To the women who insist that having children means the end of their relationship with their old bodies, we present Leigh Hickombottom. A fixture in fitness magazines, Hickombottom knows what it’s like to endure the physical torment of pregnancy and childbirth. She has four girls — her oldest is 16, and she also manages a 6-year-old and a set of 2-year-old twins. That’s a lot of labor and delivery time for anyone, but for Hickombottom, a physique model, keeping fit — even through pregnancy — has never seemed much of a chore.
When did you first start training seriously? Were you an athlete growing up?
I participated in sports throughout all my schooling. Later, I focused on track since it was the sport I enjoyed most. But when it comes to the gym being my focus, that was around 2004. I loved the gym and my body from all the hard work put into developing and maintaining it.
How did you get your start in the fitness industry?
I started in this industry by becoming a spokesmodel for a fat burner from a well-known supplement company. I appeared in their ads, and that was followed by features in Oxygen magazine.
How did the relationship with Sunwarrior develop?
After ending a great relationship with my previous sponsor, I was ready for a more natural direction and fell upon Sunwarrior [sun
warrior.com] and began communicating with them. Sunwarrior is a great, fully supportive team with the best natural products on the market for those looking to lead a truly healthy lifestyle full of pure raw and natural ingredients.
People might not associate lean, muscular physiques with raw vegan products. How do these products support muscle and metabolism? Are you vegan?
I am not a vegan, as I still eat fish and white meats. Sunwarrior products support muscle and metabolism the same as the standard brands, just naturally and raw. There are no toxins or chemicals, and all products are formulated clean. Because of this and being raw, the body recognizes it and there is no unhealthy buildup or fallout.
You’re in amazing shape. What’s your training like?
Thank you! My training philosophy is “change, change, change” — even if it’s a small change. I like to run outdoors in nature. That can mean a beach run, nature run or hitting a track. I normally train five to six days a week, usually doing strength training and cardio in the same session and leaving back and leg days to their own days with no extra muscles included in the workout.
Although she switches workouts quite often, this leg routine is one of Leigh Hickombottom’s favorites for achieving the kind of quality muscle she is known for.
Alternating Knee-In Partial Smith Squat with Calf Raise**
* Hickombottom doesn’t count reps on most exercises, instead opting to terminate sets when failure sets in.
** Hickombottom sets up two aerobic steps under the bar in a Smith machine. She sets the bar across her upper back and places the balls of both feet on the top step. Turning her toes inward at 45 degrees, she allows one foot to “float” while descending into a partial squat with one leg, stopping well short of halfway. She then reverses the motion, pressing to full extension through her calf and her quads. At the top, she returns the “floating” foot back to the platform and switches sides. She alternates feet in this fashion until failure. She does not count reps.
*** Hickombottom includes partial and full range-of-motion reps at various times throughout the set.