Ready to sweat? You don’t have to do it alone! Group fitness classes are a great place to bring a friend. People are more likely to push themselves harder and stay motivated when working out with others.

Leslie Marant is a force to be reckoned with, but she’s also quick to tell you that she’s just a regular mom like everyone else dealing with barriers to getting and staying in shape.

Leslie Marant

This former high school track star was able to eat whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted, never had weight issues or health concerns—until she got married and had kids. Like so many moms out there, she (physically) grew as her family grew.

Leslie Marant

By the time Leslie turned 40, she had gained nearly 60 pounds. Not only that, her marriage was having problems, and one of her children had special education needs. So, even though hypertension has always been a family issue, Leslie admits, “Thinking about health and fitness was the least of my concerns.”

But then at an annual visit, her doctor said her blood pressure was increasing, and if her numbers still looked the same a year from now, she would have to permanently be put on medication. This was her turning point because she knew that hypertension is preventable and manageable, but only if she changed things now.

“I was like (pardon my French) HELL NO! This is the wake up call I needed to hear. I want my children to travel the world, go to California or Belize or Peru. I don’t want them to have to take care of their mother because of a sedentary lifestyle I could have changed. No way.”


So, Leslie went back to the only thing she knew: running. And that meant using her basement “clothes-drying rack” for what it was designed to be: a treadmill. But her visions of running like she had in high school were quickly smashed when she was winded—in less than a quarter of a mile.

“I had asthma. My breathing was a disaster. I cried. But then I fought through it. Whatever distance I ran the prior day, I had to run at least that distance the next day. I never stopped, not even for a day, for three months.”

Then things changed after that. Leslie began to love running again. And she found others who shared her passion. Social media led her to Black Girls Run, which was then in its infancy. She spent countless volunteer hours encouraging others, and found that being a personal trainer provided motivation for her to stay on her own fitness journey.

Boot camp

Now Leslie takes spin classes and is at the gym at least three days every week. She also teaches boot camp at Rose Playground at 75th St. and Lansdowne Ave. Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. for $10 a session. It’s not for the faint of heart, but everyone is welcome. Doesn’t matter if you’re yesterday’s couch potato or Crossfit-ready, like her. She makes it work for everyone, especially super moms who are trying to fit everything in. Because she’s been there.

“You get married and that becomes your life because we’re socialized to put your family first. But being a better wife and mother is also taking care of yourself. These things are not mutually exclusive. In order to be the best at anything, I know I have to take some time to take care of me.”