Leanne Spencer left a career in the city to prioritise her health – and it inspired her to embark on a whole new career. Here, she explains her unique fitness philosophy and why TEDx is the perfect platform to share it.

Why fitness is more important than weight

TEDxWandsworth 2016 talk by Leanne Spencer


What was your TEDxWandsworth talk about?

My talk was about why fitness is more important than fatness. I argued that striving for a perfect, skinny appearance is not the answer to obesity.

Instead, the focus should be on functional fitness and incorporating exercise in our daily lives for all the benefits it brings, not just weight management.

Tell us bit about yourself

I had a successful career in the City, but I left five years ago after realising I was burnt out, several stone overweight and chronically abusing alcohol. Now I’m an entrepreneur, bestselling author and performance coach.

My business, Bodyshot Performance, is a health and fitness consultancy that helps busy professionals increase their energy by removing the guesswork around their health, fitness and nutrition.

I’ve built a business based on the kind of lifestyle I want to lead, which prioritises health and well-being and gives people what they need to live happy and rich lives.

What drew you to TEDxWandsworth?

TEDx is an ideal platform from which to try and spread a message. I am really concerned about our attitudes towards weight and fatness, particularly amongst women. I want to do something to alter that message and change our perspectives on how we view our bodies.

How did you find the experience?

I loved giving my talk. I was third on stage so I had everyone’s attention, and it went very well! The venue had an intimate feel that made it easy to connect to the audience.

How has life changed since you appeared at TEDxWandsworth?

Well, I’m not an international celebrity, and the press isn’t camped at the door, but the credibility I have gained from being a TEDx speaker is much greater. It’s a big differentiator and has helped me get more speaking requests.

More importantly, I’ve had comments on social media from people – both men and women – thanking me for the message I’m spreading. One woman said she was going to show her teenage daughter and her friends, which was wonderful to hear.

Which TED Talk has inspired you?

Monica Lewinsky’s talk, The Price of Shame, was brilliant. For her to get on to one of the world’s biggest stages and deliver a talk on shame…that is something, and she was amazing.

What advice would you give to our 2017 speakers?

Remember it’s ‘Ideas worth spreading’, not speakers worth watching. Focus on your message and your delivery will come.

Quick-fire round

What makes you happy?

Cats and sunshine.

 What has been your greatest achievement?

Doing what was required to prioritise my health.

How do you relax?

Solitary walks in the countryside.

Guilty pleasure?

Cadbury’s Whole Nut.

Who inspires you?

Anyone who demonstrates strength in the face of adversity and sticks to their principles.

The motto you live by:

Fear drives so many of our behaviours, find a way to be unafraid.

Watch Leanne’s Why fitness is more important than weight talk

Find Leanne on Twitter @riseshinemethod

Interview by Rosy Edwards