Leah McKinnies is the owner of CrossFit Collision in Emmett, Idaho. She is also a CrossFit competitor, a certified CrossFit coach, an NASM certified personal trainer, an International Academy of Physique Conditioning contest preparation specialist and an ADA recognized nutrition coach.
CrossFit Collision is located on the edge of Emmett, surrounded by big sky and rolling foothills.
She began teaching CrossFit in 2011 in the park downtown and eventually moved her sessions to the high school gym. Her classes continued to increase in size and popularity and her father, a contractor, built her a CrossFit box near her home.
Red Rush: How and when did you get Involved in sports training?
Leah McKinnies: In 2003. I was overweight as a teen. I come from a very overweight family, and I was plagued with health problems. I met a friend who was into fitness, and so I started to workout. I lost a bunch of weight, but I was still a typical globo-gym -three-sets-of-twelve-and-I’m-out kind of person.
LM: I went to a supplement store, and I saw a poster for a bodybuilding show and said ‘I can do that!’ Six months later, I did one and won. From there, I turned bodybuilder and personal trainer. In 2011, I started CrossFit. I participate in the Open every year, competed in the Cross Town Throwdown and I would have been in the Backyard Brawl, but I dislocated my collarbone. I’m still not at 100%. Things like the clean and jerk can aggravate it if I put to much weight on.
RR: You train the Emmett High School football team, correct? Do you use elements of CrossFit?
LM: I do the conditioning training. We just won district. I do train with CrossFit elements: cardiovascular, plyometrics and limited weight-lifting.
RR: What would you say is the philosophy of your CrossFit Gym?
LM: Community and Acceptance. We try and encourage people to come and try it whether they think it is a fit or not. Everyone can do CrossFit: all ages, genders, and sizes. We step up and support each other and keep up that community. We do gym events and fundraisers. People even get together outside the gym. It’s like a second family.
RR: What’s the best part of being a CrossFit gym owner and coach?
LM: Watching people accomplish a goal that they never thought that they would accomplish. Whether it’s lifting a certain amount or even doing a single double under. The fact that it’s a shared accomplishment makes it amazing.
RR: What’s the most frustrating thing?
LM: Naysayers outside the CrossFit community who make judgment calls without understanding the benefits of great CrossFit coaching and a great community.
RR: Tell me about “You Better Run.”
LM: There’s a local group of high school students who wanted to raise some money. So we did a Zombie Run, a three-mile trail and obstacle course with monsters like Freddy Krueger, Jason and Pennywise the Clown from It. Each runner got a flag football belt, and if you lost your flags, you couldn’t win the race. Having the fastest time didn’t necessarily mean you won, you had to finish with both a flag on your belt and the best time.
RR: As a sports nutritionist, what attracted you to Red Rush?
LM: As most people know, as a society we don’t get enough fresh vegetables. Beets are very high in nutrients, but hardly a thing many of us would actually eat. Red Rush is just a good idea. I’d never eat five beets otherwise.
I can feel a difference in terms of recovery, endurance and I feel more alert. I’d recommend it to anyone.
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