Edge Academy Fitness, which opened at 7 East Main Street at the beginning of this year, isn’t exactly a traditional gym. There aren’t any workout machines, and the popularity of fad diets and cross-fit makes it surprising to see a sign encouraging exercisers to “Eat, drink, and be merry” hanging on the wall. But when Leslie Lucero talks about fitness, she doesn’t focus on denial or hardship. In her workout philosophy, fitness should be empowering.
Lucero has a drive to help people improve their lives. Before she became a certified personal trainer, Lucero had planned to become a psychologist. After graduation, Lucero found a job at a gym. She had been an athlete her entire life, and thought that the job might be a good way to make ends meet.
Something changed as she watched the personal trainers’ classes. Lucero realized that she could train as well as them, if not better.
“I decided, okay, I’m going to do something different,” Lucero says. She had been a boxer and a jiu-jitsu competitor, so she already had a passion for fitness. Lucero took her knowledge and began working towards a career as a personal trainer.
“I’ve always been an athlete,” she says. “It was natural for me to do something physical.”
After she became a certified physical trainer in 2011, Lucero was still driven by the same interests that inspired her to study psychology.
“In all honesty,” Lucero says, “I just love helping people to change their lives.”
Lucero lights up when she talks about helping a bullied child feel empowered at the gym. She enjoys helping people tackle stress and chronic pain through fitness and physical therapy. Lucero says that she thrives when she sees her clients make progress and become more confident.
When Lucero started her fitness practice in Winters, she didn’t have a specific space to meet clients.
“I started my training outside of my home.” Lucero pauses, “Like, literally.”
Lucero would meet with clients on her front lawn and host boot camps in the park. Now that she operates out of a gym, Lucero has been able to expand her classes.
Each new membership begins with a free one-hour consultation. Lucero listens to the client’s goals and assesses their fitness level and mobility. From there, plans a personalized workout regime. This could involve group classes, individual sessions and meal plans.
In Lucero’s practice, she teaches what she calls the five basic foundational movements: squats, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups and running. These motions are based on primal human actions, like climbing a tree or lifting a child. Lucero focuses on these foundational movements in her strength training classes.
Edge Academy Fitness offers group classes nearly every day of the week. In the mornings, Lucero leads a class called CORE, which is a combination of pilates, yoga and meditation. She also offers a series of classes focusing on stability and mobility for people aged 50 and over.
Edge Academy Fitness’ most popular program is their Combat Fit class. Located at Lucero Martial Art School at 816 Taylor Street, this class is a high intensity workout that teaches martial arts skills. They also offer an MMA conditioning class for men who want to train like a fighter, but not compete in the ring.
“We’re not trying to make fighters out of anyone,” Lucero says. She emphasizes the strength, mobility and stress relief that people get from these classes.
Lucero offers help with more than just exercise. She is trained in fascia stretch therapy. Fascia is the connective tissue surrounding muscles and other organs. Stretching this tissue can improve mobility and recovery.
Nutrition counseling is another important part of Lucero’s practice. She became interested in nutrition after her son was born with asthma. Lucero began looking into ways that nutrition could improve his symptoms. Now she uses her knowledge to educate her clients in reading nutrition labels and making healthy choices. In some of her individual training plans she offers a grocery shopping tour and a meal prepping session.
Education is a huge part of what Lucero wants to bring to the community. She says she wants to give people the tools to lead a healthy lifestyle, even if they aren’t gym members.
This is why Lucero hosts seminars on topics related to health on fitness. On Thursday, Mar. 22, Edge Academy Fitness will be hosting a seminar called, “The WHY of the Goal” at 6 p.m., and on Thursday, Apr. 12 there will be a seminar on trigger point release and foam rolling at 6 p.m.
Above all, Lucero believes that the most important part of a gym is the people inside of it.
“I made it a point to really have a great group of people,” Lucero says of her clients.
“I really love the community.”
For information about joining Edge Academy Fitness or attending the upcoming seminars, call Leslie Lucero at 530-564-6174, or visit lesliemarieinspires.com. The business’ Facebook page is Leslie Marie Inspires Edge Fitness.