terrible future :-)


For healthy people– I find role models everywhere and draw inspiration from them. One of my favourite things is reading about or seeing videos of older athletes and seniors killing it at a variety of athletic endeavours and really enjoying the golden years. That’s what I want my future to look it. It also just feels so much better to work out and eat healthily. Life is much more positive and fun when you’ve set your body and mind up to enjoy it to the fullest. 


On making progress - The return on the investment is motivating. I find motivation even in the incremental progress of things like gaining a bit more mobility in a joint or improving at a body weight movement. I have seen that the work I put in pays off and so that motivates me to keep going.


What is your occupation? What inspired you to pick this profession?

I am a Professor of Cellular Neurobiology in the Division of Medical Sciences at UVic. I was drawn to this profession from an innate curiosity about how the brain works :-)


What is something that you have done recently to help others?

That’s a great question! I like to think that I help the students and trainees I mentor :-)  I am currently supervising 8 people in my research lab.  Not only do I provide guidance on their research projects, but I also make a concerted effort to provide advice on career development and help them work on things like time-management and communication strategies so that they will be successful wherever they end up. I also work on a lot of committees that help run the University and partake in various outreach activities for community learning and engagement. 


What are 5 quick facts that your best friend would use to introduce yourself?

-is a goofball and has as sense of humour

-is concerned about world events

-is an academic

-speaks 4 languages

-is an athlete


What is your athletic background?

I was a multi-sport athlete growing up and in my twenties I played rugby at a fairly high level (in University for Guelph, representing Ontario and Alberta at the national Championships and for Canada  (7s) at the FISU World University Championships. I was fortunate to play on many winning teams with fantastic, super-talented teammates. Rather than thinking about past accomplishments though, I try to focus on my future goals :-)


Do you have a life-changing experience related to your athletic background/experience that shaped your future self or future direction?

I had a concussion that pretty much ended rugby for me and that was tough. I didn’t realize how much I relied on rugby for balance in my life and there was a huge hole when it was gone. However, lifting has recently helped to fill that hole and provides the intensity and goal setting that I need to create balance in my life.


Favourite podcast?

Barbell Shrugged


Favourite quote?

Never give up – Winston Churchill said it in a more complicated way, but essentially the same message


Fit Balm product you love or have always wanted to try? 

The Vanilla Honey Body Butter and the Muscle Balm, I love them both!  The Vanilla Honey Body Butter smells amazing and has just the right consistency and the Muscle Balm feels great on my sore muscles 👌



To learn more about Leigh-Anne’s adventures in health and fitness check out her full-length story at www.taranisathletics.com/blog/

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