An adventurous spirit
She’s travelled to Bora Bora, hiked through the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, and rode in a one-day, 100-mile bicycle tour. Leah Crandall is always on the lookout for new adventures, but none will ever be as risky or as exciting as leaving behind a 20-year career and starting anew as her own boss.
“I always knew that I wanted to own my own business,” relates Crandall, who earned an associate degree in business from Macomb in 2012. “Michael Balsamo (dean of Business) inspired me greatly. He is a great listener and understands the business mindset. He has been a great mentor to me.”
Crandall’s inclusion in the million-dollar (sales) club was a proud moment in her career, but she had begun finding much more joy in exercise and nature. An off-the-cuff remark by her employer that she’d be more successful if she put as much energy into work as she did into working out proved to be the catalyst leading to her greatest adventure.
“That lit my fire,” recalls Crandall. “The very next day, I sent in my resignation.”
When Crandall received Macomb’s Workforce and Continuing Education (WCE) Schedule of Classes in the mail shortly thereafter, she found the perfect match to her new version of success: Certified Personal Fitness Trainer. She would learn about biomechanics, exercise physiology, fitness testing, equipment usage and health assessment in as little as nine weeks, allowing her to quickly transform what had been a hobby into a career. And the national exams for the certification credential were included in the fee. Crandall signed up.
“After completing the certification course (in 2018), I was so happy that I announced it on Facebook,” she says. “That led to a health mentor position with the St. Clair County Mental Health Department,” which involved prescribing healthy eating and workout plans to patients.
Now work isn’t “work”
In January 2020, Crandall took her career in yet another direction, opening an F45 Training studio in Rochester Hills followed by a second one in Shelby Township a year later. Part of an international franchise, the F stands for functional full-body workouts, while the 45 references the minutes spent, as Crandall puts it, “in heart pumping, sweat dripping fun.”
“It’s the best workout on the planet,” says Crandall, who practices what she preaches five to six days a week. “At 53, I feel great and the strongest that I have ever felt. I (need to be) to keep up with my grandchildren.”
Crandall also stays fit by taking walks with Sophie, her four-year-old Australian Labradoodle and “best friend,” kayaking and bicycling. The fact that her career is now an extension of all that gives her joy in life is not lost on her.
“I don’t even consider what I do work,” offers Crandall. “It’s more of a passion – to help everyone live a healthier lifestyle, especially during these crazy times.”