Leah Dolan is a new breed of hybrid athlete: an IFBB figure performer who’s also a dedicated CrossFit competitor. Born in Frankfurt, Germany, and now living in Boise, Idaho, Leah began CrossFit training in 2010 and launched her figure career in 2011. She hasn’t slowed down since, competing at the highest levels in domestic and international competitions in both sports.
In CrossFit, Leah’s competed in the Spanish Throwdown, Berlin Throwdown, and BodyPower Games. Since earning her IFBB card at the USA Championships in 2013, Leah has graced the stage at the 2015 BodyPower contest in England and the 2016 San Marino Pro in Italy. In 2016, she was invited to compete in the Arnold Classic Australia, which she called “her largest accomplishment.”
Leah’s love of training and natural charisma have made her a great representative of both competitive sports. This has earned her an enthusiastic following on social media. Through her social media outreach, she hopes to dispel misconceptions about each competitive endeavor.
“My social media has grown substantially due in part to my promotion of both types of training,” says Leah. “There are strong opinions and emotions that separate the two, and I am doing my best to bridge that gap, reduce the misunderstandings, and highlight the benefits of each paradigm.”
Behind her unifying message is a driven athlete with an exceptional work ethic. Says Leah: “Even though it has proven very challenging, I’ve kept my CrossFit training and competitions in during my prep. I am helping people see the benefits of both worlds and how to balance them.”
She understands not everybody has the inclination to embrace both figure and CrossFit, but she believes you should reject neither and experiment until you find the training style that works for you.
“I believe my situation is unique. My approach to training is very different and allows for a lot of fun and exposure to both the CrossFit and bodybuilding industries. My biggest advice is to do what you love! No matter what type of exercise it is, do it as long as it keeps you coming back for more.”
A big part of Leah’s athletic education were the lessons she learned when she relocated from the U.S to Spain from 2013 to 2017.
“Moving abroad to Spain was a huge challenge for me regarding my training and dieting,” she explains. “Learning what foods are available, different measurement systems, macros, grocery stores, markets, and finding good gyms was very difficult. It took me nearly the entire time living there to feel settled and understand what foods work well for my diet.”
The experience was worth it, she says, especially for the relationships she forged.
“The best part was meeting the most amazing people and athletes all over the world,” she says.
Leah cites Kaged Muscle and KM’s CEO and co-founder Kris Gethin as important parts of her support team. “They have been by my side since Day 1. Kris has watched me grow from a tiny girl to a strong woman, and I can’t thank him enough for his support and guidance over the years.”
Grateful for her success and the support she’s received through the years, Leah is eager to give back to others. “My goal is to help motivate and inspire people to do whatever type of training they love to improve their health, physique, and overall happiness.”
LEAH’S FAVORITE TRAINING SONGS
“Rake It Up” (Diplo & Party Favor Remix) by Yo Gotti (ft. Nicki Minaj)
“Losing It” by Fisher
“Without Me” (IlleniumRemix) by Halsey
LEAH’S NUTRITION ADVICE
To keep her system in prime condition for maximum energy and power, Leah puts a priority on hydration. “I drink a ton of water!” she explains. “I kick-start my day with 32 ounces of water.”
Leah’s intense training schedule makes it critical that she eats clean, but she doesn’t overthink it. “I don’t track calories, as I try to focus on a healthy lifestyle rather than a ‘diet’ when I’m off prep,” she says. “I lean towards a high-fat/low-carb diet. I focus on eating vegetables first, then move to protein, fats, and lastly carbs. I avoid dairy, sugar, and alcohol best I can!”
LEAH’S TRAINING ADVICE
To find success in your training approach, Leah believes you need to find your passion. “Do what you love,” she says. “If something isn’t fun, then you’ll most likely quit. I love the gym and I love CrossFit.”
She splits her workouts into two-a-days, doing CrossFit training in the morning, followed by an interval conditioning workout with weights for her second session later in the day. Yes, that’s an intense schedule, but for Leah, that’s the point.
“I’m addicted to endorphins,” she admits. She doesn’t believe you should look at training as work. “Have fun and play!”