A: I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Although I love to travel, Calgary is still where I call home, and I cannot leave the mountains!
Q:Tell us one thing about yourself that we wouldn't believe...
A: I still sleep with my favorite stuffed animal, especially if I am having trouble sleeping!
Q:Describe the journey to becoming an IFBB pro...
A:I have always been an active goal oriented person. I played high level volleyball and track and field in University. I always admired strong women and took it upon myself from an early age to educate myself in nutrition and weights.
My father was a big role model as he would always take me to the police gym with him and I would train and follow his routines, developing a passion for weights and fitness! I was lucky as I got older to have built myself a great foundation while working at Gold’s gym. While at University, studying kinesiology and business, I met some very influential people, (IFBB pro Debbie Barrable and others). They encouraged me to enter my first competition. I was always interested and amazingly I did really well and won my first show at the age of 19! I was hooked. I met my current coaches Brian and Donna Logue (Body by 24/7) who I admire and feel they are more than trainers but family to me... they have helped me physically and mentally for the past 9 years. (They) help me reach all my goals... I could never be the person I am without them!
I started as a young lightweight bodybuilder for 3 years, making it to the nationals three times before I decided to switch to figure. I was honored to compete at the Arnold Amateur placing 5th and competing at CBBF nationals and CBBF natural nationals always placing top 5. I love competing and the challenges and amazing people I have met along the way.
In 2008 I decided to take 2 years off for some personal reasons as well as to begin my career as a police officer in the city and give my body some time to improve and set new goals and challenges for myself. I was still active in the Alberta bodybuilding federation and continued to volunteer and help others at shows. In 2010 I was newly inspired and felt ready to compete again. I set my sights on the 2010 April 4th CBBF Natural Nationals Show in Montreal. I found it a bit more challenging now that I was juggling working shift and clients, but I was determined and (I) prioritized. I honestly was just excited to be back in my groove and had no expectations of placing in the top as I had been away from the scene for a few years. It was an amazing, humbling and rewarding experience at the National show. I remember the moment I heard my name for winning the overall title was when the realization hit that after 8 years and over 25 shows I was honored with my IFBB Pro card, especially being from Canada where we only give out 2 pro cards a year!!. It still gives me goosebumps. My best friend Lisa Dufresne, another wonderful competitor, was there at the show helping me and cheering me on and I truly wouldn't be where I am without her support and encouragement. I am so honored to be an IFBB pro and what truly inspires me are those lives that I have helped, the emails and notes from people and the advice I can give. I compete now at the pro level because I love the challenge, I love the places I get to go and the amazing people I am able to meet. I still have some big goals I would like to achieve at the pro level and am determined to stay true to myself and all my wonderful friends, one step at a time, this year I would really love to crack the top 5 and eventually be on the Arnold and Olympia stage and maybe align myself with a sponsor!
Q:Give us a typical week long workout routine...
A: It really depends, right now my focus is on bringing up my shoulders and streamlining my sprinter legs! I do a-lot of plyometrics, 2x a week and focus on shoulders/core on one day, back and glutes, and then arms. This off season I have been doing more crossfit type training as well as focusing on pull-ups and dynamic lifting. I still do cardio 5x a week usually incorporating hills, running, x-trainer and sprinting.
Q:Compare you’re off season diet to your pre contest diet...
A: Off season I would say that I increase my fats intake. I tend to consume minimal fats on-season. Off season I incorporate more nuts and almond butter into my diet! I tend to eat fairly clean but do enjoy a glass of red wine and dark chocolate and trying new restaurants with friends!
Q:You're also a personal trainer. What's the toughest challenge when training clients?
A: I do personal training on the side because I love inspiring and helping others reach their true potential. I think the toughest challenge is to try to change people’s perception and focus away from the scale number and think more about long term body composition.
Q:Funniest personal trainer story?
A: I used to train a great group of oil and gas executives... they were a lively group with a variety of fitness levels and body types. One morning they all came in and were wearing t-shirts they had made that said "Berti's Bitches" and a picture of a fit gal with a whip, I thought it was priceless and perfect!
Q:You're into traveling. Where's the most exotic place you've ever visited?
A: I am a travel junkie, I always try to reward myself with a great adventure after a show or life event or just because I love exploring new cultures, traditions and foods! I would have to say that Thailand was an amazing 3 months travelling through Southeast Asia. I also just returned from Spain, another amazing place with wonderful people. Costa Rica was beautiful and full of adventure. It is challenging to name just one place, so many more on my list as well!
Q:Where do you want to be in 10 years?
A: This is a tough one, 10 years I will be 38! So hopefully I will have a family, still travelling, snowboarding, competing and tackling on new career goals. I hope to still be training hard and inspiring others of course!
Q:Can you give us your Twitter,Facebook,Instagram,Pinterest,blog or website handles?
Yes, please follow me:
Twitter at @Leah_IFBBPRO
facebook fanpage is: Leah Berti IFBB PRO
Pinterest: Leah Berti
Interview done by Elliot Rivera for HealtHaven